The burkha should not be banned


by Rumbold
25th June, 2009 at 9:57 am    

Nicholas Sarzoky’s attack on the burkha has garnered plenty of support, from people who are worried about the oppression of Muslim women to those who just want to use it as an excuse to attack Islam and Muslims.

There are plenty of reasons to criticise the burkha. It makes some people feel uncomfortable because it denies them face to face contact with the person underneath, while in certain situations, such as checking in at airports, it is clearly inappropriate. Some women are forced or pressured to wear it, while their husbands and male relatives go around uncovered. There is not even Qur’anic justification for it. Yet do these objections mean that it should be banned? No. There are two reasons for this: the practicality of such a ban, and the loss of liberty.

Enforcing such a ban would be hard. Would we have police ripping off women’s clothes if their faces were covered? Pregnant women and young mothers put behind bars for repeatedly defying the ban? Would anyone who covered their face up be breaking the law? Would Darth Vader impersonators be held? How much face would have to be covered up for it to be illegal?

At stake too is the liberty of individuals to decide what they wear. Some women choose to wear the burkha because they like it, and this should be their decision. The burkha itself isn’t a sign of repression. It is in some cases a product of repression, but it is unclear why women who are forced to wear the burkha would suddenly become freer. If anything, the opposite might happen, and women who were allowed to go out before could be forced to stay in. We as a society do need to do much more to help oppressed women, but regulating their clothes isn’t going to help.


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  1. Ravi Naik — on 25th June, 2009 at 10:16 am  

    The burkha is not necessarily the problem, it is covering the face in public. We have laws against public nudity and even decency laws, so prohibiting people from covering their face in public doesn’t seem unreasonable.

  2. platinum786 — on 25th June, 2009 at 10:20 am  

    Let people run free naked in the streets. I say we have no clothing based regulation at all.

  3. Don — on 25th June, 2009 at 10:29 am  

    Rumbold,

    Agreed. But there are situations where exceptions would apply. What about driving, for example?

  4. platinum786 — on 25th June, 2009 at 10:42 am  

    I find the whole Burka debate really annoying. Maybe it’s because I’m too laid back.

    – Nobody I know wears a Burqa.

    – If I was to get married and my wife was to wear one, I’d feel uncomfortable with it.

    – I personally think they’re a bit reclusive.

    – I personally have never tried to speak to someone wearing a Niqab (the situation has never arisen) but I feel it may be somewhat awkward to do so, as I’m quite used to noticing peoples body language when they speak to me.

    – I don’t even think it’s required Islamically for anyone to cover their face.

    Having said that all, I still don’t support any notion to ban it. My reason for it is, that if it is that important to someone else, why can’t iT get over my little issues with it? To think they’re actually worn by such a small percentage of people too, I can’t beleive the fuss. What happened to tolerance?

    As far as security is concerned whats the problem? It’s perfectly acceptable that where someone needs to ID you, you should be willing to be indentified. If your about to withdraw £5000 from your account, it’s perfectly reasonable the bank should be able to see your face. If your about to board a plane it’s perfectly reasonable to have your identity confirmed before you get a boarding card.

    I didn’t know people had been complaining about it. Surely women in burqa’s understand and accept that too. Has anyone asked one?

    I’m quite happy to tolerate anything, from hoodies, to skinny jeans, to torn denim, to cross dressing, to tattoos, what’s the big deal with Burqa’s?

  5. Denim Justice — on 25th June, 2009 at 11:10 am  

    “to those who just want to use it as an excuse to attack Islam and Muslims.”

    It is unpractical and unenforceable, so all it will achieve is give ammunition to the BNP, the Tories, and all others who hate Muslims.

  6. munir — on 25th June, 2009 at 11:31 am  

    Ravi naik
    “The burkha is not necessarily the problem, it is covering the face in public.”

    Where need arises for security and identitification purposes women should show their faces. Other than that its no ones bloody business how a person chooses to dress.

    “We have laws against public nudity and even decency laws, so prohibiting people from covering their face in public doesn’t seem unreasonable”

    But who defines decency? You are the same as the Taliban or the Mullahs in Iran in decreeing what is and isnt decent clothing and wishing the state to enforce this

  7. Galloise Blonde — on 25th June, 2009 at 11:32 am  

    I think it’s all hot air from Sarkozy, who’s got as much mileage as he can out of immigrants and needs a new soapbox to keep his popular appeal. I lived in Paris for 3 years, in a majority Muslim area, I went everywhere in the city, and I never saw a burqa even once. I only saw women in niqab on a handful of occasions, far less than I would see in London or even in Cardiff! Most of these women I saw were in the posh hotel district as well, so I seriously doubt that many French citizens are covering their faces.

  8. Ravi Naik — on 25th June, 2009 at 11:45 am  

    But who defines decency? You are the same as the Taliban or the Mullahs in Iran in decreeing what is and isnt decent clothing and wishing the state to enforce this

    Actually, I have not defended these laws. I am just saying that we have them, and therefore it would not be unprecedented to extend them to people who hide their faces in public.

    I agree though that Sarkozy is not behaving properly, and this is just rethoric that only helps to alienate. Though I believe that hiding your face is not something that should be encouraged, and hinders integration and opportunities.

  9. munir — on 25th June, 2009 at 12:08 pm  

    Ravi naik
    “Though I believe that hiding your face is not something that should be encouraged, and hinders integration and opportunities.”

    I dont think wearing the niqab should be encouraged since it isnt generally considered an obligation.
    Some Muslim Imams also say that in the west its better not to. But why should women who wish to do likewise suffer? Its their choice.

    As pointed out above the numbers actually doing so are tiny- this legislation is simply done to get populist votes by playing on racism and anti-Muslim sentiment.

    Legislation based on scoring political points by attacking a minority is never good.

  10. Bartholomew — on 25th June, 2009 at 12:13 pm  

    I remember Richard Dawkins’ exchange with an Islamic fundamentalist in Jerusalem a few years ago:

    Extremist: “You dress your women like whores”

    Dawkins: “I don’t dress women, they dress themselves”

    Works both ways, it seems to me.

  11. justpassingby — on 25th June, 2009 at 12:23 pm  

    we should just make the ugly ones wear it.

  12. Ravi Naik — on 25th June, 2009 at 12:23 pm  

    I dont think wearing the niqab should be encouraged since it isnt generally considered an obligation. Some Muslim Imams also say that in the west its better not to. But why should women who wish to do likewise suffer? Its their choice.

    I agree. But what about their daughters and granddaughters who are born here, who wear western clothes like other children when they are young, but then have to cover themselves completely when they are older? Do they have a choice?

    But there are health risks involved in wearing burkhas.

  13. Amrit — on 25th June, 2009 at 12:24 pm  

    I read a transcript of a roundtable discussion between various French journalists/sociologist-types and the journalist Naima Bouteldja pointed out that politicians in France have been appropriating the language of human rights and twisting it to talk about the rights of women specifically, as a Trojan horse way to impart their Islamophobia. It was a really interesting discussion – maybe I can somehow get it put up on PP, if anyone’s interested? It was about immigration, racism and the Left in France.

    Galloise Blonde: exactly!

  14. 1mongrel — on 25th June, 2009 at 12:24 pm  

    As the dress of choice for male muslim criminals (Escaping London Bomber, Birmingham Jewellery Shop Robbers, Sharon Beshenivsky Killer) the vociferous support of male muslims for this attire should be viewed with some suspiscion.

  15. Bartholomew — on 25th June, 2009 at 12:25 pm  
  16. platinum786 — on 25th June, 2009 at 12:45 pm  

    1mongrel, considering Muslims form a disproportionately high percentage of the prison population could you then tell me, how those men managed to get caught and sent down, considering they were all hiding in burqa’s according to you.

    Here is an interesting story about your kind;

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1195205/Conviction-travelling-family-reduces-crime-rate-county-20-year-low.html

  17. cjcjc — on 25th June, 2009 at 12:53 pm  

    Do you mean banned in Britain?
    I can’t see that ever happening, and I agree nor should it.

    The head of the Paris mosque, on the other hand, seems more relaxed, at least about having the debate.

    http://www.adnkronos.com/AKI/English/Religion/?id=3.0.3457282869

    “Paris, 23 June (AKI) – French president Nicolas Sarkozy’s rejection of the burka and the face veil are “in keeping with the republican spirit of secularism,” according to the rector of the Grand Mosque in Paris, Dalil Boubakeur, quoted by media.

    Boubakeur said he supported a proposal by French MPs for a panel of deputies to look at the wearing of the burka “on the condition that they listen to what the experts on Islam have to say”.

    The burka marked “a return towards Islam’s past, in line with the preaching and vision of fundamentalists” added Boubakeur (photo).”

  18. munir — on 25th June, 2009 at 12:54 pm  

    Bartholomew

    Extremist: “You dress your women like whores”

    Dawkins: “I don’t dress women, they dress themselves”

    Imply the frankly racist notion that Muslim women are automons who wear whatever their husbands tell them rather than making a choice based on their understanding of the religion – leaving aside the fact that many niqabi women wear it against great opposition from their families and ignoring that many women who wear it are converts

  19. munir — on 25th June, 2009 at 1:01 pm  

    Amrit
    “I read a transcript of a roundtable discussion between various French journalists/sociologist-types and the journalist Naima Bouteldja pointed out that politicians in France have been appropriating the language of human rights and twisting it to talk about the rights of women specifically, as a Trojan horse way to impart their Islamophobia.”

    Yes western feminism isnt being used as a tool for imperialism “we have to invade their lands to liberate their women”. It was ever thus: lord Cromer said he was invading Egypt to liberate the women – while stringly opposing female voting in the UK

    It also ignores far worse rights abuses against women such as mass female infancticde in India and China

    Never mind that many Muslim women cover precisely because they feel it empowering and as a a rejection of the obejctification of womens bodies.

    This can actually be to detriment of womens rights because it allows men who want to restrict womens rights to identify calls for womens rights with “western imperialism”

    The whole thing is essentially fascism- you must look western or else

  20. cjcjc — on 25th June, 2009 at 1:08 pm  

    It also ignores far worse rights abuses against women such as mass female infancticde in India and China

    A “whatabout” line of argument which I suspect you would not countenance on the I/P subject!!

  21. damon — on 25th June, 2009 at 1:15 pm  

    Could I just ask you about this Munir?
    ”Where need arises for security and identitification purposes women should show their faces. Other than that its no ones bloody business how a person chooses to dress.”

    I agree; that a policeman (in Europe) can’t be tapping a ‘niqabed’ woman on the shoulder and telling her that she must unveil, (as it’s the law etc).
    That’s stupid, and would give kicks to Islamophobic police.
    But at the same time I want to say (just here on an internet forum) that this (”burka”) garb is from the middle ages.

    I know that Golam Murtaza has said s/he wasn’t too impressed with this ”burka” discussion, (but do you rally expect my Irish Daily Mirror reading mother to understand terms like ”jilbab” and ”niqab” (and salwar kameez, or, as they call it in Iran, the Chador?)
    http://www.islamicfashion.biz/images/200_chador.jpg

    On the BBC London Vanessa Feltz programme yesterday (available on the ”listen again” function from june 24th) there were a whole load of ‘antis’ (daily mail types) .. and then it went to educated muslim women saying how they only wore the hijab, ( but a sister had decided to wear the full niqab …. and in fact, she had some niqab veils at home … and wore them on occasion etc .. and what was wrong with that.
    It was her choice. (And I guess she was also saying that those ”old cockney white people” who used to be the domininant community in years gone by – had better get with the ”programme” or bugger off to Essex (or Milton Keynes) like so many of the people who used to occupy those terraced houses had done.

    I agree with Deborah Orr (Independent newspaper columist)…
    http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/deborah-orr/deborah-orr-why-the-sight-of-veiled-women-offends-me-407100.html

    and dont agree with ”Indigo Jo” (blogs) about this very issue .. who wrote an article about Orr’s column titled ”Another busybody article about hijab”
    http://www.blogistan.co.uk/blog/mt.php/2006/07/09/another_busybody_article_about_hijab

    Btw .. why does Indigo Jo talk of hijab, whe Orr is clearly talking about niqab?

    And Munir, whether the number of people wearing niqab is tiny or not (and I still see it every day), I found your excuse of women havinmg to be more modest in public (like not going bare chested when in a swimming enviroment) to be a bit weak.
    Have you ever tried on your sister’s hijab?
    (At home I mean, just in the mirror to see how you look?)
    How would you have looked in a hiatthe 20/20 cricket?
    Or is your hair allowed to be teased and gelled and styled for public display, in the way that the muslim female shouldn’t allude to?

  22. cjcjc — on 25th June, 2009 at 1:23 pm  

    I have noticed that there is a very strict dress code for men (in London anyway) accompanying burka-clad women: the men must be as scruffy as possible and (ideally) overweight.

  23. munir — on 25th June, 2009 at 1:24 pm  

    damon
    ” found your excuse of women havinmg to be more modest in public (like not going bare chested when in a swimming enviroment) to be a bit weak”

    No Damon its everywhere. In the UK a man can legally walk around bare chested ; a woman doing so would be arrested. thats why i find your criticising Muslim practice a bit hypocritical

  24. munir — on 25th June, 2009 at 1:26 pm  

    cjcjc
    “I have noticed that there is a very strict dress code for men (in London anyway) accompanying burka-clad women: the men must be as scruffy as possible and (ideally) overweight.”

    Likewise for Orthodox Jews – the men have to wear fetching black and wizard hats while the scruffy women look like they been in a fight in a charity shop

  25. 1mongrel — on 25th June, 2009 at 1:50 pm  

    Platinum786 (15)

    Gypsies come from India (Thought everybody knew that)

    When Dellboy says “Cushdy” he’s speaking Romany rather than Hindi.

  26. munir — on 25th June, 2009 at 1:54 pm  

    platinum786 that was out of order

  27. halima — on 25th June, 2009 at 1:57 pm  

    ” burkha is not necessarily the problem, it is covering the face in public. We have laws against public nudity and even decency laws, so prohibiting people from covering their face in public doesn’t seem unreasonable.”

    If there is a ban on nudity I’d say the law is wrong. I am with Rumbold on this one – women ( or men) should be allowed to wear everything and nothing as they wish.

    I personally find nudity rude, but had to confront this as my own bias – and accept there’s nothing wrong with it – it’s just my own attitudes and conservative outlook that makes me feel uncomfortable when i see nudity – so it’s my own value judgement. Nudity itself is probably a neutral act – as is wearing a veil. The judging and the attitudes come down to the gaze – we used to talk a lot about the male gaze in the 1970s when we discussed art appreciation. It was acknowledged by Mulvey (film feminist critic) that often art and film were directed with the male viewer in mind. similarly when we are judging nudity and the veil we are actually not talking about the the subject of the viewer ( the naked or the veiled subject) but instead we are looking at the judgements of the person doing the gazing. In other words we have the problem – not the naked or the veiled young women.

  28. platinum786 — on 25th June, 2009 at 1:57 pm  

    ^^^ Typical trying to blame European disputes on Asians.

  29. 1mongrel — on 25th June, 2009 at 2:01 pm  

    Platinum786 (28) Just pointing out that they’re more “your kind” than (What you wrongly assumed) to be mine.

  30. damon — on 25th June, 2009 at 2:14 pm  

    Munir, let’s not be looking for brownie points here.
    A heck of a lot of the people of this country would probabl;y disagree with your view.

    What I mean is,your correlation between men being open necked and that women
    should have a whole different outlook.
    FFS. I was ust looking at ”Billy Elliot”

    Can you imagine that every man woman and child (and policeman) was wearing modest clothing (up to the burka level)?

  31. damon — on 25th June, 2009 at 2:14 pm  

    Munir, let’s not be looking for brownie points here.
    A heck of a lot of the people of this country would probabl;y disagree with your view.

    What I mean is,your correlation between men being open necked and that women
    should have a whole different outlook.
    FFS. I was ust looking at ”Billy Elliot”

    Can you imagine that every man woman and child (and policeman) was wearing modest clothing (up to the burka level)?

  32. Ravi Naik — on 25th June, 2009 at 2:19 pm  

    If there is a ban on nudity I’d say the law is wrong. I am with Rumbold on this one – women ( or men) should be allowed to wear everything and nothing as they wish

    Forgetting about nudity – what about the two points I mentioned in #12? (2nd and 3rd gen, and health?)

  33. Ravi Naik — on 25th June, 2009 at 2:19 pm  

    If there is a ban on nudity I’d say the law is wrong. I am with Rumbold on this one – women ( or men) should be allowed to wear everything and nothing as they wish

    Yes, there is a ban against nudity. But forgetting about that, what about the two points I mentioned in #12? (2nd and 3rd gen, and health?)

  34. halima — on 25th June, 2009 at 2:35 pm  

    Ravi .. I am making the point that the ban on nudity is wrong.

    On health issues? I checked the link and it seemed the researchers are saying lack of exposure to sun light is a problem.

    If this is the case than women who choose to wear the burkhas ought ot find time in their routines to be in same-sex company and expose their faces and bodies. Like we often do to protect ourselves from the sun to avoid skin cancer – find ways to adapt to our climate and weather. It’s a question of principle and finding the balance and adaptation strategies for keeping your principles and health in tact. Not impossible. Just depends on your conviction. I am not saying I like nudity or the veil – but making the argument about choice and being open to other ways of doing things and living life.

    Wearing a burka doesn’t mean no exposure to sun light, it means no exposure to men.

    The other point you raise about lack of choice of women and daughters of conservative minded parents who force their daughters to wear it .. is right. It supports my general point that whatever we wear ( or don’t) needs to be a choice. If there is no choice, then it’s wrong.

  35. The Common Humanist — on 25th June, 2009 at 3:47 pm  

    Muslims need to consider that whilst a burqa or Niqab ban is unlikley in the UK, I suspect that a large majority of non muslims in the UK consider the wearing of said items to be, well, extremely rude.

    Given this nations christian and humanist roots I suspect that muslims in favour of said items will have a difficult job convincing the rest of us that the garments are anything other then an aspect of men trying to control women.

    Cards on the table, I think that burkhas and veils are rude, sepratist and distinctly un-British. I feel vaguely insulted when I see them being worn and sorry for the women having to wear them. Sorry, but I do.

  36. Shatterface — on 25th June, 2009 at 5:08 pm  

    There are obviously health issues with the burkha but I don’t think that’s really relevant. As a former Goth and now an insomniac I’ve never had a lot of sunlight either.

    I don’t like the burkha or what it symbolizes, I find those countries and communities which enforce it repellant but I’d defend the RIGHT to wear it voluntarily just as I’d defend the rights of other women to make-up and botox.

    We all wear masks sometimes.

  37. Amrit — on 25th June, 2009 at 5:11 pm  

    Given that this is directly related to what we’re discussing here, I am posting it. VICE magazine interviewed 8 young Yemeni women who wear the burkha:

    http://www.viceland.com/int/v16n6/htdocs/the-eyes-have-it-909.php?page=1

  38. Imran Khan — on 25th June, 2009 at 5:18 pm  

    Ok so where do you draw the line?

    Sarzoky is a bigot who is picking an easy target. Does he also intend to ban Orthodox Jewish Women from shaving their heads and wearing wigs because it defies French secular identity or Sikh women wearing turbans or nuns from wearing their habit.

    Hell no he wouldn’t dare but Muslim women are being oppressed as its a cheap slur to win points from a right wing nutter which will get the other right wing going.

    I doubt it would get through the European Human Rights act.

  39. Ravi Naik — on 25th June, 2009 at 5:51 pm  

    Le Pen was furious with Sarkozy for having stolen his rhetoric in the previous French election – with all that talk about preserving the French identity.

    I do not agree with banning the burkha, but I certainly would like to see it discouraged on the grounds of health and integration.

    Sarkozy should know that reform should always come from within the community not from the outside.

  40. chairwoman — on 25th June, 2009 at 5:53 pm  

    Wasn’t there something a few years ago where the French government tried to prevent any clothing or jewellery of religious identity being worn by students in non-religious schools.

    This applied across the board, no crucifixes, kippahs, hijabs, turbans, you name it, they banned it, but if I remember correctly there was a partial climb-down, head wear had to be ‘discreet’ and jewellery worn concealed under clothing.

    Somebody please correct me if I’m mistaken.

  41. dave bones — on 25th June, 2009 at 6:18 pm  

    Yeah Mathew Parris wrote something about this recently. He is just a nosy twat. What difference does it make to him if someone wears a burkah or is naked? Idiot.

    I agree with Platinum. There shouldn’t be any clothing laws. Is that guy still in prison for refusing to wear clothes?

  42. dave bones — on 25th June, 2009 at 6:20 pm  

    I remember a BBC doco about that hijab thing in schools in France. Some very liberal sounding teachers were saying that some 12 year old girl was “with the terrorists” or something. I am surprised how backward the French in france can be sometimes.

  43. Rumbold — on 25th June, 2009 at 6:30 pm  

    Don:

    Well, obviously certain clothing has to be prohibtied at certain times because of safety concerns. But in general, I would echo the views of those who had called for people to be allowed to wear whatever they want, even if it is nothing.

  44. Imran Khan — on 25th June, 2009 at 6:45 pm  

    Chairwoman – “Wasn’t there something a few years ago where the French government tried to prevent any clothing or jewellery of religious identity being worn by students in non-religious schools.

    This applied across the board, no crucifixes, kippahs, hijabs, turbans, you name it, they banned it, but if I remember correctly there was a partial climb-down, head wear had to be ‘discreet’ and jewellery worn concealed under clothing.

    Somebody please correct me if I’m mistaken.”

    Its not quite that straight forward. France openly vows secularisation but underneath provides finacing for certain faiths.

    The laws were at the time mostly aimed at Muslims and that has now gone a step further to open bans on Muslim clothing of certain types which is dictatorship by another door.

  45. Rumbold — on 25th June, 2009 at 6:53 pm  

    Actually Imran Khan I was just about to respond. Colin Brown only posted it a few minutes ago.

    Colin Brown:

    Many people aren’t critical of the burkha because they see it as Islamic, but for the reasons outlined in my post. Some people do use it as a way to attack Muslims, but the idea that we all dive for cover the minute we see one is just ridiculous. Perhaps if there were less bigots like you we might all get along better.

  46. Don — on 25th June, 2009 at 6:56 pm  

    As to banning nudity, I have no problem with nude beaches and regard nude cyclists and hikers as being in a fine tradition of eccentricity. But I must admit the idea of being stuck on a crowded tube with a few dozen naked strangers does make me a little queasy.

  47. Shatterface — on 25th June, 2009 at 7:11 pm  

    I don’t want naked people working at the meat counter.

    In any case, many businesses have uniforms, dress codes or safety wear. When you join them that’s something you sign up too.

    Outside work, if you want to go shopping ten paces behind your husband wearing nipple clamps and a ball-gag to express your subserviance, that’s up to you.

  48. Imran Khan — on 25th June, 2009 at 7:14 pm  

    Rumbold – That was the 2nd comment and the 1st one earlier went by unchecked as well.

    So sadly what I said is true.

  49. Ala — on 25th June, 2009 at 7:15 pm  

    This is nothing to do with freeing women. As Rumbold says, the likelihood is that they’d be prevented from leaving the house at all, if indeed they are being forced to wear it by their husbands. No, this isn’t about helping, this is about punishing the victim. Here’s another example of it:

    A year ago, a Moroccan woman who wore the niqab was refused French nationality, a decision blamed on her “submission to her husband and her religious misogynist doctrine”.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2009/jun/25/france-burka-veil-controversy

    This whole thing stinks of cultural supremacy i.e all these Muslim-looking things are ruining our European landscape.

  50. Ala — on 25th June, 2009 at 7:19 pm  

    And to all those people going off on a tangent about not covering the face for security reasons, push for a ban on all face covering, not just one cultural manifestation of it.

    Oh, and what a brilliant use of police time and public funds, sending officers on disrobing misssions. Maybe ordinary citizens will get medals for ripping off any that they happen to see when out and about.

  51. halima — on 25th June, 2009 at 7:25 pm  

    “Maybe ordinary citizens will get medals for ripping off any that they happen to see when out and about.”

    Ala, well said.

    Women always seem to be at the heart of ‘saving’ cultures – one way or the other. Whether it’s the British way or the Islamic way (although in time both these traditions ought to change a little to accommodate the other – cultures not being fixed, that is)

    Seems to me quite an oppressive way to view women. period. like they /we don’t have much agency.

  52. Shatterface — on 25th June, 2009 at 7:31 pm  

    Ala (52): that argument doesn’t make sense. You say it’s punishing the victim, by which I assume that you think the burkha is oppressive, then claim banning it’s an attack on Muslims. There are good reasons for hating the burkha – without necessarily banning it – that don’t boil down to racism.

    As to 53, yes, if the burkha is banned for whatever reason, other cultures should be banned from covering their faces. Trouble is, outside Islam, only the KKK do it.

  53. Ala — on 25th June, 2009 at 8:11 pm  

    shatterface:

    “that argument doesn’t make sense. You say it’s punishing the victim, by which I assume that you think the burkha is oppressive, then claim banning it’s an attack on Muslims. There are good reasons for hating the burkha – without necessarily banning it – that don’t boil down to racism.”

    It makes perfect sense. The logic of a ban would be: women are forced to wear the veil, therefore we should punish THEM, not the people forcing them.

    How perfectly idiotic.

  54. British, not racist. — on 25th June, 2009 at 8:11 pm  

    It. not clothing.

    It’s a portable prison.

    Do you want to see white men walking around with black men on leads ?

    Why do you think islamic men don’t wear this uniform of shame ?

  55. Rumbold — on 25th June, 2009 at 8:14 pm  

    People should be free to wear what they want.

  56. persephone — on 25th June, 2009 at 8:17 pm  

    how do we separate those that choose to wear it & those who do not?

  57. comrade — on 25th June, 2009 at 8:31 pm  

    I remember in the 70s and 80s Sikh women had to cover their head with chunny [thin long piece of cloth when they were outside in the public. that has compleaty disapered in the UK. Deep religous women continue to cover their head, because they believe its a religous symbol,

  58. Sunny — on 25th June, 2009 at 8:44 pm  

    Other than BNP threads were the idiot Colin Brown responds to specific points, I’ll be deleting his trollish comments on other threads.

  59. munir — on 25th June, 2009 at 9:34 pm  

    damon
    “Munir, let’s not be looking for brownie points here.
    A heck of a lot of the people of this country would probabl;y disagree with your view.”

    and?

  60. munir — on 25th June, 2009 at 9:35 pm  

    ahsantee ya Ala!

  61. Ravi Naik — on 25th June, 2009 at 9:36 pm  

    #49 seems very reasonable to me.

    And to all those people going off on a tangent about not covering the face for security reasons, push for a ban on all face covering, not just one cultural manifestation of it.

    Well, it can’t be done any other way.

  62. munir — on 25th June, 2009 at 9:45 pm  

    Ala
    “This is nothing to do with freeing women. As Rumbold says, the likelihood is that they’d be prevented from leaving the house at all, if indeed they are being forced to wear it by their husbands.”

    Or if they are doing so of their own volition they will just stay at home.

    What people talking about hijab and niqab dont get is that it is public apparel for the woman -it allows her to keep her religion and be in society- it is not worn at home!

  63. Imran Khan — on 25th June, 2009 at 10:07 pm  

    A lot of women from the Southern Med region wear scarves in public to cover their hair.

    Sarkozy is a bigot for singling out one religion and like Bush it is for popular appeal.

    Would his wife take orders on clothing from the President of Zimbabwe? No so who the hell is he to say what Muslim women can and cannot wear.

    He should be exposed for the bigot he is and not fetted as a champion of secular ideals. When secular ideals dicate they are no longer secular but dictatorial which makes Sarkozy a mini dictator.

  64. Clairwil — on 25th June, 2009 at 10:08 pm  

    There was a minor press generated controversy up here in Glasgow about the niqab a few months back after a jeweller required customers who wear it or any other garment that conceals the face to phone ahead and make an appointment to enter the store after a couple of robberies.

    For a couple of days local radio phone ins were desperate to dredge up someone who was mortally offended by this. The TV news managed to russsle up some pain in the bum student to be an offended Muslim for the cameras but other than that no-one was fussed at all regarding the shopkeepers desire to protect their property as perfectly reasonable.

    In fact the only people who seemed remotely worked up were the loons who exist in a permenany fury at the idea that someone, somewhere might be different from them in some way.

    I’d certainly oppose a ban but it’s a vile garment and open to misuse so I’d support the right of individual businessess and organisations to ban it from their premises for security and safety reasons. This is already done for other face covering garments such as motorcycle helmets in banks and supermarkets so I don’t see any issue of unfair discrimination.

  65. Imran Khan — on 25th June, 2009 at 10:21 pm  

    Clarewil – “it’s a vile garment and open to misuse”

    So are many other garments so where do you draw the line and who decides what is and isn’t vile?

    Should blonde hair dying be banned because of the portrayal of blonde women?

    Its a stupid proposal by someone who wants to be like Bush and we need more of them don’t we!!!!!!

  66. Don — on 25th June, 2009 at 10:34 pm  

    So are many other garments…. Well, not really. At least not in the same sense.

    Should blonde hair dying be banned because of the portrayal of blonde women? Interesting question. Do you mean we should regard blonde hair dye the way we regard skin lightening products? I’m not that into banning stuff, but I can see how you could construct an argument for that.

    But I don’t see how it’s a useful comparison with the burkha.

  67. Clairwil — on 25th June, 2009 at 10:37 pm  

    Imran,
    If you read what I wrote above you’ll see I said I did not agree with a ban. All I did was support the right of businesses and organisations to require people entering their premises do not cover their faces for security or safety reasons.

    We all decide what is and isn’t vile. We all have opinions and the freedom to express them.

    Sarkozy’s proposal is stupid and I suspect is more motivated by playing to the anti-Muslim mob than any real concern for women.

  68. Clairwil — on 25th June, 2009 at 10:41 pm  

    Good God!
    Michael Jackson has just died!

  69. Imran Khan — on 25th June, 2009 at 10:52 pm  

    Clarewil – “Imran,
    If you read what I wrote above you’ll see I said I did not agree with a ban.”

    I was referring to your sttaement that it was a vile garment and the question is who decides what is vile and acceptable especially in secular society.

  70. Ravi Naik — on 25th June, 2009 at 11:09 pm  

    I was referring to your sttaement that it was a vile garment and the question is who decides what is vile and acceptable especially in secular society.

    She said that it’s up to each one of us to decide what is vile and what it isn’t. I certainly think that any garment that is bad for your health, that can be a security hazard, and that hinders both opportunities and integration is vile – and I would want that discouraged (not banned), specially when it comes to 2nd and 3rd gen who are born and raised here.

  71. Clairwil — on 25th June, 2009 at 11:36 pm  

    @Imran,
    For heavens sake I think it’s vile. So? I don’t think it’s acceptable. So? Other people disagree as they have every right to.

    I have a right to my opinion other people have the right to theirs. What exactly are you taking exception to?

    @Ravi,
    ‘and I would want that discouraged (not banned), specially when it comes to 2nd and 3rd gen who are born and raised here.’

    Indeed, more so when the very, very few 2nd/3rd generation types who wear it round my way are doing so to deliberately separate themselves in the hope of a negative reaction to prove some point or another.What is it with people and victimhood these days? If it’s not some white buffoon joining the BNP, it’s some Muslim buffoon donning a niqab and claiming oppression. Two cheeks of the same intolerant, special pleading arse.

  72. douglas clark — on 25th June, 2009 at 11:42 pm  

    munir,

    What people talking about hijab and niqab dont get is that it is public apparel for the woman -it allows her to keep her religion and be in society- it is not worn at home!

    I find you so, relaxed, about the possibility that the burkah is actually imposed on women both by a misunderstanding of religion and folk like you, y’know men that are right, well, you transcend yourself every time you comment here.

    You stand up for Muslim womens’ ‘right to wear the Burka’, as if that was the only game in town. It is pretty transparent that an obligation imposed by tits like you – a male Muslim I’d assume – is not a freedom. It is you expressing your stupidity through your women.

    You are the sort of fool that can only push an agenda by using your womenfolk in a frankly disgusting manner.

    So, contrary to Rumbold, Sarkosy is right and you are wrong, as usual.

  73. Ricky — on 26th June, 2009 at 12:01 am  

    The Burkha is not the problem; let people wear what they will – orange pjammas, plimsoles, chainmail, gas masks…attitudes and pre-concieved stereotyoes are not as easy to change as personal wear.

  74. douglas clark — on 26th June, 2009 at 12:19 am  

    And the point of that last post is this.

    I do not agree with munir one iota, that the women that wear the full bhuna, do it other than through submission to idiots like him.

    And that is the point. Disguising a disgusting practice as a ‘freedom’ is stupid, and beyond contempt.

    Lets here our chum on fgm next. I’m sure he will be just as consistently stupid.

    _____________________________

    Rumbold, as a libertarian, I think you have got entirely the wrong end of the arguement.

    If women wish to cover themselves completely, then so be it. If people think that is a tad excessive then that is OK too.

    You can, rarely, argue as a Libertarian, that either side has the right in the arguement.

    Which is why I am not a Libertarian.

  75. douglas clark — on 26th June, 2009 at 12:40 am  

    The few times I have seen fully clad burka folk, they did walk a few steps behind their men. Their men looked to me, like, pretty evil. Y’know?

    Perhaps it’s just Munirs’ culture?

  76. douglas clark — on 26th June, 2009 at 12:49 am  

    Or perhaps he can see beyond the shite he writes here.

    Or perhaps not.

  77. Shatterface — on 26th June, 2009 at 1:45 am  

    Oops – I said that only Muslim women and the KKK cover their faces in public but I was forgetting Michael Jackson.

  78. douglas clark — on 26th June, 2009 at 5:55 am  

    Ricky,

    Orange pyjamas? You’ll be familiar with the only known case of an outbreak of the dreaded orange pyjama syndrome, here:

    http://graypantherssf.igc.org/guantanamo.html

    I doubt that was any more consensual than women walking around in tents…

    Forgive me, but dress codes are social controls, not individual choices. If they were the latter it wouldn’t be an issue for me. Munir would find himself quite at home on the committee of any golf club in the country………..

  79. douglas clark — on 26th June, 2009 at 6:33 am  

    It is through a childlike sentiment – that men are unable to control their lust – that munir claims the right to institute his control freakery. And claims religious justification for it too! It is not obvious that every Muslim agrees with him. Here is a picture, taken in the Iran, that suggests you can expose your face and be modest too:

    http://www.iranian.com/Arts/2004/August/Dress/12.html

  80. damon — on 26th June, 2009 at 7:31 am  

    As well as the question about freedom of choice for the woman concerned, is there also any legitimacy in other people just not liking to see it?
    I don’t care for the face covering at all, and I feel (just on occasion when I see it) that it’s a provocation to the wider community who may not understand what it means. Even I’m not sure if it means that this person does not want to be spoken to for any reason. (Certainly not by a white man like me)
    I said before on here that I once spoke to some Turkish women in Berlin (just to ask for directions) and immediately some Turkish men came over the road and wanted to know what I was doing. And these women didn’t even have their faces covered. (Just hijabs).

    I think I agree with what someone from Spiked said a couple of years ago:
    ”The niqab is a ‘visible demonstration of separateness’, as Straw said. But this impulse comes less from traditional Islam, and its opposition to Western values, than from a Western culture that makes a virtue out of alienation. Those who wear the niqab are advertising their separateness from the rest of society – and in doing so, they have much in common with other fashion statements.”
    http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php?/site/article/1804/

    That was what I thought when I was in an East Ham restaurant, and at the next table were four young women dressed entirely in black, with faces covered too, and I guess they were thinking it was a great laugh. They were giggly, and when I asked one of them to pass over something (a menu I think) I felt that there was a little bit of a charge in the air.

    What they were doing really was saying ”Look at us: Look at me”.
    And I agree about it sparking unusual interest like someone said.
    I remember that the teaching assistant in Dewsbury (who wanted to teach while wearing a niqab) had beautiful eyes.

  81. douglas clark — on 26th June, 2009 at 7:44 am  

    damon.

    Dress codes are fraught with challenges. Your average goth is making a statement, your average businessman is making a statement too.

    What is clear about that is that these are freely entered into positions. What is not at all clear is that the ‘challenge’ you were presented with in Berlin was not manufactured, much as most of munirs’ case is, by men, for men.

    There seems to me to be a lack of credible female support for his case. I wonder why that would be?

    Cue lots of Stockholm Syndrome nutters.

  82. douglas clark — on 26th June, 2009 at 8:06 am  

    The kilt is a case in point. It was banned after the rebellion of 1745. So, there is nothing new about calls to ban clothing.

    Would I ban the Burka? No, I wouldn’t.

    But what I would do, perhaps, is write into law the right of any man or a woman to wear whatever they wanted, without fear of interference by busybodies like munir. Clearly, that doesn’t address the degree of social control he enjoys so much. But it might be a start.

    Whatever next? Perhaps we could allow women to drive motor cars? Oh, we already do….

  83. Halima — on 26th June, 2009 at 8:15 am  

    Damon

    When i hang out in Leicester Sq or Old Street in London, or Roman Road in East London, all predominantly places where white British teenage girls hang out. If I interrupt them while they’re giggling about their business I am sure they would give me a blank look – even if i asked for the salt. It’s just a random thing teenagers sometimes might do. Or any group of women or men might do it – fleetingly so. Your girls happen to have been wearing hijab . So? If you were approaching my white girls, would you have been aware of your self as a white bloke?

