France denies citizenship to man who failed to assimilate into French society
July 10, 2010 11:10 AM   Subscribe

A Moroccan man whose wife wears a veil has been denied citizenship on the basis that he has failed to assimilate into French society.

This is not the first time France's anti-burqa stance has drawn attention.

The U.N. chose to condemn this stance earlier this year.
posted by reenum (91 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
The U.N. chose to condemn this stance earlier this year.

Not really, but a particular body within the UN system did. A more accurate summary of that article is contained within it:
The U.N. Human Rights Council adopted the non-binding text, proposed by Pakistan on behalf of Islamic states, with a vote of 23 states in favor and 11 against, with 13 abstentions.
posted by grouse at 11:23 AM on July 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Burqas aside, this man refused to shake hands with a female government representative on the grounds that his religion prohibits it. Suppose he refused to shake hands with, say, a black or Jewish male government representative on religious grounds? I'm sure there would be much more outrage and less docile acceptance of such a cultural tradition. It seems to me that society at large is somehow programmed to accept the discrimination and domination of females and charge it off to "religious differences" whereas any bias shown toward a particular race or religion is a one-way ticket to universal moral outrage.
posted by Oriole Adams at 11:26 AM on July 10, 2010 [61 favorites]


'Liberty' and 'freedom' are just buzz words that have been used under the real guise of nationalism - you are free to do anything you want, only as long as you do what we say is allowed.
posted by Jericho at 11:27 AM on July 10, 2010


So, if they force him to leave the country, would his French wife stay behind? If so, would she continue to wear a veil? If so, they have accomplished what exactly?

It seems like France is really unhappy about the behavior of his wife (a French citizen) and is then is punishing him (and her, presumably they will be forcefully separated).
posted by el io at 11:28 AM on July 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


To look at it the other way... He was denied citizenship because he didn't force his wife to dress another way? That he didn't keep his woman in line? But he's also held accountable for not shaking the hand of a woman? Looks like misogyny goes both ways.
posted by CarlRossi at 11:35 AM on July 10, 2010


Denial of citizenship is not revocation of residency. He could presumably continue to live in France as a resident alien.

Moving to a secular Western country has a price. If he wants to move to a country that explicitly makes full equality of its female citizens a stated part of its national ethos, then he doesn't have the right to demand that this country accommodate him if he wants to be a citizen of that country. There is no "right" to citizenship for aliens, nor is there an obligation to accept as a new citizen someone who manifestly rejects the receiving country's culture or principles.
posted by 1adam12 at 11:42 AM on July 10, 2010 [31 favorites]


el io, according to the article,

"Besson's office said the man's application was rejected because officials had determined that he had deprived his wife of the freedom to go about with her face uncovered. "
(my emphasis)

So this sees more like France denying citizenship to a man who, well wants to keep his wife veiled and submissive. I mean he emigrated to France. If I emmigrated to France, it is incumbent on me to learn the language and make peace with their secular traditions. I don't see the problem here.

Actually I do, if the article is accurate why is this man not in jail?
posted by xetere at 11:43 AM on July 10, 2010 [9 favorites]


Good. I don't see a problem with this. The article says he deprived his wife the freedom to uncover her face. The man won't shake hands with a woman. This man does not deserve citizenship.
posted by Malice at 11:50 AM on July 10, 2010 [5 favorites]


Sarkozy controversially told lawmakers six months ago that the traditional Muslim burqa was "not welcome" in France. He said the issue is one of a woman's freedom and dignity, and did not have to do with religion.

Well, his belief doesn't have to do with any of the official religions... but it definitely originates in the French civil religion, which is different from any American one.

These articles are woefully incomplete; they don't even have a quote from the woman in question.
posted by shii at 11:50 AM on July 10, 2010


"Besson's office said the man's application was rejected because officials had determined that he had deprived his wife of the freedom to go about with her face uncovered. "

Why didn't she divorce him? If she's not OK with his behavior toward her, there is a solution. On the other hand if she's OK with it, then... what? I wonder if we have a full grasp of the facts here. Speaking just for myself, I am not going to judge one way or another without more information - lack of sufficient information may result in knee-jerk reactions. So... more info please.
posted by VikingSword at 11:54 AM on July 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


This man does not deserve citizenship.

Citizenship is not a prize.
posted by kenko at 11:56 AM on July 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


From one of the articles:
the [man whose citizenship application was rejected] said: 'my wife will never be able to go out without the full veil; I don't believe in gender equality; women have inferior status; I will not respect the principles of the secular society,'" he told reporters after a Cabinet meeting.

Besson stressed that the decision does not mean the man will be deported, and he will be allowed to remain in France on his current long-term visa.
I mean, the first one is -- look, France remains a secular society where his wife could get a divorce if she wanted to, but the last three things, if he actually said them, seem to show that he doesn't want to be a citizen of France as it is, that he won't honestly agree to respect the country and its laws (I'm assuming there is some sort of pledge). He's allowed to stay in France, his marriage isn't being annulled, he's not being jailed, he just says he doesn't respect its principles, and they say okay, but then you don't get to be a citizen.
posted by jeather at 11:56 AM on July 10, 2010 [27 favorites]


I venture that US Americans have no idea about the tensions in European society that lead to these kind of things. (that doesn't mean I necessarily agree with this incident in particular btw) To me an opinion is as valuable as the knowledge it's founded upon. So the knee jerk outrage of US Americans is not that interesting to this European in particular.
posted by joost de vries at 12:03 PM on July 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


You elect to emigrate to another country, the onus is on you to adequately adapt. He refused. Why does he even want to be a citizen of France if he finds simple things like shaking hands with women objectionable?

It works both ways-- Americans and Europeans who want to force western-style democracy on countries in the Middle East that don't want it are the same breed of asshole but on a larger scale. You don't like how a society operates, leave it alone.
posted by Mayor Curley at 12:03 PM on July 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


Does France deny citizenship to Orthodox Jews who won't touch non-relatives of the opposite sex?
posted by craichead at 12:06 PM on July 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


What does his wife think? If he's forcing her to wear a veil, good for the French. If they're denying her the right to wear it if she wants to then boo hiss.
posted by shinybaum at 12:06 PM on July 10, 2010


I can see where the whole "thought police" comes into effect on religious rights for immigrants, but if the minister is telling the truth and the man doesn't want to follow the laws of the country regarding gender equality, wouldn't it make sense to deny citizenship?
posted by Salmonberry at 12:09 PM on July 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


> The man won't shake hands with a woman. This man does not deserve citizenship.

