Just a quick comment on the current controversy in Britain (also France) over the practice of Muslim women wearing veils, burquas or niqabs in public places, on the job, or (in the case of a teacher who sparked the latest flap) in schools.
Granted that it is offensive to Western sensibilities, and to the idea of human rights anywhere, that in Afghanistan under the Taliban women were required to wear the burqa and forbidden to show their faces. Why, I wonder is it any less offensive to forbid the wearing of such garments, and require women to show their faces? Both are instances of coercion, imposing on women choices not her own.
In a pluralistic society, we all ought to be grown-up enough to deal with the religious and cultural displays of others. Why not let a high school student (or teacher) wear a cross, carry a Bible, wear a veil, not wear a veil, wear a yarmulke, display a star of David, or wear or display on their persons any symbol they like representing whatever religious sensibility is meaningful to them? Why is the fabric of society threatened by the practice of personal choices in these areas?
I just don’t get it.