    Again – it’s your attitudes, not the girls’ reactions that are most interesting to me.

    What’s the big deal?

    Why all the analysis?

    Is it because we are walking around looking for examples of confirmity all the time – and anyone that sticks out – is odd?

  84. Rumbold — on 26th June, 2009 at 8:16 am  

    Douglas:

    Well, I don’t think that any of us here support the idea that women should be forced to wear that burkha, but without wanting to sound rude, why is it anymore of your business to dictate to a Muslim women what to wear then it is hers to dictate what you wear?

    Yes, some women in burkhas are in relationships with backward and abusive men. And banning the burkha won’t make any difference. It’s a bit like saying that people can’t wear sleeveless white vests because that is what some wife beaters wear. You are dealing with a symbol rather than a cause.

  85. munir — on 26th June, 2009 at 8:18 am  

    douglas clark
    “It is through a childlike sentiment – that men are unable to control their lust – that munir claims the right to institute his control freakery. And claims religious justification for it too!”

    No that is what you believe and you are imposing it on me.

    Women wear (or rather should wear) the hijab and niqab because it is a religious act. The reaction of men to it is irrelevant- some men may even exist who find a woman in hijab MORE attractive than one without – this doesnt change the fact that they have to wear hijab

    The verses PRECEDING the verses of hijab in the Quran order men to lower their gaze and guard their modesty – this is whether a woman is wearing a burkha or a bikini. And of course men have to dress modestly too (and women lower their gaze)

    “24:30. Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty: that will make for greater purity for them: And Allah is well acquainted with all that they do.

    31. And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty”

    And BTW before you try interpreting the Quran using translation is impossible

  86. Halima — on 26th June, 2009 at 8:23 am  

    Clairwl

    You have a right to express opinions for sure. But strong reactions always are always more interesting than what someone is criticising.

    We all carry values, but mostly these values we embody, belong to us, and not people who we are criticising.

    Something that causes no harm shouldn’t be described as vile. Sure the KKK is vile because they cause harm and embody values that express hatred which you will oppose, but if I want to wear the hijab or strip myself naked, why is either act vile? I am guessing a religious extremist would judge my nudity to be vile, too. Wearing the hijab doesn’t mean i am being anti-women, it just means others are seeing the vile to be anti-women.

    Vile is strong. I might wear the hijab but don’t because I am afraid all the liberals (whatever cultural background) around me at work would judge me. At least you are honest. Most would think negatively but won’t say anything. I don’t have a husband or Dad telling me to do it – or not, and neither am I going out to prove something. Can’t I observe my faith as I choose, like everyone else can – whether they are secular, or religious?

  87. Halima — on 26th June, 2009 at 8:29 am  

    By the way I am reading a great book by John Updike, ‘The Terrorist’ which tells the story of a disaffected young man in New Jersey . Haven’t ready many books on this genre but the author is such a skilled writer – probably one of the best of his generation.

    I am not sure about the politics of the book but arresting, the young hero /would be terroist has colourful ways of describing women, sex and his take of life reading from the Koran.

  88. munir — on 26th June, 2009 at 8:43 am  

    douglas clark

    “I find you so, relaxed, about the possibility that the burkah is actually imposed on women both by a misunderstanding of religion and folk like you, y’know men that are right, well, you transcend yourself every time you comment here.”

    hilarious -Muslim ulema from the time of the Prophet (pbuh) have misunderstood our religion but you have understood it. The arrogance of ignorant non-Muslims (and some Muslims) who cant even recite fatiha correctly -something a 5 year old Muslim child can- in teaching us our deen is astonishing.

    and incidentally one of the evidence for the niqab comes from a hadith from Aisha – a woman and one of the mothers of the believers Muslim women try and emulate

    and BTW I dont agree with imposing the burkha on women- you have taken my words and run with them

    “You stand up for Muslim womens’ ‘right to wear the Burka’, as if that was the only game in town. It is pretty transparent that an obligation imposed by tits like you – a male Muslim I’d assume – is not a freedom. It is you expressing your stupidity through your women.”

    The stupidity is yours – Muslim women who wear hijab and niqab wear it because they believe it is a command of God not man – a Muslim who believes for example the Quran was written by a man is a non Muslim

  89. munir — on 26th June, 2009 at 8:48 am  

    Halima
    “I might wear the hijab but don’t because I am afraid all the liberals (whatever cultural background) around me at work would judge me. ”

    Halima wearing hijab is difficult but many women do it even in the west. Have you read what you haver written here? You are saying you are more afraid of people and their opinions than of Allah. Monotheism is having one God alone and that God isnt “public opinion”
    You have to ask yourself if your God is the people you work with or God

    Its ironic- the Muslim women who wear hijab are free – they were because they want to please God and couldnt care less what others think of them. Yet some women dress based on what others will think of them! And our society calls them liberated!

  90. douglas clark — on 26th June, 2009 at 8:53 am  

    Rumbold,

    but without wanting to sound rude, why is it anymore of your business to dictate to a Muslim women what to wear then it is hers to dictate what you wear.

    You are never rude.

    I am clearly not dictating to Muslim women what they should wear or don’t wear. What I am saying, and you’ll have a job defending the contrary, is that this is a male prescriptive practice. A freely entered into cover up, much like nuns, is entirely acceptable to me. Why wouldn’t it be?

    Yes, some women in burkhas are in relationships with backward and abusive men. And banning the burkha won’t make any difference. It’s a bit like saying that people can’t wear sleeveless white vests because that is what some wife beaters wear. You are dealing with a symbol rather than a cause.

    Well, I’m not acually in favour of singlet wearing wife beaters either! (Is this a ‘have you stopped beating your wife yet?’ moment?)

    What I am saying is that it is the Burka that is prescribed by idiots like munir, and it is that male dominant attitude I find reprehensible.

    What I have said is that women should not be manipulated by tits like munir. Frankly, I doubt any regular, female Muslim commentators on here are likely to disagree with me.

    For the absence of doubt, if a woman freely wants to wear a Burka, then that is no different from a nun wearing habits. Usual caveats apply to both of them.

    Anyway, so be it.

    It is the element of social control that I object to.

    I find, correct me if I am wrong, munir to be a complete utter reprobate on this subject.

    And you, sir, are not seeing the wood for the trees!

  91. douglas clark — on 26th June, 2009 at 9:04 am  

    Rumbold,

    Have you forgotten about the religious police in Saudi and Afghanistan?

    This is what happens when religious zealots like munir are in charge:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/1874471.stm

    How happy you must be to side with bampots like that.

  92. munir — on 26th June, 2009 at 9:26 am  

    douglas clark
    “I am clearly not dictating to Muslim women what they should wear or don’t wear.”

    “I find, correct me if I am wrong, munir to be a complete utter reprobate on this subject.”

    You are wrong since I have the same view: I never said I thought religious dress should be imposed at a state level

    ” What I am saying, and you’ll have a job defending the contrary, is that this is a male prescriptive practice.”

    Actually the job is yours to do since you have no proof for this

  93. douglas clark — on 26th June, 2009 at 9:28 am  

    And munir at 88,

    you have taken my words and run with them.

    Correct.

    So, is this woman an apostate?

    http://www.iranian.com/Arts/2004/August/Dress/12.html

    Well, you were asked. You chose not to answer.

    .Women wear (or rather should wear) the hijab and niqab because it is a religious act. The reaction of men to it is irrelevant- some men may even exist who find a woman in hijab MORE attractive than one without – this doesnt change the fact that they have to wear hijab

    The verses PRECEDING the verses of hijab in the Quran order men to lower their gaze and guard their modesty – this is whether a woman is wearing a burkha or a bikini. And of course men have to dress modestly too (and women lower their gaze)

    “24:30. Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty: that will make for greater purity for them: And Allah is well acquainted with all that they do.

    31. And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty”

    You do know how ridiculous this sounds? It is a male attempt to deny beauty, or a hard on.

    Whether religiously prescripted or not.

  94. munir — on 26th June, 2009 at 9:33 am  

    douglas clark
    “What I am saying is that it is the Burka that is prescribed by idiots like munir, and it is that male dominant attitude I find reprehensible.”

    No the face veil is part of the religion.
    http://www.muhajabah.com/niqab-index.htm

    Here are some Muslim women explaining why they wear it

    “What I have said is that women should not be manipulated by tits like munir. Frankly, I doubt any regular, female Muslim commentators on here are likely to disagree with me.”

    You are such a misogynist douglas clark! You believe women are stupid airheads who can easily be manipulated rather than intelligent people who can make up their own minds!

    What strikes me about this whole converstaion from Sarkozy to Douglas Clark to Munir is teh voices that are missing are the most important ones- Muslim women who wear niqab!!

  95. douglas clark — on 26th June, 2009 at 9:34 am  

    munir,

    Here’s a question for you. Have you ever fancied a woman? You may have had the best intentions, but did you, even once? Y’know, give in to the idea of what she might be, how she might add to your life and stuff like that?

    Thought not.

  96. munir — on 26th June, 2009 at 9:40 am  

    douglas clark
    “So, is this woman an apostate?

    http://www.iranian.com/Arts/2004/August/Dress/12.html

    hahahah you are comical and your ignorance truly deep .Why are you asking me oh sheikh of Islam Douglas Clark?

    Islam is a belief -as long as people believe in its tenets they are considered Muslims (outwardly since only Allah knows anyones heart including people who may appear outwardly very pious) the acts they do or dont do , dont by themselves make them non Muslims

    “You do know how ridiculous this sounds? It is a male attempt to deny beauty, or a hard on.

    Whether religiously prescripted or not.”

    Well as Imam al Ghazali said “to a sick man sweet water tastes bitter”

    These are the words of God. Muslims believe that – you dont have to but you dont have the right to tell them not to follow them . Do you even believe in God?

  97. munir — on 26th June, 2009 at 9:44 am  

    douglas I have said I dont agree with religious authorities enforcing dress. So i suggest you kindly retract or apologise for post #91

    And BTW the story about the religious police in Saudi and the fire was later proven false

    Zealotry isnt just religious- because of secular zealots religious women in turkey are denied an education – dont see the “campaigners for womens rights (eg campaign only for women who are like us)” kicking up a fuss about THAT denial of education for women

  98. chairwoman — on 26th June, 2009 at 9:47 am  

    “By the way I am reading a great book by John Updike, ‘The Terrorist’ which tells the story of a disaffected young man in New Jersey . Haven’t ready many books on this genre but the author is such a skilled writer – probably one of the best of his generation.”

    Halima – Updike is, indeed, a wonderful wordsmith. I have always enjoyed reading his work, but for the beautiful construction rather than the content.

  99. douglas clark — on 26th June, 2009 at 9:48 am  

    munir,

    I am an atheist and yet I can find evidence that your claim that the face veil is part of your religion is a complete utter nonsense:

    The niqāb is regarded differently by the various schools of Islamic jurisprudence (madhāhab). The issue has continued to arouse debate between Muslim scholars and jurists both past and present concerning whether it is fard (obligatory) or Mustahabb (highly recommended) for a woman to wear niqāb. Salafi Muslims believe that a woman’s awrah in front of unrelated men is her entire body including her face and hands.

    That quote is simply to indicate that there is more than one stream of Muslim thought, and that munir doesn’t own the whole tenet.

    Far from it.

    He comes on here as an expert when he is nothing of the sort.

    Incidentally, I can google, but I am certainly not claiming expertise.

  100. halima — on 26th June, 2009 at 9:53 am  

    Hi Chairwomen

    Yes, i am still undecided on the politics of the book .. not sure what i think – but this is good .. if i find myself confused!

  101. munir — on 26th June, 2009 at 9:53 am  

    douglas I make an effort to respond to any questions asked of me but your post #95 was so mind numbingly moronic Im not going to

    Jesus (pbuh) said something along the lines of “i have brought , by God’s leave, the dead to life, but I have never been able to cure a fool”

  102. Sofia — on 26th June, 2009 at 9:54 am  

    munir- i do agree with some of your opinions but I do think you are stereotyping all muslim women by saying that those who wear hijab are free…yes some are..some aren’t …some wear it for the ‘right’ reason, others as a fashion statement or because they are told to or because they have grown up with it…just as ppl are diverse, so is opinion, value and belief…
    You cannot judge Halima’s reason for not wearing hijab…it is not a black and white issue where she has made a choice between following her belief in God or her ‘fear’ of others..it’s not as simple as that and to say it is, is unfair and judgemental. Whether it’s muslims or non muslims, what muslim women choose to wear is nobody’s goddamn business but theirs..and i’m sick of the sarkozy’s or the religious bigots of this world going on about it. Let women decide what they want to do..i don’t like the covering of the face but frankly if a woman chooses to do it, it’s none of my business..frankly i find half naked women more offensive but you don’t see many articles on that do you????

  103. douglas clark — on 26th June, 2009 at 9:55 am  

    munir,

    You said, without a tad of evidence, that this:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/1874471.stm

    was wrong.

    Perhaps it is. Post your contrary evidence rather than your assertions. If it comes from the Saudi Ministry for Truth, then folk can make their own minds up.

  104. halima — on 26th June, 2009 at 9:57 am  

    “You are saying you are more afraid of people and their opinions than of Allah. Monotheism is having one God alone and that God isnt “public opinion”
    You have to ask yourself if your God is the people you work with or God”

    Munir .. You got me. Have got myself in a pickle for sure. No, not afriad of public opinion either way. But was making a political point.

    Everything for me is political first and then religious .

  105. douglas clark — on 26th June, 2009 at 10:15 am  

    munir @ 101,

    douglas I make an effort to respond to any questions asked of me but your post #95 was so mind numbingly moronic Im not going to

    Jesus (pbuh) said something along the lines of “i have brought , by God’s leave, the dead to life, but I have never been able to cure a fool”

    How so? Are you not a man? Or perhaps we should assume you deny being a man?

    Whatever.

    Your failure to answer anything, much, on this thread suggests to me that you don’t like to be challenged, especially about your misogeny, whether explicit or implicit. Or justified, in your eyes, by religious fervour.

    But there you go, Rumbold loves you.

  106. The Common Humanist — on 26th June, 2009 at 10:19 am  

    Munir
    The veil and the burkha are not part of Islam – a women is required to dress modestly, thats all.

    This has generally been used as a tool by men to control women culturally. Always useful that – oppression dressed up as gods will.

    Anyway, the veil and burkha are culturally insulting and demeaning by Western European standards – headscarves are not.

  107. The Common Humanist — on 26th June, 2009 at 10:25 am  

    The Saudi version of Islam is religious fascism, lets be clear about that. It is to Islam what nazism was to german conservatism – an absolute extreme out of step with the mainstream. Saudi oil money has been used to export this poison and pollute far too much of the rest of Islam. Wahhabism is the problem and never a solution – unless you want to control women all the time that is.

  108. douglas clark — on 26th June, 2009 at 10:28 am  

    TCH,

    This has generally been used as a tool by men to control women culturally. Always useful that – oppression dressed up as gods will.

    Yup. And munir is the living proof of that proposition.

  109. douglas clark — on 26th June, 2009 at 10:37 am  

    What munir?

    And BTW the story about the religious police in Saudi and the fire was later proven false

    Any credible evidence, so far?

    You are linking to credible denials, aren’t you?

    Thought not.

  110. Ravi Naik — on 26th June, 2009 at 10:38 am  

    Its ironic- the Muslim women who wear hijab are free – they were because they want to please God and couldnt care less what others think of them. Yet some women dress based on what others will think of them! And our society calls them liberated!

    Why is it that Muslim societies where women have considerable less rights than men are the ones that wear niqab, and Muslim nations where women have more rights, they don’t use it? Is it just a coincidence?

    People here talk about “choice” a lot, and I agree with that. However, this doesn’t mean it should be encouraged. The niqab is a statement of separation.

    I do not want the government to meddle in the lives of families – I would not want the government to legislate that it is illegal for a racist father to teach their kids that races are to be separated, and multiculturism is evil. In the same length, I would not want the government to ban a garment that pretty much says the same thing: that there should be a wall between the larger community and our community.

    I also think people here should not conflate the niqab with hijab. Our faces – unlike any other part of our body – are used to identify individuals. The niqab pretty much erases that.

  111. persephone — on 26th June, 2009 at 10:52 am  

    @ 85 “of course men have to dress modestly too” and

    @89 “Muslim women who wear hijab are free – they were because they want to please God and couldnt care less what others think of them”

    This is where I have the problem with all of this. In that:

    1. there is such a vast difference in what the men & women wear.

    2. the men are wearing anything they like ie it does not appear to be prescriptive

    3. the men wear clothes according to the weather – eg on the link provided @ 79 the men near the women are wearing short sleeved t shirts in what looks to be sunny weather. While the women near these men, though they are not in burkhas, are wearing scarves, trousers & coats /dresses buttoned up.

    4. Only women appear to have the pressure of God expecting them to dress so differently from their men

    5. If the guidance is for both men & women to lower their eyes then there is no need to cover up

    This disparity comes across as the men appearing to have more and different freedoms on the issue of dress & modesty.

    And freedom is not freedom unless it is equal.

  112. douglas clark — on 26th June, 2009 at 10:56 am  

    Ravi Naik,

    I do not want the government to meddle in the lives of families – I would not want the government to legislate that it is illegal for a racist father to teach their kids that races are to be separated, and multiculturism is evil. In the same length, I would not want the government to ban a garment that pretty much says the same thing: that there should be a wall between the larger community and our community.

    But that is the problem with home schooling is it not? The child might know a lot about set subjects, like geography, or algebra, but it has been excluded from contact with people that do not agree with the parent, in this case a racist. School, which I hated, is probably quite good at making folk more culturally rounded. Although, it clearly doesn’t work for everyone…

  113. Rumbold — on 26th June, 2009 at 11:00 am  

    Douglas:

    Eh? Where did I say I like Munir?

    “How happy you must be to side with bampots like that.”

    I am arguing for the opposite actually: the right of women to dress how they please. Of course I oppose women being forced to wear the burkha, or indeed any other item of clothing. But some do choose to dress like that, and I understand why. Some may want to stop people oogling their bodies, while others might be doing it as a rebellious thing (against Western society).

    It seems like we are at crossed-wires at the moment: we both support the right of women to wear what they want, and utterly reject any notion that they should be expected/forced to wear something in particular.

  114. Jai — on 26th June, 2009 at 11:05 am  

    Interestingly, apparently a lot of the protests and turmoil in Iran involving women are partially motivated by them being fed up of the public clothing restrictions that have been forced on them during the past 30 years (amongst all the other issues they have to deal with).

    A few days ago CNN even had a video clip of an Iranian woman really taking it to the max by walking down the middle of a crowded city road in a sleeveless black dress and with her hair completely free, loudly challenging the authorities to “do their worst”. Extremely brave of her, I thought.

  115. Rumbold — on 26th June, 2009 at 11:09 am  

    That makes sense Jai. I like to think that I would be brave enough to go out and protest and risk being thrown in jail for years wihtout trial, but you never know until you have to.

  116. halima — on 26th June, 2009 at 11:19 am  

    Jai

    Yes, I recently spoke to a journalist who had come back from Iran and wrote this article entitled ‘Lifting the Veil’. He said something similar and wrote this balanced article after travelling across several Iranian cities.

    http://ivanbroadhead.com/#/social-cultural/4533497696

  117. Ravi Naik — on 26th June, 2009 at 11:20 am  

    Jai, if you haven’t seen Persepolis, you should. It is an animated film that shows how women’s lives were changed after the Islamic Revolution in Iran.

  118. douglas clark — on 26th June, 2009 at 11:21 am  

    Rumbold,

    You and I are very rarely at ‘crossed wires’.

    I like to think that we both understand each other. And, generally speaking, you couldn’t stick a Rizla Paper between us. Despite our ‘political’ differences. You support the issues I support, what’s to care about the differences?

    But you seemed to me to be taking an, err, dare I say it, Libertarian view of what appeared to me to be a prescriptive male pov. What you wrote at 113 says that I was wrong in thinking that.

    My arguement is with munir, not with your good self.

    So apologies.

  119. Ravi Naik — on 26th June, 2009 at 11:25 am  

    The child might know a lot about set subjects, like geography, or algebra, but it has been excluded from contact with people that do not agree with the parent, in this case a racist. School, which I hated, is probably quite good at making folk more culturally rounded

    Totally agree, Douglas.

  120. Jai — on 26th June, 2009 at 11:26 am  

    That makes sense Jai. I like to think that I would be brave enough to go out and protest and risk being thrown in jail for years wihtout trial, but you never know until you have to.

    Not to mention getting shot by a sniper like poor Neda.

    People in Iran have been using the internet to get all kinds of harrowing reports to the outside world, and some people have managed to contact American news stations directly; for example, CNN had a live telephone conversation with a hysterical woman in Iran a few days ago who had apparently witnessed the militia killing people with axes and she was screaming live on air for the rest of the world to help. There have also been other reports of protestors being pushed off bridges, and the authorities using photos or video footage (can’t remember which) of the various protests to identify people by matching them with government ID records and then “disappearing” people in the middle of the night.

    So yes, women like the individual I mentioned in #114 along with all the others we’ve seen participating in the various televised protest rallies during the past few weeks are very, very brave.

  121. Rumbold — on 26th June, 2009 at 12:02 pm  

    Douglas:

    No, I should be the one to apologise. I think that I misunderstood your previous point. I suppose I am taking a libertarian point of view on this, as I believe that people should be free to wear what they want, and shouldn’t be forced to wear something, including the burkha.

    Jai:

    I would be more worried about what would happen after the protests, when everyone has gone home and then there is a knock on the door.

  122. douglas clark — on 26th June, 2009 at 1:54 pm  

    Rumbold @ 121,

    Cheers.

    I know I am ‘sounding off’ on this thread, but I am quite angry about the way Pickled Politics has turned. I have always liked the debate here, but it has become a tad more extremist recently. And, as you no doubt know, there is a nasty streak in me.

    I will stand up for what I believe is right, which includes the rights of Muslim women to tell idiots like munir to get lost. Which, clearly, doesn’t preclude them wearing a burka, if that is what they really, really want. Somehow, just in my water or something, I think it is imposed on them by men.

    But, I could be wrong. The silence of women supporting munirs’ pov on this thread is perhaps telling.

    munir has yet to answer me on the issues that surround the, frankly disgusting, attitude that the Saudi religious police had, and presumeably have, about women. He, and they, see women as chattels, and I, for one, do not agree.

    I am quite angry that he assumes a blanket denial equals evidence.

    But there you go.

    munir can’t even admit he’s got any sexuality. See 101 for evidence.

    Now, that is extreme.

    Perhaps he is a follower of Muhamed Quitb, another sexually repressed lunatic.

  123. Jai — on 26th June, 2009 at 2:25 pm  

    Halima and Ravi, thanks for those URL links about Iran.

  124. The Common Humanist — on 26th June, 2009 at 2:40 pm  

    Douglas,
    I don’t think you are sounding off, just being fair and right.

    Munir appears to equates control of women with islam and see it as a central tennet of his religion – or at least his wacky wahhabi style interpretation of islam.

    Remember – there is no compulsion in religion – unless you are a girl apparently.

    At its best Islam can be a faith which brings meaning and dignity to life, at it’s worst it is a fascist mysogynistic boys club.

    Alas we see far more of the latter then the former these days.

  125. damon — on 26th June, 2009 at 2:43 pm  

    A point I have been trying to make is, is there any legitimacy in any (perhaps from more ”backward” people in local communities) sentiment that they don’t welcome this more visile presence of a culture (or just a religion) that they don’t understand, becoming more prevalent?
    I’ve been in Tunisia, and seen groups of working class British tourists being shown around towns like Sfax, and as much as they might be enjoying their holiday, I think that they soon learn that things are different in the arab world.
    They see the gender divide quite starkly, (as well as the way that they being western foriginers hovers over their heads like a neon sign.)
    They can never escape their ”otherness” from the way that local people treat them.
    And it’s not just about them being ”rich”.
    Arab tourists from from the Gulf, visiting countries in North Africa are given a much wider berth (I thought) in places like Tangier.

    My point is this one. Perhaps (when they get home) non-Muslim British people who have been to Muslim countries might be more aware of the ”unntural” sepperation between the sexes that hijabs (and particularly niqabs) signify. And therefore have a negative feeling when they see it becomeing more normalised in the UK.

    I remember a bus journey I took in Jordan some years ago. It was a stopping and starting and people were getting on and off all the time. And (of course) it was 90% men on board, who would squeeze on and be quite happy and easy going to be all squashed together standing up in the hot dusty bus.

    But whenever some women got on, the conductor (door jockey) was faced with a problem. Btw, being hot, many of the men were wearing open necked shirts, but the women who got on were wearing long coats and (of course) hjabs.

    What to do? What to do? The conductor (who’s usually a teenager) had to play musical chairs to make sure that women could sit together, and not be (heavan forbid) sitting next to a man.
    As a last resort, when he couldn’t find a place for a (young) woman, he would ask a guy (even me) to stand up, so the woman could sit with the next best thing, a dignified looking elderly man. Because I presumed it was thought that it wouldn’t be seen a sexual thing, (with him being ”past it”),unlike with, I presume the rest of us horny men.

    Maybe people who have seen how muslim countries are, might resent bringing this culture into their neighbourhood. Especially when that ”other” community becomes more dominant (if that’s not too loaded a word), and people might (irrationally) be fearful of a ”red squirrel/grey squirrel” thing occuring locally.

    One last point. I was in driving down Edgeware Road last saturday evening with this young female student from India, and she told me she had gone for dinner there the night before. ”How do you like it?” I asked her, and seeing the pavements, cafes and resturants thronged with Muslim people (most probably not British citizens, but here as tourists or working here), and she told me (this attractive young Hundo woman who wears jeans and t shirts) that she had found herself being stared at the night before and she found the place a bit creepy.

  126. douglas clark — on 26th June, 2009 at 3:02 pm  

    TCH,

    Alas, indeed. What we have is immature males pontificating. munir, I mean you!

    He just plays a game really, without any understanding of consequences. So far, munir can’t rise to the challenge about the truth over this:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/1874471.stm

    what sort of person is he?

    Denial is the name, and denial is the game.

  127. damon — on 26th June, 2009 at 3:19 pm  

    Btw, the Iranian woman in the picture Douglas Clark liked too in post 79 is stunningly beautiful.
    And I think I might stare at her a bit too if I saw her in public. (In a discreet way that I hope was not noticed).

    This morning in Bayswater in London, two Somali (I think) women were walking four young children to school. (Primary school). Three (Somali) boys of ages from about five to nine or ten, and a girl of six or seven.
    She was (like the adult women) wearing a hijab.
    Why? I thought.

  128. douglas clark — on 26th June, 2009 at 3:49 pm  

    damon @ 127

    Yes, she is, but the likes of munir would deny you that. Lest you got excited. And your thoughts turned instantly to rape, rather than chatting her up. Now that would never do. For the denial of sexual attraction is what munir is all about, the wee Calvanist! See 101, et al, for details…

  129. halima — on 26th June, 2009 at 3:58 pm  

    “My point is this one. Perhaps (when they get home) non-Muslim British people who have been to Muslim countries might be more aware of the ”unnatural” separation between the sexes that hijabs (and particularly niqabs) signify. And therefore have a negative feeling when they see it becoming more normalized in the UK.”

    But you don’t have to go to the Middle East or South Asia to observe this separation between the genders. It’s happening here in the UK already – by young women and men of Islamic extraction. My question is this – societies do change, evolve, there’s no way of stopping it. Most of all, culture is something that’s never fixed. The Britishness of today is nothing like the britishness of 50 years ago, or that compared with 100 years ago or 500 years. If some of that change is coming from groups that we traditionally don’t see eye-to-eye with we might not like it. But isn’t that the point of social change – push it, pull towards it until you find a comfortable place? They are doing this in other parts of the world – accepting MTV or globalization, which is often a western brand of globalization. When other influences are brought into Europe and the US we reject them so quickly when the rest of the world has been absorbing globalization, trade liberalization, destruction of traditional ways of living in some part of pastoral Africa etc.

    A little of ‘other’ influences in Europe can’t hurt it. It’s almost as though the only culture we want to tolerate is that sort we can ‘consume’ (food) and believe ourselves to be quite liberal because we go for an Indian or a Lebanese.

    Accepting other people is more than consuming their cuisine. It’s about accepting more than steel bands and somas as.

  130. douglas clark — on 26th June, 2009 at 4:12 pm  

    He tries to herd women like a flock of obedient sheep, and wonders why, on a forum such as this, that not one voice is raised in his support. Perhaps it is because women, y’know, generally, can’t be bothered anymore with being dominated by a tit. And I do mean you munir.

  131. Don — on 26th June, 2009 at 4:28 pm  
  132. Imran Khan — on 26th June, 2009 at 4:42 pm  

    TCH – “The veil and the burkha are not part of Islam – a women is required to dress modestly, thats all.”

    Are you Muslim? Why is it that so many Muslim women don’t agree with your take on this. There are dress codes for men and women its that simple and it applies to all Abrahamic Faiths. Orthodox Jewish women wear a head covering so your claim is incorrect.

    “This has generally been used as a tool by men to control women culturally. Always useful that – oppression dressed up as gods will.”

    That then is a problem with men surely?

    “Anyway, the veil and burkha are culturally insulting and demeaning by Western European standards – headscarves are not.”

    So this is the best standard then is what you are trying to dictate and impose which is about European men such as you, Douglas and Sarkozy dictating what Muslim women can and cannot do so how is that different from the Muslim men you so despise. You claim to talk of freedom of choice but you are dictating what is and isn’t acceptable.

    Surely the correct debate is to determine if women and being forced or not and not be about European men now deciding what Muslim women can and cannot wear.

    You are setting yourselves on a stage looking down and telling Muslim men they cannot tell Muslim women what to wear as its a method of control and in the same vein telling them what is acceptable dress by European standards which itself is then a method of control.

    The idea that hundreds of millions of women including highly educated ones are being dominated and bullied into wearing attire is a ludicrous claim.

    Agreed that there may be some who are bullied and agreed this may be a very significant number but is the solution that a bunch of European men then decide what is acceptable?

    Also then why not extend the debate to women of other faiths why the focus solely on one religion? The reason is because its easy to target the Muslim faith and you two love attacking Muslims.

    In Europe itself the fashion industry is dominated by men who decide what that seasons fashion is for women so why is that control acceptable. Men in the advertising industry have decided what view of women is acceptable so why isn’t that control?

    Why are European women unable to decide what conforms a view of women and how its presented?

    Strange how that is ignored to make you feel better about yourselves huh?

  133. douglas clark — on 26th June, 2009 at 5:49 pm  

    halima,

    So, are you in favour of the burka or not? Worse, are you agreeing with the mad and bad munir? Or, are you a tad offended at men making up rules about what women should wear? Whether they call themselves religious scholars or not.

    Your, rather large, audience deserves an answer.

  134. dashenka — on 26th June, 2009 at 6:00 pm  

    total face covering should be definitely ban for the sake of security.

    how nice to commit crimes with a hidden face… rob bank, attack people… not only muslims could use that trick

    it is not enough to oblige women to show their faces in special places, because crime can be committed anywhere

  135. douglas clark — on 26th June, 2009 at 6:04 pm  

    Oh! And now we get Imran Khan on to lecture us about what Muslims think. Here are a few photographs of Muslim women.

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/slideshow/ALeqM5hkzosTgK3ner6HkyGtGYXjNNo9vQD9918E0G0?index=0

    or

    http://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/women/article5918094.ece

    or

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/showbiz/1608650.stm

    So, no. You don’t get to define anything Imran. The world ain’t what you think it is.

  136. halima — on 26th June, 2009 at 6:21 pm  

    Douglas

    Yes I am in favour of any one who wants to wear a burka , niqab or veil.

    As I am in favour of anyone who wants to strip and pose naked for Page 3/4 for the British Tabloids.

    For me it’s a question of fairness.

    I am not just a tad offended by anyone making up rules – I am also offended by society at large imposing expectations of homogeneity and hiding behind a cloak of liberalism.

    I am offended at real things that bother me about inequalities between women and men. Unequal wages, forced marriages, forced anything.

    Not the burqa per se. No.

    You’ll probably notice that the religious Muslims on this site aren’t echoing my sentiments, and nor are the mostly liberal commentators here.

    Somewhere between these two poles, though, must be a truth.

    Think that was what liberalism is – no truths per se , but as close as approximations as you can get when there are two opposing views.

    I didn’t agree with Munir – I guess Munir was concerned that I might bow to social pressure so much in the face of something so fundamentally personal – and I’ve explained I am not. I wouldn’t be on a public blog site if i was worried about minor social pressures from a from a few good men…

  137. douglas clark — on 26th June, 2009 at 6:28 pm  

    And furthermore Imran Khan,

    You said this:

    Surely the correct debate is to determine if women and being forced or not and not be about European men now deciding what Muslim women can and cannot wear.

    which I happen to agree with

    Then you said this:

    The idea that hundreds of millions of women including highly educated ones are being dominated and bullied into wearing attire is a ludicrous claim.

    Agreed that there may be some who are bullied and agreed this may be a very significant number but is the solution that a bunch of European men then decide what is acceptable?

    I’m only asking, but that seems an incredibly stupid position to take. If a significant number of Muslim women are being bullied into a dress code then the solution should be staring them in the face. One of the few things this society takes seriously is the freedom of individual choice. It would be interesting if Muslim women were given that choice, free of Muslim male attitudes, like yours. And, clearly, free of secular male attitudes like mine, too.

    I think that is some way off.

  138. NielsC — on 26th June, 2009 at 6:44 pm  

    #Ala
    “This whole thing stinks of cultural supremacy i.e all these Muslim-looking things are ruining our European landscape”.
    Yes of course.
    Go to a museum, and have a look at the paintings. From the early middle ages on interpretations of the face is an important part of western culture.
    By wearing the burkha you tell the world that you aren’t part of this tradition and culture.

  139. douglas clark — on 26th June, 2009 at 6:47 pm  

    halima,

    You’ve got guts, so you do. My arguement here is about freedom of choice, and if that is not coming across it is because I can’t write worth a damn. I am not saying that the Burka should be prohibited, what I am saying is that women ( Muslim women) should be entitled to make up their own minds about it, free of male sexual hang ups. Muslim men now wander around with their arses covered. What the hell is that about?

    It does seem to me that the burka is currently being used as a political statement, but that’s probably just me and Sarkosy ;-)

    Wear what you want, just question why.

    That is all.

  140. huron — on 26th June, 2009 at 7:37 pm  

    Good grief. A ban on any type of clothing (except in specific work-related environments) is ridiculous and repressive.

    However, of course there are very real consequences to the way we dress. In my youth I had a purple mohawk and I had a very difficult time getting a job. I’d imagine a face tattoo has repercussions. And I’m sure no one on this site would feel comfortable in a room with someone wearing a nazi swastika t-shirt.

    Of course none of this should be illegal.

    The consequence of wearing a face veil is that it does separate you from others. Not just men. As a new mum I spend plenty of time in local playgrounds and chatting with other mums. I live in a part of East London that is mostly Muslim, and most women wear the hijab, but many also wear the niqab. The women in hijab, smile, chat and interact, and over time we get to know each other and our children. The women in niqab are basically inapproachable because they are non-recognisable.

    Without that initial mutual smile, how do two strangers dare to start the mundane conversation that all new mothers share: how old is your baby, does the baby sleep? To this day, not once have I held such a conversation with a mum in niqab. But, if someone thinks that this is any different from me being blanked on playground because I had my old purple mohawk, then I do think that there is a underlying prejudice at play.

  141. halima — on 26th June, 2009 at 7:39 pm  

    Douglas .

    I guess we are agreeing then, I am sorry, being a lazy reader, I sometimes miss important points.

    Men covering their arses. I am told the arse is just as provocative and sexual in a man as it is in a women. Perhaps they’re applying the principle to both sexes?

    As we are always discussing women’s sexuality. let’s try and discuss what sexuality men might have to hide – as boring as it might be.

    Guess men also have the additional liability of showing their excitment and so some might argue wearing loose clothes might take away attention from their swollen ornaments ( is this the euphenism)?

    Why do men go around doing what they do? I don’t know – men generally tend to want to do what they want – and feminism probably has a long explanation for why. Muslim men are no different. They are men first.

    There are some men who are aparently not bad ;-) The French have lost ability to define French nationality and this is a problem that’s always beset the French mind-set – and occassionally they soul search for a more confident expression of their national identity. Now i am going to say something that is er.. terribly English.. the French way doesn’t work in a modern globalised way – ideology never does. Pragmatism is always better. Using the burka to redefine French values again is , as someone said, a soft touch. It’s not anti-Muslim, it’s basically a debate about French identity. Again – it ain’t about the other – it’s about the person doing the gazing, the judging, and in France , it’s writ large.

    I might wear coz I think it’s quite modest, that’s all. As I grow older, I might actually find as an older woman more refreshed to be covered and people not devaluing me because i am no longer 16 and nubile.

  142. douglas clark — on 26th June, 2009 at 8:11 pm  

    halima,

    No worries. Can I just say that mens arses are about as arousing as suet pudding? In other words, not at all. If the sexes are equal, then I’d assume that some women find some mens’ behinds the object of sexual fantasy. I think Jennifer Lopez has a sexy ass, but there you go, that’s just me. A man. So, my assumption about Muslim men is that they consider their backsides so erotic that, for the sake of saving their womenfolk from living a fantasy life, they hide it, (them, whatever).