What difference does it make whether or not he will shake hands with a woman? Where in any constitution is that mandated as criterion for citizenship?
posted by Burhanistan at 12:17 PM on July 10, 2010


shinybaum, they very well may be.
posted by sallybrown at 12:18 PM on July 10, 2010


but if the minister is telling the truth and the man doesn't want to follow the laws of the country regarding gender equality, wouldn't it make sense to deny citizenship?
I guess I'm of two minds about that. On the one hand, I can see it, assuming that he actually said he didn't support gender equality, rather than the government just interpreting his behavior that way. But on the other hand, are there generally ideological litmus tests for citizenship? If so, are they applied equally to everyone? I mean, are non-Muslim immigrants asked if they support various forms of equality? Are non-Muslim people asked about their input into their spouses' clothing choices?
posted by craichead at 12:20 PM on July 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


je suis Chauvin not an acceptable defense?
posted by boo_radley at 12:25 PM on July 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't know that this particular denial is a good example of France's issues with Muslims, but it is a problem and it is worrying.

"More than half of French people support a full ban veils, according to a recent opinion poll. The Ipsos poll for Le Point magazine found 57 percent of French people said it should be illegal to appear in public wearing clothes that cover the face. [...] France already has a law against Muslim girls wearing headscarves in state schools. It sparked widespread Muslim protests when the French Parliament passed the law in 2004, even though the law also bans other conspicuous religious symbols including Sikh turbans, large Christian crucifixes and Jewish skull caps."

This really bothers me. They ban "large Christian crucifixes", but the fact of the matter is that this is a clash between several cultures where it is the norm to wear certain articles of clothing, and one culture where it's the norm NOT to cover one's head.

So the French assume that it's secular to force everyone else to conform to resemble the Christian majority, like their Western culture is neutral -- everyone would start out looking like they do and it's only these crazy Jews and Sikhs and Muslims who randomly decided to dress differently and show off their religions. Like taking away only the LARGE Christian crucifixes will make anyone look at French society and go, oh clearly these people belong to no particular religion, and my I have no idea if they're Christian or Muslim or what!

Yet everything's still closed on Sundays in France. December 25th is still a public holiday, as are several other (and only) Christian holy days. Come on.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 12:26 PM on July 10, 2010 [19 favorites]


But on the other hand, are there generally ideological litmus tests for citizenship?

If there is one here, and it's based on whether you allow your wife to choose whether or not to wear a veil, it's a bit hypocritical coming from a country that does not allow women to choose whether or not to wear a veil.

(But I am a "US American," so joost de vries would have you know I'm presumptively uninformed based on my nationality.)
posted by sallybrown at 12:30 PM on July 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Where in any constitution is that mandated as criterion for citizenship?

This has nothing to do with anything. After all, it's not mandated in any constitution that one criterion for citizenship is a lack of a criminal record. And yet we deny citizenship to people who have been convicted of a crime - crime committed in another country. At the same time, our own citizens, beneficiaries of the constitution, can have criminal records without their citizenship being revoked.

Either a country has the right to set criteria for citizenship, or it does not. If your position is that such a right does not exist, then that's that - nothing further to discuss, and the man in question should get French citizenship.

On the other hand, if you agree that a country has a right to have criteria for citizenship, then the question becomes - what are the limits on such criteria. Some would argue that a country has the right to exclude those who willfully refuse to respect the laws of the country; some would even say, they have the right to control their culture and exclude all those they deem incompatible.

Regardless of where one fall on that, I think it's a mistake to make it too restrictive - a country gains by exposure to different cultures in most cases.

I believe that once however a person becomes a citizen, s/he should have the exact same rights as any other citizen. Then it's too late to say "but our culture" - that's what's wrong with the Swiss minaret law (among other things wrong with it) - you don't get to then divide the citizenry into different classes with different rights. Incidentally, by that criterion the U.S. constitution is also flawed - you can be a citizen, and just because you were born elsewhere, may not be eligible for the office of the presidency. But that's what our founding fathers decided - for historical reasons, which perhaps once were valid for a young country, but seem to me today to be outdated... another reason why no constitution should be frozen in time, but should be open to being revised to match the evolving needs of the citizenry.
posted by VikingSword at 12:33 PM on July 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


Thanks for the link sallybrown.

This is so much more complicated than it looks where I live, with a huge and healthy Muslim population and lots of women who'd be incredibly annoyed in Northern accents if you tried to take away their niqab.

I cringe a bit when people get all het up over it, I just think there's a myriad of other ways to determine if a woman is oppressed or not and it probably can't be done on a national level.

On the other hand I think we don't intervene enough in some situations because of wrongheaded notions of cultural sensitivity. It's a hard line to define and we seem to be messing it up royally.
posted by shinybaum at 12:35 PM on July 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


If so, are they applied equally to everyone? I mean, are non-Muslim immigrants asked if they support various forms of equality? Are non-Muslim people asked about their input into their spouses' clothing choices?

No, not really. I'd point out as well that there are many Muslim women who want to wear the veil, but if the facts in this article are true, that might not be the case here. I think it does constitute restriction the freedom of your spouse.

You'd be surprised what kind of laws can get you denied citizenship, though. Of course, immigration law is often stratified. In Iceland, for example, there are three sets of immigrations laws: one set for Scandinavians, one set for EU members, and one set for everyone else. Scandinavians have it easiest when it comes to getting residence and citizenship, followed by EU members. "Everyone else", whether from Canada or Mozambique or the Phillipines or Paraguay, can and often do have their requests for citizenship denied for the flimsiest reasons.

Speeding tickets are a common reason. There was also recently a case where a woman who had been working fulltime for years was denied citizenship on the grounds that she didn't earn enough to prove she could support herself. It's infuriating and mind-boggling, and I think, a bit racist to stratify immigration law in this way.

