Yes, in covering the ban in Quebec, the writer begins and ends with the difficulties one Muslim woman there has had because she veils. UD looks forward to the day when at least a few writers covering burqa and/or hijab bans will bookend their articles with arguments that some forms of veiling represent “an affront to Muslim women.” Or begin by noting the women of Iran and Saudi Arabia who are organizing, at great personal risk, to rid themselves of veils. Or how about bookending articles with comments from Frenchwomen who used to veil and now don’t (because it’s illegal), and who report feeling as if they have been freed from prison.
But this is only a quibble. UD is actually thrilled by this article, because it’s yet another indication that under the pressure of rapidly globalizing burqa bans in Muslim and non-Muslim countries, more and more journalists are finally approaching the subject with a sense of balance. Kestler-D’Amours acknowledges up front the popularity of veiling bans in Quebec; she quotes generously from government officials making the case for integration, and at no point calls anyone in favor of bans islamophobic. She is, in short, even-handed; like most rational people reporting on the subject, she has surveyed the spectacular majorities for banning in most countries of the world (here’s an example, from one of Europe’s holdouts), and, whatever her personal views, has accepted this as a reality to be taken seriously.
Indeed it’s time opponents of veil bans (which means virtually all journalists) grew up and stopped with the nahnahnah islamophobe business. The numbers (over 80% of the French supported the ban; over 70% of Germans would support one) and the laws are against them; it’s getting worse every day; and the only sensible route, it seems to ol’ UD, is for people writing about bans to make an effort to put themselves inside the heads not merely of people who want to wear veils, but also of people who object to them. In the immortal words of the immortal: You know something’s happening but you don’t know what it is. Do you, Mr. Jones?