    Contrary to what you might think, I am a man and I can assure you it would be the biggest embarrasment in my life if I were to meet the aforesaid Jenifer Lopez with a pistol in my pocket, as they say. It is just not cool. Obviously you are trying to impress the woman with comments like “sometimes Pickled Politics lets me write above the line. She is unlikely to be awestruck with that if one was so obviously encumbered. Otherwise, clearly, she’d be gagging for it.

    Anyway, don’t take this seriously. Please. I know y’all have your heads screwed on, but sometimes, I don’t.

  143. Don — on 26th June, 2009 at 8:25 pm  

    I think it’s quite modest

    Quite?

    What would very look like?

  144. Shatterface — on 26th June, 2009 at 8:33 pm  

    I don’t think men covering their arses are afraid of WOMEN eyeing them up, it’s more likely homophobia.

    Or they’re just putting on weight.

    Me? I can bounce a coin off it.

  145. Shatterface — on 26th June, 2009 at 11:37 pm  

    Ironically, the headscarf on it’s own actually draws attention to the face by (a) framing it and (b) holding the hair away from it.

  146. Shatterface — on 26th June, 2009 at 11:40 pm  

    Also, it’s easier to photoshop onto someone elses body.

  147. Clairwil — on 27th June, 2009 at 12:09 am  

    @Halima,
    ‘You have a right to express opinions for sure. But strong reactions always are always more interesting than what someone is criticising. We all carry values, but mostly these values we embody, belong to us, and not people who we are criticising. Something that causes no harm shouldn’t be described as vile.’

    Why not? I think it’s a vile practice, a barrier to integration and an insult to all women. It does cause harm. It hands evidence on a plate to those who believe Muslims do not wish to integrate, that all Muslim women are oppressed victims and aesthetically it is ugly. It has no place in a civilised culture. How dare anyone imply that a whole gender, my gender is unfit for public view!

    As for strong reactions always being more interesting that what is being criticised, I presume you are implying I have some agenda that I’m not stating here. Care to expand on that point?

  148. Clairwil — on 27th June, 2009 at 12:12 am  

    @Douglas lark,
    ‘Can I just say that mens arses are about as arousing as suet pudding? In other words, not at all’

    Hah! Speak for yourself. Mr Clairwil has a fine arse.

  149. halima — on 27th June, 2009 at 12:36 am  

    Clairwil

    The women i know who wear the burqa want to integrate, what’s stopping you from wanting to integrate with them? It inhibits communications but not impossible to get to know someone wearing a burqa.

    I admit as a man it probably isn’t practical for integrating?

    I am a women so it can’t be an insult to all women.

    As for strong reactions, yes it is interesting, it does suggest to me that you see a different cultural sign than what i might see it as. Can’t you accept that people have different readings of symbols?

    If you think you are empowering women by telling them they shouldn’t wear it, you are in fact doing the opposite – disempowering them – and I don’t think this is your intention at all .

    Debate is good – but there is no need for emotive language like vile.

    Also, if we try and use the word garment we might actually have a less emotive discussion about this – as everyone’s reaction to burqa is Afganistan and it conjures up a Taliban society. So we are immediately bracketing people who wear that garment in that catogory.

    But it’s not something i think that much about .. which is why .. Don , I can’t explain what very modest would be.. slip of the tongue..on my part.

    Douglas… I am not the world’s expert on arses either way! But I am sure arses along with women’s breasts are sexual ..

  150. halima — on 27th June, 2009 at 12:42 am  

    I just think in the UK you can’t ban and claim you are empowering women ..

    the whole debate about universal values and norms is quite regressive, everyone shouldn’t be trying to emulate the west.

    The above statement isn’t about the burqa , it’s about everything, and wonder why an earth we are slipping into regressive thinking where we all expect the French tradition of being absolutely secular in public to every to everone.

    Same goes with American style view of what Iraqi democracy should like.. The world is becoming more and more similar and I wonder if differences are such a bad thing and should we be foisting our views on others.

  151. Clairwil — on 27th June, 2009 at 1:18 am  

    ‘The women i know who wear the burqa want to integrate, what’s stopping you from wanting to integrate with them?’

    Nothing I never claimed I did not want to integrate with them. I merely observe that integration is a hell of a lot easier when you csan see who you’re talking to. It is my experience that immigrant women who wear the niqab and facial coverings DO want to integrate. The Scottish waerers seem hell bent on setting themselves apart.

    ‘Can’t you accept that people have different readings of symbols?’

    Yes I can. Can’t they accept they’ll be judged for their actions like everyone else?

    ‘I am a woman so it can’t be an insult to all women’

    Yes it can. The fact that some women are gender traitors is nothing new.

    ‘If you think you are empowering women by telling them they shouldn’t wear it, you are in fact doing the opposite – disempowering them – and I don’t think this is your intention at all .’

    Can you explain where I’ve tried to impose my will on other women? They can do what they like. They hardly need my permission. I think people shouldn’t do a lot of things. Why is it only questioned when I say women should refrain from wearing a demeaning garment. It’s only my opinion?

    It’s a bit like when women come into my workplace and demand that they are seen by a ‘correctly dressed Muslim woman’ because it is against their religion to speak to non-Muslims. They have every right to object to how I’m dressed and my following Pantheism instead of Islam. Just like it’s my right to ask them which surah they got that rot from. Just as it’s their right to respond to that by making complaints of racism. I could go on….

    Vile is as good an adjective as any and I see no reason to banish it from debate.

  152. Shatterface — on 27th June, 2009 at 1:18 am  

    We are all ‘foisting our views on others’.

    Even saying everyone should do what they want is foisting a liberal view on people who think otherwise.

  153. halima — on 27th June, 2009 at 1:32 am  

    “Yes it can. The fact that some women are gender traitors is nothing new.”

    This is my point Clairwl.

    Are you calling me gender traitor?

    I hope not.

    Some women fight multiple sexisms – including what i call first wave white feminism which is sometimes offensive.

    The most worrying images for young women at the moment is bing drinking and being paralytic in public which is quite harmful.

  154. limpia — on 27th June, 2009 at 2:31 am  

    of course Sarkozy is right- the burkha, the niqab or any face covering should not be allowed due to security concerns- anywhere outside of your own home!!!! How are we to identify someone who commits a crime? Plain and simple. We can talk forever about whether or not the idiots underneath them are making a free decision etc Not important . What is important is security. Beyond that, it is a health issue because they cant possibly be getting enuf oxygen!

  155. Ravi Naik — on 27th June, 2009 at 7:49 am  

    It’s a bit like when women come into my workplace and demand that they are seen by a ‘correctly dressed Muslim woman’ because it is against their religion to speak to non-Muslims.

    Did this actually happen to you?

  156. Golam Murtaza — on 27th June, 2009 at 7:51 am  

    Personally, I think the burkha and niqab are excessive, though I can’t understand why anyone would have a problem with only a headscarf. The way in which some people conflate these different garments is rather disturbing.

    As others have already stated, I’m afraid I suspect many of those trying to ban the burkha aren’t doing so for very noble reasons. Which is tricky because it isn’t always easy to distinguish them from people who ARE campaigning with honourable intentions.

  157. Rumbold — on 27th June, 2009 at 8:37 am  

    Damon:

    ”This morning in Bayswater in London, two Somali (I think) women were walking four young children to school. (Primary school). Three (Somali) boys of ages from about five to nine or ten, and a girl of six or seven.
    She was (like the adult women) wearing a hijab.
    Why? I thought.”

    Good point. Since the covering is supposed to (essentially) be a response to leering men, you have to wonder how parents like that think.

    Golam sums it up in #156.

    I am glad that people like Douglas and Clairwil are getting excised about this, and the burkha can make it harder to build relationships with people. However, it doesn’t make it impossible, since a relationship depends on shared experiences and an enjoyment of the other person’s compnay. I enjoy debating with Douglas, yet I have never seen his face.

  158. munir — on 27th June, 2009 at 9:50 am  

    damon
    ”This morning in Bayswater in London, two Somali (I think) women were walking four young children to school. (Primary school). Three (Somali) boys of ages from about five to nine or ten, and a girl of six or seven.
    She was (like the adult women) wearing a hijab.
    Why? I thought.”

    Do you feel the same when you see white kids decked out in revealing sexualised clothes or wearing make up and lipsticks?

    The young girls were probably wearing hijab to acclimatise them to it so when they reach the age where they have to do it , in a country where there is hostility to wearing it and peer presure makes it a very dificult thing to do, it wont be as difficult

  159. munir — on 27th June, 2009 at 10:14 am  

    clairwill

    “Why not? I think it’s a vile practice, a barrier to integration and an insult to all women.”

    Its a barrier to assimiliation not integration- insult to women? the women who wear it feel the opposite

    “Yes I can. Can’t they accept they’ll be judged for their actions like everyone else?”

    Doesnt this apply to women who wear mini-skirts too?

    “Yes it can. The fact that some women are gender traitors is nothing new.”

    Haha gender traitors? Arent you a gender traitor for sleeping with the enemy, a man?
    Do you think nuns or Jewish women who cover are also gender traitors?

    You are exactly the same as extremist Muslims- you see woman not as individuals but as a symbol of your ideaology who thus must dress how you want them to not how they themselves wish to or be traitors

    “It’s a bit like when women come into my workplace and demand that they are seen by a ‘correctly dressed Muslim woman’ because it is against their religion to speak to non-Muslims.”

    No it isnt- you are using what one person from a group does to argue against what others from that group do rather than treating people as individuals
    Pure bigotry

  160. munir — on 27th June, 2009 at 10:25 am  

    damon
    “I am glad that people like Douglas and Clairwil are getting excised about this, and the burkha can make it harder to build relationships with people”

    this is an absurd comment which implies everyone in this country spends their time chatting to new people when most people, especially in London, ignore even their own neighbours especially if they are ethnics

  161. damon — on 27th June, 2009 at 10:32 am  

    Rumbold:

    About that point above. I suppose one explaination is that female children being put in hijabs from an early age is just a cultural thing. It’s what is done in Somalia. There’s not that much thought put into it. It’s just like here where young girls wear dresses and young boys wear shorts.

    That these parents are not making the cultural shift, (now that they no longer live in Somalia) is something that maybe needs to be pointed out to them.
    If your parents have put a hijab on you at age six, then if you don’t want to wear it at 14, it might seem like a big deal. (What will dad say?)

    I heard someone call the Vanessa Feltz BBC London radio programme (a non muslim mother whose daughter went to a school with a lot of muslim children), who said that a muslim teacher had said at assembly one day that the muslim girls should really be wearing their hijabs. Some started doing so, until some parents protested to the school and the recommendation was dropped.
    (I have no way of verifying that story, it’s just something a caller to the show said).

    Melanie Phillips had this immage on the cover of her (sensationalist) book ”Londonistan”.
    http://pajamasmedia.com/files/2008/06/niqabs.jpg

    How ever much a muslim woman may want to wear a niqab, she has to accept that there will be people seeing it as an unwelcome sight.
    For a variety of reasons. From the forceful feminist argument, to islamophobia and ignorance (and racism).

    For example. In a place like Barking in East London (which is said to have a higher than average number of BNP sympathisers) – unfortunately there would probably be an adverse reaction to the niqab being seen more and more around the town.
    Those guys drinking in the Barking Dog pub next to the train station might see the increase of this garment in Barking as a sign that Barking was going the way of East Ham (just one tube train stop away).
    In East Ham the cultural (racial) ”hegamony” has tilted away from the traditional white working class cockney people who used to be the majority there, (where in one ward – the St George’s ward) I read that white people make up 16% of the local population.

    So I guess that the niqab can become a symbol for people’s islamophobia.
    I worked with a German chef once, and he had worked as a chef for a big hotel out in the UAE.
    He was islamophobic (and even racist I suppose) about the culture he had experienced out there.
    So what he thought of large groups of rich Gulf arabs who were staying at the German hotel we worked at (where many of the women wore the full Gulf style black outfit with faces covered), I can guess quite easilly.
    (And maybe he thought less of the two Gulf arab chefs who were sent over in the summer by the hotel chain to do the food for the arab guests).

  162. damon — on 27th June, 2009 at 11:21 am  

    munir, I only saw your posts after I’d written ny last one. (I’m sure that the quote you did @ post 160 is not mine btw).
    And the rest of what you said in that post … I think is very poor writing.
    ”…..most people, especially in London, ignore even their own neighbours especially if they are ethnics”.

    That’s what you said and I think that is disingenuous.

    From your post @ 158:
    ”Do you feel the same when you see white kids decked out in revealing sexualised clothes or wearing make up and lipsticks?”.

    I’d say that I don’t really see that much sexualisation of children. I knoew it makes the radio talk shows know and again, when some conservative jock rants about ‘Top Shop’ selling thongs (or whatever) directed at children.
    But when I see young girls experimenting with clothes and makeup, I think it’s sweet, and I presume they have adults in their lives who can guide them (with issues like this).
    It should be no big deal.

  163. munir — on 27th June, 2009 at 11:39 am  

    douglas clark #99

    “The niqāb is regarded differently by the various schools of Islamic jurisprudence (madhāhab). The issue has continued to arouse debate between Muslim scholars and jurists both past and present concerning whether it is fard (obligatory) or Mustahabb (highly recommended) for a woman to wear niqāb. Salafi Muslims believe that a woman’s awrah in front of unrelated men is her entire body including her face and hands.”

    haha pricless. Douglas I never said the niqab was a categorical obligation (as hijab it) just that it is despite what you and Sarkozt say a part of Islam . This is exactly what you posted says !!!! It is saying that some scholars say niqab is fard (an obligation for which their is punishment for omitting but reward for doing) or mustahab (an act for which there is reward for doing but no punishment for ommiting).

    that is niqab is a good act either way (none of them saying that it isnt part of Islam). This is what, as you quote says, all 4 schools of Sunni Islamic law say

    If you still dont understand Ill make it clear- even the softer position holds that niqab is a recommended act for which a woman is rewarded by God

    A highly recommended act is necessarily an act that is part of the religion. Drinking alcohol for example

    The debate is over whether it is an obligation or recommended – there is no debate amongst the 4 schools that it is part of Islam

    Thanks Doug for proving me right!

  164. munir — on 27th June, 2009 at 11:43 am  

    Rumbold
    “Good point. Since the covering is supposed to (essentially) be a response to leering men, you have to wonder how parents like that think.”

    Not talking about children – but you seem to have got it into your cranium that women covering is about stopping men leering. They may be a wisdom but it isnt the reason

    The reason is because God says so. God also says men shouldnt leer at women . Some men may find covered women more attractive but that doesnt change the fact they hijab is compulsory

  165. munir — on 27th June, 2009 at 11:52 am  

    douglas clark
    “The few times I have seen fully clad burka folk, they did walk a few steps behind their men. Their men looked to me, like, pretty evil. Y’know?

    Perhaps it’s just Munirs’ culture?”

    Why ? was it me who looked at you? I doubt it since no one in my family wears a burka (sic-your such a thicko you dont even use the correct terminology)

    Or perhaps your a racist who treats people as their group rather than individuals – x person from this group did this to me so all for this group are like that

    I was once beaten up by a racist white man- therefor this is Douglas Clark’s culture

    My culture incidentally is British

    Your post of #99 has already explained that niqab is a religious act. Walking three steps behind is a cultural practice not a religious one -recommend you read about the early Muslim women (many who wore face veils) – they were warriors, scholars and a pretty fearsome lot.

  166. Jai — on 27th June, 2009 at 11:57 am  

    The idea that hundreds of millions of women including highly educated ones are being dominated and bullied into wearing attire is a ludicrous claim.

    The huge numbers of highly educated women in Iran currently involved in protesting for reforms (including laws pertaining to public clothing restrictions) would disagree.

  167. munir — on 27th June, 2009 at 11:58 am  

    the common humanist
    “Given this nations christian and humanist roots I suspect that muslims in favour of said items will have a difficult job convincing the rest of us that the garments are anything other then an aspect of men trying to control women.”

    why do we have to convince you of anything? Are you our fvcking lords and masters? do gay people have to convince us that they are normal? or transexuals that they are? who cares what ill informed bigots such as yourself think?

    Your comment about “this nations christian and humanist roots” gives the game away – this is our country not yours – we have priveleges- you will never be truly British – even a white British Muslim woman who wears niqab (of whom there are not a few) isnt British

    So much for equality and being a common humanist!

    Youre on BNP territory!

  168. munir — on 27th June, 2009 at 12:06 pm  

    Jai
    “The huge numbers of highly educated women in Iran currently involved in protesting for reforms (including laws pertaining to public clothing restrictions) would disagree.”

    Yes Jai. Sometimes highly educated (and even uneducated women) have different opinions to each other.

    Indeed the female protestors are being restraining by other women

    But you hit the nail on the head – Sarkozy and his supporters on here are exactly like the mullahs of Iran. They both want to dictate what women can and cant wear

  169. munir — on 27th June, 2009 at 12:18 pm  

    Common Humanist

    “Munir
    The veil and the burkha are not part of Islam – a women is required to dress modestly, thats all. ”

    hahhaa – a non Muslim teaching us islam !

    You are wrong. I refer you to Douglas Clarks quoting of Muslim scholars at #99

    “This has generally been used as a tool by men to control women culturally. Always useful that – oppression dressed up as gods will. ”

    Like you mean saying that God is actually male as “our Christian heritage” says . In Islam God is genderless

    And YOU are trying to control women culturally by demanding the niqab be banned a women dress like Europeans!!!

    “Anyway, the veil and burkha are culturally insulting and demeaning by Western European standards – headscarves are not.”

    so? The miniskirt or not covering your hair is isulting and demeaning in some Muslim countries- would you support women being banned from doing these?

    In Iran a woman uncovering her hair is culturally insulting- so you are on th side of the Mullahs banning this!!

    “The Saudi version of Islam is religious fascism, lets be clear about that. It is to Islam what nazism was to german conservatism – an absolute extreme out of step with the mainstream. ”

    The Saudi version is ceratinly outside mainstream Islam. But on the issue of niqab it isnt (enforcemnet is a different issue) – as Douglas post of #99 pointed out all four schools of Sunni Islam (Hanafi/Maliki/Shafi/Hanbali) say the niqab is at least recommended. Muslim women have always worn the face veil.

    I was at a talk on Wednesday by Abdul Hakim Murad a veritable scourge of the Wahaabbis. He was scathing about Sarkozy and mentioned that in the school he followed (Maliki) the niqab is recommended. Doesnt mean he was encouraging women to wear it in the west but banning it is wrong.

    ” Wahhabism is the problem and never a solution – unless you want to control women all the time that is.”

    says a man who wants to decree what women wear

  170. munir — on 27th June, 2009 at 12:23 pm  

    The Islamophobes schizophrenia on this issue is comical

    they tell us how opressed and utterly powerless women in niqab are at the same time as saying they are existential threat to a nclear armed state , member of the five permamnt mebers of the security council and fifth richest nation on earth!!

  171. chairwoman — on 27th June, 2009 at 12:55 pm  

    Most Orthodox Jewish women who cover their heads in public (and BTW most don’t shave their heads these days), do so out of a combination of personal choice and custom.

    Although Jewish Orthodox women always dress modestly (elbows covered, long skirts, no cleavage) after the age of twelve, they don’t cover their hair until they are married. After that, they wear a wig, a snood, a headscarf or a hat when outside the home, or at home when males over thirteen who are not family members are present.

    The shaved heads are a throwback to medieval Poland when the rule of “Droit de Seigneur” existed. This meant that the Lord of the Manor had the right to sleep with any woman on his Manor on her wedding night, so Jewish women started to shave their heads to make themselves repulsive.

    I assume that adult Muslim women cover themselves up also from choice more often than not, although I personally like to seem somebody’s face when I’m speaking with them, or I am at a disadvantage socially.

    My grandmother was delighted when she came here as a young wife, because although she didn’t mind wearing a hat or a headscarf (snoods weren’t in fashion then :) )in public, she was vain about her hair, and was reluctant to cut it.

  172. persephone — on 27th June, 2009 at 12:59 pm  

    it would be useful to get burka wearing women here for their comments otherwise it is easy to dismiss this as islamophobia. As free women they are noticeable by their voice.

    it has also never been clarified on various posts about this subject as to why men do not have to wear similar attire if the religious direction is for all to be modest.

  173. persephone — on 27th June, 2009 at 1:02 pm  

    do i miss the edit button!

    @ 172 meant absence not voice in the first para

  174. Shamit — on 27th June, 2009 at 1:11 pm  

    I have conflicting thoughts on this subject.

    Since when is it the Government’s business to tell anyone what they should or should not wear? We condemn the regimes in Iran and Saudi Arabia for their lack of freedom yet Sarkozy follows suit.

    This is a gross invasion of privacy I feel especially if the Burqah was a well considered adult choice without the baggage of emotional blackmail and soft indoctrination from a very early age.

    Evidence, if collected, I think would suggest “reasoned choice” would most likely be rarity.

    In that scenario wouldn’t it be fair to say that our elected leaders have a responsibility towards a vulnerable group in our society and support them. And, it is hard to argue against the point that “Burqah” does act as a barrier in fulfilling one’s potential.

    In Britain, by law someone has to show their full face in banks, airports and some other places – so is it really wrong to ask that teachers, doctors, scientists not wear Burqahs? Or are those career options simply do not exist for those people. A young girl good in maths and loving physics, if convinced from a young age that wearing the burqah is important, would find it hard to go for a career in physics. Is that really acceptable?

    If it is not why are we so concerned about our elected leaders taking up the cause of that young girl and banning burqah?

    I think the delivery may have come across arrogant but the substance matters and on that progressives should support Sarkozy’s stand on the issue.

  175. Ravi Naik — on 27th June, 2009 at 1:19 pm  

    Damon – there is nothing wrong with the hijab, it is not different than using a hat, or covering your hair. The real issue is covering your face in public.

    However, I am tired of hearing that opposition to the niqab is somewhat an Islamophobic construction:

    First of all, when I walk down the street, I like to see people’s faces: that’s a pretty basic form of communication in any normal society. Seeing blobs walking behind me or in front me make me uncomfortable, I am glad this is a very small minority.

    Second, call it what you want: but in most societies in this planet the need to walk anonymously in public by covering your face is dysfunctional: there’s a severe social dissonance there.

    Third, it is a fact that women are born in cultures where they are raised to be submissive, some no doubt believe that females should not be educated, and that men have a superior role than women. So, yes, there is a point that we need to respect people’s beliefs and choices even if they come from the alleged victims, but there is another part of the picture – and an important part – where we wish to discourage such behaviour.

    I wonder whether Munir feels that the niqab should be discouraged or he is just indifferent to it.

  176. Shatterface — on 27th June, 2009 at 1:52 pm  

    Munir, your entire argument boils down to the idea that women should be covered from head to foot because your imaginary friend will reward them in the next life.

    Grow the fuck up.

  177. munir — on 27th June, 2009 at 2:55 pm  

    “Munir, your entire argument boils down to the idea that women should be covered from head to foot because your imaginary friend will reward them in the next life.”

    No my entire argument boils down to the idea that women should be allowed to wear whatever they want

    This is what you are arguing against

  178. munir — on 27th June, 2009 at 2:59 pm  

    This is Jewish actor Steven Berkoff on niqab wearers

    “If that is what they wish then let them be, since I have to admit that they are still far more elegant and dignified than some Western women whose sense of self-respect and dignity has long been eroded by their slavish following of the most absurd iniquities of fashion. When I see young women in the street with their buttocks hanging out and their thongs almost obscenely exposed, it hardly inspires admiration, more, I’m afraid, a feeling of revulsion.”

    God bless him

  179. munir — on 27th June, 2009 at 3:06 pm  

    Ravi Naik
    “First of all, when I walk down the street, I like to see people’s faces: ”

    So? Why should society be based on what you like to see? Or people dress to accomodate how you want them to be? A Mullah in Iran wants to walk down the street and not see a womans hair. A BNP member wants to walk down the street and not see a non-white face.

    “that’s a pretty basic form of communication in any normal society.”

    Not for blind people it isnt. Are you suggesting they are somehow not part of normal society

    ” Seeing blobs walking behind me or in front me make me uncomfortable, I am glad this is a very small minority”

    LOL so those poor opressed Muslim women (see Ravis next paragraph) actually scare him!!! make up your mind.
    Funny that violent foul mouthed youths dont make you uncomfortable.

    Seeing women will red dots on their head to denote their servitude to their husbands (thats what it stands for in Hinduism ) may also make some people uncomfortable. Still live and let live.

    “Third, it is a fact that women are born in cultures where they are raised to be submissive, some no doubt believe that females should not be educated, and that men have a superior role than women. So, yes, there is a point that we need to respect people’s beliefs and choices even if they come from the alleged victims, but there is another part of the picture – and an important part – where we wish to discourage such behaviour.”

    So what about the numerous converts who wear it
    In fact the rate of wearing niqab is probbaly higher amongst converts in the west
    Though still a minority

  180. munir — on 27th June, 2009 at 3:12 pm  

    Ravi Naik

    “However, I am tired of hearing that opposition to the niqab is somewhat an Islamophobic construction:”

    I dont think it necessirely is but youd have to have a pretty monstrous view of Muslims as human beings to believe Muslim men want to cause suffering to their own mothers, sisters, daughters wives by forcing them to veil without their consent or Muslim women are ignorant automons who cant or dont make their own decisions

    Much of this debate is framed in these terms. this is what some people really think of Muslims. Scary stuff.

  181. damon — on 27th June, 2009 at 3:18 pm  

    Ravi Naik got it in one.

    ”I wonder whether Munir feels that the niqab should be discouraged or he is just indifferent to it.”

    I say the niqab sould be discouraged (not banned) in Britain.
    Yasmin Alibhai-Brown agrees:
    http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/yasmin-alibhai-brown/yasmin-alibhaibrown-we-dont-yet-live-in-an-islamic-republic-so-i-will-say-it–i-find-the-veil-offensive-419333.html
    She has also said (in the past) that she gets a bit of hate mail for her views on things like this.

    And I still think that this (from Munir) is preposterous:
    ”The reason is because God says so. God also says men shouldnt leer at women . Some men may find covered women more attractive but that doesnt change the fact they hijab is compulsory”.

    And what Munir will not deal with is that this wider society might not want to see views like that (or the number of people who think like that) becoming ever more commonplace in Britain.

    My eldrly mother has two Indian lodgers (who she is really fond of, and talks to every day).
    The house next door is up for sale and she was a bit purturbed about two months ago, after twitching her net curtains (as she does most days), to see (as she told it to me and her lodgers, who work in the NHS), that she had seen through the curtains, what she presumed was an estate agent showing someone dressed ”burkah” style, into the house next door.

    There then commenced a bit of jocularity about what this might mean for my mother if the woman in the ”burkah” was to become her new neighbour. (You know: jokes about nunde sunbathing in the garden, etc).

    Having worked as a NHS nurse all her life untill she retired about 15 years ago, my mother is as well rounded as you might expect an Irish woman living in London most of her life to be.
    (Meaning that ”the burka” is a step too far for her.
    She doesn’t understand it.

  182. munir — on 27th June, 2009 at 3:18 pm  

    Shamit

    ” And, it is hard to argue against the point that “Burqah” does act as a barrier in fulfilling one’s potential.”

    Only because of others bigoted opposition to it

    “In Britain, by law someone has to show their full face in banks, airports and some other places – so is it really wrong to ask that teachers, doctors, scientists not wear Burqahs?”

    Yes because it has no impact on their ability to do the job. Blind people never see the face of others.

    ” Or are those career options simply do not exist for those people. A young girl good in maths and loving physics, if convinced from a young age that wearing the burqah is important, would find it hard to go for a career in physics. Is that really acceptable?”

    Its unaccepatble that she is denied a career in physics for what she wears

    You seem to be saying “some people in this society are against people covering their face- so they should uncover their face”(not the people should be more tolerant)

  183. munir — on 27th June, 2009 at 3:20 pm  

    persephone
    “it would be useful to get burka wearing women here for their comments otherwise it is easy to dismiss this as islamophobia. As free women they are noticeable by their voice.”

    absolutely (I stated this earlier) They are the ones who should be leading the debate

  184. munir — on 27th June, 2009 at 3:22 pm  

    damon
    “Having worked as a NHS nurse all her life untill she retired about 15 years ago, my mother is as well rounded as you might expect an Irish woman living in London most of her life to be.
    (Meaning that ”the burka” is a step too far for her.
    She doesn’t understand it.”

    Yes there are also people who are well rounded who have worked in the NHS. However living next to an Irish person would be a step too far for them.

  185. munir — on 27th June, 2009 at 3:25 pm  

    damon
    “I say the niqab sould be discouraged (not banned) in Britain.
    Yasmin Alibhai-Brown agrees:”

    So? Steven Berkoff disagrees

    “And what Munir will not deal with is that this wider society might not want to see views like that (or the number of people who think like that) becoming ever more commonplace in Britain.”

    I am aware that quite a few people dont like the face veil. But so what? Are you suggesting no one in Britain do something that hurts no one else because it is unpopular with others ? Thats not a free society

  186. Ravi Naik — on 27th June, 2009 at 3:28 pm  

    So? Why should society be based on what you like to see?

    I am not saying I like to see a woman or a men dress in a certain way. I am saying that in a public setting, I like to see people’s faces.

    Not for blind people it isnt. Are you suggesting they are somehow not part of normal society

    I am not sure why comparing people with visual impairment with people wearing niqab helps you argument, but I am reminded of this movie.

    Seeing women will red dots on their head to denote their servitude to their husbands (thats what it stands for in Hinduism ) may also make some people uncomfortable. Still live and let live.

    That is so not true, Munir. Where do you get your information?

    By the way, you missed this:
    What do you feel about the niqab? Should it be discouraged, are you indifferent to it, or do you actually feel it makes someone a better Muslim?

  187. munir — on 27th June, 2009 at 3:44 pm  

    munir
    Seeing women will red dots on their head to denote their servitude to their husbands (thats what it stands for in Hinduism ) may also make some people uncomfortable. Still live and let live.

    Ravi Naik
    “That is so not true, Munir. Where do you get your information?”

    How do you know people dont feel uncomfortable by seeing a red dotted face?

    “What do you feel about the niqab? Should it be discouraged, are you indifferent to it, or do you actually feel it makes someone a better Muslim?”

    I dont think its necessary in the west but I have the greatest admiration for my sisters in Islam who wear it and I would vehemently oppose a ban.

    If you believe in freedom so should you. Indeed you should support women putting it on in defiance of teh state telling them how to dress much as you support Iranian women taking off hijab for the same reason

  188. damon — on 27th June, 2009 at 3:45 pm  

    I get the joke Munir (and it’s fine to have fun back and forth). I also remember my Irish builder father telling us as kids, about (in the 1970′s) doing renovation work in these houses over in East London that were owned by muslim ”immigrant” families (like he was an ”immigrant” to London too).
    And saying how he’d been working in this house, and being talking away with the male owner (getting cups of tea and friendly chat).
    I think it was a time when councils were giving lots of grants for improving rundown houses, and then going into a bedroom upstairs and being taken aback by a group of ”fearful” women (I presume in some kind of purdah) ”hiding” in the room.
    He never understood it then, and the guys he was working with (Irish, British, or West Indian) probably never understood it either.

    Maybe they should have been sent along to Diversity Solutions for some training.
    http://www.diversity-solutions.com/clientlist.html

  189. Ravi Naik — on 27th June, 2009 at 4:00 pm  

    How do you know people dont feel uncomfortable by seeing a red dotted face?

    I meant to say that the dot (bindi) is not a sign of submission, but that someone is married, pretty much like a ring. Actually, these days, women just use it for decoration. Where did you hear that it stands for servitude? I do hope you are not learning your stuff from some extremist site that trashes every other religion. I would be very disappointed in you if that was the case.

    I dont think its necessary in the west but I have the greatest admiration for my sisters in Islam who wear it

    You don’t think that the niqab is necessary in the West, so does it mean you feel it is necessary in the Muslim world?

    If you believe in freedom so should you. Indeed you should support women putting it on in defiance of teh state

    Again: this is not a dress code issue. People can wear what they want.

    But I do not support wearing masks in public to conceal people’s identities.

  190. munir — on 27th June, 2009 at 4:15 pm  

    Ravi Naik

    “I meant to say that the dot (bindi) is not a sign of submission,”

    neither is the niqab.

    And since symbols have different interpretations who are you to say the bindi isnt a symbol of submission?

    ” but that someone is married, pretty much like a ring.”

    Come off. A ring doesnt disfgure your face or say you are owned by your husband as a bindi does.

    “. Where did you hear that it stands for servitude? I do hope you are not learning your stuff from some extremist site that trashes every other religion. I would be very disappointed in you if that was the case.”

    hahaha hilarious. Where do you learn Islam from?

  191. munir — on 27th June, 2009 at 4:18 pm  

    “You don’t think that the niqab is necessary in the West, so does it mean you feel it is necessary in the Muslim world?”

    sigh . I believe I have already stated that I believe the niqab is mustahab. This is what I have heard from ulema. If some people want to say its Fard they have a right as there is a difference of opinion amongst scholars

    The word “necessary” is the wrong one.

    That is a woman is rewarded for wearing it but not sinful for not. With regards hijab a woman is sinful for not wearing it (and rewarded for wearing it).

  192. Ravi Naik — on 27th June, 2009 at 4:41 pm  

    Come off. A ring doesnt disfgure your face or say you are owned by your husband as a bindi does.

    Please educate yourself.

    That is a woman is rewarded for wearing it but not sinful for not. With regards hijab a woman is sinful for not wearing it (and rewarded for wearing it).

    Where in the Koran does it say that not wearing a hijab is a sin? And quite honestly, I am not sure how you can position yourself as fighting for freedom: you are actually saying that women must wear a piece of garment, or they sin or not get rewarded.

  193. limpia — on 27th June, 2009 at 5:33 pm  

    Those of u who think it is not a security matter, r sadly mistaken. As to whether or not it is acceptable for women to cover their faces, its not even worth arguing. Fine, u may say it is their choice- great system their group has worked out for them, and brainwashed them into believing.

  194. munir — on 27th June, 2009 at 6:03 pm  

    Ravi naik
    “Please educate yourself.”

    Actually you should educate yourself

    The ironic thing is the hijab/niqab is not as some have claimed an indictaion of subservience to a man but to God- a Muslim women wears it even if she is unmarried or all her family are non Muslim or even if her male or female family members detest it (which many do) .

    Indeed if her parents insist she take it off the religion says she must disobey them. If her husband says the same she can divorce him.

    I say says its ironic because the Bindi IS a symbol of subservience to husbands (remeber in Hinduism women actually worship their husbands as Gods- some immolate themselves on their funeral pyres! Muslim women only worship God!)

    “It denotes the woman’s married status in most of the North Indian communities but in South India any woman may wear a bindi.

    Some historical notes suggest that the origin of this practice came from ancient wedding rituals whereby the husband would mark a dot on the forehead of his new bride with his own blood as a mark of ownership. Widows who follow this custom will stop wearing bindi after the death of their husband, or change the color to indicate their change in marital status, depending on which tradition they follow.”

    http://en.allexperts.com/q/Indian-Culture-2871/2008/7/bindi.htm

    “Where in the Koran does it say that not wearing a hijab is a sin? ”

    haha right- you want to educate me about Hinduism .. and Islam

    The hijab is an obligation by consensus of the scholars of Islam. That is to say an undeniable obligation.

    “There was thus nothing new or surprising in the Islamic legal opinion promulgated in December 2003 by the Grand Mufti of Egypt, Sheikh Ali Jumua of the Egyptian Fatwa Authority (Dar al-Ifta al-Misriyya) that “the hijab is an obligation on all Muslim female adults, as firmly established in the Holy Qur’an and the Prophet Muhammad’s hadiths, as well as unanimously agreed upon by Muslim scholars.”

    http://qa.sunnipath.com/issue_view.asp?HD=1&ID=4813&CATE=128

    Its a technical point but even your question is wrong. Islamic rulings have never been based just on the “Koran” though it is the primary source.

    “And quite honestly, I am not sure how you can position yourself as fighting for freedom: you are actually saying that women must wear a piece of garment, or they sin or not get rewarded.”

    How can you position yourself when you want the niqab banned?

    Im talking about in the next life. I dont think hijab should be imposed by the state but an adult Muslim woman not wearing one is sinning.

    I like what an Iranian reformer said “be-hejab (not wearing hijab) is a sin; but it shouldnt be a crime”

  195. banthebindi! — on 27th June, 2009 at 6:08 pm  

    Inspired by Ravi Naik perhaps we should call on Sarkozy to ban the bindi

    It symbolizes a womans ownership by her husband

    “It denotes the woman’s married status in most of the North Indian communities but in South India any woman may wear a bindi.

    Some historical notes suggest that the origin of this practice came from ancient wedding rituals whereby the husband would mark a dot on the forehead of his new bride with his own blood as a mark of ownership. Widows who follow this custom will stop wearing bindi after the death of their husband, or change the color to indicate their change in marital status, depending on which tradition they follow.”

    http://en.allexperts.com/q/Indian-Culture-2871/2008/7/bindi.htm

    Cmon Ravi, Douglas Clark, Damon and Shamit
    all together now:

    “Ban the Bindi”
    “Ban the Bindi”
    “Even Mork and Mindy say”
    “Ban the Bindi”

  196. Don — on 27th June, 2009 at 7:22 pm  

    I’m slightly confused, Munir. You have clearly stated the concensus position on hijab, but I had understood that hijab was modest clothing and a head-covering. Doesn’t a head-scarf cover that? Obviously in some places it doesn’t and full face covering is enforced, but where it is not enforced most moslems seem to be comfortable with just a modest headscarf.

