Burqas, Jaredites, and Kafka


July 20, 2010

First, Belgium banned the veiled burqa, then two months later, France followed. Spain is considering a ban as well, and while the British government has no interest in joining them, most of its citizens wish it would.

But the most interesting development in the Great Burqa Debate came Sunday, when Syria’s Minister of Higher Education announced a new rule forbidding the wearing of the niqab — the face covering — in public universities.

Dr. Ghitath Barakat explained that the donning of face veils, which cover everything but the woman’s eyes, “opposes the morals and values of the academy”….

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The official added, “Our students are our children and we will not abandon them to extreme ideas and practices.”

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This might stir things up:

A team of paloeanthropologists compared the skulls of several dozen Paleoamericans, which date back to the early days of migration 11,000 years ago, with those of more than 300 Amerindians, which date to 1000 years ago. The Paleoamerican remains came from four sites in South and Central America, and the researchers also compared them with more than 500 skulls from East Asia. In all, the team found clear differences in the shapes and sizes of the Paleoamerican and Amerindian samples. That suggests that more than one group of individuals migrated to the Americas from Asia, the team reports online today in PLoS ONE. And due to the age of the skeletons, the researchers say, this other group of individuals arrived before the primary ancestors of today’s Native Americans.

Here’s the full study.

It’s just a matter of time before a Mormon apologist tries to use this as anthropological evidence for the Jaredites (the earliest peoples the Latter-day Saints allege to have come to the Americas). It’s bad enough some enthusiasts identify them with the Olmecs.

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Yesterday was big for fans of Franz Kafka: Four safety deposit boxes containing thousands of his letters, sketches, and manuscripts were opened in Zurich. Because there’s some legal dispute over ownership of the documents, a judge will decide what to do with the material.

I’m just hoping we finally get a conclusion to The Castle



  • Brian Saint-Paul

    Brian Saint-Paul was the editor and publisher of Crisis Magazine. He has a BA in Philosophy and an MA in Religious Studies from the Catholic University of America, in Washington. D.C. In addition to various positions in journalism and publishing, he has served as the associate director of a health research institute, a missionary, and a private school teacher. He lives with his wife in a historic Baltimore neighborhood, where he obsesses over Late Antiquity.

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