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Saturday, September 03, 2016

What Lies Behind the Veil



I must preface this by saying that I have never seen anyone in the street insulting a woman wearing the hijab (pictured). If I did I would defend the woman. I also think that it’s pretty silly that the French have banned the burkini. I do feel that the Islamic dress for women is oppressive and at times ghoulish. There is some sort of creature that frequents my supermarket decked out in the niqab. I can’t tell if it’s a man or a woman and it gives me the creeps. The niqab is banned in Catalunya and I think this is right. I also think that it is right for Western governments to ban Islamic dress in public sector jobs—I don’t think that it is proper for a secular society to teach this complete disregard for women’s rights and it is a terrible example for children. A society not only has the right to inculcate its citizens in the values it tries to uphold as a nation but it has the duty to fulfill this education. 

I take exception with just about every word of this New York Times article on Muslim women in Europe. OK, forget about the attacks on the French and Belgians by Muslim extremists—all of these women seem to ignore this bit of recent history—and just think about what their clothing says to me as a Westerner. What it says to me is that even though we have finally reached a point in modern society in which we have taken away the power of religion to rule our lives, a struggle that has lasted centuries and was literally fought in the streets at times, we are now being asked to accept without complaint an intrusion into this society by another, even more fanatical religious presence that seeks to end our secular society and send us back into an era in which religion dominates everything.

Muslim men in Europe have few problems like the ones discussed by these women. They can swim in normal bathing attire and they aren’t instantly recognized in the street by the clothes they choose to wear—“choose” is the key word here. Something not brought up in this piece is the fact that there are countless Muslim women who don’t want to wear the traditional garb but that choice is denied them by their family. Also not mentioned is the growing intolerance of European Muslims towards European women and what they wear in the street.    

“I am a woman who wears this full-coverage swimsuit. (“Burkini” is a term that is too loaded.) I used to settle for watching others enjoy the pleasures of swimming — at most I would go into the water in my street clothes, which is absolutely impractical. This piece of clothing has broken my chains."

Your “chains” are forged by your medieval religious beliefs. Your religion is also why you aren't allowed to ride a bike in most of the Muslim world.

“My teacher forced me to take off my head scarf in front of all the other pupils. I was humiliated.”

Why didn’t she take it off before she went to school? It’s not like they did a surprise “Everyone must remove their hijab” drill. She would have known about the rules for weeks so I call bullshit on this.

“I was curious to see if, in the cities where they forbade women in burkinis, dogs could swim. The answer was yes for some of them. Personally, I am scandalized that dogs can have more rights than a scarfed (sic) woman.”

If she had ever lived in a Muslim country she would know all about how badly women are treated in some places. Does polygamy and arranged marriages sound like the kind of rights you are looking for?

P.S. Along with pork, booze, Jews, and women's bodies Muslims don’t like dogs, either.

And then there are the threats of exodus:

“Every time I visit Morocco, I feel and see more freedom than here in the West.”

“I think that French Muslim women would be justified to request asylum in the United States, for instance, given how many persecutions we are subjected to.”

“As a Muslim young woman, I do not feel safe anymore. … I am preparing to go to the U.K.”

It’s curious that none of these women is threatening to go to a Muslim country to live.

More than half of British Muslims feel that homosexuality should be illegal. Four out of 10 British Muslims want sharia law introduced into parts of the country. As far as not feeling safe, we need to hear from French Jews who have been attacked and harassed by French Muslims for many years. 

Of course, many would brand me as an "Islamophobe" and they would be correct. I am afraid of Islam and its growing influence in Western society. I am terrified of living, once again in my lifetime, in a world in which I am not able to profess publicly that I am an atheist. Am I a bigot or a racist? Absolutely fucking not. In fact, I spent years of my life learning Arabic and studying the history and culture of the Middle East and Islam. Bigotry is based on ignorance so if you're looking for ignorance look elsewhere.

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