    Is it really a widespread belief that not to cover the face is a sin? From what you have said I gather that that is not your own position. But if it is so central to Islam why do so few people, when allowed the choice, wear it?

    I must say this has been interesting. Obviously I disagree with you, as your central argument of God’s command is meaningless to me. But your argument has been internally consistent, if you can just clear up the point I mentioned above.

  197. Don — on 27th June, 2009 at 7:53 pm  

    Halima,

    May I ask you to consider a point? You are of course free to wear a veil for whatever reason you choose. I don’t know you and it’s not my place to tell you what to do. But have you considered that in some places that choice is not available, the veil is enforced and often enforced with great brutality?

    You seem to be politically minded, are you entirely comfortable that the veil is perfectly fine, while recognising that it is sometimes unquestionably a weapon of suppression?

    They say that what you don’t understand, you fear. I don’t think that’s true, I don’t understand String Theory but I’m not scared of it. And I certainly don’t understand why someone would want to, in effect, blank society at large. But it’s your call and you are in no way obliged to explain yourself.

    It’s just that we are all aware that women are being shot, beaten, mutilated and otherwise intimidated into adhering to a rather extreme dress code and that some of them are standing up against it. Are your reasons for defending the practice so clear and compelling that they overwhelm any sense of solidarity with the women who are fighting against it?

  198. munir — on 27th June, 2009 at 8:02 pm  

    Don

    “I’m slightly confused, Munir. You have clearly stated the concensus position on hijab, but I had understood that hijab was modest clothing and a head-covering. Doesn’t a head-scarf cover that? Obviously in some places it doesn’t and full face covering is enforced, but where it is not enforced most moslems seem to be comfortable with just a modest headscarf.”

    yes the hijab (headscarf) is a categorical obligation
    Some scholars say the face veil is ; some say it isnt obligatory but recommended
    Hence given the difference it wouldnt be correct to say not wearing a face veil/niqab (or indeed wearing it) is a sin

    ” There is a valid difference of opinion concerning niqab. Some scholars view it to be mandatory, citing evidence that the wives of the Prophet, peace be upon him, observed niqab. Other scholars note that a woman cannot cover her face while praying or in ihram, so therefore, it is not necessary.

    What has been clearly established from the Qur’an and Sunna is that a pubescent woman should cover all but her face and hands in loose, opaque clothing. If by wearing niqab you are intending to worship Allah and to please Him by making your hijab as complete as possible, then there is no reason for you to have any internal misgivings. Just bear in mind that there is a sound argument for wearing niqab and an equally sound argument for not wearing one. We should respect both views. When you are in the company of sisters who disapprove of your wearing it, gently remind them that there is a valid difference of opinion about this. This is not an issue that we sisters should be squabbling about.

    If a sister chooses to veil her face, alhamdulillah. If she chooses not to veil her face, alhamdulillah. What’s important is that, like Sidi Faraz said, we work on achieving inner modesty and taqwa.

    So continue to wear your niqab if you feel that it is appropriate for you.”

    http://qa.sunnipath.com/issue_view.asp?HD=10&ID=4756&CATE=128

    BTW no one says moslems anymore

    “Is it really a widespread belief that not to cover the face is a sin? From what you have said I gather that that is not your own position. But if it is so central to Islam why do so few people, when allowed the choice, wear it?”

    It isnt central to Islam. even the headscarf which is an obligation isnt central to Islam

    Its just because non Muslims focus on it.

  199. munir — on 27th June, 2009 at 8:06 pm  

    Don
    “You seem to be politically minded, are you entirely comfortable that the veil is perfectly fine, while recognising that it is sometimes unquestionably a weapon of suppression?”

    It may well have differnt meanings in differnt places

    The crucifix is a symbol of good to many Christians – to many others it is a symbol of opression, murder, rape and genocide

    Would you deny Christians the right to wear it?

    “And I certainly don’t understand why someone would want to, in effect, blank society at large”

    Im sure extremists use this argument against women who dont wear a hijab

    “why dont you dress like everyone else?” is the cry of Islamophobes and Muslim extremists alike

  200. Don — on 27th June, 2009 at 8:19 pm  

    Munir,

    If christians were currently, as they have done in the past, using the cross as a means of oppression, then I would be very wary of those wearing it.

    I have not advocated denying anyone the right to wear what they please.

  201. munir — on 27th June, 2009 at 8:57 pm  

    “If christians were currently, as they have done in the past, using the cross as a means of oppression, then I would be very wary of those wearing it.”

    Hehe – you havent heard of the Serbs or the Lords Army in Uganda or indeed Christian fighters in the US army in Iraq or Christans killing witches in Africa or the Christian far right in America.

  202. Ravi Naik — on 27th June, 2009 at 9:07 pm  

    I say says its ironic because the Bindi IS a symbol of subservience to husbands (remeber in Hinduism women actually worship their husbands as Gods

    Please tell me you are not dumb to believe this…

    haha right- you want to educate me about Hinduism .. and Islam

    Someone has to.

    The hijab is an obligation by consensus of the scholars of Islam. That is to say an undeniable obligation.

    This is simply not true. Muslim nations like Tunisia and Turkey, actually prohibit the hijab (I do not agree with that), and in the UK, several Muslim communities from different parts of the world actually do not wear hijabs.

    So, we have established two things: that there is no consensus on whether the use of hijab is a sin, and second, there is no direct reference to its use in the Koran. Which leads me to ask:

    How can you say you fight for the rights of women to choose, when you say at the same time that is a sin for women not to wear the hijab? What kind of choice or freedom are you advocating?

  203. Ravi Naik — on 27th June, 2009 at 9:14 pm  

    Interesting discussion about the choice to wear the hijab.

    This gentleman says otherwise:

    To wear the Hijaab is certainly NOT an Islamic obligatory on women. It is an innovation (Bid’ah) of men suffering from a piety complex who are so weak spiritually that they just cannot trust themselves!

  204. munir — on 27th June, 2009 at 9:54 pm  

    “haha right- you want to educate me about Hinduism .. and Islam”

    Ravi Naik

    “Someone has to.”

    Do you seriously think you know more about islam than me?

    munir
    “The hijab is an obligation by consensus of the scholars of Islam. That is to say an undeniable obligation.”

    Ravi Naik
    “This is simply not true. ”

    All four sunni schools of law (Hanafi/Shafi/Maliki/Hanbali) as well as the Shia and all the companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) say it is obligation. Maybe these Muslim scholars who have chains of learning back to the Prophet (peace be upon him) didnt know Islam. Or they all in their entirity misunderstood the Quran? This is impossible because the Prophet said “My ummah will never agree on dalalah”

    I mean you expect Muslims to take the word of a Hindu on matters of Islam over the ulema of the ummah!!!

    Ill post again the words of Ali Gomaa head of Al Azhar the main univeristy in Sunni Islam and Grand Mufti of Egypt (perhaps you know Islam better than him)

    “There was thus nothing new or surprising in the Islamic legal opinion promulgated in December 2003 by the Grand Mufti of Egypt, Sheikh Ali Jumua of the Egyptian Fatwa Authority (Dar al-Ifta al-Misriyya) that “the hijab is an obligation on all Muslim female adults, as firmly established in the Holy Qur’an and the Prophet Muhammad’s hadiths, as well as unanimously agreed upon by Muslim scholars.”

    http://qa.sunnipath.com/issue_view.asp?HD=1&ID=4813&CATE=128

    “Muslim nations like Tunisia and Turkey, actually prohibit the hijab ”

    Tunisia and Turkey are secular countries birdbrain.
    Muslim countries like Iran and Saudi and Northern Nigeria make it compulsory. Kind of messes up your argument doesnt it ?

    “(I do not agree with that), and in the UK, several Muslim communities from different parts of the world actually do not wear hijabs.”

    So what? The practice of Muslims isnt a source of Islamic law! And Several Muslim communities (like the Somalis, Allah bless them) do wear hijabs almost all of them. So where does that leave you?

    “So, we have established two things: that there is no consensus on whether the use of hijab is a sin”

    You have done no such thing ! Your opinions on Islamic law are of exactly zero value

    “, and second, there is no direct reference to its use in the Koran.”

    Yes there is

    “The Quranic verse, “Say to believing women, that they cast down their eyes and guard their private parts, and reveal not their adornment save such as is outward; and let them drape their headcoverings over their bosoms, and not reveal their adornment . . .” (Qur�an 24:31) is a specific requirement for Muslim women to cover their hair.

    The word �headcoverings� (Ar. singular khimar, plural khumur), more familiar in our times as the hijab, is a word of well-known signification among scholars of Arabic, at their forefront the authors of the classical lexical reference dictionaries like Zabidi�s encyclopedic Taj al-�arus or Mutarrizi�s al-Mughrib, both of which define khimar as �a woman�s headcovering�; or Fayumi�s al-Misbah or Fayruzabadi�s al-Qamus, which both define it as �a cloth with which a woman covers her head.� The Taj al-�arus also notes that a man’s turban is sometimes referred to as a khimar �because a man covers his head with it in like manner as a woman covers her head with her khimar when he disposes it in the Arab manner, turning part of it under the jaws nearly in the same manner in which a woman disposes her khimar. These authorities are cited in the eight-volume Arabic-English Lexicon of Edward William Lane, who describes the khimar as �a woman�s muffler or veil with which she covers her head and the lower part of her face.�

    (munirs note: the word khamr in Arabic is also used for intoxicants because these cover ie cloud the head)

    There is no other lexical sense in which the word khimar may be construed. The wording of the command, however, �and let them drape their headcoverings over their bosoms,� sometimes confuses nonspecialists in the sciences of the Qur�an, and in truth, interpreting the Qur�an does sometimes require in-depth knowledge of the historical circumstances in which the various verses were revealed. In this instance, the elliptical form of the divine command is because women at the time of the revelation wore their headcovers tied back behind their necks, as some village women still do in Muslim countries, leaving the front of the neck bare, as well as the opening (Ar. singular jayb, plural juyub, translated as �bosoms� in the above verse) at the top of the dress. The Islamic revelation confirmed the practice of covering the head, understood from the use of the word khimar in the verse, but also explained that the custom of the time was not sufficient and that women were henceforth to tie the headcover in front and let it drape down to conceal the throat and the dress�s opening at the top.

    This is why Muslim women cover their heads: because the Qur�an unambiguously orders them to, and there is no qualifying text or hadith or even other lexical possibility to show that the Qur�anic order might mean anything besides obligation. Rather, the hadiths all bear this meaning out, Muslim scholars are in unanimous agreement about it and have been from the time of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) down to our own day, and it is even known by all non-Muslim peoples about them.
    http://qa.sunnipath.com/issue_view.asp?HD=1&ID=4813&CATE=128

    ” How can you say you fight for the rights of women to choose, when you say at the same time that is a sin for women not to wear the hijab? What kind of choice or freedom are you advocating?”

    Not wearing a hijab is a sin. Are you suggesting the state imposes it?

    “This gentleman says otherwise:

    To wear the Hijaab is certainly NOT an Islamic obligatory on women. It is an innovation (Bid’ah) of men suffering from a piety complex who are so weak spiritually that they just cannot trust themselves!”

    Who the hell is he? Ive never heard of him!
    Who gave him ijaza to give fatwa? Who did he study with?

    The only people who come up with this rubbish are brainwashed modern Muslims. No classical scholar ever said hijab wasnt Fard. Indeed it was such a categorical obligation that to deny it was Fard was considered kufr much as denying salat or zakat or hajj.

    ———————————————-

    If a person denies Hijab for women being obligatory are they a kafir or if not what is their status.

    Answer:

    Assalamu alaikum,

    This is very serious, because it has been traditionally agreed upon as being beyond question, given the clear texts of the Qur’an and Sunnah [see Sh. Gibril’s answer, below]. There is clear and decisive scholarly consensus (ijma`) on this. There are few obligations that are more decisively proven, and it is not a ruling subject to change.

    However, given the troubled times we live in, the scholars do not declare people who denies this obligation disbelievers. Rather, our duty is to call people to sound understanding of Islam and the Shariah. If people understand the big picture, and the wisdom and mercy the Shariah is based on, they will understand and accept its rulings.

    http://qa.sunnipath.com/issue_view.asp?ID=163

  205. munir — on 27th June, 2009 at 10:09 pm  

    Ravi Naik
    “Interesting discussion about the choice to wear the hijab.”

    Do you actually read the stuff you link to ?
    every single Muslim poster on there (there were over 20 of them) said the hijab is an obligation and the wife is sinning by not wearing it!

    Thanks for the link though – a sister quoted a hadith which along with the Quranic verse quoted above, the practice of the female Sahabiyat and the ijma of the ulema shows that evidence for hijab is qati’

    Dawud :: Book 32 : Hadith 4092
    Narrated Aisha, Ummul Mu’minin:
    “Asma, daughter of AbuBakr, entered upon the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) wearing thin clothes. The Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) turned his attention from her. He said: O Asma’, when a woman reaches the age of menstruation, it does not suit her that she displays her parts of body except this and this, and he pointed to her face and hands.”

    Narrated by Aisha (ra)
    A woman

    What did the guy you linked from say before
    “To wear the Hijaab is certainly NOT an Islamic obligatory on women. It is an innovation (Bid’ah) of men suffering from a piety complex who are so weak spiritually that they just cannot trust themselves!”

  206. Adnan — on 27th June, 2009 at 10:10 pm  

    Regarding the French religious symbols ban, what was the outcome for Sikhs wishing to wear turbans (I know turbans cannot be argued against on “oppression” grounds”) ? There have been cases in the UK similar e.g. a Sikh lad attending a public school in the 80′s and helmets for police.

    I don’t like / agree with the the burkha, but I don’t agree with a ban in public. This would affect a basic principle of how authoritarian (or perhaps nanny-statist) the government becomes. The government could in principle impose other laws for certain groups or the whole population’s “own good” to achieve goals such as, say, meeting emissions targets. This kind of thing is not normally done in the UK.

    Regarding security, surely an acceptable protocol can be agreed by parties needing to verify identity e.g. police, transport inspectors who need to verify passes, examiners etc. Something reasonable could be drawn up and rubber-stamped by a religious authority. There would be no need to “rip burkhas off”. The use of a few criminals / fugitives from justice of a burkha disguise is not a sufficient reason.

    It seems that there is a widespread wish in some quarters to impose more draconian rules on a “troublesome” minority such as denying choice in this instance, shutting them up because of shitheads such as Al Muj at the homecoming parades. Sarko is pandering to this constituency.

  207. Shamit — on 27th June, 2009 at 10:33 pm  

    Munir
    ” And, it is hard to argue against the point that “Burqah” does act as a barrier in fulfilling one’s potential.”

    Only because of others bigoted opposition to it

    Please explain — how can a doctor wear a burqah and do her work? Or would she only treat patients who are females? What about touching another man while treating him?

    It does affect their ability to do their job. Or how can children communicate with teachers whose face they cannot see?

    Which world do you live in Munir? How many women you know who wear full burqah actually have a career outside of their home? Come on Munir — I know you know better than your arguments.

    You seem to be saying “some people in this society are against people covering their face- so they should uncover their face”(not the people should be more tolerant)

    Is that what you inferred from my post? Could I suggest you read it once more please

  208. munir — on 27th June, 2009 at 10:37 pm  

    Adnan
    ” (I know turbans cannot be argued against on “oppression” grounds”)”

    why not?

  209. munir — on 27th June, 2009 at 10:59 pm  

    Shamit
    “Please explain — how can a doctor wear a burqah and do her work? Or would she only treat patients who are females? What about touching another man while treating him?”

    Wearing the niqab is uncommon. I personally know of one sister who is a doctor and niqab. I am not aware of how she does her job.

    They clearly are other female niqabis as the GMC issued guidelines against them
    http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?c=Article_C&pagename=Zone-English-News/NWELayout&cid=1203758187536

    The ruling for touching memebers of the opposite sex would be the same for all Muslims regardless of gender or clothes (there arent sepearate laws for veiled Muslims and uncovered ones)

    http://qa.sunnipath.com/issue_view.asp?HD=1&ID=4810&CATE=233

    http://qa.sunnipath.com/issue_view.asp?HD=3&ID=14371&CATE=473

    http://qa.sunnipath.com/issue_view.asp?HD=1&ID=2402&CATE=89

    “It does affect their ability to do their job. Or how can children communicate with teachers whose face they cannot see?”

    Youve change tack: you previously said it blocked her chance of achieveing her potential- now youve admitted she can be a teacher but suggested its the children who would suffer. In a Muslim girl school she could show her face (unless you think people can only achieve if they are teaching in non Muslim schools) Even is she kept it on in a state schol so what? The majority of our communication is non visual (voice tone etc). Ive worked with women who wore niqab and had no problem communicating with them or even knowing their feelings (for example when they are laughing or smiling)

    “Which world do you live in Munir? How many women you know who wear full burqah actually have a career outside of their home? Come on Munir — I know you know better than your arguments.”

    This is a stupid comment since I dont know any woman who wears the niqab well. I dont know the statistics and neither do you. In Muslim businesses though I imagine it is not uncommon. And why cant women work from home if they want? or even *shock horror* be housewives if they want?

  210. Ravi Naik — on 27th June, 2009 at 11:01 pm  

    Do you actually read the stuff you link to ?
    every single Muslim poster on there (there were over 20 of them) said the hijab is an obligation and the wife is sinning by not wearing it!

    I read all of it – that was to make the point about the so called “choice”. It is disgraceful.

  211. Don — on 27th June, 2009 at 11:02 pm  

    Munir,

    Hehe – you havent heard of the Serbs or the Lords Army in Uganda or indeed Christian fighters in the US army in Iraq or Christans killing witches in Africa or the Christian far right in America.

    Yes, I have. And hehe was not my first response. I thought we were talking about mainstream dogma, but by all means add more intolerant theocratic bastards to the mix.

    You bring up christians killing ‘witches’ in Africa to score a point off me? That is both stupid and sick.

  212. munir — on 27th June, 2009 at 11:04 pm  

    Shamit your whole thesis is based on the idea that if a woman covers her face she cant progress because of this fact (as opposed to because peoples opposition to it)

    Why does he covering her face mean she cant pass exams or get qualifications? She is covering her face not her mind. How many jobs absolutely require a person to uncover their face?

  213. Shamit — on 27th June, 2009 at 11:13 pm  

    “You’ve change tack: you previously said it blocked her chance of achieveing her potential- now youve admitted she can be a teacher but suggested its the children who would suffer.”

    My assertions are still the same. And I still believe that those wearing the full burqah would find difficult to progress — not only because of opposition to it from outsiders but also the coercions of their environments.

    And going back to my example of the physics loving school girl – most likely she would be told that going to study in Oxford with guys and out of the family home would be unacceptable. Would you agree with that?

    So in that case not only is she suffering but society in general and the country would also suffer because of the loss of a potential nobel laureate. Now does that make things a bit clearer.

  214. Ravi Naik — on 27th June, 2009 at 11:15 pm  

    it does not suit her that she displays her parts of body except this and this, and he pointed to her face and hands.”

    So, how do you know from pointing at someone’s face, whether it is just the face or the whole head?

  215. Ravi Naik — on 27th June, 2009 at 11:27 pm  

    She is covering her face not her mind. How many jobs absolutely require a person to uncover their face?

    A person that feels the need to hide her face when dealing with other people can only be described as dysfunctional.

  216. munir — on 27th June, 2009 at 11:28 pm  

    Shamit
    “And going back to my example of the physics loving school girl – most likely she would be told that going to study in Oxford with guys and out of the family home would be unacceptable. ”

    Why is it most lkely ? because of your bigotry and stereotypes? There are numerous girls in hijab at Oxford and presumably niqabis too.

    What you seem to have trouble understanding is hijab/niqab is worn outside the home.

    “Would you agree with that?”

    No
    Refer to my comment above about stereotypes

  217. munir — on 27th June, 2009 at 11:46 pm  

    Ravi Naik
    “I read all of it – that was to make the point about the so called “choice”. It is disgraceful.”

    No Ravi – Hindu practices like having a woman be mutilated by wearing a big red dot on her head as a sign she is owned by her husband, having her immolate herself on a fire when he husband dies (assuming she wasnt killed in the womb for being female), denying her the right to marry if she is a widow, and denying her any inheritance are disgraceful

  218. munir — on 27th June, 2009 at 11:48 pm  

    it does not suit her that she displays her parts of body except this and this, and he pointed to her face and hands.”

    Ravi Naik
    “So, how do you know from pointing at someone’s face, whether it is just the face or the whole head?”

    Ladies and gentlemen roll up roll up its Ravi Naik Islam ! coming soon to an ashram near you!

  219. munir — on 27th June, 2009 at 11:53 pm  

    Ravi Naik
    “A person that feels the need to hide her face when dealing with other people can only be described as dysfunctional.”

    No Ravi dysfunctional is worshipping a plastic elephant you bought from a one pound shop – praying to it and ask it for help though it cannot even move by itself, as well as offering it food because it is too weak to even feed itself and needs food!

  220. munir — on 27th June, 2009 at 11:58 pm  

    Shamit

    “So in that case not only is she suffering but society in general and the country would also suffer because of the loss of a potential nobel laureate. Now does that make things a bit clearer.”

    I love the idea that if only women didnt wear hijab or niqab they would all be nobel laurates! As if every non- veiled woman is! Shamit wants us to believe this is in a country (France) where girls are banned from education if they wear a heascarf and where you cant get a decent job if you have a Muslim name

  221. halima — on 28th June, 2009 at 12:06 am  

    Don

    “Are your reasons for defending the practice so clear and compelling that they overwhelm any sense of solidarity with the women who are fighting against it?”

    My reasons are clear for defending it and it’s called choice. And I have respect for those fighting against it – if there is a lack of choice.

    Have I heard there are women and girls who wear it and are beaten for not wearing it?

    Come on, Don, this is as funny as Munir telling me there are women in the west that wear the veil.

    I am politically minded, yes, and deeply feminist in my outset – and wear my principles on my sleeve openly at work and at home.

    Solidarity?

    I have worked to support women in the UK , in Bangladesh etc fight against this. Is that solidarity enough? Long before debating on the internet came along. I still do work on women’s empowerment . I just think there is more to fight on gender equality than the hijab and the veil – and right now, i am busy fighting for gender equality for minority women in China, which is a tad toughter than fighting with words on the internet. I am sure you are aware how seriously any freedom of expression is treated in China and gender equality for China’s minorities – and Muslims are included in this, is as tough as it gets. China has the highest suicide rates for women in the world. In trying to put some of this on the map for the organisation i work for , i was told this week not to bother by my senior leadership , because we have neglible influence on the Chinese. Did that stop me? No. I am still pushing hard, finding the right incentives to bring along my peers and seniors, and working with Chinese run organisations like the All China Women’s Federation.

    Solidarity?

    I am a tad more serious in my commitment in gender equality and equity than most – but i hold steadfast to my believe that women and girls with choice can wear what they want.

    I think I am quite committed and open minded to accep that adults can make the choice to wear what they want – but it seems you and others can’t get past the fact that in some contexts the burqa is forced onto women and this overwhelms your capacity to see it as a neutral garment and a garment of positive choice for thinking women.

    It would seem that liberalism’s toleration comes apart quite quickly on issues concerning the burqa – well the liberalism represented by some anyway.

    I still believe on no compromise on liberalism when it comes to choice – where there is no force or harm caused.

    Do you?

  222. Shatterface — on 28th June, 2009 at 12:08 am  

    ‘Why does he covering her face mean she cant pass exams or get qualifications? She is covering her face not her mind.’

    What’s the general level of education like for women in parts of the world where the burkha is widely worn compared with women from places where they do not? Is Afghanistan teaming with female Nobel Prize winners? Aren’t they are more likely to get acid in the face than a degree?

    If that isn’t ‘covering the mind’ what is?

  223. halima — on 28th June, 2009 at 12:31 am  

    “But have you considered that in some places that choice is not available, the veil is enforced and often enforced with great brutality?”

    Don. Yes. It goes without saying. I think i made it clear in my long explanation , out of respect for you and others. To try and get my point across – and for the many women who wear the burqa out of choice.

    And while the image of Afganistan is clear on everyone’s mind when you state your views, consider another situation like the one in China where great force might be wielded to wipe out freedom of religion altogether – and some Muslim women suffer considerable risk to wearing a simple hijab.

  224. Ravi Naik — on 28th June, 2009 at 12:33 am  

    Hindu practices like having a woman be mutilated by wearing a big red dot on her head

    Mutilated? Not sure you understand that word or the concept of bindi.

    having her immolate herself on a fire when he husband dies (assuming she wasnt killed in the womb for being female), denying her the right to marry if she is a widow, and denying her any inheritance are disgraceful

    More than disgraceful, it is abhorrent. What does this have to do with people like you coercing women to wear hijab by saying that they sin if they don’t?

    Ladies and gentlemen roll up roll up its Ravi Naik Islam ! coming soon to an ashram near you!

    You really didn’t manage to answer my question, now did you?

  225. Rumbold — on 28th June, 2009 at 9:21 am  

    I think employers should be allowed to tell women that they can’t wear a burkha if the employer believes that the burkha reduces their effectiveness. A good example is teaching- seeing a person’s face is important, especially when learning a language.

    Munir:

    Douglas and others aren’t Islamaphobic. They have stuck up for Muslims many times. You have to snap out of the mentality that says that anyone who disagrees with you is anti-Muslim.

  226. munir — on 28th June, 2009 at 11:49 am  

    Rumbold
    “Douglas and others aren’t Islamaphobic. They have stuck up for Muslims many times. You have to snap out of the mentality that says that anyone who disagrees with you is anti-Muslim.”

    I dont recall saying either of you were. Douglas isnt Islamophobic just stupid- he is incapable of understanding the basis of Islamic teaching (he didnt even understand the quote at #99 he posted which directly contradicted what he was saying) so doesnt understand that a Muslim doing an act for other people (be it a man or a woman) is idolatry and that Muslim women cover because they believe it is an obligation from God (not Muslim men).

    The people leading this issue should be Muslim women wearing niqab – I have posted this link to a website of a sister who wears niqab and suggest people go there to hear from Muslim women themselves
    I have posted this link before

    Niqab Stories
    http://www.muhajabah.com/niqab-stories.htm

  227. munir — on 28th June, 2009 at 12:07 pm  

    Shatterface
    “What’s the general level of education like for women in parts of the world where the burkha is widely worn compared with women from places where they do not?”

    In Saudi there are more female than male university graduates, likewise in Islamic Iran.

    The rate of female literacy in these countries is vastly higher than in Hindu India or Nepal
    where women are liuvky if they arent murdered in the womb for being female

    Female literacy (first 5 places are where wearing hijab/niqab is commonplace)

    Qatar 88.6%
    Bahrain 85.0%
    UAE 81.7%
    Iran 73.0%
    Saudi 70.8%
    India 48.3%
    Nepal 34.9%

    In any case what does this have to do with the west unless you believe the women Sarkozy wants to prevent exercising their freedom arent French

    What a woman wears and her education are two entirely sepearte things which you moronically correlate.

    Using your correlation that the more clothes a person wears the less educated she is Page 3 girls would be the intellectual elite of our society.

    ” Is Afghanistan teaming with female Nobel Prize winners?

    It isnt teaming with male nobel prize winners-
    Its a war torn third world country idiot

    And since when is the nobel prize a judge of anything?

    “Aren’t they are more likely to get acid in the face than a degree?

    If that isn’t ‘covering the mind’ what is?”

    Says the person who learns about life from newspapers

  228. munir — on 28th June, 2009 at 12:15 pm  

    Ravi Naik
    “Mutilated? Not sure you understand that word or the concept of bindi.”

    And you dont understand the concept of hijab/niqab

    “More than disgraceful, it is abhorrent. What does this have to do with people like you coercing women to wear hijab by saying that they sin if they don’t? ”

    Sigh. Im not coercing anyone- and its not “people like me” -its the Muslim religion which says that not wearing a hijab is a sin. Thats the religions teacing much as it teaches not praying or giving obligatory charity or drinking alcohol are sins. Get over it. Im not like you making up my own religion!

    “You really didn’t manage to answer my question, now did you?”

    You really didnt understand what I posted did you?

  229. Ravi Naik — on 28th June, 2009 at 12:18 pm  

    In one of these niqab stories, you have this:

    “Hijab literally means a screen. In todays mix society it is impossible to create screens or walls to segregate men and women so this veils acts as a screen or barrier when communicating with men. We cannot even open our emotions to non mehram men (like laughing openly…) so this veil hides our emotions from them.”

    How difficult must it be for people with this mindset to integrate and contribute to this society.

  230. munir — on 28th June, 2009 at 12:33 pm  

    Ravi Naik
    “How difficult must it be for people with this mindset to integrate and contribute to this society.”

    So because a woman doesnt want to laugh and flirt with an unrelated man she cant contribute to society. What a dim view of women you have , that they must exist to be pleasing to men.

    Which brings up another issue
    1) If Sarkozy is worried about the dignity of women why isnt he banning pornography which degrades and debases them?

    2) If hijab and niqab are how men really desire women to dress why isnt there a multi-billion dollar industry of pictures of women in hijabs and niqabs
    rather than of women with very few clothes?

    I dont expect our closed minded friends like Ravi Naik to recognize these truisms. You cannot think outside your box.

  231. Rumbold — on 28th June, 2009 at 12:35 pm  

    Hang on Munir. We do know that some people are forced to wear the burkha, while others are pressured to do so.

  232. damon — on 28th June, 2009 at 1:02 pm  

    I’m in central Croydon right now, and the place is totally multi cultural (and multi racial). Just walking through the shopping center a short while ago, I saw that they have this event going on: ”Croydon Fashion Festival”
    http://www.croydonfashionfestival.com/
    On a catwalk stage as I went through, there were young girls dong dance routines to music. Girls between the ages of 6 and 16.
    Maybe some conservative muslim guys who had seen this thought it was scandalous and couldn’t get over the fact that they were wearing tight dance type clothes, (with exposed midriffs etc).
    These were young girls of several racial backgrounds, and to me and I hope nearly everyone watching on, it was entirely innocent. And to see it in a sexualised way (thinking they should be covered up and not displaying themselves in such ways in public, is an unfortumate point of view in my opinion).

    As I walked through the shopping center, and past people sitting eating and drinking at cafes, there was (if you really wanted to look for it) some female breast cleavege on show.
    I wont lie and say that I don’t think that view is unappealing: It’s a nice thing to see.
    But you only look for a second (or two), and then move on. To become overly concerned on seeing that is an immature response.

    Of course people from Muslim contries are going to be (probably) more conservative than (for example) those Germans who get naked in parks the moment the sun starts shining.
    I remember when I lived in Berlin, some Turkish families had been complaining at this tolerance of the ”FKK” culture in places like Berlin’s Tiergarten park.

    Turkish families had been going in groups to the park at the weekend, and got into some serious Bar-B-Q ing and family games of football (for the guys) while the ”womenfolk” just sat around and enjoyed a day out.

    Only for some middle aged white German couple to strip stark naked just 30 meters away.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freik%C3%B6rperkultur

  233. Rumbold — on 28th June, 2009 at 1:10 pm  

    Thanks for that image Damon.

  234. munir — on 28th June, 2009 at 1:22 pm  

    Rumbold
    “Hang on Munir. We do know that some people are forced to wear the burkha, while others are pressured to do so.”

    So focusing on a tiny tiny minority (women forced to wear the face veil) of what is already a tiny minority (women who wear the face veil) of a minority (Muslims in the west) is balanced is it Rumbold?

    There are also Sikh and Hindu girls who are opressed by their families.

    Some people are forced into marriage , some people are force into sex (rape) – should marriage and sex be banned?

  235. munir — on 28th June, 2009 at 1:33 pm  

    Damon
    “Maybe some conservative muslim guys who had seen this thought it was scandalous and couldn’t get over the fact that they were wearing tight dance type clothes, (with exposed midriffs etc).”

    Other than to demonise Muslims what is the point of this comment ? The event has nothing to do with Muslims but you bring them up and blame them!!!
    You seem to think Muslims dont live in this country or know how people dress. One could equally say conservative Irish Catholics, Christians, Hindu, Jewish or Sikh men would be offended.

    “Of course people from Muslim contries are going to be (probably) more conservative than (for example) those Germans who get naked in parks the moment the sun starts shining.”

    People from eastern cultures eg Asians generally are more conservative. There are also German people who are conservative. Catholics from rural Ireland are also more conservative. But you focus on Muslims. Wanker.

    “I remember when I lived in Berlin, some Turkish families had been complaining at this tolerance of the ”FKK” culture in places like Berlin’s Tiergarten park.”

    You follow the Pim Furtuyn school of Islamophobia. Implying that it 1) it is only Muslims who object
    to this and no non-Muslim Germans do
    2) All Muslims object to this. I personally couldnt give a damn – this whole thread is about Non Muslims restricting how Muslims dress not vice versa!

    But you of course unwittingly expose the hypocrisy in Germany. Nude clubs are allowed by wearing the hijab is banned in schools and government offices (though not the nuns habit)

    And to think growing up people were concerned that Germany discriminating against its minorities would neevr happen again. What a joke!

    A word of advice Damon- think before you post, try and marshall your “thoughts” into a coherent argument. You simply reeling off what comes into your head is infantile.

  236. Ravi Naik — on 28th June, 2009 at 1:39 pm  

    So because a woman doesnt want to laugh and flirt with an unrelated man she cant contribute to society. What a dim view of women you have , that they must exist to be pleasing to men.

    On the contrary – in a normal society, men and women are able to interact with each other the same way you interact with people of your own family, without having these walls of separation and this absurd fear that any sort of contact between a man and woman leads to sex. That mindset is in my view a reflection of a sexually repressed community. And this hinders integration and opportunities, as Shamit pointed out.

    1) If Sarkozy is worried about the dignity of women why isnt he banning pornography which degrades and debases them?

    He is not worried about that. It’s about integration. Or his re-election.

    2) If hijab and niqab are how men really desire women to dress why isnt there a multi-billion dollar industry of pictures of women in hijabs and niqabs

    hahaha. Oh, Munir you are really something. Actually men want women to dress niqabs because they believe it is a sin to “leer” at women, and so that makes it easier for them.

  237. Golam Murtaza — on 28th June, 2009 at 1:43 pm  

    Munir. Any intelligent points you might make are being undermined by your needlessly abusive attitude. There was no call for you to use the word you just used about Damon in the post above. No need for that at all. And some of the stuf you’ve said about Hinduism when replying to Ravi Naik is totally out of order.

  238. munir — on 28th June, 2009 at 1:45 pm  

    Ravi Naik
    “hahaha. Oh, Munir you are really something. Actually men want women to dress niqabs because they believe it is a sin to “leer” at women, and so that makes it easier for them.”

    Again your characterisation of women as brainless automons who must have allowed a man to choose how they dress is deeply misogynistic

    Muslim women cover because they believe God commanded them to- not to please men. The irony of this is of course that many “liberated” women do dress in order to please men!

    Id recommend this article
    http://www.themodernreligion.com/women/without-makeup.html

  239. munir — on 28th June, 2009 at 1:52 pm  

    It is puzzling that people fretting about Muslim men allegedly forcing the females in their family to wear what they want them to are supportive of a non-Muslim man (Sarkozy) dictating and forcing Muslim women to do the same

  240. munir — on 28th June, 2009 at 1:55 pm  

    Golam I understand how it works. People can mock Islam and Muslims using any language but Muslims cannot do likewise to them or their religion.

    When a non Muslim attacks Muslims its free speech when a Muslim attacks non Muslims its hate speech. Have I understood our society’s rules?

  241. Rumbold — on 28th June, 2009 at 1:57 pm  

    Munir:

    I don”t want the burkha banned. But nor do I think that every woman chooses to wear it freely. I don’t see why one cannot hold both views.

  242. Golam Murtaza — on 28th June, 2009 at 2:08 pm  

    Look Munir, we HAVE had a few people on this site who’ve been out to mock Muslims. But they don’t include Ravi or Damon.

  243. munir — on 28th June, 2009 at 2:10 pm  

    Rumbold
    “I don”t want the burkha banned. But nor do I think that every woman chooses to wear it freely.”

    But its not really something someone can effectively forceably imposed. Lets say a woman’s father (or mother) is making her wear a hijab or niqab. She will as soon as she is out of their sight take it off.
    This is exactly why states like Iran or Saudi have religious police who check for being covered (which I strongly disagree with)- because the family is incapable of doing this all day long

    This is what non Muslims who see women out and about in hijab or niqab who think they are forced dont realise.
    If they didnt want to wear it they would take it off. No one is watching them!

    So where is your evidence?

  244. munir — on 28th June, 2009 at 2:18 pm  

    Golam I have been accused of all manner of horrendous things – on this thread for example Douglas has referred to me variously as
    tit
    misunderstanding my religion (!)
    stupidity
    opreesor of women
    fool
    disgusting
    idiots
    beyond contempt
    stupid
    that it is my culture to opress woman

    – I take it on the chin and reply in kind if need be. I suggest Damon and Douglas do likweise

  245. Rumbold — on 28th June, 2009 at 3:01 pm  

    Munir:

    You must live in a very white area then if you do not realise that it isn’t just the family who enforces discipline but the wider community who live locally.

