Amitai Etizioni: Let them wear scarves
Amitai Etizioni writes
Headscarves are a test: a test of Western tolerance for legitimate differences among cultures and societies and within them. True, when wearing them is forced on women, as is the case in Iran and Saudi Arabia, they should be opposed like other such coercive dictates. However, at issue recently has been the lifting of the Turkish government’s ban on students wearing these scarves at Turkish universities, the French ban on Muslim women wearing the scarves in public schools, and the German ban on the scarves in some government buildings. Here some say that wearing these religious symbols reflects peer pressure or pressure from traditional parents. Well, if we banned people from wearing that which their peers or families promoted, they would run around naked. It is not the role of the state to counter peer and family pressure, as long as it remains nonviolent and the door is not closed on other social forces promoting their views.