If some weeks are meatier than others, then this week is a whole side of beef. On almost every possible front, someone’s doing something that’s offending someone – it was actually a challenge to winnow things down to the most important and interesting stories.
In terms of Maximum Potential For Offense, French President Nicolas Sarkozy is topping the headlines with his war against burqas, while Burger King leads the “What were they thinking?” pack.
The biggest first: Sarkozy. His animosity toward the burqa (sometimes called a niqab or chador), the full-length robe and head covering worn by some Muslim women, has blossomed into an effort to have France ban the garment altogether. Reporting continues to pour in from around the globe:
- A veiled attack on freedom in France’s niqab debate (Al-Arabiya News)
- Fashion on Trial: France debates whether women can wear niqabs (Canada Globe and Mail)
- Banning the burqa isn’t the answer (Religion Dispatches)
- Sarkozy hiding behind the burqa (Huffington Post)
The controversial hearings on banning the ‘head-to-to veil’ began on Wednesday, so I’m sure we’ll have more on this in next Friday’s roundup – the outrage and offense it provokes on both sides isn’t dying down any time soon. (France24)
Next, Burger King. You’d think they would be sensitive to the potential for religious offense in advertisement after they angered the Muslim community several years ago with a commercial depicting a character with a Muslim name selling a bacon cheeseburger.
You’d be wrong.
This time, they’ve angered much of the Hindu world with an advertisement (running only in Spain) showing the goddess Lakshmi sitting on a hamburger – which, if I’m not mistaken, is made from cows, considered sacred by many Hindus – under the tagline “the snack is sacred.” (Foreign Policy Post). Daiji World, an Indian news source, proclaims that the “corporate world insults religion yet again,” while the New York Daily News’ OpEd page settles for calling Burger King “meatheads.”
(FYI – Check out the comments on the Foreign Policy Post, where some are correcting the misconception that Hindu automatically = no beef.)
Finally, religion and health care. Some states protect religious beliefs that require providers to opt out of certain procedures, others mandate care regardless of beliefs and several parental-neglect cases where parents declined treatment for their children based on religious beliefs slog on:
- ‘Conscience protection’ law expanded in Louisiana (New Orleans Time-Picayune)
- Pharmacists can’t refuse Plan B pill, appeals court says (Los Angeles Times). Related: Druggists must dispense Plan B pill (USA Today).
And these are just the stories I chose to blog today. As always, more on the website and full roundups at the end of the month. Enjoy the weekend, and I’ll be keeping up with these for y’all.