  246. damon — on 28th June, 2009 at 3:13 pm  

    I dont mind a bit of ”industrial language” Munir.
    I watched that ”Big Questions” programme with Nicky Campbell this morning and they were discussing eaxctly this.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b007zpll
    Whether I agree with him or not, I thought the Imam from Oxford (who spoke strongly against the young woman in the niqab), had some good points.
    The poor woman in the niqab was a bit lost for words when asked some simple questions by Campbell (”why sholdn’t men not be required to cover their faces?” he asked her), and she didn’t have an answer.

    And Munir, of the Croydon Fashion Week you say this:
    ”Other than to demonise Muslims what is the point of this comment ? The event has nothing to do with Muslims but you bring them up and blame them!!!”

    The goings on in the Croydon shopping center today were for anyone who wants to take part, and are not race or religion specific.
    And if there were some muslim girls in hajibs up on the stage, I dont think anyone watching would have batted an eyelid.

    Far from what you said yesterday about people in London not wanting to have anything to do with their neighbours .. particularly if they were (like you said) ”ethnics”, I find that on this very sunny and hot sunday afternoon, we people in Croydon come together in public quite nicely.
    Lots of bare flesh (both male and female) on show.
    It’s OK to look (just for a second), and then you just carry on with your business.
    No one’s offended, I don’t think, if you discretely admire a view of somebody walking past.
    (Well, maybe the boyfriend might give you a look if he sees you – but it’s usually nothing serious).

  247. damon — on 28th June, 2009 at 3:13 pm  

    I dont mind a bit of ”industrial language” Munir.
    I watched that ”Big Questions” programme with Nicky Campbell this morning and they were discussing eaxctly this.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b007zpll
    Whether I agree with him or not, I thought the Imam from Oxford (who spoke strongly against the young woman in the niqab), had some good points.
    The poor woman in the niqab was a bit lost for words when asked some simple questions by Campbell (”why sholdn’t men not be required to cover their faces?” he asked her), and she didn’t have an answer.

    And Munir, of the Croydon Fashion Week you say this:
    ”Other than to demonise Muslims what is the point of this comment ? The event has nothing to do with Muslims but you bring them up and blame them!!!”

    The goings on in the Croydon shopping center today were for anyone who wants to take part, and are not race or religion specific.
    And if there were some muslim girls in hajibs up on the stage, I dont think anyone watching would have batted an eyelid.

    Far from what you said yesterday about people in London not wanting to have anything to do with their neighbours .. particularly if they were (like you said) ”ethnics”, I find that on this very sunny and hot sunday afternoon, we people in Croydon come together in public quite nicely.
    Lots of bare flesh (both male and female) on show.
    It’s OK to look (just for a second), and then you just carry on with your business.
    No one’s offended, I don’t think, if you discretely admire a view of somebody walking past.
    (Well, maybe the boyfriend might give you a look if he sees you – but it’s usually nothing serious).

  248. munir — on 28th June, 2009 at 3:18 pm  

    douglas clark

    “Lets here our chum on fgm next.”

    Congrats tabloid-for-a-brain youve finally struck gold.

    Muslims defend the right of women to wear niqab because it is part of the religion. they dont defend fgm because it is a vile practice forbidden by the religion.

    Both the niqab and fgm are opposed by wider society. So Muslims supporting the former but not the latter is because thats what our religion teaches not to curry favour or to be oppositionalist.

    You who knows nowt about the Muslim religion doesnt know that

    “I’m sure he will be just as consistently stupid.”

    Physician, heal thyself

  249. Rumbold — on 28th June, 2009 at 3:25 pm  

    Munir:

    Doesn’t it strike you as odd that women cover their faces but not men? If they want to that is their business of course, but why don’t we see men wearing burkhas?

  250. munir — on 28th June, 2009 at 3:27 pm  

    damon
    “Whether I agree with him or not, I thought the Imam from Oxford (who spoke strongly against the young woman in the niqab), had some good points.”

    Taj Hargey is not a Imam. Hes a heretic

    “The poor woman in the niqab was a bit lost for words when asked some simple questions by Campbell (”why sholdn’t men not be required to cover their faces?” he asked her), and she didn’t have an answer.”

    Her answer probably should have been “because thats what God says”. I believe you raised this issue earlier and it was answered (post #85) but Ill repeat s-l-o-w-l-y

    Men are also required to dress modestly and to lower their gaze. Modesty is not the preserve just of women

    Being harangued on this by people who believe God is a man (Christians) is ever a source of amusement

    Can you explain why only men can be Popes or preists Damon?

    Campbell is BTW an Islamophobe- anyone who listens to his R5 show knows that

    “The goings on in the Croydon shopping center today were for anyone who wants to take part, and are not race or religion specific.”

    Yes dumbo. So why did you bring up Muslims?

  251. Rumbold — on 28th June, 2009 at 3:32 pm  

    “Taj Hargey is not a Imam. Hes a heretic.”

    Translation: I disagree with him.

  252. munir — on 28th June, 2009 at 3:35 pm  

    Rumbold
    “You must live in a very white area then if you do not realise that it isn’t just the family who enforces discipline but the wider community who live locally.”

    And you must know very few Muslims if you think that even the practice of hijab (let alone niqab) is universally applied across communities . Its quite common for in a single family one sister to cover and another not to. Wearing hijab isnt even done by a majority (particularly the older generation since it isnt part of Asian culture)

    If a young couple want to misbehave they certainly would need to find some private place away from the community to do so. But hijab ? no.

  253. Arif — on 28th June, 2009 at 3:38 pm  

    When I visited Swat, I argued against the chador (within a kind of extended family) as something unnecessary and oppressive.

    All the men I discussed this with agreed, all the women disagreed with me.

    If we go into the reasons why people might argue forcefully that it was a matter of respect to wear it, then we get out of the realms of liberal political discussion (separating the public and private spheres) into issues of culture and psychology.

    Political interventions in cultural issues happen all the time – when it is done by the left it might be called “political correctness gone mad” or by the right as “fascism” – it is a fraught area that I think Democracies (in the sense of models where there is majority rule tempered by minority rights”) will always find difficult. Unless they can somehow show it isn’t a dominant culture imposing its values on a minority, the politician undermines both liberalism and democracy – at least as defined by western academies.

    But as no one really cares what western academics think unless it serves some purpose, we carry on anyway. Part of what we need to do is is define post-liberal, post-democratic boundaries – what is a fair way of intervening in someone else’s culture? What would be a fair way for them to intervene in ours? Are there power structures which conveniently make it easier to intervene in “their” cultures than it is for “them” to intervene in “ours” or vice versa?

    Again, I’m sure they have these debates in academies, but this also trickles into the debates we have on pickled politics and elsewhere. I’m wondering about the cultural and psychological mechanisms which might make us insist we are liberals or democrats and yet want to intervene in what people have been wearing for centuries (whether we justify intervention it in terms of opposing cultural oppression or in terms of reducing offence to a dominant culture).

    Just as interesting for me, is how non-Liberals and non-Democrats sometimes respond by resorting to liberal rhetoric (the State has no business….) or democratic rhetoric (protecting the right of a woman to choose….) to argue against these interventions.

    How aware are we that we are playing a game, and how much of it is sub-conscious? Grabbing whatever rhetorical device comes to hand to fight a more important battle than the battle for or against liberalism or democracy – two concepts which seem to me to mean little to people in themselves, except as markers in our culture wars.

  254. chairwoman — on 28th June, 2009 at 3:39 pm  

    “The irony of this is of course that many “liberated” women do dress in order to please men!”

    Ah Munir, what a bloke you are :)

    I am going to impart one of the secrets of the universe.

    Ready?

    Women only dress to impress other women.

    How many chaps are going to notice if she’s wearing a Marc Jacobs dress, a Chanel bag, or Jimmy Choo shoes?

    A guy only notices that she looks OK.

  255. Rumbold — on 28th June, 2009 at 3:40 pm  

    I don’t think that it is universally applied. But I was making the point that in certain communities people who want to defy their elders have to watch out for anyone who might know them.

  256. munir — on 28th June, 2009 at 3:47 pm  

    Munir
    Taj Hargey is not a Imam. Hes a heretic.

    Rumbold
    “Translation: I disagree with him.”

    Translation: He disagrees with clear cut verses of the Quran and the consensus of the Muslim scholars on issues like hijab or marriage. He has never ever formerly studied Islam. He is also a “Quran only” deviant who rejects in toto the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him) which is unprecentended and actually disbelief (since it entails the rejection of mutawatir hadiths). He is a heretic

    Whats worse is he actually spends his time trying to deny Muslims who disagree with him their rights and to force people to follow his batil and plays to the Islamophobic gallery to attack Muslims for following Orthodox Islam.

  257. Ravi Naik — on 28th June, 2009 at 3:52 pm  

    And you must know very few Muslims if you think that even the practice of hijab (let alone niqab) is universally applied across communities . Its quite common for in a single family one sister to cover and another not to. Wearing hijab isnt even done by a majority (particularly the older generation since it isnt part of Asian culture)

    Good. So, there is no consensus that wearing a hijab is a sin across Muslim communities. And it is a good sign that women are exercising the right not to wear it, and not coerced by people like you saying that that’s what God wants.

    What you fail to explain, is why there are two criteria for modesty. If you feel that using a burkha gets you a reward in paradise, why don’t you wear it?
    Why don’t you wear a mask and cover your body for a whole day? We don’t want gays and women looking at your body or your face, because that surely offends God.

  258. munir — on 28th June, 2009 at 3:56 pm  

    chairwoman thanks for the secrets.

    Men are rather dim creatures and just tend to judge based on looks. Hence one of the benefits of covering many women have found is it forces men to engage with their minds not their bodies.

  259. A Councillor Writes — on 28th June, 2009 at 4:02 pm  

    [...]How many chaps are going to notice if she’s wearing a Marc Jacobs dress, a Chanel bag, or Jimmy Choo shoes? [...]

    Well, I do, but I’ve been a card-carrying member of the gayers for, ooh, 26 years now. I think we are suppose to notice :-)

  260. munir — on 28th June, 2009 at 4:15 pm  

    Ravi Naik

    Ravi have mercy on the dead horse

    “Good. So, there is no consensus that wearing a hijab is a sin across Muslim communities.”

    But Islam isnt “what Muslim communities do” Islam is the texts. The majority of Muslims dont pray 5 times a day. This doesnt change the fact it is an obligation.

    ” And it is a good sign that women are exercising the right not to wear it, and not coerced by people like you saying that that’s what God wants.”

    Its a funny comment as if the default in this country is covering your hair and its easier to live in the UK with your hair covered.

    Its better that woman are exercising their right to wear it. A right which when it comes to niqab you and the poisoned midget Sarzoky want to take away from them

    People like me? Who am I? God says this in the Quran – Muslims follow God not me.

    “What you fail to explain, is why there are two criteria for modesty.”

    There are not. Men are also obliged to be modest.

    “If you feel that using a burkha gets you a reward in paradise, why don’t you wear it?”

    Beacuse Im not commanded to. If I was I would.
    If I wore a niqab or hijab I would be imitatating women which is forbidden by the texts.
    You are an idiot.

    “Why don’t you wear a mask and cover your body for a whole day? We don’t want gays and women looking at your body or your face, because that surely offends God.”

    You are an idiot

    Why dont you put on a bindi and jump on a funeral pyre?

  261. damon — on 28th June, 2009 at 4:45 pm  

    Munir @ 250
    ”Yes dumbo. So why did you bring up Muslims?”
    I only brought it up because you said you thought it was appropriate for primary school girls in Britain to be wearing a hijab to school.
    You blamed the ”racist islamophobic wider society” for the reason that (perhaps) Somali parents might be doing this with their children.
    (An excuse that I think is disingenuous btw).

    Manir (again @ 250): ”Can you explain why only men can be Popes or preists Damon?

    Campbell is BTW an Islamophobe- anyone who listens to his R5 show knows that”

    I was brought up a catholic, but can’t enlighten you I’m affraid. The workings of the catholic church are a bizarre mystery to me too.
    But that you call Nicky Campbell an Islamophobe is telling.
    In my opinion there is no way that he is.
    You could just as spuriously call him a racist.

    I think that what Munir is showing is a rather bullying hectoring kind of view …that even if he was correct as far as the Qur’an goes, there would be eqally legitimate opinion that would respect Islam as much as the ”Unification Church” is given respect. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unification_Church
    In my opinion (as an an athiest) I give them about equal measure of respect. (While recognising that I have to appear to give Muslims I come into contact with more respect).
    You kind of have to, just because you don’t want to offend people.

  262. Jai — on 28th June, 2009 at 6:31 pm  

    Why dont you put on a bindi and jump on a funeral pyre?

    Notwithstanding the fact that this thread is littered with gratuitously offensive & stereotyping remarks by you about Hindus (most of them directed at Ravi) despite the fact that they have absolutely nothing to do with the thread’s main topic, Munir, the fact that Ravi is actually well-known amongst regular commenters on this blog to be a Christian by virtue of both belief and ancestry might have something to do with it.

  263. munir — on 28th June, 2009 at 6:40 pm  

    Jai
    “Notwithstanding the fact that this thread is littered with gratuitously offensive & stereotyping remarks by you about Hindu”

    You of course ignore the numerous gratuitously offensive & stereotyping remarks about Muslims and Islam I was responding to. You would.

    You cant have it both ways Jai.

  264. Denim Justice — on 28th June, 2009 at 7:20 pm  

    Why dont you put on a bindi and jump on a funeral pyre?

    This is a step too far, I think.

    Munir, you should use blockquotes when quoting text from other posts. Makes it easier to follow the debate.

  265. Golam Murtaza — on 28th June, 2009 at 7:20 pm  

    I’ve tried reasoning with him Jai. Just to get him to tone things down a bit. But it’s like arguing with a brick wall.

  266. Jai — on 28th June, 2009 at 7:21 pm  

    You would.

    No Munir, I wouldn’t (as you know perfectly well) — I wasn’t “ignoring” them, I just have zero interest in getting involved in this particular discussion on PP beyond my brief remarks about Iran, particularly as it has now run to #263 comments.

    And constantly taking pot-shots against Hindus and Hinduism when arguing with Ravi, in an attempt to “fight fire with fire”, is more than a little misguided when your opponent actually isn’t even a Hindu himself. Which was my main point.

    For the record, I don’t think a state should legislate people’s attire — including banning the burkha.

  267. munir — on 28th June, 2009 at 8:09 pm  

    “And constantly taking pot-shots against Hindus and Hinduism when arguing with Ravi, in an attempt to “fight fire with fire”, is more than a little misguided when your opponent actually isn’t even a Hindu himself. Which was my main point.”

    hahah point taken – will have to dust off some anti-Christian jibes next time Ravi gets shirty with Muslims

    “For the record, I don’t think a state should legislate people’s attire — including banning the burkha.”

    Good for you sir. Me too.

  268. Don — on 28th June, 2009 at 8:47 pm  

    Halima,

    but it seems you and others can’t get past the fact that in some contexts the burqa is forced onto women and this overwhelms your capacity to see it as a neutral garment and a garment of positive choice for thinking women.

    Yes, I’d say that was a fair summary of my position. Should I get past that fact? Given that fact, why should I see it as a neutral garment?

    As for it being a garment of positive choice for thinking women. I simply don’t understand. Munir has comprehensively explained why it might be a choice for those wishing to express a particular religious conviction. But a garment of positive choice for thinking women. implies something beyond strict adherence to a particular religious code. What would that be?

    Obviously we are pretty disparate – I’m not even a woman – but even when we disagreed in the past I could see where you where coming from. So if you could explain the positives about hiding your face from the rest of society, other than as a perceived religious obligation, I’d appreciate it.

    I still believe on no compromise on liberalism when it comes to choice – where there is no force or harm caused.

    Do you?

    Why would you ask me that question?

  269. comrade — on 28th June, 2009 at 9:19 pm  
  270. comrade — on 28th June, 2009 at 9:26 pm  
  271. Halima — on 29th June, 2009 at 2:52 am  

    Don

    The burqa is repressive in one context: under the Taliban, but perhaps not with my friend from East Ham who I grew up with. We should appreciate that it isn’t exploitative in all contexts.

    Where there is exploitation it’s probably linked to a raft of other issues which leave woman and girls vulnerable. We might focus on these issues which would be a better intervention on improving the rights and welfare of such women and girls.

    “I still believe in no compromise on liberalism when it comes to choice – where there is no force or harm caused.

    Do you?

    Why would you ask me that question?”

    Because it sounds like you and others are adding caveats to whether certain choices are permissible or not – based on your value judgements. As with any difference of opinion on how we lead our lives, the key point is whether an action causes harm – where it does, we draw a line, where it doesn’t, we allow it. Otherwise who is to say your view or my view is legitimate.

    “But a garment of positive choice for thinking women. implies something beyond strict adherence to a particular religious code. What would that be?”

    On the whole most women would wear the burka because they ultimately want to submit to a higher order, and Munir would be right on this one. I don’t know the debates in the Koran well enough. But for many women wearing the hijab or the burka leaves them feeling more independent and liberated. Like it or not, they live in the here and now (while society improves its game on gender), and they feel tremendous pressure to conform to how young women should look, perform, act to get accepted. Wearing it allows them to evade such pressures – where their appearance isn’t the central focus. If you think to older women, too, especially in places like Sudan and Egypt, they also tell a similar story. As you know older women suffer the pressures of being old and being no longer valuable as women because they’ve lost their looks and wearing something doesn’t put a premium your appearance is incredibly useful – they say.

    I do think though, perceptions of the burka are rooted in deep-seated hostility to religion per se – not Islam. For many folks (and I don’t mean people in the so-called ‘west’) it conjures up images of conservativism and religion. Again, though, I don’t have a strong feelings on nuns wearing what they wear – and don’t see a public debate about it in the same way. Admittedly nuns on the whole are not coming from certain parts of the population where sometimes women and girls’ rights are trampled upon.

    For me the fight to improve women’s lot isn’t tied up with the burqa – quite the opposite, in fact, i consider it a distraction. It doesn’t get to the core reasons why women and men have unequal rights in our societies which are why for many women in the Middle East the gender fight isn’t about this – it’s about more. The reason why it’s an issue in France now and possibly in Turkey is because there are legal and constitutional restrictions on religion in public spaces – and much of this is about the French or the new secular Turkish identity – not about women’s rights per se.

  272. Random Guy — on 29th June, 2009 at 8:12 am  

    Someone put Halima in charge of a mainstream newspaper!

  273. Golam Murtaza — on 29th June, 2009 at 8:14 am  

    Isn’t she a journalist? I had the idea she was – though not sure where I got that info’. Could be confusing her with another Halima.

  274. Halima — on 29th June, 2009 at 8:58 am  

    http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/BriWenRed/Demo2#5352417982617699074

    This is a recent protest where plenty of folks from across the spectrum got together to call for the protection of our education services – and ESOL in particular. The reason I link it is so people can see integration in the streets where it matters most – fighting for our rights. The women wearing hijab – and some wearing the burqa seem perfectly indepenent enough to me – and indeed are leading this protest with the trade unions and teaching institutions.

    The point is in London women and girls wearing such dress aren’t living the stereotypical lives depicted from Taliban imagery. Some women might be suffering – and orgs like the Southhall Black Sisters monitor these, but these cases don’t automatically correlate to women wearing the burqa.

  275. Ravi Naik — on 29th June, 2009 at 9:06 am  

    I was in a plane once on a long flight, and had the pleasure of sitting next to this very beautiful woman in her 30s from Turkey. She was Muslim, married to a Turkish businessman (which I can only imagine as a rich and old). They were moving from Hong Kong to Saudi Arabia. She told me she would never wear the niqab or the hijab anywhere in the world except in Saudi Arabia where she feels much safer wearing it, to avoid harassment from local men.

  276. Ravi Naik — on 29th June, 2009 at 9:17 am  

    For me the fight to improve women’s lot isn’t tied up with the burqa – quite the opposite, in fact, i consider it a distraction.

    the key point is whether an action causes harm – where it does, we draw a line, where it doesn’t, we allow it. Otherwise who is to say your view or my view is legitimate.
    .

    I agree with you. The burqa is just a visible manifestation. I feel that the mindset which leads women to conceal their faces in public is one that prevents integration and job opportunities, which is bad for them, and for society.

    Do you feel that’s true, or on the contrary, that there is no harm? Are there studies point out to the level of integration and success for women who feel the need to conceal their faces in public?

  277. munir — on 29th June, 2009 at 9:27 am  

    Halima your post at #271 was brilliant

  278. munir — on 29th June, 2009 at 9:32 am  

    Ravi Naik
    “I was in a plane once on a long flight, and had the pleasure of sitting next to this very beautiful woman in her 30s from Turkey. She was Muslim, married to a Turkish businessman (which I can only imagine as a rich and old). They were moving from Hong Kong to Saudi Arabia. She told me she would never wear the niqab or the hijab anywhere in the world except in Saudi Arabia where she feels much safer wearing it, to avoid harassment from local men.”

    This sums you up in a nutshell- you based your ideas on the flimiest of evidence (one case) , extrapolting from this despite the myriad of peoples reasons and perspectives -imply all Saudi men are perverts, make idiotic stereotypical assumations (her husband is rich and old) and perhaps most telling mention the woman’s looks – since it appears to you what women are really about. After all you make entire judgements on people on how they dress/look!

    But thanks – you show that the opposition to hijab and niqab isnt based on anything rational or concrete.

  279. Halima — on 29th June, 2009 at 9:52 am  

    Ravi
    Yes, it does prevent integration, for sure, because in a country where visible difference stands out, it’s always going to be a barrier. But this is all the more reason why we have to work hard to change attitudes to make the difference acceptable – and then integration is made easier. This doesn’t mean that we should make negative attitudes to women acceptable, not at all. Just create more acceptance for people’s right to look different and be different. Not be unequal.
    I don’t know about research into this, but would be interested to find out more myself. But there is research on taller men and women being more successful in at work – and the fact of being taller builds confidence during our formative years. If this is the preferred ideal in a society (along with perhaps looking white or fair skinned) than i imagine those of us who are less tall etc probably take longer to achieve success. This doesn’t mean we are less happier – it’s that thing with age, younger people are better and faster at sports because they have more agility and strength – but people aged 35 plus, though bodies are slower to react, because they are wiser, can equally match an 18 year old at his/her game. Everything eventually balances out eventually.

    Gulam M/Random Guy
    Are you asking me? I can’t access Youtube so can’t tell what’s on there. Not journalist, though have written for a few papers in the past and put out research in the public domain. Thanks for the positive nod!

  280. Halima — on 29th June, 2009 at 9:57 am  

    Munir

    Thanks.

    It would be good to try and get some women from City Circle to debate online more often (if you have the contacts). Much more persuasive sometimes to people wanting to find out more – often without an agenda either way.

  281. Ravi Naik — on 29th June, 2009 at 9:59 am  

    And constantly taking pot-shots against Hindus and Hinduism when arguing with Ravi, in an attempt to “fight fire with fire”, is more than a little misguided when your opponent actually isn’t even a Hindu himself. Which was my main point.

    It doesn’t matter for Munir – he can’t even respect Muslims who have a different opinions than him, calling them brainwashed, heretic, and… modern. So I do not expect him to respect other religions, or that he actually makes an effort not to misrepresent the beliefs of others.

    Now, I understand that for Munir, that the niqab is an essential part of Islam – and that women are rewarded by actually being invisible in public, and therefore when I criticise the niqab – even though it is worn by a minority of Muslims – that I am gratuitously mocking Islam.

    Here is something interesting:

    The references of the hijab in the Quran only apply to Prophet Muhammad’s wives. And hijab was only introduced a few centuries later after Islam was established and expanded in several regions.

    And here is an article on the subject:

    During Islam’s rise in the Middle Ages, the use of the veil and gender segregation was commonplace in the Christian Middle East and Mediterranean regions, but their influence on Islam was relatively minor in the lifetime of Muhammad. In fact, his wives were not required to wear a veil or take up seclusion until the end of his life, and other than his wives, women in the general population still mingled freely with men.

    It was only well after Muhammad’s death that the veil became a commonplace item of clothing among Muslim upper-class women, who began to veil as a sign of status following the example of the Prophet’s wives. It is unknown how and exactly when these customs spread to the general Muslim population, but it would have been following the Muslim conquests of areas where veiling was prevalent, and when the Muslim state was attaining greater wealth.

  282. Ravi Naik — on 29th June, 2009 at 10:04 am  

    Reza Aslan provides more historic context on this subject.

  283. Ravi Naik — on 29th June, 2009 at 10:18 am  

    Yes, it does prevent integration, for sure, because in a country where visible difference stands out, it’s always going to be a barrier. But this is all the more reason why we have to work hard to change attitudes to make the difference acceptable – and then integration is made easier.

    Halima, so, do you believe that students should accommodate to teachers who conceal their faces? Is it not easier to change the attitudes of women who believe that there should be a wall segregating the sexes?

  284. munir — on 29th June, 2009 at 10:35 am  

    Ravi naik

    “It doesn’t matter for Munir – he can’t even respect Muslims who have a different opinions than him, calling them brainwashed, heretic, and… modern.”

    You forget to mention that
    1) The people you mention dont respect the orthodox opinion on the issue
    2) the people you mention, like you, want to ban women from wearing niqab – hows that for respecting differnce
    3) They do not have different opinions from “me” – they have different opinions from the entire corpus of orthodox Islam
    4) Taj Hargeys views are deeply heretical how ever much you wish otherwise

    “So I do not expect him to respect other religions, or that he actually makes an effort not to misrepresent the beliefs of others.”

    You misrepenest the Islamic view on the hijab and niqab you hypocrite!

    “Now, I understand that for Munir, that the niqab is an essential part of Islam ”

    You havent understood a thing! You dont even understand Islamic terminology in these areas so how can you?

    “– and that women are rewarded by actually being invisible in public, and therefore when I criticise the niqab – even though it is worn by a minority of Muslims – that I am gratuitously mocking Islam.”

    Criticise all you want – your words have no weight. Do you accept Muslim criticism of Christianity as part of your religious teaching?

    “The references of the hijab in the Quran only apply to Prophet Muhammad’s wives.”

    the verses refer to the beliving women as well!!

    ” And hijab was only introduced a few centuries later after Islam was established and expanded in several regions.”

    Hilarious – you are trying to teach us our religion and tell us the scholars of the salaf- teh companions of the Prophet who learned directly from him – didnt know Islam but you do!!

    “And here is an article on the subject:”

    Written by a Non-muslim!
    Since when does any religion base its rulings on what non-believers in it say?

    From the article you quoted

    ” While the Qur’an instructs Muslims to dress modestly, the only specific reference to veiling is Surah 24:31, instructing women to veil their bosoms and hide their ornaments.”

    This distortion was already answered in post #204!!

    The funny thing is Islam we dont even accept the words of the most religious Muslim if they havent studied and gained knowledge- but you expect us to take the words of non Muslims!!!

    ” But it is not the sight is blind, but the hearts that are in their breasts. ” (22:46)

  285. Ravi Naik — on 29th June, 2009 at 10:50 am  

    Written by a Non-muslim!
    Since when does any religion base its rulings on what non-believers in it say?

    Reza Aslan is a Shi’a Muslim and a theological scholar – where do you get off telling people who you disagree with, that they are not Muslims? You may not agree or accept his view, but it doesn’t make it any less valid.

    In fact, quite the opposite, while he researches his material and properly references it, you engage in whataboutery and mischaracterising other beliefs as some sort of argument for the use of niqab – coming up with this idiocy that Hindu women idolise their husbands as Gods.

    This kind of ignorance plays well in blogs and forums full of people like yourself, but not here. And don’t come playing as a victim of Islamophobia, because you yourself have no respect for different opinions and beliefs in the Muslim community.

  286. Jai — on 29th June, 2009 at 10:51 am  

    Ravi,

    I think that perhaps it would be an amicable and constructive solution for everyone concerned to simply acknowledge that there are — and, historically, have been — different interpretations of Islam, and these have included attitudes towards veiling/purdah etc.

    Taking the subcontinent as an example, the influence of a particular variety of Sufism has been especially prevalent in Punjab and Sindh (on both sides of the border), and this includes (for example) the stories of Heer-Ranjha, Mirza-Sahiba, Sohni-Mahiwal and Sassi-Pannun — all involving Muslims, and none of whose heroines were veiled, especially Heer.

    Those historical stories, legends (however you wish to view it) are integral to Sufism in those regions, and Heer-Ranjha in particular was used by revered historical Sufi saints such as Bulleh Shah as an example of “true love” and simultaneously as a metaphor for divine love (the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan was a great admirer of the saint and sang some wonderful qawwalis based on his poetry — the song “Ni Mein Jaana Jogi De Naal”, which I have supplied Youtube links to here on PP a few times previously, is an extremely famous example of this).

    Bulleh Shah strongly disagreed with some of the religious orthodoxy/ulema’s views on Islam and spirituality, and correspondingly the stance of that brand of Sufism on (for example) Heer-Ranjha is that their love did actually have divine blessing despite violating orthodox Shariah on several levels and the opposition of the orthodox religious establishment, along with the tragic deaths of the two protagonists.

    Anyway, my point is that disagreements over veiling, Shariah, interpretations of Islam, the acceptability (or not) of music etc are nothing new, especially in Punjab and Sindh, and that there is similarly a long history of disagreements between people who have taken the Bulleh Shah approach and those who sided with the clergy.

    Ultimately, it depends on who one thinks was right: the scholars & the established religious heirarchy, or some venerated Sufi figures who disagreed with their ideas, including their interpretations of Shariah and the extent to which it should be implemented (and, consequently, how “compulsory” it is). People have to make up their own minds about these things.

    These are very old arguments going back centuries, Ravi, especially in that part of the world and most of all in that part of the subcontinent itself.

    Having said that, given the Islamophobic propaganda which has been prevalent in recent years in some quarters of the media, coupled with a certain extremist British political party with a vested interest in capitalising on this one-sided & stereotyping perception of Islam and Muslims, and the widespread confusion and ignorance about the matter amongst large numbers of the non-Asian British population as a whole, I certainly think it would be a good idea for there to be greater awareness of “the other side of the story”. Even more so when one considers the noises in some quarters about Islam and Muslims allegedly both being inherently “opposed” to modern Western values and, consequently, incompatible with modern life — both assertions which I personally would strongly disagree with, especially as it ultimately depends on exactly which interpretation of Islam a person believes in and practices.

  287. halima — on 29th June, 2009 at 10:55 am  

    “Halima, so, do you believe that students should accommodate to teachers who conceal their faces? Is it not easier to change the attitudes of women who believe that there should be a wall segregating the sexes?”

    The good thing about the British system is that it’s pragmatic enough to change and adapt -and not simply bat from an ideological perspective.

    If the school in question was a same sex establishment – and female, we’d be fine. I imagine there are enough same sex schools to employ the small number of female Muslim teachers who want to cover their faces in mixed spaces. Educational authorities are responsible for planning in a responsible way the local teaching workforce. Would it be difficult to adjust and rotate the jobs on grounds that posts suit some teachers better than others – and provided there are no benefits gained/lost by other teachers allocated elsewhere, then we wouldn’t have to ask the students to accommodate the teacher – who after all, is the adult here. Schools first and foremost should put the needs of children first.

    Just a thought, I don’t know if this is practical or not.

  288. Jai — on 29th June, 2009 at 10:56 am  

    ^^By the way, the post above is just to place some historical context on the matter and to clarify that there are some strands of Islam which have very different views on a number of issues, and are especially influential in some parts of what is now Pakistan and northern India. I said earlier that I don’t really want to get involved in this debate and I still stand by that assertion.

  289. Jai — on 29th June, 2009 at 10:58 am  

    Apologies if there is any confusion: #288 actually refers to my previous post #286, not Halima’s post #287.

  290. Ravi Naik — on 29th June, 2009 at 11:10 am  

    I think that perhaps it would be an amicable and constructive solution for everyone concerned to simply acknowledge that there are — and, historically, have been — different interpretations of Islam, and these have included attitudes towards veiling/purdah etc.

    Jai, I hope I was very clear in #281 and #285 that (a) historically the significance of veil changed – and the Prophet seemed to have more liberal attitudes than in subsequent centuries, and (b) there are different interpretations of Islam, something that Munir doesn’t acknowledge, calling heretic and brainwashed anything that doesn’t fit his view. In fact, he is presenting the same view as Islamophobes: that Islam is one single homogeneous bloc.

  291. munir — on 29th June, 2009 at 12:14 pm  

    Ravi Naik

    “Reza Aslan is a Shi’a Muslim and a theological scholar – where do you get off telling people who you disagree with, that they are not Muslims?”

    Er.Ravi. I was referring to link you posted to Michelle MacNeil’s article – you didnt post any of Reza Aslans views

    “You may not agree or accept his view, but it doesn’t make it any less valid.”

    In Shia Islam the hijab is considered an obligation -the regime in Iran even imposes it and polices it – not sure on their views on niqab)

    “In fact, quite the opposite, while he researches his material and properly references it, you engage in whataboutery ”

    Sigh- I have on numerous posts brought forth the evidence for niqab and hijab – refer to my earlier post and douglas clarks post #99

    There are none so blind

    “mischaracterising other beliefs as some sort of argument for the use of niqab – coming up with this idiocy that Hindu women idolise their husbands as Gods.”

    Quite. You dont understand the irony of your criticising me for speaking ignorantly about another religion!

    “This kind of ignorance plays well in blogs and forums full of people like yourself, but not here.”

    Absolutely hilarious. Your non- arguments would be laughed out of court on an islamic forum. You have to bring daleels if you want to show what you were saying is correct

    The funny thing is I have refrained from using the Islamic terminology we usually used because you wouldnt understand it.

    You are suggesting Muslims who have been practiciisig and studying the religion are more ignorant of the religion than you. The sheer arrogance!

  292. Imran Khan — on 29th June, 2009 at 12:29 pm  

    Douglas – “So, no. You don’t get to define anything Imran. The world ain’t what you think it is.”

    Douglas the more I read of your nonsense the more I worry about your ability to grasp what people say. You continual baiting of Muslims is disgusting and beyond the pale.

    I am getting so sick and tired of your disdain for Muslims that I really detest talking to you.

    I haven’t defined anything and I didn’t seek to. I replied to some points and if you can’t maintain a fair discussion with Muslims then don’t reply. You don’t do this to any other faith so it says a lot about you as a person that you do this to Muslims here whose only crime in your eyes is to explain their position or their faith. If you can’t be civil then don’t answer.

  293. munir — on 29th June, 2009 at 12:32 pm  

    Ravi Naik
    “Jai, I hope I was very clear in #281 and #285 that (a) historically the significance of veil changed – and the Prophet seemed to have more liberal attitudes than in subsequent centuries,”

    I see. So you have understood the Prophet (peace be upon him)better than his wives, companions and those who they taught.

    ” and (b) there are different interpretations of Islam, something that Munir doesn’t acknowledge, ”

    hilarious- I already mentioned theer are 4 schools of thought in Sunni islam and the Jafari school in Shiasm – and they ALL agree hijab is fard and all the sunnis say niqab is either fard or mustahabb

    “calling heretic and brainwashed anything that doesn’t fit his view. ”

    “My” view being what Orthodox Islam teaches

    “In fact, he is presenting the same view as Islamophobes: that Islam is one single homogeneous bloc.”

    Pathetic. Islamophobes present “Muslims” as a single homogenous bloc all doing something negative “all Muslims are terrorists” etc .

    There are as mentioned time and time again different schools of thought- the 4 Sunni schools (Hanafi/Maliki/Shafi/Hanbali). Though they differ on many many things they ALL say Hijab is an obligation and all say Niqab is part of the deen.

    When it comes to key beliefs and practices there is homogenity amongst Muslims – for example we dont say “there is difference of opinion amongst Muslims of whether there is one God or the Quran is the word of God or whether Muhammed (pbuh) is the last prophet, or whether alcohol is forbidden or whether there are 5 daily prayers”.

    Hijab comes under the same category – there is absolute ijma (consensus) that it is an obligation on women.

    ————————-
    I will post AGAIN the article written by a scholar
    -lets hope Ravi understands it

    “The Quranic verse, “Say to believing women, that they cast down their eyes and guard their private parts, and reveal not their adornment save such as is outward; and let them drape their headcoverings over their bosoms, and not reveal their adornment . . (Qur’an 24:31) is a specific requirement for Muslim women to cover their hair.

    The word “headcoverings” (Ar. singular khimar, plural khumur), more familiar in our times as the hijab, is a word of well-known signification among scholars of Arabic, at their forefront the authors of the classical lexical reference dictionaries like Zabidis encyclopedic Taj al-arus or Mutarrizis al-Mughrib, both of which define khimar as “a womans headcovering”; or Fayumis al-Misbah or Fayruzabadis al-Qamus, which both define it as “a cloth with which a woman covers her head” The Taj al-arus also notes that a man’s turban is sometimes referred to as a khimar because a man covers his head with it in like manner as a woman covers her head with her khimar when he disposes it in the Arab manner, turning part of it under the jaws nearly in the same manner in which a woman disposes her khimar. These authorities are cited in the eight-volume Arabic-English Lexicon of Edward William Lane, who describes the khimar as a womans muffler or veil with which she covers her head and the lower part of her face.

