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Friday, August 19, 2016

Germany considers banning the burqa

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In the news, Germany is considering banning the burqa: Why are the burqa and burkini being banned?.

I think that would be a good thing for women, but I'm apparently the lone liberal against the forced wearing of restrictive garments like the burqa - almost every article I've seen on the subject in the liberal press says we should let women who want to wear burqas wear them. Here's what I think: it's bad enough for men to coerce women into wearing garments that obliterate their bodies, their faces, their persons, but what is almost worse is to get those women to the point that they believe doing so is their own choice. Here's the beginning of an article from 2009 in The New York Times by Mona Eltahawy, an Egyptian-born commentator on Arab and Muslim issues ...

Ban the Burqa

I am a Muslim, I am a feminist and I detest the full-body veil, known as a niqab or burqa. It erases women from society and has nothing to do with Islam but everything to do with the hatred for women at the heart of the extremist ideology that preaches it.

We must not sacrifice women at the altar of political correctness or in the name of fighting a growingly powerful right wing that Muslims face in countries where they live as a minority.

As disagreeable as I often find French President Nicolas Sarkozy, he was right when he said recently, “The burqa is not a religious sign, it is a sign of the subjugation, of the submission of women. I want to say solemnly that it will not be welcome on our territory.” It should not be welcome anywhere, I would add.

Yet his words have inspired attempts to defend the indefensible — the erasure of women.

Some have argued that Sarkozy’s right-leaning, anti-Muslim bias was behind his opposition to the burqa. But I would remind them of comments in 2006 by the then-British House of Commons leader Jack Straw, who said the burqa prevents communication. He was right, and he was hardly a right-winger — and yet he too was attacked for daring to speak out against the burqa.

The racism and discrimination that Muslim minorities face in many countries — such as France, which has the largest Muslim community in Europe, and Britain, where two members of the xenophobic British National Party were shamefully elected to the European Parliament — are very real.

But the best way to support Muslim women would be to say we oppose both racist Islamophobes and the burqa. We’ve been silent on too many things out of fear we’ll arm the right wing ....

More: Video: Syrian Women Burn Burqas to Celebrate Freedom From ISIS ... Why feminists should oppose the burqa


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