Problems start in the headline.

Rather than asking whether Islam is liberal enough to belong in Europe, the more relevant question today appears to be whether Europe is liberal enough to accept Muslim women.

Given many restrictions on various forms of veiling in countries all over the world, including the middle east, this is certainly not the more relevant question. With these historical trends, the more relevant question is whether countries that mandate veiling are liberal enough to stop doing this.

The hijab is more than a religious symbol to those who wear it. Muslim women cover their hair out of tradition, to maintain a connection to their cultural heritage, or for reasons of modesty. Several young European women I spoke to explained that they wear the hijab despite protests from their immigrant families, who do not want them to face undue scrutiny or discrimination at work.

This is the vague, anodyne stuff one always gets from champions of covering up. Just saying it’s a religious symbol is empty: Tell me what it symbolizes religiously, because not all forms of behavior that call themselves religious get an automatic pass.

Out of tradition? Meaning? Veiling is tribal, and very limitedly tribal. Do all of the women who veil come from a tribe that veils? And is a liberal culture compelled to tolerate all tribal behavior? Again, precision, please.

Reasons of modesty must be discussed alongside religion, no? And tribe? I mean, can we put all of this together to make a salient point? It would be something like: These women perceive themselves to derive from particular tribes. (Which tribes?) These tribes feature a form of Islam which the women believe mandates that women must hide themselves from men. You note that their families often protest their behavior. Could this be because, alongside its negative social and economic consequences, it lacks any legitimate Islamic grounding? This, in other words, might be a good point in the essay to cite any Koranic verse mandating veiling.

The rampant European misperception of the hijab as a symbol of a supposedly misogynistic Islamic culture…

Funny thing about that rampancy. Wonder where it comes from. Wonder why vast swathes of the world perceive… well, all religions as misogynistic, but Islam as king of the misogynists… wonder where that comes from.

I’m afraid, in other words, that you’re not going to be able to dance your way to your conclusions through a series of false or undercooked generalizations.

At no point in her essay does the writer attempt to understand rampant legislation, votes, referendums, against veiling – in countries all over the world. She does the pointless dance most defenders of burqas and hijabs do: Countries all over the world are Islamophobic, and hijab/burqa wearers are their victims. Here’s some advice: Get off the dance floor and do the hard honest work of figuring out why you’re losing this fight. Don’t be like Donald Trump, who loses a fight and stands there wailing like a fool. Accept your losses and analyze them.

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