    There is no other lexical sense in which the word khimar may be construed. The wording of the command, however, “and let them drape their headcoverings over their bosoms,” sometimes confuses nonspecialists in the sciences of the Quran, and in truth, interpreting the Quran does sometimes require in-depth knowledge of the historical circumstances in which the various verses were revealed. In this instance, the elliptical form of the divine command is because women at the time of the revelation wore their headcovers tied back behind their necks, as some village women still do in Muslim countries, leaving the front of the neck bare, as well as the opening (Ar. singular jayb, plural juyub, translated as “bosoms” in the above verse) at the top of the dress. The Islamic revelation confirmed the practice of covering the head, understood from the use of the word khimar in the verse, but also explained that the custom of the time was not sufficient and that women were henceforth to tie the headcover in front and let it drape down to conceal the throat and the dresses opening at the top.

    This is why Muslim women cover their heads: because the Quran unambiguously orders them to, and there is no qualifying text or hadith or even other lexical possibility to show that the Quranic order might mean anything besides obligation.

    Rather, the hadiths all bear this meaning out, Muslim scholars are in unanimous agreement about it and have been from the time of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) down to our own day, and it is even known by all non-Muslim peoples about them.

    There was thus nothing new or surprising in the Islamic legal opinion promulgated in December 2003 by the Grand Mufti of Egypt, Sheikh �Ali Jumu�a of the Egyptian Fatwa Authority (Dar al-Ifta� al-Misriyya) that �the hijab is an obligation on all Muslim female adults, as firmly established in the Holy Qur�an and the Prophet Muhammad�s hadiths, as well as unanimously agreed upon by Muslim scholars.�

    He pointed out that unlike the cross sometimes worn by Christians, or the skullcap worn by Jews, the hijab is not a �symbol� of Islam but rather that �Islam orders female adults to wear hijab as obligatory religious clothing.� It is part of every Muslim womans religious practice.

    Some ink and words have been spent by some contemporary ethnic Muslim women writers (and an occasional convert) trying to do away with the covering of hair mandated by the Quran and the unanimous consensus of Muslims. They say accurately enough, for a Muslim does not leave Islam merely by committing a sin that one can take off the hijab and still remain a Muslim. But such a person remains a bad Muslim, who deems aping non-Muslims better than practicing Islam. For what? The Supreme Being knows our benefit better than we do; and if one believes in Allah, Master of every atom in the universe, it is only plain sense to follow Him. When all else fails, read the directions. Those who refuse to wear the hijab are acting out of ignorance or bad faith, and when one meets them, one seldom finds they manage to practice the other aspects of their religion. In the end, it is a matter of hearts. The heart that is alive has a sense of eternity, and knows that the infinite is greater than the finite. The heart that is dead follows the trends of the trend makers because it has turned its back on the Divine and forgotten endless time.

    http://qa.sunnipath.com/issue_view.asp?HD=1&ID=4813&CATE=128

  294. munir — on 29th June, 2009 at 12:38 pm  

    Douglas Clark
    “So, no. You don’t get to define anything Imran. The world ain’t what you think it is.”

    What and you do?

    No. We Muslims get to define what our religion is. You dont.

    Your arrogance astounds- you and the poisoned dwarf Sarkozy get to define what secularism is or French identity AND you get to define what Islam is.

    Its bad enough that Sarkozy bans the niqab- but he wants to tell Muslims our religion! If he had just said “The Niqab is part of the Islamic religion but we wont have it in France” that would have been one thing – but he and his ignorant non-Muslim cronies say “We wont have niqab in France and it is not part of the Muslim religion”- he wants not just to be president of France, dictator of what French women can and cant wear but Sheikh ul-Islam!

    He can go screw himself!

  295. Ravi Naik — on 29th June, 2009 at 12:39 pm  

    Er.Ravi. I was referring to link you posted to Michelle MacNeil’s article – you didnt post any of Reza Aslans views

    Sorry, I assumed you refering to my post in #282.

    In Shia Islam the hijab is considered an obligation -the regime in Iran even imposes it and polices it – not sure on their views on niqab)

    Only after the Iranian revolution. Which was in 1979. Before that women didn’t have to wear them, and they were Shiahs nontheless. Do you support the Iranian government policy on the hijab?

    Quite. You dont understand the irony of your criticising me for speaking ignorantly about another religion!

    There is a difference between me telling you about other voices of Islam that you may disagree, and you making assertions that are patently false under any interpretation of the Hindu religion.

    The funny thing is I have refrained from using the Islamic terminology we usually used because you wouldnt understand it.

    I thank you for it. Still I had to get acquainted with the terms like bid’ah, fard, mustahabb, kufr, awrah, mehram, etc. to better understand what you are saying.

    You are suggesting Muslims who have been practiciisig and studying the religion are more ignorant of the religion than you. The sheer arrogance!

    Actually, no. I am just saying that there are more interpretations based on the Koran that differ to what you are defending.

  296. munir — on 29th June, 2009 at 12:46 pm  

    Jai
    “including their interpretations of Shariah and the extent to which it should be implemented (and, consequently, how “compulsory” it is). ”

    No Jai there is no ikthilaf on the hijab. The article I posted was by a Sufi Sheikh !

    There is not an never has been in islam, despite what wahabbis and orientalists say, a dichotomy between the Sufis and the ulema because all the sufis were ulema (though not vice versa)! Tassawuf (Sufism) was and is part of the basic maddrassa curriculum for ulema all over the Muslim world!

    Whether the state should enforce is a difference issue. Id say not. But it is unquesionably a sin for a woman not to wear hijab when she knows its an obligation much as it would be for a Sikh not to wear a turban (and we know how upset you got and defensive of your religions orthodoxy when someone brought up Aurangzebs choice for Guru -so dont be a hypocrite)

  297. Imran Khan — on 29th June, 2009 at 12:47 pm  

    Ravi – “Reza Aslan is a Shi’a Muslim and a theological scholar – where do you get off telling people who you disagree with, that they are not Muslims? You may not agree or accept his view, but it doesn’t make it any less valid.”

    Don’t talk nonsense. People say that so and so isn’t representative of this or that all the time.

    Why deny Muslims the right to say who is and isn’t Muslims in the eyes of the vast majority.

    The vast majority of Muslims don’t regard many Shia sects as Muslim and its their right to say so as long as they keep it at that.

    You have English people saying the BNP are not representative of England but you don’t question their saying this do you. So why say that Muslims can’t decide who is and isn’t Muslim?

    If he says your source isn’t Muslim thats an opinion and it isn’t being made binding upon you to accept his view. Just as you can present a Shia’s view then Munir may refute it. Thats what discussion is about.

    Most people here are trying to railroad Muslims into accepting their western interpretation on religion.

    The Hijab is part and parcel of Islam and a tiny minority saying it isn’t doesn’t change that fact.

    You can bring every revisionist you want but the fact is that there is a dress code in Islam. Its up to each follower if they want to accept it or not but these simple facts cannot be denied.

    If the people you are putting forth were widely accepted as you imply then why is it that Muslim women are not listening to them.

    Also I suspect that many of these people are jumping on the publicity bandwagon. Taj Hargey says covering isn’t part of Islam but then he allowed a woman who wears covering to lead Friday prayers – so tell me if he is such a scholar of Islam why was he unable to persuade her to take off her covering where her own interpretation is so liberal?????

    The reason these people are promoted is because they give the view the europeans want to hear and not necessarily because they are correct from a religious point of view.

  298. munir — on 29th June, 2009 at 12:58 pm  

    Ravi Naik
    “Only after the Iranian revolution. Which was in 1979. Before that women didn’t have to wear them, and they were Shiahs nontheless. Do you support the Iranian government policy on the hijab? ”

    Ravi at this point I shall refrain from responding. You are too stupid to realise there is a difference between what particular Muslim countries, communities and individuals may do and what Islam says.

    Your logic would entail drinking alcohol only became forbiddin after the 1979 revolution since there were numerous bars in the Shah’s time.

    “Actually, no. I am just saying that there are more interpretations based on the Koran that differ to what you are defending.”

    There are a wide range of opinions in tafsir that is true- but not that wide – there are many many issuesthey disagree on (hence the 4 schools) but there certain issues that all ulema agree on because they are an essential part of the religion. Hijab is amongst them as much as you a non Muslim may not like it .

    Your logic would imply that there is not one single set Islamic belief or practice. Thats Hinduism not Islam.

    “There is a difference between me telling you about other voices of Islam that you may disagree, and you making assertions that are patently false under any interpretation of the Hindu religion. ”

    Why is it patently false? Its my interpretation and I said it was true. Maybe I could bring someone with a Hindu name to back me up.

    You cant see that thats exactly what you are doing with Islam- you are saying “there are other voices in islam opposing consensus and making patently false statemnts under any interpreattion of Islam butyou must accept them no matter how absurd and false what they say is – however what you said about Hinduism is false”

    It makes even less sense since Islam has clear beliefs and texts!

  299. Imran Khan — on 29th June, 2009 at 1:22 pm  

    Ravi – “Only after the Iranian revolution. Which was in 1979. Before that women didn’t have to wear them, and they were Shiahs nontheless. Do you support the Iranian government policy on the hijab?”

    Your position is frankly silly. Pre-1979 the Shah didn’t enforce the wearing of covering but are you now claiming women didn’t cover?

    Some did and some didn’t.

    Post 1979 they were all made to.

    However part of the reason the Shah was overthrown was because he wanted to do an Ataturk and the people were not receptive. Oddly enough even in Turkey women covering is growing.

    The verses are clear cut and again this is a growing movement so how can so many people be wrong and a tiny minority right?

    How can people over 1400 years be wrong and a tiny minority be allowed to tell Europe and the USA this isn’t an obligation?

  300. Ravi Naik — on 29th June, 2009 at 1:32 pm  

    Don’t talk nonsense. People say that so and so isn’t representative of this or that all the time. Why deny Muslims the right to say who is and isn’t Muslims in the eyes of the vast majority.
    The vast majority of Muslims don’t regard many Shia sects as Muslim and its their right to say so as long as they keep it at that.
    You have English people saying the BNP are not representative of England but you don’t question their saying this do you. So why say that Muslims can’t decide who is and isn’t Muslim?

    There is a big difference between saying that someone’s voice is not representative, and denying someone’s identity because you disagree with that position. The former can be objectively measured by the number of people who support a view, the latter is just a repressive attempt to silence dissent and diversity of opinion.

    As for the BNP, I am sorry you had to pick this example, since what makes the BNP abhorrent is precisely the fact they want to deny non-whites their identity as British.

    The reason these people are promoted is because they give the view the europeans want to hear and not necessarily because they are correct from a religious point of view.

    It must be comforting to know that you have the absolute Truth.

    Why is it patently false? Its my interpretation and I said it was true. Maybe I could bring someone with a Hindu name to back me up.

    No, Munir – you need to provide evidence of a group of Hindu women who worship their husbands like deities. And preferably those who bring beer to their husbands as offerings.

  301. Imran Khan — on 29th June, 2009 at 1:39 pm  

    Ravi – What you fail to understand is that its always the dress codes of ethnics that are a target for ire by Europeans and Americans. Anything against their idea is ofter targetted.

    You joining with them is a worry because not so long ago the Hindu’s were targetted:

    http://pluralism.org/ocg/CDROM_files/hinduism/dot_busters.php

    Jews have been targetted as have Sikhs etc.

    The sensible point is that its not those that dres differently that should be subject to dictatorial edicts from pompous vote seeking politicians but rather if countries are secular then they need allow people to dress as they want.

  302. Ravi Naik — on 29th June, 2009 at 1:50 pm  

    The verses are clear cut and again this is a growing movement so how can so many people be wrong and a tiny minority right? How can people over 1400 years be wrong and a tiny minority be allowed to tell Europe and the USA this isn’t an obligation?

    Why was the hijab made into a religious obligation only centuries after Prophet Mohammed died? This seems to me like a cultural innovation, rather than a religion obligation. There is nothing wrong with the hijab or women wearing it, I am just wondering what evidence there is that if you do not wear it, you sin. Or as Munir eloquently says: “Because God wants it”.
    So far, all evidence I’ve seen points to the fact that hijab was suggested for the wives of the Prophet after he died.

  303. Imran Khan — on 29th June, 2009 at 1:59 pm  

    Ravi – “There is a big difference between saying that someone’s voice is not representative, and denying someone’s identity because you disagree with that position. The former can be objectively measured by the number of people who support a view, the latter is just a repressive attempt to silence dissent and diversity of opinion.

    As for the BNP, I am sorry you had to pick this example, since what makes the BNP abhorrent is precisely the fact they want to deny non-whites their identity as British.”

    You do talk nonsense. People of all faiths regularly deny who is and isn’t part of their faith.

    He didn’t try to silence dissent otherwise he would have demanded your post be deleted. He gave his opinion and you can’t stand that.

    “It must be comforting to know that you have the absolute Truth. ”

    The same applies to you. When he criticises aspects of your faith you deny his view and so is that an attempt to silence dissent because you have the absolute TRUTH?

    You won’t answer the questions being posed that if your scholars are so correct then why is it that even the woman who demanded the right to lead Friday Prayers wore the attire you say isn’t part of Islam!

    Your argument comes apart from that point because a woman who went against the teachings refused to budge from that teaching and the man so convinced he knows better couldn’t persuade her otherwise and had to let her use his place of worship on her terms namely of wearing the attire he says isn’t needed. So it was hypocrisy because if he was so sure of himself then why not stand his ground as he had the absolute truth as you claim.

  304. Imran Khan — on 29th June, 2009 at 2:06 pm  

    Ravi – “Why was the hijab made into a religious obligation only centuries after Prophet Mohammed died? This seems to me like a cultural innovation, rather than a religion obligation. There is nothing wrong with the hijab or women wearing it, I am just wondering what evidence there is that if you do not wear it, you sin. Or as Munir eloquently says: “Because God wants it”.
    So far, all evidence I’ve seen points to the fact that hijab was suggested for the wives of the Prophet after he died.”

    Can you get beyond your orientalist opinion of Islam.

    The verses ordering the Prophets Wives to cover also said the believing women so its right there at the start.

    If you bother to read the biographies of the female companions you’ll find they followed that command and guess what they covered. So it wasn’t after it was at the time women started covering.

    If you understand the concept then there are legislated parts of the body for men and women that must be covered. So there is a dress code and its been there from the start.

    It doesn’t subjugate women or men as many female companions were leaders in their fields and in jurisprudence for example some of the male companions turned to the female companions for advice and guidance.

  305. Ravi Naik — on 29th June, 2009 at 2:14 pm  

    When he criticises aspects of your faith you deny his view and so is that an attempt to silence dissent because you have the absolute TRUTH?

    On the contrary – I have asked him to prove his assertion. If that silences him, then all the better. I am not a Hindu, by the way.

    You won’t answer the questions being posed that if your scholars are so correct then why is it that even the woman who demanded the right to lead Friday Prayers wore the attire you say isn’t part of Islam!

    I actually didn’t say that hijab is not part of Islam. You seem to be a master in crafting strawmen, Imran. :)

    Your argument comes apart from that point because a woman who went against the teachings

    It is small steps like this that contribute to reform. And it is all about choice, isn’t it? She chose to wear the hijab.

  306. Ravi Naik — on 29th June, 2009 at 2:30 pm  

    One more interesting article:

    In the Ummah, there was no tradition of veiling until around 627 C.E., when the so-called “verse of hijab” suddenly descended upon the community. That verse, however, was addressed not to women in general, but exclusively to Muhammad’s wives:
    “Believers, do not enter the Prophet’s house…unless asked. And if you are invited…do not linger. And when you ask something from the Prophet’s wives, do so from behind a hijab. This will assure the purity of your hearts as well as theirs” (33:53).
    This restriction makes perfect sense when one recalls that Muhammad’s house was also the community’s mosque: the center of religious and social life in the Ummah. People were constantly coming in and out of this compound at all hours of the day. When delegations from other tribes came to speak with Muhammad, they would set up their tents for days at a time inside the open courtyard, just a few feet away from the apartments in which Muhammad’s wives slept. And new emigrants who arrived in Yathrib would often stay within the mosque’s walls until they could find suitable homes.

  307. damon — on 29th June, 2009 at 2:43 pm  

    I know saying what I’m about to say could easily be taken the wrong way and seen as ”anti-Muslim” – but honestly it isn’t.

    In Britain we have a Muslim population (that I’ve heard) is under two million.
    Where in France, the Muslim population is at least twice as big, (with a figure of five million often being cited).
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam_in_France
    I don’t care what race or religion people are, (but being secular myself I find that people who put religion at the top of their belief system a little hard to understand properly).
    Should I be totally neutral though if I was asked whether Britain should have concerns about the ”make up” of its society?
    If Britain’s Muslim population was to become as numerous as that in France in the coming years, should I have a care either way?

    I have read (and seen with my own eyes) that the countries of the Maghreb (North Africa) are ”ripe” for having a surplus of young people that they can not find jobs or fulfilment for at homme (and so those young people have a strong pull (push?) to want to emigrate.
    Should we welcome them in Europe with open arms?
    What about if they are disproportionately male (and conservative in their views?) Is that any business of mine?
    When I was hanging out in West Croydon yesterday, I can’t help but to notice these young men from Afghanistan (and Kurdistan too).
    Coming from very conservative societies where there were very strict controls placed apon them (and in which Burkas, or the idea of the ”honnor” of a family being tied to …amongst other things.. the ”modesty” of its women), I see them getting just a little bit out of hand and ferral.
    The ones I see have made that bit of London Road at West Croydon their turf. They are drinking alcohol (you see them drinking down beside the Lidl supermarket) and being just a little bit leery. (But of course, I’m only talking of some particular immature young men, not muslim people in general).
    I’m sure they have some very harrowing experiences behind tham as they made their way to England.
    But their cultural background does make a difference to how they behaive on the streets.
    They certainly seem to think that the normal (for most people from the UK) exposing of bare skin on a hot summer’s day (with young women) is definately something to point at and talk about. It’s so blatant that even if you don’t understand what is being said, you can tell by the body language that they are commenting on a woman’s body.
    Maybe not so different to what builders and scaffolders have done for decades I suppose you could say. (Woolf whistles directed at passing women used to be quite common I remember).

    But it was Munir’s insistence that a hijab was compulsory for women that I found was too much. I’d have hated to have had to have worn one today as I sat in terrible traffic in south London this morning.
    Windows down, sweating in the heat and trafic fumes.
    If it’s compulsory, how many pious muslim parents will not pressurise their daughter to wear it?

    And Munir, I only brought up the girls dancing at Croydon Fashion Week because you had talked of the ”sexualisation” of young girls who would wear skimpy clothing and makeup.
    Maybe that’s just the difference between your conservativism and my liberalism.
    I don’t see 12 year olds jumping about on a stage in ”immodest” atire as anything wrong.
    In the traditionl western culture (if you are an adult), you don’t view it as immodest and ”revealing”.

  308. Imran Khan — on 29th June, 2009 at 2:55 pm  

    Ravi – “I actually didn’t say that hijab is not part of Islam. You seem to be a master in crafting strawmen, Imran. :)

    For someone who has spent the entire post quoting people who deny the Hijab to then resort to namecalling is brilliant whatabouterry!

    The verses are clear, the obligation is clear. However it is an individual choice and as with everything ones actions are to be judged by God.

    It isn’t for me, you or anyone to decide what intentions are.

    Similarly it isn’t for Sarkozy to define what is and isn’t part of Islam just as it he wouldn’t find it acceptable for say me as a person living in ther UK to decide what is and isn’t French.

    “It is small steps like this that contribute to reform. And it is all about choice, isn’t it? She chose to wear the hijab.”

    You don’t get it do you. If you believe that part of the laws of the religion are orders from your creator then you won’t reform them. For women of religious belief if they believe that their creator has ordered them to cover then that isn’t up for reform as it constitutes a form of worship just as the fasting in Ramadan, going to Hajj etc. do. Its a form of religious worship.

    That is all people are trying to explain to you.

    Among the relevant verses are:

    “[024:030] Tell the believing men to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts). That is purer for them. Verily, Allâh is All-Acquainted with what they do.

    [024:031] And tell the believing women to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts) and not to show off their adornment except that which is apparent (like both eyes for necessity to see the way, or outer palms of hands or one eye or dress like veil, gloves, headcover, apron), and to draw their veils all over Juyûbihinna (i.e. their bodies, faces, necks and bosoms) and not to reveal their adornment except to their husbands, or their fathers, or their husband’s fathers, or their sons, or their husband’s sons, or their brothers or their brother’s sons, or their sister’s sons, or their (Muslim) women (i.e. their sisters in Islâm), or the (female) slaves whom their right hands possess, or old male servants who lack vigour, or small children who have no sense of feminine sex. And let them not stamp their feet so as to reveal what they hide of their adornment. And all of you beg Allâh to forgive you all, O believers, that you may be successful.”

    and

    “[033:059] O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks (veils) all over their bodies (i.e. screen themselves completely except the eyes or one eye to see the way). That will be better that they should be known (as free respectable women) so as not to be annoyed. And Allâh is Ever Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”

    The above verses make the requirements clear and as is clear apply to the female believers generally.

  309. Imran Khan — on 29th June, 2009 at 2:59 pm  

    Also Ravi the wider point I made earlier still applies that in Europe and the USA many men in the fashion dictate what is and isn’t acceptable in terms of female dress and images of women. That is seen as liberating for women!!!!!!!!

    Now we have Sarkozy deciding what is and isn’t suitable female dress. So a tinpot dictator deciding what is acceptable dress disguised as liberating women when its aimed at getting votes for himself.

    Its the usual right wing barbs aimed at immigrants and it shouldn’t been seen as liberating but as the devious political ploy it is.

  310. Imran Khan — on 29th June, 2009 at 3:06 pm  

    Oh and interestingly Ravi the French President didn’t object to his country trying to make money out of the dress he so despises at a fashion show held in his own country:

    http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=32976

    If the prat was so incensed by this dress then why didn’t he protest this fashion show? Nothing like a bit of hypocrisy when cash is talking huh?

  311. Imran Khan — on 29th June, 2009 at 3:25 pm  

    Ravi – If I may make one other point, the requirement for a dress code for men applies in Islam and as such I wear loose fitting and dark clothing to work. I am restricted in what I can wear to meet my religious obligations.

    Often people laugh because my clothing is loose to avoid showing the outline of the body.

    Yet the French President doesn’t complain about males who adhere to similar rules!!!!

    Today despite the heat I have a light jumper on top of my shirt.

    You’ll see Arab men even in London at the height of summer wearing multiple layers of clothes which are loose fitting.

    So it isn’t just a rule for women and men follow their own rules.

    This debate by Sarkozy is dishonest because it fails to look at the overall Islamic dress code and is simply another way for the right wing to attack Islam, Muslims etc.

    Interestingly even the Queen when she meets the Pope wears a form of head covering so why isn’t that considered a man telling a woman how to dress? Because its a white european male telling a woman how to dress so thats ok then!!!!!!!!!!!!

  312. Jai — on 29th June, 2009 at 3:28 pm  

    Ravi,

    Jai, I hope I was very clear in #281 and #285 that (a) historically the significance of veil changed – and the Prophet seemed to have more liberal attitudes than in subsequent centuries, and (b) there are different interpretations of Islam, something that Munir doesn’t acknowledge, calling heretic and brainwashed anything that doesn’t fit his view. In fact, he is presenting the same view as Islamophobes: that Islam is one single homogeneous bloc.

    Yes I know — it wasn’t a criticism of you by any means. I was just making a general observation that a) this argument is a very old one, especially in the north of the subcontinent, most of all in Punjab and Sindh, and b) revered Sufi saints such as Bulleh Shah did not necessarily agree with many of the teachings and practices promoted by some of the ulema/religious orthdoxy. If you know about the specifics of the Heer-Ranjha story or the various other actions which Bulleh Shah believed were more important (and more spiritually beneficial) than strict adherence to Shariah in the traditional sense then you will understand what I’m referring to.

    In a nutshell, Bulleh Shah opposed the version of Islam which was promoted by the imperial elite of the ulema during his time, an interpretation which was also practiced and promoted by his contemporary the Emperor Aurangzeb for most of his life (although he renounced it in his dying days, as previously discussed) and who had been supported in this interpretation of Islam by the aforementioned ulema, and which was in a way a forerunner of modern-day Wahhabism and other Islamic sects which are at the more conservative end of the Islamic spectrum.

    There have of course also been other Sufi saints from the north of the subcontinent who had broadly similar views (some of whom either clashed with the ulema and/or the rulers they supported, or just avoided them entirely), but Bulleh Shah is the most famous one from that region. Other north Indian sufi saints from centuries earlier include Kabir, Baba Farid, Nizamuddin Auliya (and his follower Amir Khusro), and Lal Shahbaz Qalandar.

    Far-sighted and enlightened Sufis from outside the subcontinent of course include the great Rumi (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rumi ).

    So yes, the bottom line is that this issue isn’t necessarily as straightforward as some may claim, as historically there have been Sufis who are now greatly respected as saints by many Muslims and who took a fairly unorthodox view of Islam, religion and spirituality irrespective of what some of the ulema of the time taught (or thought). The fact that — for example — the Heer-Ranjha story, integral to Bulleh Shah’s ideas of Sufism, includes multiple “transgressions” of orthodox Shariah including lack of veiling, gender mixing, unchaparoned premarital romantic relationships, plus forceful opposition by the local Islamic clergy, and even music (regarded as “unIslamic” by some schools of thought), should all tell you something.

    Again, all this is an extremely old debate. There are going to be people who believe in the Bulleh Shah approach to Islam and spirituality, and there are going to be others like Munir (amongst plenty of others) who prefer the more formalised approach according to various scholars, “schools”, the strict dictates of Shariah and so on; given the fact that there have been disagreements about all this amongst the inhabitants of the north of the subcontinent for at least 800 years, the differences of opinion on this thread alone don’t even remotely surprise me. I don’t necessarily expect any kind of rapprochement any time soon either.

    Different strokes for different folks.

    Finally, one brief off-topic correction to one of Munir’s statements, before I sign off from this thread:

    its an obligation much as it would be for a Sikh not to wear a turban

    It’s an obligation only for baptised/Amritdhari Sikhs; it’s optional (albeit recommended) for the rest of the Sikh population — regardless of what the Rehat Maryada may say, as the latter is (to use an Islamic term) an “innovation” which was constructed by various third-parties a very long time after the death of the last human Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, who simply said that one should listen to the hymns of the Guru Granth Sahib if one wanted to learn his teachings (and those of his 9 predecessors) on any given topic, adopt the prescribed practices and Khalsa code of conduct if one decides to become a baptised/Amritdhari Sikh, and that was it.

  313. Ravi Naik — on 29th June, 2009 at 3:34 pm  

    Imran, it is a pity that you are conflating everything in order to make a point. I do not defend Sarkozy political manoeuvres, but if you and Munir want to criticise, get it right:

    Sarkoy wants to ban the burkha. And that’s because it conceals the face in public. Hence, your comparisons with the queen, male attire, fashion shows are just irrelevant.

    There is absolutely no basis to criticise or ban the hijab. Nobody has defended that, so stop this victimisation act. My point on the hijab was simply to point out that historically it was only enforced as a religious obligation a few centuries later.

  314. Imran Khan — on 29th June, 2009 at 3:40 pm  

    Also why if Sarkozy is such a defender of French Secularism which people are applauding did his wife bow her head when meeting the Pope?

    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/images/tile/2008/0913/1221235787145_1.jpg

    So in the Sarkozy French Secular world its ok for a woman to be deferential to a white european man who claims to be God’s representative on earth but not to God if his command is issued through an ethnic!

    Is it cause we is Muslim ;-)

  315. halima — on 29th June, 2009 at 3:44 pm  

    His wife ( whose songs I quite liked) has Italian ancestry? Maybe she’s deferential like many Italians to the Pope. Italy is a fairly religious place.

  316. Imran Khan — on 29th June, 2009 at 3:58 pm  

    Ravi – “Imran, it is a pity that you are conflating everything in order to make a point. I do not defend Sarkozy political manoeuvres, but if you and Munir want to criticise, get it right:

    Sarkoy wants to ban the burkha. And that’s because it conceals the face in public. Hence, your comparisons with the queen, male attire, fashion shows are just irrelevant.

    There is absolutely no basis to criticise or ban the hijab. Nobody has defended that, so stop this victimisation act. My point on the hijab was simply to point out that historically it was only enforced as a religious obligation a few centuries later.”

    Ravi – No you get it right Sarkozy is right wing tawt who wants to dictate what is and isn’t acceptable dress. The test of his claim of a free society is that is will allow people to dress as they want regardless of what is covered.

    Its that simple. As a right winger he will start with the niqab and work to the other dress later.

    My comparisons are not irrelevant because he is the one leading the charge that such dress is meant to make women subservient to men so the examples given show that there are dress codes for men and women and also that even in Europe there is subservience of women by men and Sarkozy is mute on that.

    If Sarkozy is making a stand on the issue then its needs to be complete and not have leeway for Europeans to do as they please and ethnics to be singled out.

    Your point on the Hijab has been exposed by the verses which were revealed at the time so it wasn’t enforced centuries later so please stop distorting Muslim history.

  317. Imran Khan — on 29th June, 2009 at 4:00 pm  

    Halima – “His wife ( whose songs I quite liked) has Italian ancestry? Maybe she’s deferential like many Italians to the Pope. Italy is a fairly religious place.”

    But as the first lady of France she cannot be deferential can she. Thats his point when in France you cannot do these things.

    He can’t have it both ways. Why is it ok for his wife and not for an ethnic?

  318. halima — on 29th June, 2009 at 4:11 pm  

    Imran

    True.

    I wonder, though, to push the thought a bit bit further – as a first lady she might give up some freedoms to go with the public expectations of the office, but not all.

    Just saying that it’s quite a burden to wear your identity as a wife first -but i guess that’s the burden of her husband’s high office and her cross to bear.

  319. halima — on 29th June, 2009 at 4:14 pm  

    The other strange thing about France, though, is that Muslims and North Africans are not its largest minority . It’s the Portuguese.

    But you’d never know. The press seems focused elsewhere on the threat from the ‘east’.

    And because in France there is no official recognition of difference, and it’s not possible to disaggregate any monitoring statistics to see who the different social groups are..

  320. damon — on 29th June, 2009 at 4:14 pm  

    Ravi Naik, I have critiscised the hijab (but would never support banning anything, not even the niqab).

    Practicing muslim Yasmin Alibhai-Brown has also critiscised the hijab. Like here in 2005.
    http://209.85.229.132/search?q=cache:r9bfPeFOwq0J:www.alibhai-brown.com/archive/article.php%3Fid%3D68+yasmin+alibhai-brown+hijab&cd=3&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=uk

    She said:
    ”I find the hijab and the jilbab ( long cloak) problematic too because they again make women responsible for the sexual responses of men and they define femininity as a threat. But the burkha is much, much worse as it totally dehumanizes half the human species.”

    Maybe she’s a heretic too.
    Btw, I liked that guy who was on The Big Questions TV programme on sunday morning. The imam from Oxford, Dr Tag Hargey. The one Munir calls a heretic.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00ldh0h/The_Big_Questions_Series_2_Episode_23/

    He spoke strongly against the spread of Wahhabist and Salafist influence in Britain. I don’t care for that myself, (though is it actually taking place?)
    It’s a barrier to intergration I think, and can lead to a ghettoization effect taking place in local neighbourhoods.

  321. Imran Khan — on 29th June, 2009 at 4:26 pm  

    Damon – “He spoke strongly against the spread of Wahhabist and Salafist influence in Britain. I don’t care for that myself, (though is it actually taking place?)
    It’s a barrier to intergration I think, and can lead to a ghettoization effect taking place in local neighbourhoods.”

    Strange how if you are a Muslim who speaks what the west wants to hear and you have little if any support the amount of air time you are given.

    Would I wonder any other religion have to suffer this?!

    Nothing is a barrier to integration except the failure to reach out. There is nothing stopping Muslims reaching out and explaining their views and its this failure that allows people to demonise Muslims and their religion.

    Where are Muslims explaining the issues of Hijab, Niqab etc? Where are the Muslims explaining Shariah law?

    They are playing into the hands of the right wing by staying quiet.

    Sarkozy gets away with his right wing rhetoric because Muslims fail to answer back by explaining their faith.

  322. Ravi Naik — on 29th June, 2009 at 5:35 pm  

    Ravi – No you get it right Sarkozy is right wing tawt who wants to dictate what is and isn’t acceptable dress… Its that simple. As a right winger he will start with the niqab and work to the other dress later.

    There is no way he can legislate the ban of the hijab, unless he bans concealing hair all together. The niqab on the other hand, he can, by prohibiting people from concealing their faces in public settings. That includes anyone wearing masks, etc. There would be a law against concealing your face in public if enough people used masks.

    Now, let me say something completely new. :)

    At least with Sarkozy, one can argue rationally with him against the niqab ban. We can tell him that by banning it, women who are forced to use it will probably not leave home being more secluded. And that there are better ways to discourage its use, through awareness programs within the communities. I am not a policy maker, but I am firm believer that reform must come from within, not through the government or people like me who are outside the community.

    But arguing with you, Imran, and Munir, is a different ball game. You say, “who are we to say what women should wear or not wear?”… “It is God, not us, that force women to wear a hijab, but what he really likes are women who wear the niqab”. And anyone who says otherwise, is a non-Muslim, heretic and brainwashed. Nice loophole that you found. And that’s despite the fact that there is historic evidence that the hijab was actually made compulsory 300 years after Prophet Muhammed’s death, and not before and not during his life, which seems proof that the references of the hijab in the Quran actually refer only to the Prophet’s wives.

  323. Ravi Naik — on 29th June, 2009 at 5:48 pm  

    Maybe she’s a heretic too.

    I think Yasmin Alibhai-Brown is being disingenuous, Damon. The hijab is an expression of someone’s faith or culture. It does not affect her job prospects, integration, or her ability to communicate or interact with others.

  324. damon — on 29th June, 2009 at 6:15 pm  

    I’m not quite sure what you mean here Imran Khan:
    ”Strange how if you are a Muslim who speaks what the west wants to hear and you have little if any support the amount of air time you are given.”

    ”…what the west wants to hear” .. What does that mean?
    Do that guys views have little support in the wider British Muslim community?
    Do Munir’s views have more support in it?

    Personally I find Dr Tag Hargey’s views more to my (rather uninformed on religious issues I admit) liking.

    Imran Khan, I think you should accept that there are difficulties in this ‘reaching out’ that you talk about.
    Of course that is the ideal, but in most of the world, human beings (as they actually exist), often fall short of this ideal.
    And pushy hectoring people who hold what are seen as radical opinions can have a detrimental effect on bringing about true integration and harmony within communities.
    I mean (and maybe this an old PP chestnut) do people in Ireland have a right to have an opinion that their capital city is the home of Yusuf al-Qaradawi’s ”European Council for Fatwa and Research”?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Council_for_Fatwa_and_Research

    Call me a bigot (like I think I remember Munir calling me some months ago) but are secularists like me (or muslims who speak out against the conservative wing of their religion) not entitled to be somewhat alarmed when they see that a small country like Ireland is now home to a body like this?

    Members of the European Council for Fatwa and Research:
    Professor Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, President of ECFR (Egypt, Qatar)
    Judge Sheikh Faisal Maulawi, Vice-President (Lebanon).
    Sheikh Hussein Mohammed Halawa, General Secretary (Ireland)
    Sheikh Dr. Ahmad Jaballah (France)
    Sheikh Dr. Ahmed Ali Al-Imam (Sudan)
    Sheikh Mufti Ismail Kashoulfi (UK)
    Ustadh Ahmed Kadhem Al-Rawi (UK)
    Sheikh Ounis Qurqah (France)
    Sheikh Rashid Al-Ghanouchi (UK)
    Sheikh Dr. Abdullah Ibn Bayya (Saudi Arabia)
    Sheikh Abdul Raheem Al-Taweel (Spain)
    Judge Sheikh Abdullah Ibn Ali Salem (Mauritania)
    Sheikh Abdullah Ibn Yusuf Al-Judai, (UK)
    Sheikh Abdul Majeed Al-Najjar
    Sheikh Abdullah ibn Sulayman Al-Manee’ (Saudi Arabia)
    Sheikh Dr. Abdul Sattar Abu Ghudda (Saudi Arabia)
    Sheikh Dr. Ajeel Al-Nashmi (Kuwait)
    Sheikh Al-Arabi Al-Bichri (France)
    Sheikh Dr. Issam Al-Bashir (Sudan)
    Sheikh Ali Qaradaghi (Qatar)
    Sheikh Dr. Suhaib Hasan Ahmed (UK)
    Sheikh Tahir Mahdi (France)
    Sheikh Mahboub-ul-Rahman (Norway)
    Sheikh Muhammed Taqi Othmani (Pakistan)
    Sheikh Muhammed Siddique (Germany)
    Sheikh Muhammed Ali Saleh Al-Mansour (UAE)
    Sheikh Dr. Muhammed Al-Hawari (Germany)
    Sheikh Mahumoud Mujahed (Belgium)
    Sheikh Dr. Mustafa Cerić (Bosnia)
    Sheikh Nihad Abdul Quddous Ciftci (Germany)
    Sheikh Dr. Naser Ibn Abdullah Al-Mayman (Saudi Arabia)
    Sheikh Yusf Ibram (Switzerland)
    Dr. Salah Soltan (Egypt, USA)

    I googled and read up on some of these people several months ago when I brought this up on another website.
    It’s difficult to know (unless you really look into their profiles deeply what to think of these Muslim schollars now having a major presence in Europe (in Ireland even), but I havn’t been encouraged by what I’ve heard from Yusuf al-Qaradawi, and the fact that so many of these people are from places like Saudi Arabia and Sudan leaves me a little concerned.

