The burqa is a war on women


VIRGINIA HAUSSEGGER is not ready to submit. Not yet. The debate we have to have:

The burqa is a war on women

A bizarre form of political correctness is preventing us from an open discussion about what is, in fact, female subjugation.

It would seem there are some things in Australia we are not allowed to discuss. A ban on the burqa is clearly one of them. But the time has come to get over our fears and cultural fragilities – and grow up. The call to ban the burqa is receiving serious consideration in European parliaments. And it should here, too.

Belgian legislators voted last month to outlaw the burqa in public places. On Wednesday, a bipartisan resolution passed by the French parliament deploring the burqa – on the grounds of “dignity” and “equality of men and women” – was presented to the French cabinet, and a ban is expected later this year. Italy, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Canada are also grappling with the issue.

But in Australia, in a sign of cultural timidity and intellectual weakness, we seem intent on shunning any meaningful debate about the burqa and its place in a liberal democracy. At one level this is understandable, given the issue has become a confusing tussle between feminists and well-meaning liberals; nervous libertarians and right-wing ideologues; and the usual smattering of racists and dog-whistling shock-jocks.

Alan Jones:

  • The spread of Islam/ Alan Jones comments on the spread of Islam, and the treatment of those who dare to ask questions.

Unfortunately for Muslim women, the burqa is not just a garment. It has become a weapon in a war of ideology: a war in which women are the battleground and their rights and freedoms are at stake.

Here’s the problem. Those who are critical of calls to ban the burqa perceive it to be an attack on personal freedoms. They view the burqa as an individual choice – which is arguable – and a religious requirement, which it is not. They look straight past the woman hidden from public view under heavy cloth, and instead applaud our multicultural tolerance. This is a mistake. The burqa has nothing to do with ethnic diversity and everything to do with a war against women. Those who wear it, and those who insist it be worn, subscribe to an ideology in which women are inferior sexual temptresses, whose female form is a problem and must be covered. This is based on the contradictory proposition that men are both superior and yet unable to control their sexual urges if they see women in their natural human state. If this wasn’t deadly serious, it would be funny.

Award-winning Muslim journalist Mona Eltahawy says she is appalled to hear Europeans defend the burqa and niqab. “A bizarre political correctness has tied the tongues of those who would normally rally to defend women’s rights,” she says. Yet, to argue directly with Islamic fundamentalists about gender equality is fruitless. According to Eltahawy, “the ideology that promotes the niqab and burqa does not believe in the concept of women’s rights to begin with”.

Let’s be clear. This is not about the hijab – or headscarf. Like any hat or cap, the hijab is a matter of individual right. Whether worn for reasons of devotion, modesty, conformity or fashion, it is personal and the state has no business banning it. The burqa is an entirely different issue.

The burqa and the niqab shroud the full body, covering every part of a woman except her feet. The niqab includes a slit for the eyes, whereas the burqa has mesh netting. Malalai Joya, an Afghan MP and a devout Muslim, hates wearing it. “It’s not only oppressive,” she says, “but it’s more difficult than you might think. You have no peripheral vision. And it’s hot and suffocating under there.”

When visiting Australia recently, Joya didn’t pack her burqa. She is one of the many millions of Muslim women around the world who choose not to wear it – when they don’t have to. Numerous Islamic scholars, men and women, argue that there is not a single reference in the Koran that mandates women must cover their face and bodies and hide themselves from public view. The Koran does call for modesty, which some interpret as an obligation to wear the headscarf. But even that is widely questioned by progressive Muslims scholars such as Tarek Fatah, founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress. Furious at Islamic extremists for their “gender apartheid”, Fatah insists that even the hijab is being used by fundamentalists as a “political tool” who have turned it into “the central pillar of Islam”.

