Letter to the Editor from French Ambassador

François Delattre, French ambassador to the United States, responds to a commentary piece about France's new law that bans wearing the burqa in public places.

Dear Editor:

The Christian Science Monitor published on April 14, 2011 a commentary titled “France's burqa ban: Has Europe forgotten the gas chambers?”

I hold the Christian Science Monitor for a serious publication and a reference on issues concerning religion and politics around the world. However, the choice by the author and the editors to compare the implementation of a law prohibiting the concealing of the face in public with the atrocities committed during Second World War, and specifically the Holocaust, is outrageous and unacceptable. It is irresponsible to refer to Europe’s darkest and most painful moment in its history with such recklessness.

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Such lack of discernment is disrespectful for the memory of millions of victims of the Nazis and their families.

My country has, time and again, explained the many reasons why it had come to the conclusion that this law was necessary. France held a long and earnest debate, led by a bipartisan commission of members of Parliament over the issue, and decided to move forward with the adoption of a bill. This debate raised three specific concerns that deserve a fair analysis: human dignity and fundamental rights, integration and public order and security. One might disagree with the course taken by my country but debate should be carried out in a civil manner, that is not based on insult and caricature.

Sincerely,

François Delattre

French Ambassador to the United States

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