Burqa bashing is back in the media. One argument (e.g., Nigel Farage snippeted on the bbc world service) for banning the burqa is that its a symbol of oppression. The United Kingdom Independence Party leader is not the first person Id look to for defence of minority rights, but that just shows you how naive I must be.
Now, naive as I am, I would have reasoned as follows: some oppressed women are bundled up in burqas; some women wear them freely; just because the burqa is an instrument of oppression there doesnt mean its an instrument of oppression here; so people should be free to wear it. But, says Farage, if its an instrument of oppression there, then its a symbol of oppression here and thats why we should ban it.
Well thats clever: taking a symbolic stance against oppression there is ample enough reason for denying freedom of choice here. So, lets apply the logic across the board. The cross was used by the Romans as an instrument of oppression, and, if its an instrument of oppression there, then its a symbol of oppression here. So we should ban the cross!