Australian Islamic leaders are dismayed at French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s criticism of the burqa as a threat to “the equality and dignity of the female”, saying his comments do not reflect the reality about the status of women in Islam.

Ikebal Patel, president of Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, said the French President’s comments were also tainted by hypocrisy, as his own track-record on gender issues left a lot to be desired.

*  Muslims are the world champions in hypocrisy and terrorism, among other things. Perhaps Patel should be reminded that Sarkozy is the president of France, and France is -not yet- a Muslim country.

Mr Sarkozy expressed support for a ban on wearing the burqa in public during a “state of the nation” style speech to the first joint sitting of both houses of parliament in 136 years.”The burqa is not welcome on the French Republic’s territory. It is not what the French Republic wants for the dignity of women … we cannot accept in our country that women be prisoners behind a screen, cut off from society and all identity,” Mr Sarkozy said.

Mr Patel said the burqa reflected freedom of choice, not oppression.

* Of course. Ask Aqsa Parvez. Her choice was hijab or death. Or ask this Turkish Kebab griller who just murdered his daughter because “she didn’t follow the Islamic way”… here’s a long list of Victims of Honor Killings…

“Nicolas Sarkozy predicated his whole opinion on the view that Muslim women who wear the burqa are wearing it because they are being oppressed and forced to do so by their husbands – that’s a far cry from reality,” he said.

“Islam does not particularly say everyone has to wear the burqa or niqab, it talks about modest clothing.

“That does not in anyway belittle the status of women; it is purely out of their own choice, so for him to say those words denigrates the religion and the concept of freedom of choice.”

Jamila Hussain, a lecturer in Islamic Law at the University of Technology Sydney, said she believed the burqa and niqab were “inappropriate” in Western countries, but defended the decision of women who chose to wear them.

* Unfortunately it is rarely “choice”- but indoctrination, beatings, threats and consistant “brainwashing” instead… 

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