France's Burqa Ban
Even if Bobby Ghosh does not take the threat of radical Muslims seriously in "The Moment," it seems that 335 members of the French National Assembly have finally understood from where the wind blows [July 26]. To fight that threat much more has to be done, but the burqa represents one of the few instances in which Muslim extremists reveal their existence to the world. Asking the veiled if they feel oppressed? Do you really think that an oppressed woman can answer that question freely?
Kfar Vradim, Israel
The burqa is considered oppressive to women in France, and many moderate Muslims like the imam of Paris' Grand Mosque are in favor of the law precisely for that reason. Many Muslim women see tolerance for burqas as a first step before a radical minority exerts pressure for them to wear it even if they don't want to. And most French, whatever their origin or faith, are deeply attached to our conception of secularism.
The use of the burqa is not the issue. It's the reasoning behind its use that we are opposed to. The question is, Why do some religious men want to hide women and only women? Well, because they believe that women are the embodiment of temptation. Let's help women live without hiding their body and face and let those few extremists deal with their hormones.
No, the French National Assembly's majority leader Jean-François Copé will not have to hide his face in shame as you suggest because, as you clearly write, the National Assembly passed the draft law to ban the burqa by an overwhelming majority of 335 to 1. According to a recent poll, 82% of the French agree with this ban. This is the will of the people and not just of Copé. Masking one's face in public is antisocial and antidemocratic for the French people.
Michael Crowley's "The Good and Bad Economy" clearly points out that a solid majority of Americans favor reducing spending for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq [July 26]. Only 12% favor reducing the deficit by cutting Social Security. Yet Crowley disregards his own data by concluding that President Obama's deficit commission will propose "long overdue cuts to entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare." How about going to national security for deficit reduction and letting seniors receive the Social Security benefits they earned and deserve?
New Sharon, Maine, U.S.
Your article pushes consuming to revive the U.S. economically. Many citizens are moving in another direction using fewer resources, raising our own food, and using solar panels for hot water and a bicycle and legs for travel. We should not return to being the consuming culture that we were. Catch up to the times, TIME.
Nipomo, Calif., U.S.
The stimulus package has been great and staved off great turmoil. But if the President really wants to double down, he should do two things. The first: bottom out interest rates on 30-year mortgages to 4% and lend directly to the public. Then everyone would stop waiting for interest rates to fall, borrow money and refinance their lives. The second: tax oil and spend the proceeds directly on energy. Taxing gasoline at the pump and oil as it is imported into this country would generate steady revenue for years to come.
Falmouth, Mass., U.S.
Re "Where Have We Seen This Before?" [July 26]: We need to research the thinking behind the Uganda attacks. It is pointless sending in soldiers and fighting fire with fire. We need to find the core reasons behind the attacks and use social means to prevent them from developing.
Cape Town, South Africa
A Jolt from the Volt?
As you describe in "Can the Volt Charge GM?," electric cars are finally heading to the market, and this is a good thing [July 26]. There always seems to be one detail that doesn't get much attention, though. Unless that electric car is plugged into a solar, hydro or wind source of electricity, there's a pretty good chance a coal-fired power plant will be at the other end, so the only result is moving the source of pollution from the tailpipe to the power plant. We need to continue to perfect the electric car while developing clean and nonpolluting sources of electricity. That will be the real achievement and the real solution.
Penrose, Colo., U.S.