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Everybody’s Doing It! Syria Now Bans the Niqab and Burqa

Posted on July 20 2010 10:00 am
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Looks like Belgium and France know how to start a trend. Now Syria, a majority Muslim country, is banning the burqa and niqab from its public and private universities. Guess all those years of sponsoring Islamic extremists is coming back, biting you in the butt, isn’t it Assad?

As I’ve documented at my website,, where I have a special section on Syria’s support for terrorism, the Assad regime has sponsored radical Islamic militants in the region to help fight its enemies. Suddenly, the regime is apparently very concerned about the growth of Radical Islam inside their own country. And now they’ve taken a monster gamble—ban the face veils, knowing it’ll enrage the extremist masses they’ve cultivated, in hopes of stopping them.

There’s two points to be made. The Baathist Syrian regime is secular in governance, but has had absolutely no problem supporting radical Muslims—including Hamas, which is a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood that was violently put down in the Hama massacre of 1982.  For many years, Assad has been acting like Tila Tequila, trying to swing both ways.

Second, secular dictatorships breed Islamic extremism. This is because secular dictators also silence the democratic opposition. At the same time, the radical and often violent nature of the Islamist opposition gives them a louder voice. On top of that, the regime can’t ban gatherings in mosques, giving the Islamists an advantage over the democrats who can be prevented from organizing themselves.

This doesn’t mean that a moderate democratic opposition doesn’t exist; it’s just harder to be found. And the Assad regime actually has an interest in making the Islamist voices heard while keeping the democrats hidden: The West won’t pressure the regime too hard if it believes the only alternative is the Islamic extremists.

With this latest move, Assad is playing high-stakes poker. The radical Islamist forces have to respond in some fashion. They will either have to take on one of their key sponsors out of principle, or they’ll have to ignore it and look like whores willing to sleep with whoever pays them. Whatever happens, things are about to get very interesting in Syria.

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