Outside Australia, there are plenty of Muslim women who despise the burqa and niqab as much as I do, and are prepared to say so. British journalist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown is a Shiite Muslim who pulls no punches. “I abhor the burqa,” she wrote in The Independent, saying that she was “offended” by the presumption that women who wear it “are more pious and true” than her.

There is no doubt that women who don this ostentatious costume in the West are proud of their piety. One such woman told me, “the niqab is submission and servitude to my Almighty Creator” and that I had no right to question her choice to wear it. Well, I do. What God demands men roam free while women wear a sackcloth that restricts their movement and dehumanises them? What God wants to punish women in this way? What God hates women so much that he restricts her right to be man’s equal?

The answer is obvious. No God. This is the work of men – who claim a direct link to the divine – and wish to keep women subordinate and under their control. It’s that simple.

8 thoughts on “The burqa is a war on women”

  1. The burqa/ niqab or Mohammedan Female Slave Mask and Cloak – whether worn ‘willingly’ or under compulsion (and the hijab, or Mohammedan Female Slave Hood, is often also worn under compulsion) is also a rejection of the principle of reciprocity, and objectively symbolises the aggressive supremacism and sharia misogyny of the Ummah.

    I find it as offensive as the Ku Klux Klan robe and hood (worse, for it is as if a Klansman’s black slave were to parade in full Klan regalia through a neighbourhood of free blacks, threatening them with future enslavement just like his own), or the SS outfit.

  2. Hi Sheik! This is an awesome website. Certainly learning alot from here.
    Just wanted to post up some comments here from facebook. I was shocked to find out recently a second cousin of mine has converted to Islam.We are both migrants from Fiji now living in Australia. She has never had problems but now all of a sudden she doesn’t like Austalia’s culture :O
    Here is what she posted up on facebook:
    “This burqa-banniing business pisses me off. If they get offended by
    muslims covering it all, we get offended by having big posters of almost
    naked women hung up everywhere, destroying the morals of the children and smack in the face of our brothers, husbands and fathers to see.” – Hebah 😉

    I replied back:
    “This is AUSTRALIA!!! If you like your burqa so much go back to your own countries. What a bunch of hypocrites. God sees the heart and not what is on the outside. If the burqa is so important and supposedly helps, why do the men continue to rape their women and then stone them to death in muslim countries? Please don’t talk about morals. I’ve seen enough of them to know that they are no diferent from Australians. At least here Australians are open about their faults, they don’t try to hide it and pretend to be something else. As a migrant I came here to have a better life. I didn’t come here to bring all my old baggage from my country.”

    I got a couple of responses from two guys. I really had to laugh at one in particular who tried to quote scriptures from the Bible. How ironic.

    Husein replied:
    “You are right this is AUSTRALIA, where people here ARE FREE TO DO whatever they like, and if YOU don’t like muslim women wearing whatever THEY WANT TO WEAR then maybe YOU should go back to your own country! And as for your feeble attempt to say that “God sees the heart and not what is on the outside” well St. Paul begs to differ……….”Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head. And every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head— it is just as though her head were shaved. If a woman does not cover her head, she should have her hair cut off; and if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut or shaved off, she should cover her head. A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man. For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. For this reason, and because of the angels, the woman ought to have a sign of authority on her head.” 1 Corinthians 11:3-10.
    He conveniently left out verse 11 through to 16 of that chapter. Especially verse 16…”But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.” His taken the word head too literally.

    Jazeer wrote:
    “Haha. well said Husein. Funny how she has such a “us” and “them” mentality. You’ve seen enough from them?? How many Burqa wearing muslim ladies have you had the luck to run into exactly? (keeping in mind that this is less than 10% of the muslim population in Australia?) This is not a matter related to Muslim men. Its about a women’s right to choose what she wants to wear… If a Muslim women decides to wear the Burqa, then who the hell are you to tell her to take it off?? If an Australian has the right to pierce/tattoo every inch of their body, then damn right non-australian and AUSTRALIAN MUSLIM WOMEN (no its not a typo, they do exist) have the democratic right to wear a Burqa. Its a shame you feel that you couldn’t bring anything valuable from your country but that doesn’t mean everyone else is in the same boat as you! Various immigrants have brought parts of their cultures here throughout history to form the rich diverse multicultural society of Australia. I suggest you develop a clearer understanding of such a contentious issue before you mouth off a load of ignorance again.. ”