    This was their original statement about who they were and what they were doing.
    http://www.e-cfr.org/en/ECFR.pdf

    And Ravi Naik, I’ve just seen what you said above about Yasmin Alibhai-Brown.
    She’s a practicing muslim (and I’m not, so i have to defer to her a bit. Munir said that it is compulsory for muslim women to wear it (at least – or a niquab).
    She disagrees. And I tend to side with her.

    I’m sorry if you think this is rude Imran Khan, but your last sentence about explaining your faith doesn’t do much for me. I’ve heard so much from ‘blockheads’ (to my secular mind) talking about their faith.

    Though this muslim guy (Yusuf Islam) is one of the most lovely people I know of. (I’m a fan).
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lCoAdgeFgPU
    Not just of his music (which I have always liked) but of his (from what I’ve heard from him being interviewed) his world view and his philosophy (and of course what his Islamic faith means to him).

  325. munir — on 29th June, 2009 at 6:29 pm  

    damon
    “Ravi Naik, I have critiscised the hijab (but would never support banning anything, not even the niqab).”

    Me likewise with Catholicism

    “Practicing muslim Yasmin Alibhai-Brown has also critiscised the hijab. Like here in 2005.”

    “Maybe she’s a heretic too.”

    Who knows? She’s certainly not a scholar

    Osama Bin Laden is a practicising Muslim with a big beard. Does that mean we should accept his fatwa that targetting civilians is halal? No no – because
    1) he is not a scholar
    2) his “fatwa” goes against the ijma (consensus) of Muslim scholars that it is forbidden to deliberatly target civilains. Much as the “fatwas” of Taj Hargey that hijab isnt compulsory go against ijma

    “Btw, I liked that guy who was on The Big Questions TV programme on sunday morning.”

    Of course you do- he says what you want to hear. Sadly for you Damon
    Islam (as with any true version of a religion) isnt what you like or what Taj Hargey likes or what I like or what public opinion likes- its what the texts say

    “The imam from Oxford, Dr Tag Hargey”

    An Imam who has never studied with a recognised scholar nor got ijaza from anyone to teach Islam. Come over to the couch and Damon and lie down- I am your new doctor.

    “The one Munir calls a heretic.”

    LOL. What else can you call someone who goes against the entire corpus of Islamic law by ijma on issues of hijab and marriage as well as rejecting the sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh) in toto – which is rejecting the Prophet and an act never done by any group in the whole history of Islam.

    You people are funny – you demand voices of every oddball with zero qulaifications be heard in the name of freedom of speech but get defensive and upset if Muslims with far more knowledge than you exercise their freedom to reject them as the imposters they are.

    “He spoke strongly against the spread of Wahhabist and Salafist influence in Britain. I don’t care for that myself, (though is it
    actually taking place?)”

    A red herring. Anyone who knows about Islam in the west knows the scholar I quoted in post #293 Sheikh Nuh Keller is the most inveterate foe of the wahabis and salafis. Likewise Abdul Hakim Murad whose talk I attended last wednesday who was scathing about Sarkozy. Both of them affirm the hijab is an oligation because that is what
    People are known by the truth, not truth by the people

    I dont agree with wahabbis and consider them to have diverted from traditional Islam in many areas- but they are a million miles closer to Islam than people like Taj Hargey

    People seriously need to use their brains (not you Damon). Why on earth would a Muslim woman wear hijab or a Muslim man sport a beard, given all the hassle and hostility it would get them into especially these days , if it wasnt an obligation ? The same goes with Sikhs wearing turbans or Jews wearing kippehs.

    “It’s a barrier to intergration I think, and can lead to a ghettoization effect taking place in local neighbourhoods.”

    Yes folks forget about housing shortages, white flight,the fact ethnic minorities want to congregate where there are local amenities suited to their specific needs (ethnic shops, places of worship etc) the breakdown of family life in general- its all the fault of the wahabbis!

  326. munir — on 29th June, 2009 at 6:34 pm  

    “Call me a bigot (like I think I remember Munir calling me some months ago) but are secularists like me (or muslims who speak out against the conservative wing of their religion) not entitled to be somewhat alarmed when they see that a small country like Ireland is now home to a body like this?”

    Oh mummy look at all those foreign sounding names

    Why not just call you what you are- a retard?

    The scholars you mentioned dont even live in Ireland they just meet there on a very infrequent basis
    Though even if they did live in Irelans Im not sre how the presence of 29 people in a population of 6 million would give concern to any sane person

  327. damon — on 29th June, 2009 at 6:45 pm  

    Munir. How do you think you’d come over if you were speaking on some Question Time or ”Big Questions” style debate?
    It’s all very well hammering the ignorant wider society for not ‘getting’ every twist and turn of your arguments from a pious muslim point of view.
    And the moment these suburaban Daily Mail type elderly people give an opinion, and can’t keep up with your thrusting ‘revolutionary religious’ ideaoligy, you dish out the ”bigot” or ”islamophobe” charge …?
    I think having been on the recieving end of it, that it seems harsh.

    Is it OK to say that there are communities in the UK that would like to keep the culture of the UAE and Dubai at bay (from their high streets?)

  328. munir — on 29th June, 2009 at 6:45 pm  

    Damon of your list of 29 scholars exactly one lives in Ireland. One. You can tell this Damon because next to their names are things known as brackets. And inside these brackets are names of their countries of residence.

    Its official . You are a retard.

    By the way Yasmin Alibhai Brown (non scholar) said this

    “More than half the world’s Muslim women do not cover
    their hair except when in mosque.”

    Which actually proves covering the hair is an obligation (as does the fact that all Muslim women wear it when praying) . Unless she or you or any of defenders of this position can come up with a verse from the Quran which says that you the rules for dressing are different in a mosque (i.e there are some clothes you only wear when praying or in the mosque) . They cant because it doesnt exist.

  329. munir — on 29th June, 2009 at 7:02 pm  

    damon
    “It’s all very well hammering the ignorant wider society for not ‘getting’ every twist and turn of your arguments from a pious muslim point of view.”

    Im not hammering them Im hammering you – because you think you know Islam more than Muslims do

    “And the moment these suburaban Daily Mail type elderly people give an opinion,”

    Damon even Daily Mail types when giving an opinion that is manifestly wrong, when corrected will change their view. Most people simply dont know and if informed will accept.

    You belong to a special category of nincompoop who holds an erroneous position and refuses to give it up despite all the evidence and being proven wrong again and again.

    “and can’t keep up with your thrusting ‘revolutionary religious’ ideaoligy, ”

    What “revolutionary religious ideaology” – this is the standard orthodox teaching of Islam in every land on the face of the earth for 1400 years- in every major centre of learning in the Muslim world from Morroco to Indonesia

    Your mate Tag Hargey is the revolutionary.

    “you dish out the ”bigot” or ”islamophobe” charge …?”

    I didnt call you a bigot over this. I called you a retard. Because you are.

    “Is it OK to say that there are communities in the UK that would like to keep the culture of the UAE and Dubai at bay (from their high streets?)”

    Ah yes this is what it all boils down to. You dont like people who are different. Even if they are British

    Well Damon this is exactly what was said about you Irish Catholics

    And btw Damon the number of Muslims from Dubai and the UAE in Britain is miniscule. The number of Britains in Dubai and teh UAE is far far more

  330. munir — on 29th June, 2009 at 7:07 pm  

    damon
    “Munir. How do you think you’d come over if you were speaking on some Question Time or ”Big Questions” style debate?”

    You are a passive brainless sponge just soaking up what you read and see on TV and regurgitating it without any thought on your part.

  331. Jai — on 29th June, 2009 at 7:12 pm  

    if it wasnt an obligation ? The same goes with Sikhs wearing turbans

    As detailed in #312, it is only an ‘obligation’ for baptised/Amritdhari Sikhs (in conjunction with uncut hair). It is a recommendation for the rest of the Sikh population, but not compulsory.

  332. Don — on 29th June, 2009 at 7:13 pm  

    Damon,

    I think I’ve worked this out. The hijab is obligatory, but not compulsory. That is to say, it is enjoined as part of religion but if you don’t do it, that is a matter between you and god. Other people don’t get to make that call for you. I think that’s about right.

    All the abrahamic religions accept that, say, not committing adultery, not taking the lord’s name in vain, not making graven images etc are non-negotiable obligations if you sign up to the belief system. But if you don’t follow the rules then (mostly) no-one has the right to compel you. And you get to stay in the club unless you openly deny the central tenets.

    Of course, in some places and times that is a distinction without a difference as theocracies invariably enforce obligations with compulsion. And social pressures invariably compel to the extent to which they can. And, boy, can they compel.

    We all seem to have agreed (although munir and Imran seem to overlook this) that for Sarkozy to forbid full face covering is as illiberal as the Taliban enforcing it (although one hopes without the vicious brutality of the enforcement). Arguing that a practice is socially negative is not the same as arguing for banning it.

  333. munir — on 29th June, 2009 at 7:37 pm  

    Jai
    “As detailed in #312, it is only an ‘obligation’ for baptised/Amritdhari Sikhs (in conjunction with uncut hair). It is a recommendation for the rest of the Sikh population, but not compulsory.”

    Thanks for the clarification. In Islam we dont have such seperate catergories – the rules are the same for everyone.

  334. munir — on 29th June, 2009 at 7:40 pm  

    Don bravo! youve got it

    “We all seem to have agreed (although munir and Imran seem to overlook this) that for Sarkozy to forbid full face covering is as illiberal as the Taliban enforcing it (although one hopes without the vicious brutality of the enforcement). Arguing that a practice is socially negative is not the same as arguing for banning it.”

    No, I stated above in post#6 (!- we are now at post 333 why the fascination with Muslims? ) that Sarkozy and those supporting him are of the same mentality as the Taliban and Mullahs in Iran.

  335. Don — on 29th June, 2009 at 8:05 pm  

    munir,

    But the title of this post is ‘The burkha should not be banned (my italics). I’ve seen nobody argue that it should be.

    Several, myself included, see it as a social negative and to argue that case is not authoritarian. Religious practices are not immune from criticism simply because they are religious.

  336. munir — on 29th June, 2009 at 10:28 pm  

    Don
    “But the title of this post is ‘The burkha should not be banned (my italics). I’ve seen nobody argue that it should be.”

    Well some have posited it- but the main issue has been some people ignorantly claiming covering the face (or even the hair) isnt from the Muslim religion.

    The argument is of course irrelvant in the wider context we are discussing (freedom to dress how you wish) – even if it wasnt a religious dress why should that mean women couldnt wear it if they wanted to?

    “Several, myself included, see it as a social negative and to argue that case is not authoritarian. Religious practices are not immune from criticism simply because they are religious.”

    Of course not- but some people question whether it is religious.

    In fact that seems to be the level that many Muslim oponents of the face veil or hijab operate on – because these things are disliked by non Muslims or by them they scrambled to say they arent part of their religion – as if their God was public opinion not God alone.

    They mean well (and in the case of the recommended face veil they certainly have a point that it maybe off putting to non Muslim women who may be interested in converting) but doing so denies the right of Muslim woman who wish to wear the face veil to do so since those who wish to ban it will gladly jump on anyone with a Muslim name saying this stuff.

    Theirs is the easy cowardly route – I prefer to be more honest

  337. Imran Khan — on 30th June, 2009 at 9:34 am  

    Ravi – “But arguing with you, Imran, and Munir, is a different ball game. You say, “who are we to say what women should wear or not wear?”… “It is God, not us, that force women to wear a hijab, but what he really likes are women who wear the niqab”. And anyone who says otherwise, is a non-Muslim, heretic and brainwashed. Nice loophole that you found. And that’s despite the fact that there is historic evidence that the hijab was actually made compulsory 300 years after Prophet Muhammed’s death, and not before and not during his life, which seems proof that the references of the hijab in the Quran actually refer only to the Prophet’s wives.”

    Ravi you are a little stirrer aren’t you. I gave you the verses so how the hel;l do you say this was enacted 300 years later?

    I asked for your evidence that the female companions did not wear the hijab or niqab and silence.

    You’ve given absolutely no proof for your claim.

    As to your farcical claim that I am forcing women to wear it well if you bothered to read what I said and I have serious doubts then you would know that I said a woman cannot be forced to wear it and that her judgement lies with God. Additionally I said that for all of us actions are by intentions.

    You already decided what is and isn’t acceptable and are here to lecture and not debate.

    The fundemental question you can’t be bothered answering is why educated women are wearing the hijab and niqab despite your fictional claim to the contrary that it isn’t part of Islam.

    So lets see the proof that the female companions of the Prophet did not wear the garments you describe.

    The point you fail to realise is that in all Abrahamic religions women are covered to various degrees but the minimum covering they have is a head covering. So your logic is torn apart by that simple aspect.

    Some Jewish women are now reverting back to head covering because they feel this is required of them.

    But once again can I emphasize that I am not forcing anyone to cover as it is their choice and they are accountable for their actions. I have merely answered your fictional claim that the verses didn’t exist and shown you 2 verses which are clear cut.

  338. Jai — on 30th June, 2009 at 10:48 am  

    Don,

    Several, myself included, see it as a social negative and to argue that case is not authoritarian. Religious practices are not immune from criticism simply because they are religious.

    I understand your point but, as I said earlier, this is an extremely old debate and not necessarily one which can easily be resolved.

    There are people who place paramount importance on the dictates of ‘Orthodox Islam’ (to use Munir’s term) and the teachings of various scholars, various ‘schools’, and so on. There are people who place paramount importance on the teachings and examples of various Sufi saints. There are people who view various Sufi saints as integral to ‘Orthodox Islam’ as long as the teachings of those saints did not contradict their interpretation of ‘Orthodox Islam’. There are people who view various Sufi saints who contradicted and condemned the interpretation of ‘Orthodox Islam’ taught by the highest religious clergy of the time as being heretics. There are people who view those Sufi saints as having a better grasp of the real message of God and Islam than historical or contemporary members of the elite orthodox clergy who condemned them. And so on and so forth.

    You get the general idea.

    As I said in my earlier posts to Ravi, these issues have been a matter of debate and opinion in the subcontinent’s Punjab and Sindh regions (both sides of the border) for centuries, because of the historical events those regions were involved in, the confluence of various groups and religious communities which have been particularly concentrated there, the level of social interaction and syncretism which occurred as a result, the rise of more ‘mystical’ interpretations of spirituality and religion during the medieval period and which Punjab & Sindh were particularly strongly influenced by (involving both Muslims and Hindus, and later obviously Sikhs too) and which contradicted (and were opposed by) many of the established orthodox religious clergy affiliated with both Hinduism and Islam respectively in the subcontinent.

    I gave a couple of examples in #286 and #312 (hopefully you’ve had a chance to browse through those posts). The Sufis I mentioned there — particularly Bulleh Shah — are not exactly minor figures as far as Punjabi and Sindhi culture & history are concerned; indeed, their influence extended (and still extends) far beyond those regions’ Muslim populations. In more recent times, the same applies to the late Pakistani Sufi singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.

    None of which, of course, is unique to Islam. The same arguments and differences of opinion have frequently occurred amongst the followers of most of the other major world religions, including Hinduism and Christianity: ‘Received wisdom’ vs. independent opinion; scholars vs. mystics; orthodoxy vs. unorthodoxy (indeed, even heresy); ‘purity’ vs. syncretism; exclusiveness vs. universalism; pure reason vs. pure emotion; clerics vs. the masses; priests, prophets, scriptures and academic texts vs. direct experience of God & spirituality; ritual vs. true enlightenment; books vs the heart. Along with plenty of overlaps in-between all of the above. Etc etc.

    People are always going to insist that their interpretation of their respective religions is the ‘right’ one. I think that, sometimes, it’s better for people to just state their opinions on why they believe they are correct, present whatever facts and/or reasoning they can provide to back up their stance, and leave it at that by amicably agreeing to disagree. Freedom of conscience and freedom of religious belief ultimately rest with the individual (as long as their actions based on those beliefs don’t maliciously impact anyone else, of course). Being a wise person, I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that – on an individual or a group level – there has to be a degree of adjustment or compromise on the part of one or both counterparties in order to enable everyone to effectively get along. Either ‘somebody wins’, coupled with ‘somebody capitulating’, or the situation ends up balancing out one way or another. Again, the long history of Punjab and Sindh is a prime example of this, considering that those regions have seen more than their fair share of both conflict and coexistence in matters of religious belief & practice. I think that there’s a lesson to be learned there.

    Ultimately, again as I mentioned in my earlier posts, there are going to be people who insist that the hijab etc are integral, ‘obligatory’ parts of Islam, there are going to be people who insist that these are not integral or ‘obligatory’, and there are going to be people who insist that other aspects of and individual’s conduct and spirituality are much more important in terms of the big picture irrespective of whether the hijab etc are integral or not. Does the ‘truth’ really matter ? Only to the Muslims directly involved. At the end of the day, whether a person believes x or y or ends up changing their mind at some point is completely up to them. People have to make their own decisions and reach their own conclusions in these matters.

    The most important thing is that nobody forcibly imposes their stance on anybody else, regardless of which side of the fence they may be on, and this includes any attempts at state legislation interfering in attire (particularly if the latter is based on religious beliefs). And that final note is something I’m glad to see that most of us here are in total agreement on.

    This time I really am signing-off from this thread, but since there are plenty of historical precedents for the issues that are being debated here, I thought I should mention that and add my 5 cents. There hasn’t been a consensus on many of these matters amongst large swathes of the north Indian and (what is now) Pakistani population for at least 800 years, so I don’t expect differences of opinion to suddenly disappear overnight here in Ol’ Blighty. But, as I mentioned previously, perhaps there are some important lessons to be learned from the subcontinent’s own history when it comes to amicable coexistence between religious groups and amongst people within those groups who may disagree on the interpretation of their respective faiths, both in terms of positive precedents from South Asian history and also in the interests of refraining from repeating some of the same mistakes.

  339. chairwoman — on 30th June, 2009 at 10:50 am  

    Imran, Ravi and Munir.

    It doesn’t really matter what the Koranic instructions on head/body covering is, does it?

    There are Muslim women who wish to cover up, and women who don’t.

    Surely it should be their personal choice, and a matter between them and Allah?

    Although I personally believe that there are circumstances where the face should not be covered, it isn’t my business. It certainly is not the business of any government to tell legally adult women whether they can or cannot cover their faces (I am not sure about minors), and I can’t believe that the three of you don’t agree on that issue.

  340. Ravi Naik — on 30th June, 2009 at 11:20 am  

    It certainly is not the business of any government to tell legally adult women whether they can or cannot cover their faces (I am not sure about minors), and I can’t believe that the three of you don’t agree on that issue.

    We actually agree on that issue, chairwoman. I have said numerous times here that I do not agree with Sarkozy. I do believe though that such practice is negative and should be discouraged, but needs to come from within the community.

  341. Ravi Naik — on 30th June, 2009 at 11:29 am  

    The disagreements that I have with Munir and Imran are:

    1) When the hijab become a religious obligation
    2) The acceptance that there are other interpretations based on the sacred books that should not be silenced with calls of heresy and blasphemy
    3) The effects of concealing your face as a social handicap. I believe it should be discouraged. Munir believes it should be encouraged.

    I apologise if the conversation moved to this direction, but I find these topics more interesting than discussing whether government should ban attire, which quite frankly is an open and shut case.

  342. chairwoman — on 30th June, 2009 at 11:43 am  

    “3) The effects of concealing your face as a social handicap. I believe it should be discouraged. Munir believes it should be encouraged.”

    I agree with this, and that it should come from the community, and I like the way threads digress :) , it’s just that everybody is getting more and more entrenched, and sometimes ‘agree to disagree’ can be the only option.

    For myself, when I go to Shul (synagogue) I, as a widow, always cover my head (and arms too). I would do the same in a Mosque. My mother-in-law, a practising Catholic, never went to Mass without wearing a mantilla. But in normal life I wear short sleeves, and normal length skirts (although most of the time it’s trousers).

  343. Ravi Naik — on 30th June, 2009 at 11:44 am  

    This topic, at least to me, is not about the niqab or Muslims, but really what are the limits of choice and freedom. Is choice the panacea to all social ills?

    I argue that it isn’t. For instance, females are forced to go to school. But what if parents, due to an extreme religious interpretation, decide that boys should go to school and girls should not get married, have kids and stay at home. How about the case, where parents believe their kids cannot mix or integrate with others because of cultural or racial purity ideas? What about parents whose religious beliefs do not allow themselves or their children to be medically treated or take vaccines to protect against diseases?

  344. bananabrain — on 30th June, 2009 at 11:48 am  

    i have to say that i am a little tired of continually having to point out the difference between what judaism requires and the niqab, let alone the burqa. there’s a difference between covering your face and covering your hair and body, in my opinion, so i wish the niqab-mongers would stop hiding behind us and make their own case, because it’s a different issue.

    on this page you can see some comparisons (not entirely sure about the nuns, but there you go):

    http://drawn-together-by-modesty.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/01/together1.jpg

    let’s remember: judaism requires modest dress for BOTH sexes, but the precise parameters of that are determined by the bit of the community you choose to belong to. in terms of hair, this is only required of MARRIED women, of whatever age. ears and neck are shown, unlike a hijab. neckline should obviously not be too low, nor should elbows or knees be shown (if you’re strict, or in modest locations, that goes for men too). here are a variety (there’s a large number of options available) of these options so you can see what we’re talking about. obviously, you will see that these need not necessarily be frumpy (although they can be) and many can be extremely elegant.

    http://www.coveryourhair.com
    http://www.headcoverings-by-devorah.com

    and sometimes, the head covering can be more or less a nod in the right direction:

    http://ericleetroyer.com/wp-content/uploads/snoodjpg.jpeg

    many sephardic women of my acquaintance go for the dupatta option.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  345. Jai — on 30th June, 2009 at 12:01 pm  

    It doesn’t really matter what the Koranic instructions on head/body covering is, does it?

    There are Muslim women who wish to cover up, and women who don’t.

    Surely it should be their personal choice, and a matter between them and Allah?

    Although I personally believe that there are circumstances where the face should not be covered, it isn’t my business. It certainly is not the business of any government to tell legally adult women whether they can or cannot cover their faces (I am not sure about minors),

    but needs to come from within the community.

    sometimes ‘agree to disagree’ can be the only option.

    The statements above are a superbly succinct way to essentially summarise what I was trying to say in my PhD-length post #338 (and #286 & 312 before that). Well done Chairwoman and Ravi.

  346. persephone — on 30th June, 2009 at 12:20 pm  

    Munir @ 183

    Thanks & apologies for this late reply but I have been busy.

    In my post @172 I did not make myself clear in the 1st sentence – I was saying that their lack of voice may be inferred as being too repressed to have a voice

    As to my 2nd sentence @172 – the question remains unanswered despite this post (and others) going on at length. Without any cogent response I can only take it that there is deep seated unwillingness to explain the disparity in freedoms.

  347. damon — on 30th June, 2009 at 2:31 pm  

    Munir @ 326 ”The scholars you mentioned dont even live in Ireland they just meet there on a very infrequent basis
    Though even if they did live in Irelans Im not sre how the presence of 29 people in a population of 6 million would give concern to any sane person”

    I should have made it clear that there are two big mosques in Dublin (that I know of, and have been to friday prayers at them both).

    This one
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dublin_Mosque

    and this one
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_Cultural_Centre_of_Ireland

    The latter one is where the European Council for Fatwa and Research is based. And so, I would immagine that that organisation has a big influence over Islam in Ireland.
    When new people who are are muslims arrive in the country and ask about where are the mosques, many will turn up at the one in the south Dublin suburbs (in Clonskeagh).

    So Munir, it doesn’t really matter where all those people I listed live (and I knew they weren’t living in Ireland), I just thought that a group led by Yusuf al-Qaradawi having some large influence in a country like Ireland (where the muslim population has been very small traditionally, and has only grown to what it is today in more recent years).

    Now I only know of al-Qaradawi from some newspaper stories, and that he is banned from Britain and the United States. But I think Irish people (of what ever religion) have a right to be concerned that a such a high profile mosque might be under the influence of a group like the European Council for Fatwa and Research.

    Why saying such things makes me a ”retard” I’m not sure.

    Munir, maybe you could do a bit of research on this Dublin Imam called Sheikh Shaheed Satardien for me?
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2007/jan/14/religion.ireland

    He clashed with the people who run that second Dublin mosque I linked too, and set up a rival grouping called the Supreme Muslim Council of Ireland.
    http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&q=Supreme+Muslim+Council+of+Ireland&meta=

    Is he a no nothing heritic too? (I honestly have no idea, but he has said some harsh things about the mosque in Clonskeagh).

  348. damon — on 30th June, 2009 at 3:16 pm  

    Here’s a story in the Daily Mail today:
    ”Catholic school bars Muslim teacher who refused to remove face veil so staff could identify her ”
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1196261/Catholic-school-bars-Muslim-teacher-refused-remove-face-veil-staff-identify-her.html
    It’s a bit of a storm in a tea cup in my opinion, as the ban on not letting this teacher into the school unless she identified her self is as silly as not finding some solution like the woman in the niqab going into a room with a female member of staff and lifting her niqab away from mens view.

    The bit of the story that struck me more was that she was accompanied by a couple of school girls of about 15 years of age also in niqab.
    I’d have thought that there should be some minimum age for that kind of thing.

    Hijabs is one thing, but niqabs for 15 year olds? How are they going to feel chatting with their non muslim mates outside the chipshop and on the top of a bus?

    Don @ 332, yes I agree with much of that. I’d like to see much more of people paying only lipservice to some of their religion’s more extreme views.
    Yasmin Alibhai-Brown once wrote that she refused to go to any country where she was obliged (or felt pressured) to wear a hijab. She didn’t want to wear it and would not be coereced into doing so.

    Munir, many of your other points I can’t really be bothered with. Stuff like this @ 329
    ”Ah yes this is what it all boils down to. You dont like people who are different. Even if they are British

    Well Damon this is exactly what was said about you Irish Catholics

    And btw Damon the number of Muslims from Dubai and the UAE in Britain is miniscule. The number of Britains in Dubai and teh UAE is far far more”.

    Who said I don’t like anyone? I don’t care for conservativism and small mindedness where ever it manifests itself. I mentioned Dubai and the UAE as I have this opinion that The Gulf is a conservative place.

    Heres an honestly true story. I was in Rabat in Morocco about six years ago, just walking around, and some incident occured with a taxi and its driver and a policeman. There was lots of shouting, pleading and the policeman was arresting the passenger of the taxi.

    A crowd gathered, and I watched along with everbody else. When the scene was over I asked some local bystanders what the heck had been going on.

    This is what they told me. The Taxi driver had been taking a man and a woman along in the back of his cab, when he saw in the mirror that they were kissing.

    When he asked them to stop the man in the back of the cab started beating the taxi driver. The taxi driver had spotted the policeman in the street and juumped out of the cab for help.
    I had seen this happen from the beginning and he was really upset and pleading with the police man for help. The guy in the back of the cab had been a bit reluctant to get arrested, and there had been a bit of a struggle.
    Anyway, he was finally led away, and I was told that he was now off to jail and would be charged.
    ”What for?” I asked. ”For assault?”

    ”No” the local guy told me, ”for kissing”.
    I had thought that was so funny, (having had been in Morocco for several weeks and picked up on how things were different there).

  349. Imran Khan — on 30th June, 2009 at 4:54 pm  

    Ravi – “The disagreements that I have with Munir and Imran are:

    1) When the hijab become a religious obligation”
    It became a religious obligation on the revelation of the verses I quoted for you above. So it was during the lifetime of Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) and the female companions followed this practice.

    “2) The acceptance that there are other interpretations based on the sacred books that should not be silenced with calls of heresy and blasphemy”
    They are not being silenced but the Muslim scholars can say that they are heresy.

    “3) The effects of concealing your face as a social handicap. I believe it should be discouraged. Munir believes it should be encouraged.”

    People should be allowed to wear what they want and if that includes a face covering so be it. People will get over it if there wasn’t this political twisting. Women have worn the niqab in the UK and Europe for many years and its only become an issue when the politicians started to use it as a political issue.

    Just as a politician wouldn’t tell a secular woman what to wear why must he tell a religious woman what to wear?

  350. Imran Khan — on 30th June, 2009 at 5:00 pm  

    Bananabrain – “i have to say that i am a little tired of continually having to point out the difference between what judaism requires and the niqab, let alone the burqa. there’s a difference between covering your face and covering your hair and body, in my opinion, so i wish the niqab-mongers would stop hiding behind us and make their own case, because it’s a different issue.”

    If you actually read what people said they were not comparing they were highlighting that Sarkozy wouldn’t dare to question the attire of women from other faiths apart from Muslim ones.

    His claim that the niqab was not the sort of thing a secular country such as France could accept but then who is he to decide what is and isn’t acceptable?

    How did he draw his line in the sand?

    These are legitimate questions.

    In the past you may have used Muslims to make your argument but you won’t let Muslims do the same.

    Don’t forget last time France started targetting Muslims and ended up banning other religious dress and symbols including yours so stay out of it if you want but when the time to ban comes it may be more far reaching than you think.

  351. Imran Khan — on 30th June, 2009 at 5:12 pm  

    Chairwoman – “Surely it should be their personal choice, and a matter between them and Allah?”

    Agreed and I’ve said that.

    But we have people here arguing that it isn’t even part of the faith so those issues have to be addressed surely?

    I am not forcing anyone to wear anything, that is between them and God. However the arguments here are skewed and unfair. I have to adopt a dress code and I wear light jumpers even in these hot days to cover my body.

    Also worrying is these minority people who are shunned by the community and yet put forth as reformers!

  352. Don — on 30th June, 2009 at 5:15 pm  

    Don’t reformers generally start as minorities?

  353. Imran Khan — on 30th June, 2009 at 5:18 pm  

    Ravi – “This topic, at least to me, is not about the niqab or Muslims, but really what are the limits of choice and freedom. Is choice the panacea to all social ills?”

    Strange that no one sees a woman who bares all for the gratification of men as being oppressed because she is posing for the entertainment of men. Yet a woman who chooses freely to cover various parts of her body or all of it due to religious belief must be oppressed and liberated by secular society which is supposedly tolerant.

    The tolerance is strange in that in European countries women can pose nude and sell their bodies for the pleasure of men and yet they cannot choose to cover because that is subservient and they can’t possibly be making such a choice!

    I dare say that Sarkozy hasn’t even bothered to speak to Muslim women who cover and thus his is a dictatorial position not a secular one.

  354. Don — on 30th June, 2009 at 5:28 pm  

    Strange that no one sees a woman who bares all for the gratification of men as being oppressed because she is posing for the entertainment of men.

    I bloody do. Anybody else?

  355. Imran Khan — on 30th June, 2009 at 5:35 pm  

    Bananabrain – Its amazing that you ask that Muslims not hide behind comparisons with Jews and your first article on Spitoon was the regurgitation of the theme of how Muslim extremists say you are not people of the book and thus available for targeting.

    Yet you fail you fail to mention that part of this debate has been thrust upon Muslims by members of your community such as Mel Phillips and her book Londonistan and by Daniel Pipes etc.

    So you are mute at the fact that these people say we are different and not part of European or secular society and when we answer back you ask to stay out of a debate that members of your community are pushing.

    If you want us to keep you out of it then equally may I request you then ask part of your community to stop this shit stirring which is causing ordinary Muslims to be targeted by right wing politicians.

    Its also a shame that your own article failed to discuss the extremism in your parts of your own community which denies Muslims are part of Europe and the USA and deemed as some alien import. As much as you hate the labelling of your community by extremist Muslims and are happy to write about it then its a shame your article failed to mention the extreme statements from elements of your community which means Muslims are dictated to about simple things such as their own dress.

    Its a shame that this debate is here because of people like Phillips and Pipes whose propaganda is going unchecked and demonises the ordinary belief of Muslims.

  356. Imran Khan — on 30th June, 2009 at 5:40 pm  

    Don – “Don’t reformers generally start as minorities?”

    Yes they do but if the people they want to reform don’t accept them then are they reformers or apologists?

    When women campaigned for the vote most women supported the idea eventually. When people say that hijab, niqab etc. are not part of the faith and Muslim women don’t accept it then are they still reformers or apologists?

  357. Imran Khan — on 30th June, 2009 at 5:41 pm  

    Don – “I bloody do. Anybody else?”

    Then why is Sarkozy not saying that in Secular France this will be outlawed?

  358. Ravi Naik — on 30th June, 2009 at 6:03 pm  

    Don’t reformers generally start as minorities?

    Yes, Don. And they are called heretics as well. But reform will come to Islam, as it came to the Catholic Church. We just need to give them time and space. Which is why Sarkozy is wrong to try to influence that, because it will only make things worse.

    The tolerance is strange in that in European countries women can pose nude and sell their bodies for the pleasure of men and yet they cannot choose to cover because that is subservient and they can’t possibly be making such a choice!

    You are of course unaware that people can go to prison if they are found exploiting women for prostitution, if they are found soliciting sex, operating a brothel or any other form of pimping. Sexual trafficking is a serious problem, and you are absolutely wrong to suggest that people here or in Europe do not care about this problem.

    The majority of people here agrees that Sarkozy should not ban the burkha, but nonetheless, it is undeniable that it is a serious social barrier – even if people choose to wear it.

    But it is not the garment itself, it is actually the mindset: that men and women should be segregated by a wall under any circumstances – and that the burden of building such wall lies on women who have to wear burkhas and niqabs. As I said before, I wouldn’t care about immigrants coming from Saudi Arabia, etc. But I feel very sorry for their children and grandchildren who are born and raised in this country, and are in the middle of two dissonant worlds.

    I feel sorry that you and Munir think that such mindset is virtuous.

  359. Don — on 30th June, 2009 at 6:08 pm  

    I have no insights into Sarkozy’s thinking. I just see the sexual exploitation of women as being oppressive and I don’t think that is an unusual position. Your claim that ‘no-one’ sees it as oppressive just seemed counter-factual.

    To be clear, I’m talking about the exploitation of women lacking in social clout, not independent women who dress as they please.

  360. Don — on 30th June, 2009 at 6:24 pm  

    Imran,
    When women campaigned for the vote most women supported the idea eventually. When people say that hijab, niqab etc. are not part of the faith and Muslim women don’t accept it then are they still reformers or apologists?

    I’m afraid you’ve lost me. Do you mean women generally campaigning for the vote, or are we still talking about within Islam? I have no idea how true it is, but I have heard it claimed that there is a school of thought which regards voting itself to be unislamic. It can’t be a dominant school of thought, as most muslim majority nations have electoral systems, but is it seen as a valid position?

    I think we may be using the word ‘apologist’ differently. For me it has always referred to those who take upon themselves the task of defending their faith from outside criticism, deriving from apologia,/i> ‘to speak in defence’. Obviously that arises from christian theology, but it might save confusion if you were to define what it means to you.

  361. Don — on 30th June, 2009 at 6:27 pm  

    Damn. Sunny, please fix the edit function. And somebody may need to close my tags.

  362. Kulvinder — on 30th June, 2009 at 6:47 pm  

    His claim that the niqab was not the sort of thing a secular country such as France could accept but then who is he to decide what is and isn’t acceptable?

    …Then why is Sarkozy not saying that in Secular France this will be outlawed?

    What argument are you actually making? I’m completely at a loss to understand whether you’re against the approach taken by Sarkozy (which many including myself are) or questioning his right to raise the issue. The former requires little more than a paragraph; as for the latter Article 1 and Article 5 are what you’re looking for

    The issue of clothing – or lack thereof – is to do with religious symbolism; find a faith that requires complete nudity. Point out to the french they have a minority pracitising nudity for religious purposes and im sure they’ll force them to cover up.

  363. Imran Khan — on 1st July, 2009 at 4:39 pm  

    Don – “I’m afraid you’ve lost me. Do you mean women generally campaigning for the vote, or are we still talking about within Islam?”

    Generally

  364. Imran Khan — on 1st July, 2009 at 4:41 pm  

    Kulvinder – “What argument are you actually making? I’m completely at a loss to understand whether you’re against the approach taken by Sarkozy (which many including myself are) or questioning his right to raise the issue.”

    I am questioning Sarkozy’s right to determine what is and isn’t acceptable dress in a supposedly free country by enacting laws to ban dress he considers incompatible with a secular country.

  365. damon — on 1st July, 2009 at 5:40 pm  

    What jobs might wearing a niqab and ”burkah” style clothing exclude you from doing in a western country?
    Working as a chef (or dishwasher) in a resturant?
    Working with members of the general public, perhaps in within the local council?
    Being a social worker concerned with child welfare?
    For example, being a member of the London social work council that were involved with that ”baby P” tradegy?

    Munir, if you read this, I’d still like you to look up that Dublin Imam, Sheikh Shaheed Satardien for me.
    I liked the fact that he had slammed al-Qaradawi’s influence in the development of a new Irish muslim community (having seen al-Qaradawi on some youtube explaining it was right that fornicators be lashed, or caned).

    Imran Khan said @349 ”People should be allowed to wear what they want and if that includes a face covering so be it. People will get over it if there wasn’t this political twisting.”

    As I think everyone on PP agrees, people should be allowed to wear what they want. But as for that idea that, ”People will get over it”??
    I say no.

    I have never ”goten over” the niqab. I still don’t really care for the hijab (but think it can be OK, even if it looks a bit daft).
    I remember going with some female aquanteces into an Iranian embassy once (trying to get visas), and the women I had been chatting with and getting to know waiting outside for day after day, were forced to wear hijabs to go inside. That sucks.
    It took their individualism away and left them with a common ”hijabed” look.
    It certainly alters the appearence, and gives a somewhat uniform look.
    It ‘denied individuality’, is what I thought, when I say these young western (non muslim women) being forced to wear a hijab.
    ”You wear them too guys” has always been my feeling in a place where they are commomplace.

