byÂ Ali SalimÂ Â â€¢Â September 16, 2013
We Muslims make the mistake of thinking Europeans really care about is, especially the Palestinians. We are wrong. Europeans simply hate the Jews more than they hate and fear us. The bitter truth is that Europeans usually intervene in a crisis only if it gives them an opportunity for Jew-bashing. It does not even mention Syria, or the rapes of women and children, and the beheadings, to say nothing of exploitation, discrimination, slavery, and other crimes against humanity.
No matter how hard or how often we Muslims try, we are never able finally to end the connection our lives seem to have with the lives of the Jews. Watching Arab and Islamic television, especially during the holy month of Ramadan, brings the viewer to the inescapable conclusion that we have no real lives of our own, no unity and no value: our only motivation is having the Jews as a common enemy, with our lives dependent on them. We treat the Jews the way the rabid Christian anti-Semites treated them in the Middle Ages, blaming them for every illness, tragedy and misfortune. We blame them for the failures of Islam while only we are at fault for the catastrophes that befall us.–Continue ReadingÂ
TheÂ Independent’s Reyhana Patel believes that the niqab is a symbol of women “refusing to be part of the present-day society’s vapid consumerism and sexualisation”.Â I had my doubts,Â but this picture, above aTelegraphÂ piece by Theodore Dalrympl, changed my mind:
Just look at that brazen hussy in the blue anorak, showing her face and hair for all to see, and sitting beside her husband rather than at his feet. Vapid or what?Â She’ll be dancing round her handbag in a minute. Compare and contrast the niqabbed Muslimahs, whose portable seclusion manages to be both modest andÂ vibrant. Allah thinks he knows best, butÂ Dalrymple, peace be upon him, knows better:
THERE IS always a conflict over the limits of freedom, even in matters of dress. We take such limits seriously. A man who ran out stark naked in the street would be sure to be apprehended more quickly than if he were breaking into a car. But the opposite extreme, covering up the body so that practically no part of it can be seen, strikes the vast majority of us as sinister and demeaning. When freedom becomes licence (and covering the entire body in public is as licentious in its way as complete nakedness), it cannot long survive.
Mohammed Shafiq, chief executive of the Ramadhan Foundation, said he was “disgusted” by Mr Browne’s calls to consider banning Muslim girls and young women from wearing the veil in public places.
“…any attempt by illiberal male politicians to dictate to Muslim women what they should wear will be challenged.”
A college in Birmingham had long forbidden students to wear the niqab (a cloth covering the face apart from the eyes) on its campus but, accused by a student of “discrimination” and under pressure from an electronic petition with 9,000 signatories and the threat of a demonstration with every potential for violence of a very nasty kind, the college has paid its Danegeld and given in to the demand to reverse its ban. At more or less the same time, a court in London has allowed an accused to appear in the dock in this tent-like form of attire.
Was the college’s ban justified in the first place? Is its reversal a triumph for individual liberty and the protection of our fundamental human rights, as the organiser of the electronic petition, the constant activist Aaron Kiely, alleged? Or is it, on the contrary, the triumph of a regressive view of human existence whose adherents use the rights and protections of a liberal society to destroy those very rights and protections, with the ultimate aim of imposing an intolerant vision on the world? Is the reversal a triumph for grassroots democracy, or for intimidation and religious thuggery? Is Aaron Kiely a defender of a downtrodden religious minority or, on the contrary, the useful idiot of an aspiring totalitarianism?
That’s what you call a no-brainer.
Let us put aside the theological question of whether the niqab is religiously required, and suppose for the sake of argument that it is. Would this in itself mean that the college was wrong to ban the niqab in the first place and right to reverse its ban, and that the court also was right in allowing a woman to appear fully covered in the dock?
Religious freedom is not and cannot be absolute in a modern civilised society. The Aztecs believed themselves religiously required – genuinely and sincerely, as far as we know – to sacrifice immense numbers of humans to their god. No one would now justify or permit such a practice on the grounds that everyone must be allowed to practise his religion.
The question of the proper extent of religious liberty is thus not entirely abstract, and cannot be decided on a simple principle such as the right to religious freedom without reference to the social meaning of the religious practices that are to be allowed or disallowed. If the niqab were the garb of a tiny and bizarre religious sect with no universalist pretensions and absolutely no history of aggression towards others, we might be inclined to overlook it as a mere contribution to life’s rich tapestry of eccentricities: but such is not the case here.
The niqab is no doubt sometimes worn by women as a matter of choice, but they wear it often because they have little choice and are coerced. Not long ago there was a case in a medical school that illustrated the point. Four female Muslim students suddenly started to wear it and the authorities were alarmed. Luckily they found a regulation dating from a century and a half ago that was therefore free of all suspicion of religious discrimination, and that required doctors to show their faces to their patients while examining them. The students were told that they must either remove the niqab or leave the medical school, and not surprisingly they chose the former.
A little later they told the authorities that they had never wanted to wear the niqab in the first place but were intimidated and blackmailed into doing so by some male Muslim students. This was easy for them: all they had to do was inform the parents of the students that they, the students, were behaving in a “loose” fashion, and the parents would withdraw them from the medical school. If in this case the principle of absolute religious freedom had prevailed the students would have been obliged to wear the niqab, perhaps forever.
It is not necessary to be a militant feminist to understand that the niqab is deeply demeaning of women. No man covers himself up in this way; and not infrequently a young woman covered in this form of dress is to be seen accompanied by a young man in full international slum costume, which is not exactly a sign of a commitment to a puritanical way of life. Indeed, such young Muslim men are often to be seen fully participating in the Sodom and Gomorrah that is Saturday night in the centre of Birmingham, with not a Muslim woman in sight.
The niqab is also deeply demeaning of men, in so far as it implies than no man is capable of controlling himself in the presence of a marginally uncovered female. Perhaps it was for this reason that Birmingham Central Library took its craven precautionary decision to put out tables for women only.
Craven also was the decision of the judge to allow a woman in the dock in the niqab. If ever there were a thin edge of the wedge this was it. The comportment and expression of the accused and witnesses in a trial has always been a vital part of the assessment of a case by the jury, with very few allowable exceptions. This woman’s religious sensibility, even if genuine, was not one of them.
Among other things, the niqab is symbolic of a strong desire not to integrate in Western society, and not only on the part of the woman wearing it. What is being demanded, as the original complaint of the student against the college’s ban illustrates, is the right not to integrate, to be able to demonstrate not only difference from the society in which one lives but implicit hostility towards it, such as the niqab undoubtedly symbolises, and to be absolved of any undesired consequences of that demonstration, such as not being allowed to attend college. This, in fact, is a typical dishonesty of our time: for example, people simultaneously demand the freedom to pierce their faces with any amount of ironmongery and that employers should take no notice of it. How long before wearers of the niqab similarly demand that employers must not discriminate against them, that they, the employers, must take a quota of women dressed in the niqab? In other words, such women want it all and believe that they can have it. In this way they mix medievalism with modernity.
There is no reason for us to tolerate the niqab in our public institutions. Among other things, how are authorities to know that the person within the covering is the person it is supposed to be? It is an invitation to the most flagrant abuses, including disguising a person’s identity in order to commit crime. This, of course, is one of its attractions for some of the men who support the right to wear it.
Indeed. Criminality and Islam are hardly incompatible, as the prison statistics show. I will change my mind about Muslim men dressing as women only when we see an IslamicÂ Some Like it Hot.