Also, the onus is most certainly not just upon the immigrant to assimilate. That is the kind of thinking that has led to decades of European countries throwing open their doors to welcome the world's poor as a pool of cheap labor, but then summarily ignoring them. This often leads to worker exploitation - workers aren't informed of their rights and don't know where to go to learn them - which leads to isolation and resentment. This isolation will keep you in a lower economic class, most of the time, doing all the jobs no one wants to do. This leads to insulated communities forming.

A better, more pro-active idea would be to do away with stratified immigration law, for immigrants to be informed of their labor rights upon arrival - many labor unions have translated their collective bargaining agreements into different languages for this reason, provide greater funding for immigration services and make language classes free. Many European countries have at least some of these ideas in place.

The enforced secularity in France, despite the way their laws are written, do seem to see the most enthusiastic application upon their Muslim immigrants. That's what bugs me the most about the laws themselves - you want a totally secular society? Fine, go all out. Apply it with equal vigor to everyone. Don't make a set of laws about the importance of a secular society, and basically use it harrass one religion overall.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:39 PM on July 10, 2010 [15 favorites]


What difference does it make whether or not he will shake hands with a woman? Where in any constitution is that mandated as criterion for citizenship?

I think the preamble of the French one (according to the EU):
The law shall guarantee women equal rights to those of men in every field.
Of course, this doesn't mention the right to have your hand shaken specifically, but I think the handshake thing is being used as an example of his general attitude, and I think it's his attitude that is getting him refused citizenship rather than this particular manifestation of it.

Article 1 is also quite interesting:
France shall be an indivisible, secular, democratic and social Republic.
Which is fine, but then it goes on:
It shall ensure the equality of all citizens before the law, without distinction of origin, race or religion. It shall respect all beliefs.
So when it comes down to gender equality vs religious respect, it's gender equality that wins.

Here's the full constitution (in translation).
posted by robertc at 12:40 PM on July 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


Yet everything's still closed on Sundays in France. December 25th is still a public holiday, as are several other (and only) Christian holy days. Come on.

From your link, only one of those 'public holidays' is mandated by government:
Only Labour Day (May 1st) is a public holiday by statute. The rest of the holidays are granted by convention collective (agreement between employers' and employees' unions) or by agreement of the employer.
posted by robertc at 12:46 PM on July 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


So when it comes down to gender equality vs religious respect, it's gender equality that wins.

I'll take a constitution which respects inborn traits over chosen belief systems any day.
posted by hippybear at 12:57 PM on July 10, 2010 [9 favorites]


this man refused to shake hands with a female government representative on the grounds that his religion prohibits it

Islam isn't the only religion with restrictions on physical contact between the sexes. Some flavors of Christianity and Judaism have them, too. I seriously wonder whether a Jewish man who refused to shake the hand of a female government representative would be treated the same way, and if his motivations for refusing would automatically be assumed to be the same--that is, that refusing to shake her hand was due to his belief in the subjugation of women.

Like any other large religion, Islam has believers of every type. Their interpretation of the religious restrictions vary very widely. There are men who believe in not mingling with women because they're someone else's property, but there are also men who believe that not touching a woman is respectful of her and of God. You and I may not agree with the restrictions and think that they ultimately lead to oppression, but assuming someone's motivations just leads to more misunderstandings and makes an already tense issue more tense.

Another important point is that by using his refusal to touch a non-related female as evidence that he's not assimilated into French society, the government is essentially saying that others who follow those restrictions--some already citizens, some born in France--are not part of French society. It's a message to those people as well: This is what being French is, and you're not it.

"Secular" has a lot of different meanings to different people, but I personally don't think it should mean excluding particular religious groups from society because I don't like their rules of social conduct. I think it should mean that the government should be neutral towards religion.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 12:57 PM on July 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


But wearing a veil is nothing to do with gender equality unless he's making her wear it. Otherwise it's only breaking that other rule about visible religious clothing, which she'd be breaking and not him.
posted by shinybaum at 1:02 PM on July 10, 2010


But on the other hand, are there generally ideological litmus tests for citizenship?

Yes.
posted by qvantamon at 1:13 PM on July 10, 2010


"Secular" has a lot of different meanings to different people, but I personally don't think it should mean excluding particular religious groups from society because I don't like their rules of social conduct. I think it should mean that the government should be neutral towards religion."

That's for the French to decide. Many believe that religion - in aggregate - is an unmitigated evil with regard to its impact on society at large (i.e an individual believer may be entirely harmless). I hold such a belief. However, I recognize that the laws (in the U.S.) supersede my beliefs, and I submit to these laws of the land without the least qualm. If I were a citizen of France, I'd obey French laws (and if I found some law intolerable, I'd work to change it through the political process).

The problem as I see it is not that the French pass laws which may be seen as anti-religious, but that they seem to have it in for Islam in particular. Either - or. Deprecate all religions - great. Deprecate only Islam - wrong.
posted by VikingSword at 1:14 PM on July 10, 2010 [6 favorites]


Citizenship is not a prize.

Is it not? If your goal is to emigrate, fulfill the legal obligations, and then become a citizen, I would say it is the prize, the goal, the reward. For some countries the prize may be out of reach of many applicants. For example, I am neither rich enough nor young enough to emigrate to New Zealand. Every country has the right to define itself and to decide how citizenship is awarded.

Just out of curiosity, what is the citizenship process like in Israel? Are Muslims allowed to become citizens?

this man refused to shake hands with a female government representative on the grounds that his religion prohibits it.

I remember the hullabaloo when a couple of Muslim racers on The Amazing Race refused to shake hands with any of the female racers. It was, if anything, a public relations nightmare for American Muslims because it seemed to American viewers to underline the inferiority of women in that religion.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 2:00 PM on July 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Did anyone else just discover The Battle of Algiers? Uncanny how relevant this movie remains, like it was made yesterday was put in a time machine and transported 45 years into the past. I only just found it through Netflix, highly recommended.
posted by The Straightener at 2:03 PM on July 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Maybe we're all misunderstanding, and he's just being denied citizenship for not being classy enough.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:11 PM on July 10, 2010


"... it seemed to American viewers to underline the inferiority of women in that religion."

