HOW likely are French parliamentarians to approve the proposed “burqa ban”? Deputies get their first chance to debate the idea in parliament on Tuesday May 11th. As a first step, the National Assembly will examine a resolution, which carries symbolic value, but not legal force. Yet it will be a good test of the political mood. It is likely to be approved with thunderous cross-party support.

法国议会通过“波卡禁令”的胜算究竟能有几成呢?5月11日星期二代表们首次就这一议案进行讨论。国民大会作为流程第一步,将以象征形式,而非法律效力决议此项议案。即便如此,国民大会仍然是个不错的政治探测器。而且很有可能得到来自不同党派的强力支持。

French backing for a burqa ban across the political spectrum is sometimes hard to understand. In many multicultural quarters of Europe, the idea is linked to the extreme or nationalist right. In Britain, for instance, the only party proposing a total burqa ban during the recent general-election campaign was the United Kingdom Independence Party, which also wants to pull the country out of the European Union. The far-right British National Party also called for a burqa ban in schools. One Labour minister replied that it was “not British” to tell people what to wear in the street. In a speech in Cairo last year, President Barack Obama argued that Western countries should not be “dictating what clothes a Muslim woman should wear”.

法国逾越政治形态力挺布拉罩袍禁令的行为有时难免令人费解。即便在欧洲的一些多元文化聚集区,这样的想法也会与极端亦或是民族主义权利扯在一起从而成为忌讳。例如英国,在最近的大选中,提议全面布卡禁令的也仅仅独有旨在使英国脱离欧盟的独立党一家。极右派的英国民族党也倡导在校园禁着布卡。一位工党大臣评论道,告知人们你该在大街上穿些什么是“非英国”式的做法。去年在开罗的一次讲话中,奥巴马总统也提出西方国家没有理由“规定一位穆斯林女士应该穿着什么”。

In France, however, the proposal draws backing from the mainstream left and right. President Nicolas Sarkozy, from the political right, said last year that the burqa, as the French call it (in reality, they mean the niqab, or all-over face-covering veil), was “not welcome” on French soil. Jean-François Copé, the leader of the ruling UMP party in parliament, has been the most active in pushing for a total ban (The Economist interviewed Mr Copé last week). Yet the idea is also backed by politicians of all stripes, including the Communist head of a parliamentary inquiry into a ban, and various leading Socialists.

然而法国的这一提议却得到了来自左右两排主流势力的共同支持。右派总统尼古拉萨科奇去年就曾说过,法国“不欢迎”布卡,布卡是法国人的叫法(事实上他们是指面纱,或者说是覆盖整个面部的一种头巾)。法国执政党人民运动联盟的一位领导人Jean-François Copé就曾是布卡全面禁令的积极倡导者(《经济学人》上周曾对其进行采访)。此外,这一禁令也得到了各方政治势力的支持,包括议会质询此禁令的社会主义政党领袖及其他主要社会主义者。

One reason for this is France’s tradition of laïcité, a strict form of secularism, enshrined by law since 1905, and which keeps religion out of public institutions. At the time, the anti-clericalism behind the movement was largely inspired by the political left, and this legacy informs much left-wing thinking on secular matters today. When the French right proposed a ban on the headscarf (and other “conspicuous” religious symbols) in state schools in 2004, for example, the left voted massively in favour. The Socialist Party is expected to vote in favour of this week’s parliamentary resolution.更多信息请访问:http://www.24en.com/

这一现象的原因一方面在于法国政教分离的传统,这种世俗主义的严格形式将宗教与公共机构相分离,自1905年起写入法律,躬行至今。彼时,运动背后的反教权主义多由左派政治势力授意,在处理今天的世俗事务中这种传统的影响往往不由自主地左翼化了人们的思想。例如2004年,法国右派曾提议在国立学校禁着头巾(及其他“明显”的宗教符号),左派中人一片叫好。社会党有望在本周的议会决议中投赞成票。

Unlike the headscarf ban, however, the upcoming law against the wearing of the burqa is not couched in terms of secularism. When a ban was first mooted, it was assumed that the legal basis for it would be French laïcité. Politicians soon realised, though, that to use this argument would be to accept that the burqa is a religious prescription of Islam. Most Muslim opinion-makers in France, including the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM), an official body, and female Muslim ministers, such as Fadela Amara, reject this. The CFCM has clearly stated its “opposition to the practice on national territory”, although it also argues that a ban would stigmatise Islam.

与头巾禁令不同的是,即将出台的禁着布卡法并非世俗主义之说。禁令提出伊始的法律依据假定为法国的政教分离主主义。然而政治家们很快便认识到这种论点岂不是在承认布卡是伊斯兰教的一种宗教规定。很多法国穆斯林,包括官方机构法国穆斯林宗教委员会(CFCM)及女性穆斯林大臣,例如Fadela Amara都反对这一说法。CFCM更是明确表示他们“反对法国领域践行此提议”,尽管他们也指出这是对伊斯兰教的一种侮辱。

Instead, the French are considering two grounds for outlawing the burqa, each of which—unlike laïcité—could potentially be applied in other countries. One is security, and the need to be identifiable at all times. The other is “dignity” and “equality between men and women”. Although very few women in France cover their faces—no more than 2,000, according to official estimates—it is a new trend. Politicians and researchers say that the wearing of the headscarf by French Muslims, many of whom are of North African origin where there is no tradition of covering the face, is a sign of manipulation by hardline Islamic radicals keen to test the French state. The French are unapologetic about wanting to reassert “the values of the republic” by going ahead with a ban.

而法国方面则为布卡禁令提出了两个理由,不同于政教分离说,这两点理由还是有望被其他国家所接受的。第一是安全以及人在公共场合必须以可被识别的状态出现。第二则涉及男女之间的“尊严”及“平等”。虽然在法国女性中遮住面部示人的人毕竟是极少数——官方估计不超过2000人,只能算作是个新新潮流。政治家和研究者称法国着头巾的穆斯林多为北非裔,而北非从来就没有着头巾这一传统。他们认为这是强硬派伊斯兰激进分子的操作表现,目的就是为了考验法国。对此,法国完全有理由以此禁令重申“共和国家价值观”。

How it would be applied in practice remains unclear. As it is, the Conseil d’Etat, the highest administrative court, has expressed worries about the legal grounds for a ban. If passed, Mr Copé says that it will apply not only to French Muslims, but to visitors from the Middle East too. Would such women be fined while doing their shopping on the Champs-Elysées? How can the government be sure that a woman is wearing the burqa under orders from her menfolk? Would it not lead to their further isolation, as they felt unable to venture out of the home? If that were indeed the upshot, it would be paradoxical for a law designed in part to ensure equality for women.

法国将如何将其付诸于实际目前尚不得而知。事实上,法国最高行政法庭Conseil d’Etat已经就禁令的法律依据表示担忧。Copé说该禁令一旦获准通过,将不仅适用于法国穆斯林,也同样适用于中东游客。着头巾在Champs-Elysées购物的女性是否会被处以罚金?法国政府如何确定某位女性是否是受制于男权才不得不披上头巾?禁令是否会给不能着头巾出门的女性造成更大意义上的隔离?如果真的是那样,某种程度上旨在保障女性平等权利的该法案无疑是在自相矛盾。