So, I don’t understand this European Court of Human Rights ruling at all:
The court’s magistrates ruled the general ban imposed by the government wasn’t justified on public safety grounds, or to protect women forced to wear the veil, but the judges considered the aim of social cohesion behind France’s ban legitimate.
"The Court emphasized that respect for the conditions of ‘living together’ was a legitimate aim for the measure at issue," the court said.
France passed a law against concealing one’s face in public spaces in 2010 and it came into effect the following spring. The law makes no mention of Islam or other religions and exempts motorcyclists, surgeons and people dressing up for carnival or other festive occasions, among others.
A few months later, a similar prohibition came into force in Belgium.
French authorities have argued that the ban helps to protect public safety and prevent identity fraud, and that it is also a way to protect the rights and freedoms of women who could be forced to wear the veil. Its final argument is that the face-covering veil is a threat to social cohesion.
Basically, the ECHR ruled that all the reasons behind the ban were illegitimate … except the nebulous reason that covering one’s face somehow threatens “social cohesion” (but only if you’re a Muslim women since there’s no threat to “social cohesion” from “motorcyclists, surgeons and people dressing up for carnival or other festive occasions”). So what exactly is the threat to French or Belgian society by a tiny minority choosing to cover their faces? How is this not simply a ruling against pluralism and human rights?
Worse still, can’t anything done or worn by a minority now fall under this bizarre “social cohesion” umbrella? In other words, why haven’t European states just been given the green light to ban other harmless forms of religious expression that a majority finds bothersome or unpleasant?