I'm curious - why did you italicize "seemed." What else did refusing to shake hands with women signify if not their unequal status?
posted by binturong at 2:13 PM on July 10, 2010


> I'm curious - why did you italicize "seemed." What else did refusing to shake hands with women signify if not their unequal status?

Uh, conversely women are not supposed to shake hands with unrelated men. It goes both ways.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:14 PM on July 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


What difference does it make whether or not he will shake hands with a woman? Where in any constitution is that mandated as criterion for citizenship?
posted by Burhanistan at 12:17 PM on July 10 [+] [!]

I live part of the time in France and I assure you that had I not shaken the hand of the tax inspector she would have been mightily upset. The French have rituals, and you flout them at your peril. The rituals of politesse are difficult to grasp but one of the first is the handshake.

It is not up to other governments to accord themselves with your desire for constitutional mandates. If the system in Vibrania is that a guy called Elver decides whether or not you're a citizen, that's the rule, and it is fine for Vibrania.
posted by jet_silver at 2:20 PM on July 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oriole Adams wrote: "Burqas aside, this man refused to shake hands with a female government representative on the grounds that his religion prohibits it. "

I don't think not touching someone is that bad of a thing. If he's otherwise discriminatory towards women, bring on the hate please.

I also liked Kutsuwamushi's definition of secular. Maybe it's my USian upbringing, but I think government should stay the hell out of religious issues unless said religion is encouraging its members to break the law, in which case it should be treated like any nonreligious organization doing the same.
posted by wierdo at 2:24 PM on July 10, 2010


Citizenship is not a prize.

When you aren't born in said country, I believe it is.
posted by Malice at 2:24 PM on July 10, 2010 [10 favorites]


Look, there really is a difference between people who want to build a society based on common respect for other humans, and people who want to live in the fucking middle ages. I really dislike that this position puts me in the "OMG culture wars!!!1" camp, because I do feel like that's a completely manufactured kind of thing, however, there are actually people who would prefer that I be stoned to death for being an atheist. I can't deny that these people exist, and as long as there are laws that are able to curb their stoning enthusiasm I'm all for them living in the same physical place I do. If they don't like these laws, I'd prefer they stay physically somewhere else until the next generation.
posted by odinsdream at 2:26 PM on July 10, 2010 [5 favorites]


And scatterbrained wierdo was at it again and forgot to finish his post:

That said, I think it's not up to me as a citizen of the US and not of France to tell the French how to conduct their affairs unless and until they start violating the basic human rights of their people. I don't think the restriction on religiously-associated headwear rises to that level, although it's certainly heading down that road.

I may be atheist, but I don't feel it's my place to tell other people what their religion should or should not be.

As a believer in personal freedom, I don't feel that it's my place to tell people what they can or cannot wear, either.
posted by wierdo at 2:27 PM on July 10, 2010


> Look, there really is a difference between people who want to build a society based on common respect for other humans, and people who want to live in the fucking middle ages. I really dislike that this position puts me in the "OMG culture wars!!!1"

It puts you in the position of being hyperbolic. Do you think that Moroccan immigrants are going to start stoning atheists because they don't shake hands with women? Has there been any stoning in France?
posted by Burhanistan at 2:30 PM on July 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Binturong wrote: What else did refusing to shake hands with women signify if not their unequal status?

It signified that in his culture, men are only supposed to have physical contact with other men and close female relatives; women are only supposed to have physical contact with other women and close male relatives. Suppose someone said that North Americans think women are inferior - look at the way women are forced to cover their chests, even when nursing babies. My response would be that it isn't an expression of misogyny; it's not meant to degrade women; it's just a bit of cultural behavior with no malice behind it even though it imposes an unbalanced restriction on women.

Lots of cultures have rules that seem weird to outsiders - what hand to use when eating food, how to sit without offending people, the right way to compliment children. In this case the guy has been quoted as saying that he actually does think women are inferior, but the handshaking thing in itself doesn't actually demonstrate it.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:47 PM on July 10, 2010 [5 favorites]


"Why didn't she divorce him? If she's not OK with his behavior toward her, there is a solution. On the other hand if she's OK with it, then... what?"

A lot of men beat their wives and the wife blames herself.
posted by dibblda at 2:50 PM on July 10, 2010 [5 favorites]


NB: in the middle ages, women had more rights than in the 18-19th centuries, in Britain at least. This even, very occassionally, included the right to vote. ('Course, that was pretty rare for men too).

When looking for a time period to symbolize the height of incivil brutality, the Early Modern period (which I will loosely define as c1500-1900 -- and anyone who wants to argue can have it out with me down at the pub) with its religious wars, genocidal colonialism, chattal slavery system and hardening of patriarchal lines (1832 Reform Act took away votes for women, Napoleonic Code was worse for women than the Ancien Regime laws) would be a better candidate.
posted by jb at 2:51 PM on July 10, 2010 [6 favorites]


Lots of cultures have rules that seem weird to outsiders

Thanks for your response, Joe -- I think your phrase above is the key to this conflict. The point being that when you want to immigrate to a country/culture and live there, you are the outsider. The custom of shaking the hand of an official is part of French culture and the guy was unwise to ignore it if he wanted to become a French citizen -- however weird it may have seemed to him personally and whatever it may have signified in the culture in which he grew up. It is the obligation of a guest to abide by the host's rules and not vice versa.
posted by binturong at 3:44 PM on July 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


Symmetry? If this gentleman will support me when I move to Morocco and insist that my wife wear a bikini in public (assuming she survives :) then I'd support his case.
posted by sammyo at 3:54 PM on July 10, 2010


Citizenship is not a prize.

It is, if the country is a welfare state, obligated to provide education, housing, sustenance, health-care, etc, etc... Fuck this guy, and other Muslims like him coming to Europe and leeching us dry, all while hating our freedoms and way of life.
posted by livingdots at 4:01 PM on July 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


> It is, if the country is a welfare state, obligated to provide education, housing, sustenance, health-care, etc, etc... Fuck this guy, and other Muslims like him coming to Europe and leeching us dry, all while hating our freedoms and way of life.

Leeching you dry? You're full of shit, and racist to boot.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:06 PM on July 10, 2010 [14 favorites]


My response would be that it isn't an expression of misogyny; it's not meant to degrade women; it's just a bit of cultural behavior with no malice behind it even though it imposes an unbalanced restriction on women.