    My cousin wrote back:
    “Wow! guys look, as a WOMAN first and foremost, i took offence to the banning of the burqa because essentially its the Law taking my right to cover ANY part of my body away from me. “Aside from religion, as a woman I will strenuously object to any law designed to force me to bare any part of my body to public view. My body, my rules. I can cover it as much as I like, and forcing me to expose any of it is treating me as less than human.
    I feel very, very strongly about this….no one has the right to force me or any other woman to expose our bodies.” So if you object to the burqa because of religious intolerance, try to please view this from a SIMPLE human rights/women’s rights point of view.”

    I’m very interested at what you guys think. I cannot understand how women can defend wearing the burqa. Do they really like being oppressed by men? Also I ‘ve met many muslim women who wear the coverings who are worse than Australians. Yep, I met many who like to screw around with men (especially the married types) and they can talk dirty as well. Lol.
    I hate how they look down on others but yet do the exact same things. Its so sad to see Australian culture deteriorate in such a way. I’ve lived here for the past 15 years and things have certainly changed alot. For a supposedly minority group here in Austalia, the government is certainly very accomodating of them. They get their own schools, and mosques. Most of the food we eat is halal certified by the Australian Islamic Council, yep even my multivitamins and medications prescribed by my doctor are all halal. Certain festive holidays are banned in schools and childcare centers because it offensive to them. The list is endless.

    Anyway your views on the above comments from facebook would be appreciated. I may get a few good ideas from you guys. I still haven’t bothered to reply back but after seeing this website I shall.

    Thanks Sheik for a great website!! 🙂

  3. Ray Ray
    A thorougly well presented point,but you must have noticed by now that you will not recieve a reasoned response from an allah howler,they are not capable of it.Islam does not respect any system of belief or culture except when there are tangible (welfare) benefits .
    I’m sorry to hear about your second cousin,she has been lost to humanity after undergoing a volountary lobotomy

  4. Ha ha. Thanks. That is so true. They keep spilling out the same old garbage. It does get quite boring after a while.
    Yea my mum had the same thought. She’ll just have to learn the hard way like many of our friends and relatives who became muslims. Once you’re in its extremely hard to get out. You either stay with Islam or die.

  5. Do you know what halal meat is. I saw a short video on it. The animals must not be shocked before hand. The cows are strung up by one leg and its neck is slit almost right through.
    The animal is then left to die a slow death. Where is the animal rights people when you need them

  6. RayRay,
    I am fairly sure that muslims LOVEBOMB anyone who is a bit lost or lonely is vulnerable. All cults do lovebombing , that is they shower the person with so called love and attention until such time as the person is in the cult and almost cut off from other people and other influences. Then the person just becomes one of the crowd. This technique is well known amongst experts in cults..
    Glad you found this is excellent.

  7. I Corinthians 11 is about conduct IN church and about prayer and
    prophesying in Christ (in general).
    Funny that a muslim tried to use this against a non-muslim,
    because the same texts show that muslims and jews men are
    dishonoring their heads by praying with partly or totally covered
    heads in mosques and synagogues.

  8. Wouldn’t you know it: French Left feminists describe Ni Putes Ni Soumises as “racist” and “Islamophobic,”—even though the founders and members of the group are themselves Muslims or ex-Muslims; even though the group seeks to assimilate, integrate, Westernize.

    Of course, that’s exactly what the ‘real muslims’ don’t want.

    This following line is no joke, but this is what we are really facing here:

    “What’s liberating about Islam is that one is spared from having to think.”

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