Irvine, CA--Britain is embroiled in a fierce debate over British Muslim women who wear a niqab--an opaque veil that covers a woman's entire face. Many British Muslims have expressed outrage that a public schoolteacher was ordered to remove her veil--while many other Britons have defended the school, criticized the wearing of niqabs, and called for the greater assimilation of Muslims into British society.
"Britons are absolutely right to criticize the niqab," said Alex Epstein, junior fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute. "It is a demeaning, barbaric article of clothing that inculcates shame in women, depriving them of individuality and femininity."
"But to criticize niqabs will not go very far in making Britain a more integrated, less balkanized nation. Britons' most powerful tool of assimilation is to understand and proudly and convincingly proclaim Western ideals. They must understand that what made the West great is individualism, reason, the pursuit of happiness--and that this is objectively superior to the tribalism, superstition, and earthly deprivation that many Muslims seek to live out and bring to Europe. Britons must reject the insidious idea of multiculturalism, which holds that all cultures are of equal value. Cultures are not of equal value: prosperity is superior to poverty, happiness is superior to misery, freedom is superior to slavery, and a visible face is superior to a slit revealing two anonymous eyes."
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