I think many would disagree with that. This is a very questionable wikipedia article, but it links to some interesting resources on the subject. No bit of cultural behavior comes about for no reason, and the real reason may very well be malicious.
posted by breath at 4:15 PM on July 10, 2010


Fuck this guy, and other Muslims like him coming to Europe and leeching us dry, all while hating our freedoms and way of life.

I hope you reflect on what you said. Muslims are just like everybody else - there is no "leeching" unique to them. You should also be aware, that this "welfare leeching" accusation is factually wrong. Most immigrants do not "leech". But this accusation is standard fare for some very unsavory political forces, and we see that in every country, including the U.S., they always see the "other" as "leeching". Oddly, there is no logic even at face value in such anti-immigrant sentiments - they are simultaneously supposed to be lazy welfare addicts and also "steal our jobs" - which is it? And we are all immigrants, no matter which country - for some it's one generation removed, for some more. But we are all immigrants - the present day French displaced or absorbed other people who were present on that land before them. So let us try to welcome different cultures for mutual benefit.

Of course, you can always go the Japanese way. Don't admit most immigrants, or make it extremely difficult or selective - and then live with the consequences... yes, you won't have any "troubling" cultures to adjust to, but don't complain should you go into demographic decline, and don't complain should you one day discover that your culture stagnated into homogenous mediocrity. Remember, when as mighty a culture as the Chinese isolated itself, they went into decline - as did Japan. Isolation and fear of other cultures is unhealthy for your culture too. But if you do admit immigrants, then for god's sake, don't discriminate against them once they become citizens - Muslims or not.
posted by VikingSword at 4:22 PM on July 10, 2010 [11 favorites]


You should also be aware, that this "welfare leeching" accusation is factually wrong. Most immigrants do not "leech".

Very much so. Immigration law is designed to prevent people from being able to "leech" off of anything. If you arrive in most European countries from outside the EU, you must have a job already waiting for you. You are usually in a probationary period where you are not eligible for any social benefits (e.g., unemployment, rent assistance, child support, etc.), especially if you want to qualify for citizenship; you must prove, in fact, that you have received no social benefits - no matter how tough things were for you - for a certain period of time before you can even apply for citizenship. The very idea that immigrants simply pour into a country and live fat off the teat of the Welfare State is simply not true.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:29 PM on July 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


Citizenship shouldn't be simple acknowledgment of where you happen to live. It isn't a mere privilege of birth, but a set of duties as well. Those duties aren't just to yourself, but to the entire establishment, to the community, and that also means respecting certain communal values.

If you're willing to accept the duties of citizenship (which will likely include doing things for the community that you would never do otherwise), then I see no problem with allowing foreigners to apply for the privileges of citizenship.

This guy seems to want the privileges without the duties. That's not okay. Good on France.
posted by edguardo at 4:30 PM on July 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


> If you're willing to accept the duties of citizenship (which will likely include doing things for the community that you would never do otherwise), then I see no problem with allowing foreigners to apply for the privileges of citizenship.

What is dutiful about shaking hands with women? He's going to pay taxes, and otherwise be a citizen. Any further intrusion into his personal behavior in that manner is rapidly approaching fascism.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:35 PM on July 10, 2010


"When you are in Rome live in the Roman style; when you are elsewhere live as they live elsewhere."
St. Ambrose (c 340-397) advice to St. Augustine.
posted by binturong at 4:41 PM on July 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


Citizenship shouldn't be simple acknowledgment of where you happen to live.

Well, you might be happy to know, then, that immigrants to Europe aren't handed citizenship on a platter just by being there. In the years that it takes for a non-European to get citizenship in a European country, there is a very long list of qualifications that they need to fulfill. These include - but are not limited to - accepting no social benefits whatsoever (even the same benefits many citizens enjoy), a spotless criminal record (not in itself unreasonable, unless we're talking about things like speeding tickets), a certain number of hours of language classes (even if they must be paid out of pocket while simultaneously trying to work a fulltime job to support your family), not leaving the country for more than a legislatively alloted period of time, and so forth. In other words, you have to walk the straight and very, very narrow for years on end in order to be able to even apply. This meme that people are given citizenship the same way you might cut a coupon out of a newspaper is the kind of scare-tactic fodder the European right loves to perpetuate, all facts to the contrary.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:43 PM on July 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


As a US citizen living in France, I can say that there are lots of cultural differences that my partner and I have had to adapt to here, including some clothing restrictions. It's been extremely hot in Paris for a while now, so we've been going to the municipal swimming pools, where there are also strict regulations about what one can wear. Last summer, a woman was ordered to leave a public pool because she was wearing a "burkini" -- a bathing costume that covered most of her body. This summer, my partner was not allowed in to the pool because he was wearing a typical American "swim trunks" style bathing suit, and the Parisian pools only allow small tight speedo-style suits for men (yes, this is an actual municipal requirement -- he too was overly-covered).

This is really a complicated question because the law, whatever its intent, results in young females being functionally denied public education because their families will not allow them to be out in public without covering, and the public schools will not allow them to attend while covered. France is officially a very secular society with the strikes and May Day parades to show for it, but they also put up Christmas trees in the plaza in front of the Panthéon in December; you know, that building that is known as the temple of reason, the burial place of many great scientists and rational thinkers? Yes, Christmas trees. Le sigh.
posted by tractorfeed at 4:45 PM on July 10, 2010 [7 favorites]


What is dutiful about shaking hands with women?

By so doing, you're putting your own religious beliefs aside for the moment, and acknowledging that this is the way it goes in France. You're demonstrating a willingness to tolerate other ways of life and other ways of looking at the world.

I'd say that tolerance, pure and simple, is indeed a duty in any country that counts liberty among its fundamental values.

And tolerance, you know, means occasionally observing something you find distasteful. You grin and bear it. You shake hands with a woman. You watch two men kiss. You watch a parent raise a child in a faith you don't believe in.
posted by edguardo at 4:50 PM on July 10, 2010 [6 favorites]


> By so doing, you're putting your own religious beliefs aside for the moment, and acknowledging that this is the way it goes in France. You're demonstrating a willingness to tolerate other ways of life and other ways of looking at the world.


