I absolutely have the right to be offended, any time I choose to be. I am not "supposed" to be any way except the way I am.
In America, you do not have the right to not be offended.
I never suggested that you don't have the right to be offended. Please read my statement carefully. I have a tendency to say precisely what I mean.
I didn't say I have ANY problem with muslim woman wearing headscarves, I only said I don't like the Burqa, NOT the headscarf, or Hijab.
It's all on a spectrum. What makes one form of dress acceptable and not the other? Both conform to religious and legal rules on the subject. What differentiates one from the other? In your opinion, the hijab is clearly covered by the free practice of religion, while the burqa is not. However, if, today, your reform is successful and we ban the burqa, what is to prevent someone else from banning the hijab tomorrow? The precedent will have been set for the government interfering in the free exercise of religion, merely because some members choose to dress outside of cultural norms. Shall we ban punk rockers next?
I find the Burqa offensive for a number of reasons. It is clearly a sign of the oppression of women to me...
Also, my impression of the women that wear Burqas and their families, is that they are more likely to be extremists.
These two statements strike me as being extremely prejudicial. While it is true that you would expect the more devoted followers of a religion to adopt more extreme behavior relative to their host culture, it's unfair to make the generalization that everyone who wears a burqa is an extremist.
As for your views of the oppression of women, in Western countries, an individual cannot force any adult to wear any article of clothing that he/she chooses not to. No one has the right to force another to practice a religion in a certain way. Do you feel that women are oppressed because they wear burqas and men do not? If so, you are correct that a double standard exists, but you cannot fault a woman for willingly choosing to conform to a standard that has been set by religious authorities. Double standards for the sexes exist in almost all Western religions. If, for whatever reason, a woman believes that wearing a burqa is the key to eternal salvation, who are we to disagree with her? And suppose for a moment that this is a correct belief that accurately reflects the real world. Do you have the right to potentially stop her from eternal salvation just because you feel uncomfortable?
...and I do have problem with someone moving to a different country and culture, and not being willing to conform to that countries culture. I happen to have a dislike of extremists of ANY religious persuasion.
Why should someone be forced to conform to the local culture by force of law? I find that idea far more offensive than any piece of clothe could ever be.
Gareth is absolutely right.
By they way, I DO know, and respect, and am friends with, several people who are Muslim. I live in an area that is not culturally diverse, so I only know about five. They also conform to Muslim standards of dress, and were all born and raised in America. None of them wear a Burqa, however.
And if they did wear the burqa? What then? Would you stop being friends with them? Would you feel the need to proselytize them with your beliefs, merely because they are expressing their own? Would you continue to be friends with them, but silently disapprove of their choice of expression? Or, perhaps, would you learn to accept them and their expression for what it is?
Somehow I find the last choice extremely unlikely.