I am an atheist fully in favour of a secular society. However I have recently been alarmed by the burka ban recently put in place by the French government. This to me seems at best to be a draconian, knee jerk reaction to something that effects a very small number of people (apparently 1,900 women in France) and at worst thinly veiled racism. I am in no way in favour of the burka or any form of religious dress, but a carpet ban seems to me to be wrong. Surely it is better to live in a society in which such things are allowed, in the hope that one day the people wearing the burka feel they no longer need to.
It is often cited as a reason for the ban that it stops oppression of muslim women, but it seems that taking away the option to wear something is a form of oppression also.
As an atheist who wishes for as secular a society as possible, am I justified to be concerned about such a law and people lobbying for a similar ban in Britain?
You might find this recent opinion piece by Martha Nussbaum, a philosopher at Chicago, to be of interest.