By submitting to intolerance? Jeez, glad I don't have to live in France, then.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:54 PM on July 10, 2010


I'd say that tolerance, pure and simple, is indeed a duty in any country that counts liberty among its fundamental values.

In theory, sure. In practice, Muslims are being targeted. Let's not kid ourselves here. There's a standard that applies primarily to one religious group in practice, period. No one's human rights are being violated if I refuse to shake your hand.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:56 PM on July 10, 2010 [5 favorites]


In practice, Muslims are being targeted.

O RLY? I live in a neighborhood where a mile or so away there is a community where the men refuse to even talk to women who aren't in their immediate family, and treat the women in their immediate families like chattel - these are the Hassidic Jews.

No one's human rights are being violated if I refuse to shake your hand.

I'd say that Hassidic women, or fundamentalist Muslim women, have almost no human rights at all, as they are stolen from them by the males of their communities.

I find these two belief systems abhorrent for exactly this reason. Tolerance must include intolerance of intolerance.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 5:30 PM on July 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


O RLY?

YA RLY. I'm talking about French law here.

I find these two belief systems abhorrent for exactly this reason. Tolerance must include intolerance of intolerance.

I still see absolutely no violation of human rights from refusing to shake someone's hand - if we're looking at that issue alone. French law, wrt enforcement of their secular state, in practice, targets Muslims almost primarily. As I said, a country that purports itself to be utterly secular should pursue the execution of its secular laws with equal vigor towards all religious groups.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:34 PM on July 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


.... Christmas trees.

I'm as anti-religious as the next guy, and I feel that we need special protection from Christianity, as the dominant religion in most Western countries.

That said, "Christmas" trees have nothing at all do to with the actual religion of Christianity - and in fact Europeans have been decorating evergreen trees around the winter solstice since long before Christ was a gleam in his Father's eye.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 5:34 PM on July 10, 2010


Let us not forget that even in some of the most liberal Christian denominations, women are not equal, and their rights are being fought over. It's not just Muslims, Hasidic Jews, and "others" - it's also these homey religions with which we all feel so comfortable. And France is largely Catholic. Do I need to remind anyone that women are inferior in the Catholic hierarchy - never mind any high-falutin' words, what about real power in the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church? Somehow, I don't hear voices urging the banning of Catholic immigrants to France. Seems to me, a lot of this concern for women's rights is a cover for some rather less exalted motives.
posted by VikingSword at 5:44 PM on July 10, 2010 [8 favorites]


I'm talking about French law here.

Yes, we're talking about French law here, I did actually read the articles - what's your point? Are you saying that a Hassid who exhibited a similar prejudice toward women would have an easier time of it as a French immigrant than a Muslim? Seems unlikely to me - France has never been particularly friendly to the Jews.

I still see absolutely no violation of human rights from refusing to shake someone's hand - if we're looking at that issue alone.

I'm wondering if you really read the articles before commenting, for example the one entitled "Veiled wife costs man French citizenship". They appear to show that he was refused citizenship because he was denying fundamental human rights to his wife. The fact that he boorishly refuses to shake hands with other women was presented as evidence that he did so, not as the primary complaint.

French law, wrt enforcement of their secular state, in practice, targets Muslims almost primarily.

From the article: "even though the law also bans other conspicuous religious symbols including Sikh turbans, large Christian crucifixes and Jewish skull caps."

I believe that yarmulkes are required for Orthodox Jews and their fellow travellers, whereas the extreme coverings required of fundamentalist Muslim women are a matter of custom, not religious law. This at least is what my Muslim friends have told me.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 5:45 PM on July 10, 2010


In theory, sure. In practice, Muslims are being targeted. Let's not kid ourselves here. There's a standard that applies primarily to one religious group in practice, period.
Very true, Marisa. I think it's important that we keep that front of mind. And also as alluded above the inherent position of judeo-christian secularism as neutral.

At the same time, however, I think it's important to remember two things:

1) It's a bit cute to take the Islamic restrictions on women _in some_ practices of the faith at face value, when we regularly deride Christian (or other) groups for the same reasoning, i.e. "it's what the bible says"; "the women want it"; "it's not connected to an underlying culture"; "it doesn't effectively curtail women's right" etc etc.

2) this is a guy that said, "I will not respect the principles of the secular society". And I kinda feel like, well, France _is_ a secular society and if you don't like it, maybe you should be applying for citizenship to Saudi Arabia.

That all said, I think these are ambiguous, troubling questions that defy rules and generalisations. I think it's disappointing that Sarkozy is using it to make political hay and score cheap, racist, votes for something that is really a non-issue.

I don't find it especially perturbing so long as there is a state infrastructure supporting anyone of any faith or culture that wants to live differently to the tenets of said faith/culture, and also that pretty much we have laws for people who don't want to play ball with the state, and this guy doesn't seem to be breaking any laws, so in a truly secular sate we would be shutting the hell up right now.
posted by smoke at 5:54 PM on July 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


Yes, we're talking about French law here, I did actually read the articles - what's your point?

My point was that I had no idea why you were bringing up the way Jewish people in New York City act with regards to a post about French immigration law, and why you were using your experience in New York as a refutation of what I'm saying about French immigration law.

I'm wondering if you really read the articles before commenting, for example the one entitled "Veiled wife costs man French citizenship". They appear to show that he was refused citizenship because he was denying fundamental human rights to his wife.

In that case, I'd recommend you scroll up to my first comment in this thread, where I said that if the facts in this article are true, then he is indeed violating the freedom of his spouse.

From the article: "even though the law also bans other conspicuous religious symbols including Sikh turbans, large Christian crucifixes and Jewish skull caps.

Again, I'm talking about the way the law is actually executed. I understand how it's written. Its primary focus, in practice, is upon France's Muslim population.

My overall point, in my participation in this thread, was to clear up some misconceptions about immigration law in Europe (that people just stroll in and collect social benefits, that it's entirely upon the immigrant to assimilate themselves, etc.).

