There is one way to read the news in perspective in the mainstream media. Just read the titles on the main page, the one next to the other. You are probably familiar with a number of recurrent topics anyway. Don’t expect to see something new or different, unless this is an alien invasion.
It occurred to me the other day that a number of articles I was reading were about the same thing. I am not talking about the words or incidents but what lies behind them. The questions posed “innocently” by the mainstream media often aim to evoke sentiments or create counter-reactions among the public.
“Should Britain ban niqabs when it is against religious freedom?” asks one article. “Should neo-nazis be allowed to establish an all-white community in the States?”, wonders another. “EU warns French Minister over Roma comments” Of course it does. Human Rights talk goes well with salmon canapés and sparkling wine. It makes the EU decision makers and their Ngo pets feel less self-conscious about their decorative jobs and inflated salaries.
Freedom, Democracy, Human Rights. And on the bottom the infuriated reader who like me, jumps naively into the comment war. And the goal is achieved.
I wonder however why some media out there pose questions that only aim to create reactions, like rage, fear and insecurity among the public. Take the Niqab debate for example. It has evoked endless comments by readers who in a somehow apologetic tone (No, we don’t hate the Muslims!! Secular society for all! ) need to justify why covering your face in public is NOT a good idea. The whole debate has been elevated to a religious debate when the most obvious argument against Niqab has little to do with religious freedom but rather the obvious fact that nowadays as we are heading to a society of mass surveillance you are not allowed covering your face in public.
Furthermore, the fact that If you are to be integrated in a society and thus your diversity is seen as a benefit and not as a threat to multiculturalism, your obligations should be stressed as much as your rights. In short, leave your extremism at the door before entering. History has shown us that multicultural societies have been destroyed overnight by extremism of both national and religious character. We should not ignore history.
So why is this issue linked to religious freedom of Muslim populations in the West? Muslim or not, no woman should feel oppressed if you ask her to reveal her face in public. If there is such a conservative and oppressive husband that could not imagine his wife leaving the house uncovered, believe me the Western society could not care less about that man. Just keep him in the ghetto away from us, is the official policy. Give him some social benefits too, if you are Sweden and keep him and his children off the job market. You also don΄t need to worry that your doctor at the NHS will insist examining you with her face covered, or that your child’s teacher will haunt his dreams with her scary outfit: These people will probably won’t get the job anyway.
The real question behind is Do you want a society of Diversity or Division?
Also how much the whole Religious/Human Rights debate is being manipulated to undermine Multiculturalism and Diversity and create a divided society? Apologetic attitudes and hypocritical worries about human rights and secularism will not lead us anywhere. We are all equal.