Monday, August 29, 2005

atheists do it better on their own

What to think about Bronwyn Bishop's attempt to ban the hijab in state schools? (Anyone know what the consequences have been in France so far after they implemented the no-hijab policy?) To me, it just raises more questions. Is there such a radical increase in hijab-wearing amongst students in state schools that it's such a huge cause for concern? When Bishop says,

"This has really been forced on us because what we're really seeing in our country is a clash of cultures and indeed, the headscarf is being used as a sort of iconic item of defiance,"

does she really think that making a martyr of and/or criminalising the hijab will somehow reduce the sense of defiance itself? Surely, if anything, it will only increase it. And isn't Bronwyn Bishop making a connection between terrorism and ordinary, common-or-garden moderate Islam (kids in hijabs) by suggesting that hijab-wearing at school is dangerous, essentially by virtue of being an open declaration of the embracing of their religion? Hell, I'd like to see less religion in public schools too (or, at least, more formal emphasis on comparative religion than any one in particular). But at the same time I'd still like to be able to see Harley off to school one day in his "I'm an atheist!" teeshirt. If they ban the hijab, wouldn't they have to ban that too? (that's your cue, Geoffrey Robertson...)