If you read my first comment, you'll see that what I'm actually advocating is a form of communication that moves in both directions - where immigrants not only learn the societal mores of the country they move to, but that the country take a more pro-active approach in the integration process. The biggest problem when it comes to immigration discussions is that people seem to take this either/or binary; that we either let those Other People run roughshod over our beliefs and ways of life, or we lock the borders and don't let anyone in. I think that's a very limited way of looking at immigration. There are other ways of handling immigration that are showing positive results. Unfortunately, the right in Europe loves nothing more than a boogieman to rally up votes.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:57 PM on July 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


Sorry, MStPT, I should have looked at your previous postings more carefully... I think I'm much more in agreement with you than I thought at first.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 6:02 PM on July 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Every country has the right to define itself and to decide how citizenship is awarded.

This.

If I choose to go and live in Saudi Arabia I would be subject to restrictive laws governing how I, a woman, might dress and behave. Therefore I choose not to live in Saudi Arabia. France is pretty clear on what is expected of their citizens in terms of behavior and this man wanted an exception made for him.

There are no absolute rights and wrongs in this world, just rules that we come up with. Play by the rules or suffer the consequences, which in this case aren't too bad, it's not like they deported him or anything.
posted by fshgrl at 6:03 PM on July 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


It's all good. It's an issue that gets people fired up, and likely will continue to do so as our world gets smaller. My hope is that immigration law changes with the way that we look at the world. The double-standards we impose - "you're welcome to come here and work and build stuff for us, just don't expect us to reach out and actually help you fit in" - can and should diminish when we see that in reality, our borders as they are drawn on the map are actually contradictory to the ways our laws are written. The time of having our cake and eating it too is over. There is a growing school of thought that when you welcome people into your country, you are pretty much obliged to educate your new arrivals on what the rules are, and be sure they understand them, and ask others to treat them as equals - just as when (as one immigration rights official put it to me) when a transfer student comes into a classroom, the teacher is obliged to inform the new student on the school's rules, and encourage the other students to be nice to the new arrival, and welcome them. Of course there's going to be resistance to this attitude, a kind of throwback mentality that has a romantic appeal to voters, and sure, it's going to gain support as immigration increases. But those are just the kinds of growing pains you have to deal with in the name of progress.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:12 PM on July 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


as our world gets smaller. Ultimately, I believe that is the issue here. What would France be without it's great culture and traditions? I can only imagine that after decades of (seemingly) mass immigration that they must feel inundated and fear that the things they hold most dear will eventually be pushed aside by the new people.

As a former world traveler, I can say that any effort on my part to assimilate, learn languages and earnestly participate was greatly rewarded with mutual admiration and respect.

Not shaking the hand of a "woman"? Well, she's not a woman to you, she's a representative of the Great Nation of France.

Something to think about: Are there more instances of people being denied religious freedom or instances of religions denying common sense?
posted by snsranch at 6:40 PM on July 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


Most people hitting the "well if you want to live in France, you must do as the French do!" theme seem to ignore (1) that French culture--like almost every culture on Earth--has its own share of misogynistic practices (it's interesting that a country with, you know, NUNS--who happen to be part of a heavily patriarchal religion and also wear veils--only banned the veil in 2004) and (2) that there are plenty of native French Muslims, including native French Muslim women who would like to wear veils to school, who are a PART of French culture. They aren't immigrants. They've got their French citizenship. But I guess they don't count.
posted by sallybrown at 7:06 PM on July 10, 2010 [5 favorites]


Are you saying that a Hassid who exhibited a similar prejudice toward women would have an easier time of it as a French immigrant than a Muslim? Seems unlikely to me - France has never been particularly friendly to the Jews.

Jews have entered this discussion as a strange sort of straw man. The reason there's been no analogous case of a Hasidic Jew being denied French citizenship is quite simple: there's no large population of immigrant Hasidim seeking French citizenship.

If there were, the response of the French state would be the same. Jewish students aren't allowed to wear kippot (religious head coverings) in French public schools, just like Muslim students are forbidden to wear veils. "Laicite" -- France's state-sponsored secularism -- is ecumenical indeed.

Laicite originated in the wake of the French revolution as a way to counter the power of the Catholic Church. The problem with the policy is that it has come up against the demographic realities of contemporary France. Laicite takes Christians as its universal meme for all individuals. Christians can not wear religious symbols in the public sphere and in public institutions and still be good Christians. For some female Muslims and some male Jews, the banning of religious symbols and attire from public institutions means that they cannot participate in those institutions without violating the precepts of their religion.

The example of Jews is useful for another reason. After the French Revolution, Jews were "emancipated" -- granted legal equality with Christians. But their emancipation was contingent on accepting the French idea of egalite: a notion of equality that, unlike its American incarnation, is premised not only equality of rights but on sameness. Jews could only be accepted as citizens, the Revolutionary government decided, if they divested themselves of everything that set them apart from normative French society, such as their ban on intermarriage.

France plays by different rules than the United States. I think the country's current application concepts of equality and religious freedom have magnified the culture's failure to integrate its Muslim immigrants -- integration being, of course, the flip side of assimilation. No one benefits when a young girl is forced to quit school because her parents won't let her attend if she doesn't wear a head scarf. That said, all countries -- including the US -- have conditions for citizenship -- after all, there's a reason immigrants say the Pledge of Allegiance during their naturalization ceremony. I'd have a problem if this guy was getting deported. I have absolutely no problem with this guy not getting citizenship.
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 7:10 PM on July 10, 2010 [5 favorites]


The U.N. chose to condemn this stance earlier this year.

Not really, but a particular body within the UN system did. A more accurate summary of that article is contained within it


I don't think this is accurate. How does the French policy meet the resolution's criteria for "defamation"?
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 7:15 PM on July 10, 2010


There's a word for it when people move to other countries, willfully ignore or even deliberately subvert longstanding, indigenous cultures.
posted by digitalprimate at 7:16 PM on July 10, 2010


But we are all immigrants - the present day French displaced or absorbed other people who were present on that land before them. So let us try to welcome different cultures for mutual benefit.

