Friday, June 26, 2009

Let Them Wear Burka

I think burkas are crazy, and I always look at the woman wearing it (if I can) and wonder why is she wearing it. I even felt like throwing a question at a student working with me once just out of interest to see if she truly believes that me seeing her face will trigger my hormones and change me into an uncontrollable raging bull. What have always prevented me from doing so is my manners, or whatever remained of them. I always felt it was a personal decision by that woman, a result of multiple religious and cultural factors that I probably do not agree with, but the last thing that woman needed is someone who she doesn't know coming on and asking her questions about something like her clothes.

French president Nicolas Sarkozy said in a speech last week that burkas are not welcomed in France. The Parliament is preparing for a law that bans the wearing of burkas in France.

I have a major problem with that.

First, they are banning something because they do not like it. A woman who is shopping or walking down the street is not taking away the freedom from anyone else. She is minding her own business. We should not lock people up because we don't like how they look, otherwise we'd be locking up men covered with tattoos, fat people wearing shorts and Nadia Al-Jundi from existing.

Secondly, they're doing the same thing that the religious police is Saudi Arabia and Iran is doing, chasing women and giving them a fine or locking them in jail because of something they are wearing (or not wearing for that matter). It's exactly the same concept. The French government would lower itself to the level of Saudi or Iranian government in interfering with the woman's own freedom to wear what she wants to wear.

Abuse is another excuse the French have for banning the burka. They assume every woman wearing the burka is being forced to do so by her husband. This is actually true in a few cases. However in France a woman can get a divorce is she is being abused by her husband, and there are shelters everywhere for women who suffer from domestic abuse.

Integration into the society is another concern, but you cannot enhance that by forcing a woman by law into wearing what you want her to wear. Besides, passing such law would cause many women covered with burkas to stay home rather than go outside their house.
If you want them to be integrated you have to influence the way they think, if possible, by many other methods that do not violate personal freedoms. It has to be their own decision to put on or take off whatever cloth they want. You will not suddenly open up their mind by dropping a piece of cloth.

Do not treat a cough by a cough suppressant. Treat it with excising the cancer that's causing it.


KJ said...

It did feel to me as quite ridiculous. Let them wear what they want, even if you think it is dehumanizing. Not everyone is hot on tattoos, but they're not banned in the Arab world

secratea said...

And now it's Sarkozy's turn to want to liberate the "subservient" Muslim women?? Who has appointed him to be the mouthpiece for every Muslim women donning the burqa in France? ... Oh well, the long history of Orientalist justifications of wanting to control the East by claiming to liberate the women is no novel story the West comes up, which until recently was upheld by the war maniac G.W. Bush!

MD said...

I have to say that Sarkozy is really wrong, BUT (a very huge but) On the other hand, the muslim Imams should start detecting this out-of-time tradition and find the reasons behind it, and maybe ask women not to do it anymore. because it is just wrong if it was intended to represent islam.
If it is just a way to keep the sun away then its ok to keep it, but to represent islam with it is not nice at all. maybe this is why I hope Sarkozy will come out with a law preventing it. maybe because I know Imams wont do their job.

Naddoush said...

I totally agree with you and with the comments posted already.
Wearing the burka or not should be the womens own choice - and no law will change that. Especially since I don't believe that the French state, even if they established a law like the one intended, will run around and arrest random women on the street. I simply don't think the international society will ever allow that.

And in general I think the whole case is stupid, because it gives some Arab leaders yet another reason to turn the spotlight away from them selves and the problematic situations in their countries.

Anonymous said...


I disagree with you.

How many muslim women really want to wear a Burqa? Let us be honest about it.

These women are oppressed on the grounds of religion and it is our duty to liberate them.


I have no religion. I have faith. said...

Naddoush- The French have many laws. They are also picky about which ones they actually enforce past the first week.

I just can't imagine a person not being allowed to wear what, to them, is normal clothing. It completely ruins the fact that we are all humans, not different species just because we dress differently.