Burqa Thoughts

The modern day practitioner of enlightenment is confounded by the following contradiction in thinking.

  • I am enlightened and believe in freedom of the individual.
  • I believe in freedom of religion.
  • But, if your religion and your choices as an individual, do not make you like me and my countrymen ( or the people who occupied this place for a long time), I will make enlightened laws to stop you from doing the things that make you different.

Yes, we are open, multicultural and enlightened, but for Christ’s sake, don’t do it here, you are upsetting us and worrying us that you will dominate our culture and then we will not be enlightened anymore.

So, we have confounded ourselves and we cannot figure out how to get out of our predicament.  Our leaders of course, engage in our fears cause they want to keep power.  Yes, and the voice of my fellow feminists is loud and clear:  “we are concerned for our sisters”.

If you are concerned about Muslim women, think about the regimes our western nation support?    Think about our love affair with the Saudi culture of oppression, but are you willing to give up your SUV and your lifestyle to save the women of Saudi Arabia?  Nope.  What if all the women in the great western countries wanted to stop the oppression of Muslim women and decided to not consume any petroleum based products?  Why that would involve real political action and not chit chat and a voice in the vortex of outrage, facile outrage that is.

How much is it about women and how much is the rise of political expediency by the European governments who are pandering to the xenophobic rise of their right wing flanks?  Just like the American politicians who join in the Islamophobic vortex, here is what the Euros are facing (from a Danish study on the Burqa) :

  • Apparently only 367  women wear the Burqa in France, when the census was redone, they increased it to 2,000.  Turns out in Denmark, half of the women who wear the Burqa, are European women who converted.
  • The Burqa and Islam:

CAIRO — A leading cleric at Egypt’s prestigious Al-Azhar Mosque on Wednesday applauded France’s ban on the face veil worn by some devout Muslim women, saying the niqab harmed Islam’s image.Abdel Muti al-Bayyumi, a member of an influential council of clerics at al-Azhar, said the niqab, a full-face veil that leaves an opening for the eyes, “has no basis in Islamic law and there is nothing in the Koran or Sunna that supports it.”“I personally support (the ban) and many of my brothers in the Islamic Research Academy support it. My position against the niqab is actually older than France’s,” said Bayyumi, who has authored a book against the practice. ( From Agence France)

  • Even the Saudis clerics are giving women who live in France a Burqa exemption, no, you don’t have to wear it if it’s forbidden.  Why, see, we can still deal with the Saudis, they get it.

So, forgive me sisters and fellow enlightened people if I don’t join in your “Burqa” vortex of outrage,  nor your Mosque outrage.

I will be outraged about the women, all the women, who are struggling  against all forms of oppression by patriarchical social, economic, political and religious systems of all types.

Heh, by the way, read Nawal El Saadawi, an Egyptian woman who was in prison for her politics, read a real Arab/Muslim woman on the topic, Memoirs From The Women’s Prison.



Filed under American Politics, Culture and Society, Media

6 responses to “Burqa Thoughts

  1. Christine

    Rated. 🙂

  2. Linda Anne Chancler

    Couldn’t have said it better myself. I am very interested to read Memoirs from the Women’s Prison. I will see if I can get it on inter-library loan.

  3. Jkf

    “What if all the women in the great western countries wanted to stop the oppression of Muslim women and decided to not consume any petroleum based products?”

    That would mean the end of Tupperware and Avon. Which would not be a bad think at all. 😉

    The other day, I was gazing across the subway platform at a woman in full cover. Living in a multicultural city, this is not an uncommon site here, and to date, no one has discussed a ban. But I’ve been thinking about this subject from a different viewpoint. In the same subway tunnel are a series of large Victoria Secrets ads. In my humble, and now aging, opinion, the model is too young and the pose too suggestive for a public space.


    Not a very liberal thought I know. But I’m tired of women being judged on looks, and I’m tired of how the media continues to play on that. I’m tired of women giving in to this, and I’m tired of the kind of sex-based pressure being put on young women. I’m tired of old white men being the most visible image in my daily newspaper. (And the paper just released a study that confirms this.)

    That brings me back to the burqa. What I find offensive about the burqa is the implication or my impression that is a male-driven requirement. The Taliban and their ilk always strike me as saying, “cover yourself up so we men don’t get excited.” To which I give a head slapping WTF. But it is a two sided coin. In sexuality, you play by the sword, you die by the sword. So as long as women buy it and sell it, we are going to be judged by it. In that sense, what if women, all women, owned the burqa or a burqa like stance? What would all those men who force their women to cover up while oogling Western women who don’t do if there were no longer Victoria Secrects catalogues and internet porn to jack off to?

    Imagine how the world would change if all woman embraced the principles of “least privilege” and covered up. I know. It sounds counterintuitive. And it may be. But really, I’m just tired of staring at cleavage…not my own, which I have to see when I look down, but everybody else’s.

    Of course I’ve also looked at the burqa and wondered why they couldn’t make it a little more fashionable. So you can see that I have really mixed thoughts on this subject. I will be tackling the subject of the principle of least privilege in an upcoming post.

    Thanks for another thought inspiring post.

  4. m


    The difference between being pressured by the media to look sexy, and the pressure by religion to wear a burqua is night and day. A woman can take off her sexy clothing to assimilate into a good paying job, like policewoman. A woman in a Burqua has a much harder time gaining employment, and if needed, leave her mate. Which, I assume is the whole point of the matter.

  5. Jkf


    The Koran does not require women to wear a burqua, certain segments of Islamic society do. I assume a woman wearing a burqua can also change her attire in order to assimilate into a good paying job, like a policewoman, and she may find she has laws that protect her right to continue to wear the burqua and still get the good job. Of course the woman wearing the burqua may be killed to protect the family honor before she gets her first paycheck.

    That said, there are many women who are forced to wear “sexy” attire to support their habit or pimp and survive as a prostitute/stripper or the like and to assume a media-driven image that will “sell.” I don’t believe that they have any more freedom than the burqua wearer, and in many cases less.

    Worse, I don’t believe that many 16-24 year olds are adept enough to realize how much of their “chosen” attire is chosen for them by a media- and male-driven society that values their “looks” more than their minds. They may have the freedom to choose, but they don’t readily realize it. And too many have to “dress” in a certain way to get a job. We haven’t really come that far unfortunately.

    In one case, the pressure is overt, and in the other case, it is subtle. Both are insidious and counterproductive to creating a fair society that values people for more than sex or sexiness.