At least someone is thinking of the Gauls.
posted by Atreides at 7:32 PM on July 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


What would France be without it's great culture and traditions? I can only imagine that after decades of (seemingly) mass immigration that they must feel inundated and fear that the things they hold most dear will eventually be pushed aside by the new people.
You know, I've got limited sympathy for former colonial powers who claim "invasion" when the descendants of colonial subjects show up on their shores. And let's not pretend that France's history of persecuting religious minorities started in the past couple of decades when the poor French people started feeling "invaded," because it didn't.
The example of Jews is useful for another reason. After the French Revolution, Jews were "emancipated" -- granted legal equality with Christians. But their emancipation was contingent on accepting the French idea of egalite: a notion of equality that, unlike its American incarnation, is premised not only equality of rights but on sameness. Jews could only be accepted as citizens, the Revolutionary government decided, if they divested themselves of everything that set them apart from normative French society, such as their ban on intermarriage.
Well, ok, but I think the subsequent history of Jews in France suggests that, even if you assume that deal was acceptable in the first place, France didn't live up to its side of the bargain. So the real story isn't "minorities assimilate, and the nation accepts them as full citizens." It's "minorities assimilate, and the nation grudgingly tolerates them, except when it occasionally turns on them ruthlessly." Were I a Muslim immigrant to France, I'm not sure that would be sufficient to convince me to take off my headscarf. I don't think that the assimilation in exchange for citizenship bargain really works, because the majority culture has all the power and can always justify denying rights by claiming that the minority has insufficiently assimilated.
posted by craichead at 7:58 PM on July 10, 2010 [8 favorites]


Atreides wrote: At least someone is thinking of the Gauls.

Yes, they must find it very galling.
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:59 PM on July 10, 2010


So let me get this straight. If this man had been born in France, and taken on his repellent views as an adult, he should be exiled? If so, to where, exactly?

Being a religious misogynist is not, as far as I know, against French law. You don't deny citizenship to someone just because you don't like their attitude.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 10:37 PM on July 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


You don't deny citizenship to someone just because you don't like their attitude.

Of course you can. It's not an inherent right just because you live somewhere for a while. Gaining citizenship as an adult is basically joining a new culture and you have to agree to abide by the laws of that culture.

I think a lot of people on this thread and confusing France with the US. Just because the US is very tolerant of people expressing extreme religious views in public and at work or school does not mean that other countries are. I was pretty amazed when I moved here at the way people carry on about their religion-of-choice, especially the Christian evangelicals. A lot of normal American's would be considered dangerous lunatics in other places for the things they say but here it's accepted or celebrated. Like for example, George Bush. My relatives in Europe thought he was mentally ill because he had "personal conversations" with god. They thought he would be immediately impeached or institutionalized or something. But that's a normal thing to say here in the US. My friends mother, an otherwise normal woman, speaks in tongues. I think she's fucking nuts and I have never been comfortable around her since I found that out. Everyone else thinks it's a minor quirk. Americans are pretty damn tolerant of a wide range of behavior.

Not saying one kind of place is better than the other but they are different. This is how France is and apparently how they want it to stay.
posted by fshgrl at 11:25 PM on July 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


I, too, believe in the reality of borders.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:29 PM on July 10, 2010


Well, ok, but I think the subsequent history of Jews in France suggests that, even if you assume that deal was acceptable in the first place, France didn't live up to its side of the bargain. So the real story isn't "minorities assimilate, and the nation accepts them as full citizens."

I didn't say it did, or that this type of zero sum game is a good thing. I'm saying something different: historically, this is the deal -- and the trade-off-- minority religious communities are given.
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 11:36 PM on July 10, 2010


I fail to see why a nation that embodies a certain set of core values, is somehow required to accept as citizens, people who very explicitly proclaim they reject those same values.

(I explore this at greater length, and in the context of Metafilter, here.)
posted by orthogonality at 4:55 AM on July 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


What is dutiful about shaking hands with women? He's going to pay taxes, and otherwise be a citizen. Any further intrusion into his personal behavior in that manner is rapidly approaching fascism.
Hmm, yes. Being required not to engage in displays of contempt for female government officials before you get your citizenship is the first step along the short road to Auschwitz.
Being a religious misogynist is not, as far as I know, against French law. You don't deny citizenship to someone just because you don't like their attitude.
So are you saying that there should be no requirement for, I don't know, good character before you are allowed to take a country's citizenship? I'm curious, would you apply this to Canada? Would you let someone like a noted member of NAMBLA join? How about an actual, uniform-wearing, goose-stepping fascist?
posted by I_pity_the_fool at 6:32 AM on July 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


You don't deny citizenship to someone just because you don't like their attitude.

It is the only sound reason to ethically deny citizenship, as one would entry into one's own home. You can even slam the door and be rude about it, fair is fair. All other reasons would morally require a remedy.
posted by Brian B. at 10:14 AM on July 11, 2010


"the law, whatever its intent, results in young females being functionally denied public education because their families will not allow them to be out in public without covering, and the public schools will not allow them to attend while covered"

Turkey has both a conservative east and strong laws against the veil - and even scarves - in schools, yet the children still attend.
posted by kanewai at 12:03 PM on July 11, 2010


Turkey also banned wearing fezzes in 1925 to be more modern. Banning the veil would be equivalent to banning dresses: a clothing item that traditionally is associated with women. No one should be forced to wear a dress/veil/fez, but I strongly disagree with making them illegal to be more "modern".
posted by Lord Chancellor at 3:48 PM on July 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Anyway, in the end it's clear that the French know better what's good for his wife than he does. Hah! Can you imagine this crazy fellow forcing her to wear a veil? How quaint. Women should be forced to not wear veils, that's the much more modern and open-minded position.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 6:09 PM on July 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


I venture that US Americans have no idea about the tensions in European society that lead to these kind of things ... So the knee jerk outrage of US Americans is not that interesting to this European in particular. posted by joost de vries

That's funny. I was pretty positive that even Europeans had heard of Mexico.

If they don't like these laws, I'd prefer they stay physically somewhere else until the next generation. posted by odinsdream

Personally, I'd rather they (and more importantly, their children) had the chance to be exposed to alternate ways of thinking.

Symmetry? If this gentleman will support me when I move to Morocco and insist that my wife wear a bikini in public (assuming she survives :) then I'd support his case. posted by sammyo

I assure you, nobody in Morocco -- particularly in the many towns that thrive on beach tourism -- is going to care whether your wife wears a bikini. "Assuming she survives," FFS?
posted by Amanojaku at 12:39 PM on July 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


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