Media reports on protests against legislation in France to ban wearing of the headscarf and other religious symbols in state schools and other public buildings, remind us of other European legalities against alien minorities.
There is quite a difference between such laws that existed in the past and the current ones. While similar laws passed in some European countries before World War 2 were openly racist, the new ones are camouflaged as "Liberal concepts". Some European countries have already outlawed various religious practices, such as ritual circumcision and animal slaughtering. Devout Jews and Muslims cannot provide Kosher or Halal meat in countries like Switzerland, which deny their human right of freedom of religion. But in our times, such violations of collective human rights hide behind the "humane mercy to animals".
To most traditional non-Europeans, these lofty "Liberal" declarations are mere pathetic excuses that attempt to cover up the racist tendencies of European civilisation. If human rights only apply to "civilised" Europeans, protecting only practices of the "enlightened" west, then they are neither "liberal" nor "civilised", but simply hypocritical.
The French are the best example. They have been highly pro-Arab, as long as it served their feelings against Israel. But now, when millions of Muslims multiply in their own land, they choose to extend their latent anti-Semitism to anti-Muslim racism.
Indeed, Israeli society is far from perfect, but it can still serve as a shining example to Europe for a culturally tolerant, truly liberal country!
Ehud Tokatly, 22/January/2004