At first, I was surprised by Devine. Was she being progressive?
But it is not for the state to force emancipation on to women. If anything, banning hijabs and burqas just subjects Muslim women to further subjugation, forcing them indoors, alienating them from wider society, causing resentment among their children and ensuring future disharmony.
The real reason for the popularity of the bans in Europe is less about feminism and more about politicians trying to mollify a populace angered by the Islamisation of their countries due to immigration and a higher Muslim birthrate. Switzerland’s recent ban on minarets signifies anti-Muslim sentiment. But it would be more honest to call a halt to Muslim migration rather than victimising powerless women.That would be no less offensive and xenophobic than treating your own citizens as second class while posing as their emancipators. In any case, such illiberality in liberal democracies is destined to backfire because it eventually spreads in pursuit of equality. A ban on the hijab or burqa soon becomes a ban on the wearing of religious symbols of any kind. Thus the European Court of Human Rights last year banned the use of crucifixes in classrooms in Italy.
Devine is worried about the spread of secularism. Banning Muslims from coming to Australia is fine with her though.