  366. damon — on 1st July, 2009 at 5:40 pm  

    What jobs might wearing a niqab and ”burkah” style clothing exclude you from doing in a western country?
    Working as a chef (or dishwasher) in a resturant?
    Working with members of the general public, perhaps in within the local council?
    Being a social worker concerned with child welfare?
    For example, being a member of the London social work council that were involved with that ”baby P” tradegy?

    Munir, if you read this, I’d still like you to look up that Dublin Imam, Sheikh Shaheed Satardien for me.
    I liked the fact that he had slammed al-Qaradawi’s influence in the development of a new Irish muslim community (having seen al-Qaradawi on some youtube explaining it was right that fornicators be lashed, or caned).

    Imran Khan said @349 ”People should be allowed to wear what they want and if that includes a face covering so be it. People will get over it if there wasn’t this political twisting.”

    As I think everyone on PP agrees, people should be allowed to wear what they want. But as for that idea that, ”People will get over it”??
    I say no.

    I have never ”goten over” the niqab. I still don’t really care for the hijab (but think it can be OK, even if it looks a bit daft).
    I remember going with some female aquanteces into an Iranian embassy once (trying to get visas), and the women I had been chatting with and getting to know waiting outside for day after day, were forced to wear hijabs to go inside. That sucks.
    It took their individualism away and left them with a common ”hijabed” look.
    It certainly alters the appearence, and gives a somewhat uniform look.
    It ‘denied individuality’, is what I thought, when I say these young western (non muslim women) being forced to wear a hijab.
    ”You wear them too guys” has always been my feeling in a place where they are commomplace.

  367. Don — on 1st July, 2009 at 6:11 pm  

    #363

    Oh, right. Well of course the key word here is ‘eventually’. There was strong opposition to women’s suffrage among some women, including organised groups, who argued fiercely against it. Religious argument figured strongly (Paul in particular of course.)

    But eventually the tide of opinion changed because people pressed on with the argument, even when it got heated. Who is to say what the coming decades will bring?

  368. Imran Khan — on 1st July, 2009 at 6:16 pm  

    Damon – These things are an issue because right wing politicians and writers want to make them an issue.

    If you don’t like it I don’t have an issue with that and yes you will get over it because it isn’t the end of the world if some women choose to wear such attire.

    If you can’t get over it then there will have to be a fashion police to decide what can and can’t be worn and where do you then stop.

    As I said I am not forcing it but I don’t want to deny people the right either.

    This is all getting silly with people saying I they don’t want a ban but. Well if you don’t want a ban then let them wear it and get on with life.

    As for Iran – well they have many rules I disagree with but what the Iranian Embassy does can’t be used as a basis for what goes on elsewhere.

  369. Kulvinder — on 2nd July, 2009 at 10:42 am  

    I am questioning Sarkozy’s right to determine what is and isn’t acceptable dress in a supposedly free country by enacting laws to ban dress he considers incompatible with a secular country.

    If you can’t understand the french constitution your opinions are beyond worthless.

  370. Imran Khan — on 2nd July, 2009 at 11:16 am  

    Kulvinder – “If you can’t understand the french constitution your opinions are beyond worthless.”

    No its you that can’t understand the concepts and spouting off on whose opinions are worthless makes you just another dictatorial version of Sarkozy.

    How can a country that claims to uphold liberty and freedom then decides that in the name of upholding said freedom it needs to DICTATE what people can and cannot wear which is itself a denial of the constitution to uphold freedom.

    What you can’t grasp is that fine if Sarkozy does this now to appease his voting bloc then what is to stop someone else coming in and deciding that some other form of dress is also a threat to French Secular values and bans that and soon you have a Dress Dictatorship to enforce freedom!

  371. damon — on 2nd July, 2009 at 4:43 pm  

    Imran Khan (from a few posts above). I agree with you that it can’t be banned (nor should it be anyway), because then these ”fashion police” would have to get involved.
    Having seen a documentary about the ban of the hijab in French schools, with school teachers standing at the school gates in the mornings deciding on whether a bandana on the head, (worn by a muslim girl who had resisted the ban) constituted a religious significance, was something I cant imagine (and wouldn’t want) in the UK.

    But I think that this issue is not just an issue, because you say that: ”right wing politicians and writers want to make them an issue.”

    Yasmin AB is not right wing, and neither is Deborah Orr of the Independent newspaper.

    And as for getting over it. Just a few hours ago, driving back from central London (from the Elephant and Castle down to Camberwell), as I do often, as much as I’m watching what I’m doing in my truck, I’m also watching the people on the streets and just checking out how it looks as you pass East Street market in Walworth. (You have to pay attention to everything, as people on foot are constantly crossing through the slow traffic).
    It’s been so hot that the the clothes are as light and summery as many people can dare to make them.
    Walworth and Camberwell these days are really really multi racial, with big African origin populations.
    Lots of lovely black women were dazzling in the sun this afternoon. (Lots of lovely people, period).
    Just on the other side of McDonald’s in Camberwell was a woman just standing still on the pavement, in full Iranian style ‘chador’ and niqab. It was boiling hot, and she just stood there in the sun, as all these people of every race (and creed) walked up and down past her. I couldn’t help but gaze apon her as I crawled past in the heavy traffic.

    The Simon & Garfunkel song ”I am a rock” (I am an island) came into my mind.
    She did seem to be a bit of an island in a sea of seething humanity.

    But yesterday on the same road (and honest, I don’t make things up) I had come to a halt in crawling traffic and some people trying to cross hesitated before steping right in front of me, as I was high up in my cab, and when you are very close to the front of an 18 tonner you dont want it moving when you are in front of it. Some people crossed and I saw down to my left just visable at the bottom of my side window, a (perhaps Somalian) woman in hijab, and also with a tight scarf underneath it going around her chin and to her ears, look up at me. I beckoned to her that she could cross too as I had seen her.
    She gave me the most lovely smile and waved at me, and as she got past to the other side she smiled and waved to me again. Her smile was beautiful, and I knew she was a lovely person.

  372. halima — on 2nd July, 2009 at 5:07 pm  

    Someone please close this thread down … It is getting a bit wierd.

  373. damon — on 2nd July, 2009 at 5:42 pm  

    But Halima, it’s only a week old.
    Is that it, done and dusted?

  374. halima — on 2nd July, 2009 at 5:47 pm  

    Less is more?

  375. halima — on 2nd July, 2009 at 5:53 pm  

    Sorry Damon, I guess there are others who feel there is more to be said.

  376. Kulvinder — on 2nd July, 2009 at 6:00 pm  

    No its you that can’t understand the concepts and spouting off on whose opinions are worthless makes you just another dictatorial version of Sarkozy.

    I suppose when you haven’t got a clue what you’re talking about the only thing you can really do is make your arguments even more verhemently; irrespective of how moronic they are.

    Fine.

    I don’t have a clue what im talking about; why don’t you point out where in the french constitution it says the president of the republic hasn’t got the right to bring up this issue, or attempt to act on it; because as far as i can tell, and as far as any legal scholar ive ever read can tell not only does the constitution give the president the right article 5 makes it a duty.

    How can a country that claims to uphold liberty and freedom then decides that in the name of upholding said freedom it needs to DICTATE what people can and cannot wear which is itself a denial of the constitution to uphold freedom.

    I’m unsure what country you’re talking about but france’s constitution doesn’t claim to uphold ‘liberty and freedom’; its first article merely lays the foundation of how the institutions of state will function with respect to the individual and any other organs of government.

    It is there to set the scene.

    The bit that you’re referring to (or are you, is this another country?!) in article 2 “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity” is the motto of france; again it is there to set the scene, to provide guidance on interpretation for what is to come.

    You’ll notice freedom isn’t mentioned (you have read it amirite?), and of course that would be odd without definition – why would a constitution claim to uphold ‘freedom’ without defining what that means? (for comparison read the first amendment of the us constitution which explicitly stated the freedom of speech).

    So im unsure what part of the constitution isn’t being upheld, perhaps you can point me in the right direction?

    What you can’t grasp is that fine if Sarkozy does this now to appease his voting bloc then what is to stop someone else coming in and deciding that some other form of dress is also a threat to French Secular values and bans that and soon you have a Dress Dictatorship to enforce freedom!

    *sigh*

    Its not asking much is it? It would’ve taken you two minutes to google – just two minutes to check whether the arse gravy you were coming out with was accurate or not. Not only muslims are affected – i realise that fact is possibly beyond you but there you go.

    To recap

    If you can’t understand the french constitution your opinions are beyond worthless

  377. Imran Khan — on 2nd July, 2009 at 7:21 pm  

    Fine my points are worthless which is why you don’t get the fact where you legislate to enforce secular values then you are no longer secular but a petty little dictatorship and you won’t answer who decides what is and isn’t against secular policy.

    He is preaching values that essentially go against the very concept of a secular state. But hey if he bashes Muslims then he’ll get defenders won’t he?

    Any Muslim who comes here to explain their faith is subject to a volley of rapid abuse. Are Muslims just supposed to accept dictates from a petty little right wing dictator on what is and isn’t suitable and roll over and let him shaft us?

    If he wants France to dictate what people can and cannot wear then he cannot expect that France will be considered secular because it won’t be.

    Also if your take is so clear cut then why does he need a commission to enact a diktat he has already decided upon?

  378. Kulvinder — on 2nd July, 2009 at 8:28 pm  

    you won’t answer who decides what is and isn’t against secular policy.

    The people, through those they elect.

    He is preaching values that essentially go against the very concept of a secular state.

    There is no universal framework for a ‘secular state’; he is preaching values that are consistent with the laws of france and his duty.

    But hey if he bashes Muslims then he’ll get defenders won’t he?

    Oh grow a backbone, ive provided a link that shows the the affects of french policy on non-muslim groups. It also effects sikhs, but im not demented enough to become emotional about it.

    Any Muslim who comes here to explain their faith is subject to a volley of rapid abuse.

    Any lunatic who comes on here be they sikh, hindu, muslim, jew or christian is subject to a volley of abuse.

    Are Muslims just supposed to accept dictates from a petty little right wing dictator on what is and isn’t suitable and roll over and let him shaft us?

    The use of the word ‘dictator’ is idiotic. He won an election, he didn’t rig it, he didn’t shoot those who voted against him, he point a gun at people as they were voting.

    Asking whether ‘muslims’ should accept it, is, on the other hand cultural imperialism (you horrid horrid dictator of a man).

    French muslims as a heterogeneous group are obviously going to have a diverging set of opinions, but at least 40% of french muslims supported the ban on the hijab in schools – let alone a ban on the burka.

    But those muslims are ‘apologists’ amirite? Its for you to refuse context on the discussion and debate for muslims universally – whilst hypocritically calling those you disagree with ‘dictators’.

    But to answer directly no muslims in france and in turkey don’t have to accept the ‘dictates’ of anyone; they put into power whom they choose.

    If you want to take issue with turkish muslims who support secularism, you go shout at them, go on call them apologists.

    If he wants France to dictate what people can and cannot wear then he cannot expect that France will be considered secular because it won’t be.

    This probably made sense in your head, alas less so in print.

    As a state France may be more authoritarian in how it deals with its secularism, but that doesn’t make it any less secular.

    By your brilliant logic i presume you think the chinese aren’t secular, because you know, they’ve banned religion outright.

    Also if your take is so clear cut then why does he need a commission to enact a diktat he has already decided upon?

    Because (and you’re going to love this) france isn’t a dictatorship.

  379. Kulvinder — on 2nd July, 2009 at 8:31 pm  
  380. Imran Khan — on 2nd July, 2009 at 8:51 pm  

    “There is no universal framework for a ’secular state’; he is preaching values that are consistent with the laws of france and his duty.”

    Thats nonsense because any form of dictatorship can come under the guise of protecting the secular state.

    “Oh grow a backbone, ive provided a link that shows the the affects of french policy on non-muslim groups. It also effects sikhs, but im not demented enough to become emotional about it.”

    Yes but that was a side effect as at the time they said the target was Muslims as it is in other parts of Europe.

    So anyone that answers back to Sarkozy lacks a backbone and is emmotional.

    “Any lunatic who comes on here be they sikh, hindu, muslim, jew or christian is subject to a volley of abuse.”

    Ah its gets better so which am I lunatic, spineless or emotionally challenged or all of the above – votes please.

    “The use of the word ‘dictator’ is idiotic. He won an election, he didn’t rig it, he didn’t shoot those who voted against him, he point a gun at people as they were voting.”

    Hitler won an election then decided to dictate to people. Sarkozy won an election and is now dictating what people can wear for crying out loud and you are defending him.

    Why is the use of the word dictator idiotic when he is dictating what can and cannot be worn and is willing to legislate to enforce his dress code.

    “Asking whether ‘muslims’ should accept it, is, on the other hand cultural imperialism (you horrid horrid dictator of a man).”

    So me saying people should be able to wear what they want is imperialism and Sarkozy saying what they cannot wear is acceptable to you?

    “This probably made sense in your head, alas less so in print.”

    No it makes sense now. You cannot preach secularism and say that women are free and then tell them what to wear it doesn’t add up except in your head.

    If they are free to wear what they want then they can wear the niqab even if a right wing President doesn’t like it.

    “Because (and you’re going to love this) france isn’t a dictatorship.”

    Its heading in that direction if it has a legal dress code.

  381. Kulvinder — on 2nd July, 2009 at 10:38 pm  

    Thats nonsense because any form of dictatorship can come under the guise of protecting the secular state.

    What, if anything did this have to do with my responce?

    Ah its gets better so which am I lunatic, spineless or emotionally challenged or all of the above – votes please.

    ‘all of the above’

    Hitler won an election then decided to dictate to people. Sarkozy won an election and is now dictating what people can wear for crying out loud and you are defending him.

    Why is the use of the word dictator idiotic when he is dictating what can and cannot be worn and is willing to legislate to enforce his dress code.

    If you stopped flapping around like a demented walrus you might take the time to think through what you write.

    The fact that hitler and sarkozy both won elections does not mean they are comparable in any way. Point out where sarkozy is bringing about gleichschaltung and you’d ‘shock’ be able to say they both won elections and both became dictators.

    And you irritatingly don’t seem to comprehend basic concepts you use; the president is the executive, the legislature is distinct from that. The president doesn’t ‘make’ laws (once again it isn’t a dictatorship, i know its hard but try to understand – he can’t click his fingers and do what he wants), his duty is however to raise issues that he feels is fundamental to the constitution.

    So me saying people should be able to wear what they want is imperialism and Sarkozy saying what they cannot wear is acceptable to you?

    You telling people who live in democratic countries that they should follow the laws and or customs you determine to be acceptable is imperialism.

    Its quite a simple concept really, a substantial percentage of muslims (irrespective of non-muslims) in both france and turkey either support a ban on the hijab or burka.

    I may not choose to support their point of view, but im not going to tell them to live as i say.

    You cannot preach secularism and say that women are free and then tell them what to wear it doesn’t add up except in your head.

    Oh well this is delicious; because im a sadist i have to ask. What’s your definition of secularism?

    In the sane world meanwhile (and one that doesn’t use the oxymoron ‘preaching secularism’); the philosophy of secularism is simply about seperating faith or religion from government institutions.

    It is not and never has been intrinsically linked to womens liberation.

    It is not and has never been intrinsically linked to democratic society.

    The US and China are secular. The US is far less authoritarian than China.

    Its heading in that direction if it has a legal dress code.

    They’ve been in that direction for, well, at least 200 years.

  382. Arif — on 2nd July, 2009 at 11:08 pm  

    Kulvinder, I wonder if you and Imran are talking at cross-purposes because you are focusing on different sides of the “democracy” coin.

    I understand democratic constitutions as being designed to both protect majority rule and to protect minority rights. If a constitution is used to undermine minority rights it ceases to be democratic in my perception, and I think that is why it seems to Imran to be its opposite – dictatorship – although in this case a dictatorship by a majority. While you interpret dictatorship to mean undermining the “majority rule” aspect of democracy.

    Anyway, perhaps we can agree that the French Constitution does not protect minority rights sufficiently to be considered democratic, and maybe no constitution yet formulated does. Price of freedom is eternal vigilance, sort of thing?

  383. damon — on 3rd July, 2009 at 3:40 pm  

    Halima @ 375
    ”Sorry Damon, I guess there are others who feel there is more to be said”.

    Yes it looks so. But I do feel (also?) that 350 posts in a week on one thread is also really hard going.

    What can you? I do admit I made some slightly bizarre comments, but sometimes it feels like that’s what you’ve got to do to try to make a point.
    I couldn’t give a stuff about Sarkozy or the French constitution.
    My point was really reconciling free choice (to do what you like, which I support) with other concerns about integration and rights of peoples to live in neighbourhoods that they feel a part of.
    The niqab (I said) was something that while had to be accepted as the wish of a particular minority to fulfill their religious needs – was not really welcome to become much more prevalent.

    In the EU accession contries of eastern Europe, immigration from Asia and Africa will I’m sure cause some difficulties, and niqabs on the streets of Lubiana in Slovena in the coming years will I think make this conversation come back again and again.

  384. halima — on 3rd July, 2009 at 3:51 pm  

    “…and niqabs on the streets of Lubiana in Slovena in the coming years will I think make this conversation come back again and again.”

    Damon, actually your comments are quite funny – although i am sure you are quite serious… and I found myself agreeing with the above.. and thought that would be a nice day!

    It would also be a good day when people cease to notice – you know, like one time in the past, black people stood out in the white surburbs – and now they don’t.

    But yes, i think anyone, whether religious and non-religious needs to seek compromise and middle-ground, but that’s usually done when we respect difference – not bring prior assumptions from Taliban and what have you ( not saying you are – but there is a broader constituency that does).

    I guess I am saying I don’t have anymore to add – and others have contributed and extended the discussion beyond my comfort zone.

  385. damon — on 3rd July, 2009 at 4:20 pm  

    Halima, I thought you made some strong points in this thread. (I read them even though I didn’t comment on them).
    I must admit to feeling it’s only half been gone through though.
    Your point about black people once standing out in white suburbs (in relation to this thread) I can’t help feel should just be the beginning of a conversation.
    But after 384 posts, I’m bushed too.

  386. Imran Khan — on 5th July, 2009 at 7:12 pm  

    Arif – “Anyway, perhaps we can agree that the French Constitution does not protect minority rights sufficiently to be considered democratic, and maybe no constitution yet formulated does. Price of freedom is eternal vigilance, sort of thing?”

    Oh he’ll never say that. Sounds like a bounty sort who sings the hyms of the white european against anything they want to do to ethnics.

  387. bananabrain — on 6th July, 2009 at 11:05 am  

    imran:

    If you actually read what people said they were not comparing they were highlighting that Sarkozy wouldn’t dare to question the attire of women from other faiths apart from Muslim ones.

    that must be why french rules are invariably drafted so as to cover jewish, sikh and christian clothing as well as muslim clothing. do you not remember that skullcaps and crucifixes were banned in schools along with hijabs? oh, you do, actually, so perhaps you might take a moment to understand what my point is rather than straw-manning it. what you have kept pointing out is that nobody appears to make a fuss when jewish women wear modest dress. what i have pointed out is why that is, namely:

    1. modest dress, including hair covering, is not actually all that obvious to the casual observer in the street. if you saw a woman wearing typical “frum” dress, you might not even register that she was jewish, because it’s not that obvious unless you know what you’re looking for. by contrast, both christian monastic habits, amritdhari sikh dress and islamic modesty outfits are. jewish women’s modest clothes (if not men’s) are designed to blend in and not draw the eye (a pretty basic component of modesty you’d expect) whereas other costumes, including islamic outfits, aren’t.
    2. covering your face is very different from covering your hair, for all the reasons that the rules covering motorcycle helmets and balaclavas make clear.

    so, clearly, this is evidence that there is some kind of qualitative difference between the way jewish women do “modest” and the way muslim women do “modest”, which people like yourself seem unable for some reason to comprehend. i don’t really understand why you’re finding this so hard, but i would suggest that it isn’t because the jewish women are being given a “free pass” whilst the muslim women are being singled out – although actually, compared to other eye-catching modesty outfits, i would suggest they are. hence my position that i think people who are concerned about hijab should get over themselves, whereas i think that people who are concerned about niqab have a point.

    In the past you may have used Muslims to make your argument but you won’t let Muslims do the same.

    in this instance, it is not the same argument, because of the difference between covering your face and covering any other part of the body in our society.

    Its amazing that you ask that Muslims not hide behind comparisons with Jews and your first article on Spitoon was the regurgitation of the theme of how Muslim extremists say you are not people of the book and thus available for targeting.

    why is that “amazing”? what has the one issue to do with the other? if you have an issue with the article, come over and comment.

    Yet you fail you fail to mention that part of this debate has been thrust upon Muslims by members of your community such as Mel Phillips and her book Londonistan and by Daniel Pipes etc.

    yet again you’re asking me to apologise for mel phillips. well, forget it. what you are actually asking me to do is apologise for her being jewish. well, you can forget about that as well. i am not responsible for the rubbish she comes out with.

    So you are mute at the fact that these people say we are different and not part of European or secular society

    no, i am not. why do you keep bringing this canard up?

    I request you then ask part of your community to stop this shit stirring which is causing ordinary Muslims to be targeted by right wing politicians.

    you know, this is beginning to sound extraordinarily like “the jewish community is behind the attacks on muslims”.

    Its also a shame that your own article failed to discuss the extremism in your parts of your own community

    because it wasn’t about that. it was about how a certain group of muslims selectively interpret their own texts, not about how jews interpret jewish texts. i could write one of those – and, indeed, it’s something i’ve been considering. but in terms of the ahl-e-kitab argument, it shouldn’t make any difference whether i am jewish or not to whether the argument stands up. yet, apparently, to *you* it does. play the ball, imran, not the man. why must i continually be asked to add the caveat “and, of course, i dislike extremists within my own community and speak out against them”. seriously – why don’t you just write up a little post-it note that says “bananabrain dislikes jewish extremists and is on record as saying so. he is also under no compunction to obsessively balance every point made about muslims with one about jews.” then, rather than wasting everyone’s time with this over and over again you can just stick that to your computer and read it out to yourself instead.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  388. bananabrain — on 6th July, 2009 at 11:07 am  

    above, i meant to say that “i would suggest that it isn’t because the jewish women are being given a “free pass” whilst the muslim women are being singled out – although actually, compared to other eye-catching modesty outfits, i would suggest that muslim women are nonetheless getting a particularly hard time.”

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  389. Imran Khan — on 6th July, 2009 at 12:32 pm  

    Bananabrain – “that must be why french rules are invariably drafted so as to cover jewish, sikh and christian clothing as well as muslim clothing. do you not remember that skullcaps and crucifixes were banned in schools along with hijabs? oh, you do, actually,”

    Oh please even the French Politicians were admitting the rules were targeted at Muslims. The fact they hit others doesn’t detract from the original target. At the time I do recall a major Rabbi who was in France saying the rules were targeted at Muslims.

    Also the skullcap and crucifix were not banned the law was adjusted to allow for them as long as they were not too big.

    “1. modest dress, including hair covering, is not actually all that obvious to the casual observer in the street. if you saw a woman wearing typical “frum” dress, you might not even register that she was jewish, because it’s not that obvious unless you know what you’re looking for.”

    It is obvious and most people know what it is. It doesn’t blend in. Even most casual observers know what Orthodox Women dress like!

    “i would suggest that it isn’t because the jewish women are being given a “free pass” whilst the muslim women are being singled out”

    Oh shut up – I didn’t say they were being given a free pass. I used it as a comparison. Why do you get so bloody hysterical everytime someone makes a comparison to Jewish people. My comparison wasn’t a criticism of Jews, Judaism or Jewish women it was to highlight the selective nature of Sarkozy’s definition of what is and isn’t acceptable.

    No matter how well Jewish or Muslim dress is designed to blend in it will never completely fit the definition of the French State so my question was why he is picking on one? I am not asking him to pick on Jewish dress – I am highlighting Sarkozy’s own right wing hysterics. Thats a vast difference to the tangent you keep going off on.

    “in this instance, it is not the same argument, because of the difference between covering your face and covering any other part of the body in our society.”

    Agreed when narrowing it down to specific dress but the wider question of Sarkozy’s hypocrisy isn’t being questioned.

    “why is that “amazing”? what has the one issue to do with the other? if you have an issue with the article, come over and comment.”

    I have many issues but I won’t be discussing them on that blog given the type of articles which are published there – its too similar to Harry’s Place. Frankly I am disappointed you chose to publish there. I am happy to discuss with you directly but not on that blog.

    I’d like to see some changes there before I comment on there and hopefully Faisal will learn that to achieve what he wants by learning from the early mistakes of QF who have changed tack.

    “yet again you’re asking me to apologise for mel phillips. well, forget it. what you are actually asking me to do is apologise for her being jewish. well, you can forget about that as well. i am not responsible for the rubbish she comes out with.”

    Ah the old whataboutery. I am not asking you or her to apologise let alone for being Jewish. This is a diversionary tactic to get people away from the real point.

    This debate has been pushed by the likes of Mel and old Pipes with their rhetoric. My point was and I repeat it again that you are asking Muslims to keep Jews out of this debate when the debate has in part been forced upon Muslims due to the rhetoric of right wing Jewish writers so why not ask them to stop their nonsense?

    “you know, this is beginning to sound extraordinarily like “the jewish community is behind the attacks on muslims”.”

    No the vast majority of the Jewish community isn’t and are in fact very supportive of Muslims. A minority are hugely critical of Muslims and its their rhetoric which is leading in part to the isolation of Muslims.

    “because it wasn’t about that. it was about how a certain group of muslims selectively interpret their own texts, not about how jews interpret jewish texts. i could write one of those – and, indeed, it’s something i’ve been considering. but in terms of the ahl-e-kitab argument, it shouldn’t make any difference whether i am jewish or not to whether the argument stands up. yet, apparently, to *you* it does. play the ball, imran, not the man. why must i continually be asked to add the caveat “and, of course, i dislike extremists within my own community and speak out against them”. seriously – why don’t you just write up a little post-it note that says “bananabrain dislikes jewish extremists and is on record as saying so. he is also under no compunction to obsessively balance every point made about muslims with one about jews.” then, rather than wasting everyone’s time with this over and over again you can just stick that to your computer and read it out to yourself instead.”

    Look I’ve explained this concept to you so many times I have lost count. It doesn’t matter what extremists say because it is incorrect and this is based on the actions of the Prophet (pbuh) and the noble companions.

    So the wider question is the changing of religion to suit the agenda of the extremists and how they change the position of Jews and Christians to justify their approach.

    The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia said that it was not even permitted to pray for the destruction of the Jews because Allah has said the Jews will be there until the end of time. So again if the Jews are there till then end of time and they are the People of the Book, then you as a Jew are from the People of the Book and your children and your grandchildren and so forth.

    Now their argument is that you are not the same as the Jews at the time of revelation of the Qur’an but again here their fail because Allah did not say the the People of the Book applied to just those Jews at the time of the revelation of the Qur’an but it is a generic term as can be seen in the verses.

    Now away from this arguing which although somewhat important doesn’t address our real needs.

    I did ask Chairwoman for help and I do the same to you. What can we do to bring together Jews and Muslims?

    Can organizations and blogs such as yours not ask the major mosques in London what plans they have? Can the Muslims not talk to Jewish Organizations to get a push on Community events?

    What can you do to help?

  390. Ravi Naik — on 6th July, 2009 at 12:39 pm  

    No matter how well Jewish or Muslim dress is designed to blend in it will never completely fit the definition of the French State so my question was why he is picking on one?

    Honestly, do you consciously make things up or are you really delusional?

  391. Imran Khan — on 6th July, 2009 at 1:57 pm  

    Ravi – “Honestly, do you consciously make things up or are you really delusional?”

    Sarkozy said that the Burkha was not the type of female attire which is acceptable in the French state. Others here have argued that he has the right to make these definitions. Much of the definition of what is and isn’t acceptable is based around religious attire so yes there is a fit and unfit French Secular attire. I am not making it up he is and I am told he can because France is a secular democracy and it can decide what people can and cannot wear.

    How does that make me delusional?

  392. Ravi Naik — on 6th July, 2009 at 2:11 pm  

    How does that make me delusional?

    You said: “No matter how well Jewish or Muslim dress is designed to blend in it will never completely fit the definition of the French State”

    There is only one attire that is being targeted: the burkha. Can you at least acknowledge why Sarkozy is targeting only the burkha and not the hijab or any other ethnic attire?

  393. Ravi Naik — on 6th July, 2009 at 2:20 pm  

    Here is what Sarkozy said:
    “In our country we cannot accept that women be prisoners behind a screen, cut off from all social life, deprived of all identity. The burka is not a religious sign. It is a sign of subservience, a sign of debasement. It will not be welcome on the territory of the French Republic.”

    It is clear that he does not want to ban it because it is a religious or ethnic attire, but because it conceals the face. There is no other attire like the burkha. I do not agree with Sarkozy that a ban should be enforced by the state, but I agree with him that this is a vile attire even if it is used by choice.

  394. Imran Khan — on 6th July, 2009 at 2:31 pm  

    Ravi – Can you not grasp that France and other parts of Europe are targeting Muslims and the first place of target is through the dress of females.

    Hijab was targeted earlier in a limited form, Niqab is being targeted now.

    Thus it is the French State including Sarkozy.

    You have to look at the overall picture as well and thus different bits have been targeted. This includes in various parts of Europe bans on building mosques and minarets etc. bans on dress etc.

    The Daily Express has a poll on whether to ban here. So the actions are spreading and its always the Muslims who are at fault for lack of assimilation.

  395. Ravi Naik — on 6th July, 2009 at 2:42 pm  

    Imran, in your mind, why do you feel Muslims are being targeted, and not other ethnic minorities, like the Chinese or even Hindus?

  396. Imran Khan — on 6th July, 2009 at 2:53 pm  

    Ravi – Because of the rhetoric of the right wing think tanks who have portrayed Muslims as a threat.

    Traditionally Europe likes to target a minority every 50 – 100 years.

    In the past it has been the Jewish Community and now it is ethnics especially Muslims.

    However now we also see Eastern Europeans appearing on the target list of the right.

    Part of the problem is self inflicted for Muslims because they are poor at reaching out, have poor organisations representing them and they lack political clout. This is increased by the threat of a terrorism which is preyed on by the right and right wing think tanks.

    Also as Europe lurches to the right due to the deep recession then the right becomes more powerful by having a bogeyman and mainstream parties have to react. Sarkozy is using this as a political tool to divert attention from France’s economic problems.

  397. Imran Khan — on 6th July, 2009 at 3:04 pm  

    Oh and Ravi in different areas at different times different minorities have been targeted.

    Hindu’s are now being targeted in Australia and have been in the past in the USA.

    Chinese have been targeted in the USA.

    We have Eastern Europeans being targeted in Northern Ireland.

    Muslims are being targeted due to the Eurabia views spouted by the right and this is being used to say Muslims will take over European culture.

    MPs are fickle and won’t tackle the issues which the right is using to bash Muslims and other minorities. The lack of affordable housing, jobs etc. are at the centre of tension the right uses to establish its position.

  398. Imran Khan — on 6th July, 2009 at 3:06 pm  

    Also Ravi most of Europe loves minority religion to be invisible be it Muslim, Jewish, Sikh, Hindu etc.

  399. Don — on 6th July, 2009 at 3:11 pm  

    Imran,

    I agree that there are some people, some parties, in Europe which target muslims. And that is as wrong, as wrong as the anti-semitism which is also resurgent in Europe.

    But can you accept that there are also people who find some aspects of some interpretations of Islam to be regressive and harmful and who have a legitimate reason to think that these aspects should not be passively accepted.

    That does not make them islamophobic bigots, although bigots will use these legitimate concerns as a stalking horse. I think we are all able to spot those and call them on it.

    I’ve made it clear that I don’t agree with telling people what they can or can’t wear except when there are clear practical reasons in specific situations. But you can still hold the view that a belief system that calls on half the world to hide it’s face from the other half is unhealthy without being a bigot.

    As I have mentioned before, where there is a free choice, most muslim women choose not to cover the face. Those who do so choose are sometimes met with boorish responses and that’s wrong. Where there is no free choice women have chosen to risk death, torture, rape and mutilation in order to demand that choice.

    My sympathies are mainly with the latter.

  400. bananabrain — on 6th July, 2009 at 3:55 pm  

    even the French Politicians were admitting the rules were targeted at Muslims. The fact they hit others doesn’t detract from the original target. At the time I do recall a major Rabbi who was in France saying the rules were targeted at Muslims.

    yes, that was what i understood to be the case. in that case it caused bad feelings of the “muslims are rocking the boat for other minorities” kind and my sympathies were actually with the muslims – my reaction was more along the lines of “well, perhaps you should all rock the boat a little bit more then and be a bit less supine” – but in this case, i consider the burqa and the niqab to be, essentially, provocative statements of non-integration, whether in france or in the UK. france, as it has an established state “religion” of “secularism” (“laicité”) traditionally takes a very strong line on these things, as opposed to the UK’s more laissez-faire approach which i tend to agree with except, as i have said before, in the case of clothing which conceals the face, where i draw the line, for the reasons i have stated.

    It is obvious and most people know what it is. It doesn’t blend in. Even most casual observers know what Orthodox Women dress like!

    i absolutely disagree and dispute that. in the case of most women i know who cover their hair (and i know a *lot* of them) and are out in the workplace, in the vast majority of cases their workmates have no idea that they are dressed “modestly” according to a religious code.

    let’s ask the picklers. come on, you lot: who here would be able to pick out a woman in the street as modestly dressed according to orthodox jewish dress codes?

    Oh shut up – I didn’t say they were being given a free pass. I used it as a comparison. Why do you get so bloody hysterical everytime someone makes a comparison to Jewish people.

    i don’t. you made the comparison, i don’t think it’s a valid one, so the burden of proof is on you to show that it is. you’re moaning that muslims are being singled out and i’m AGREEING that they are, but pointing out that the reasons that they are being singled out are that what muslims are asking for is, in many cases, once you analyse it, essentially, qualitatively DIFFERENT from what other religious groups have historically asked for which, given their numbers, the significant impact of the change requested and the unease and hostility already involved, means the requests need to be carefully looked at. you appear, like bungles and the MCB crew (and i apologise if this is incorrect) to be suggesting that what is required is NO DIFFERENT to what is already accepted of other religious groups, therefore the precedent set by accommodating them should be followed in this case as well. i disagree. i also disagree that jewish and christian (or any other) groups should be
    able to get sections of the biology curriculum removed because it “offends” them. that is where i draw the line. but make no mistake, the line is there.

    the annoying thing is that i think you understand this, but you don’t like the outcome, which is why you are seeking to move the goalposts:

    Agreed when narrowing it down to specific dress but the wider question of Sarkozy’s hypocrisy isn’t being questioned.

    because anything is hypocritical if you make the question wide enough. and that appears to be your answer to everything. support a politician? well, here’s something he said in 1977 which contradicts that – so he’s a hypocrite, so we must discount everything he says. talk about analysis paralysis.

    Ah the old whataboutery. I am not asking you or her to apologise let alone for being Jewish. This is a diversionary tactic to get people away from the real point.

    that’s a bit rich coming from you. you brought her up in the first place in order to “address the wider issue” – in other words, sufficiently broaden the argument in order to obscure any clarity. what mel phillips or daniel pipes may or may not say – and, more to the point, what you expect me to do about it (by some means, walk up to mel after shabbat morning services perhaps? i know where she davens) has no bearing whatsoever on whether you are using an invalid comparison to conflate the issues of modest dress and the social significance of covering your face in mainstream western european society. bringing up your favourite hate figures from the jewish community is as much whataboutery as it would be if every time you commented, i went on at you to go and tell asghar bukhari off for being a pillock. he is a pillock and he is responsible for a great deal of muslim ill-feeling towards jews, but i don’t see how that is relevant to whether you, imran khan, can construct a cogent, coherent argument or not.

    So the wider question is the changing of religion to suit the agenda of the extremists and how they change the position of Jews and Christians to justify their approach.

    ok, agreed, that is a wider question, but you have to travel quite far away from the central point of this discussion before you get to it. actually, it’s quite good “root cause analysis”, so i’ll give you that, but you are still presuming that because the root cause is similar on both sides, the mechanisms, tactics and situations on both sides are therefore the same. they’re not – because COVERING YOUR FACE IS DIFFERENT FROM DRESSING MODESTLY IN MAINSTREAM WESTERN SOCIETY – which was my point from the beginning, of course.

    Can organizations and blogs such as yours not ask the major mosques in London what plans they have? Can the Muslims not talk to Jewish Organizations to get a push on Community events?

    speaking personally, the perception i am getting right now is that jewish organisations are all in fire-fighting mode. first security, then dialogue, in that order. the only people really doing anything worthwhile are those with credentials and a track record, either grass-roots organisations like alif-aleph, or the higher echelons of the BoD and CST, who certainly understand the connection between dialogue and preventing extremism. what sort of events do you propose, though?

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  401. Imran Khan — on 6th July, 2009 at 3:56 pm  

    Don – Can I make clear that I am not imposing any dress on anyone and I am not imposing religion on anyone. I am arguing for people to choose what they want to wear or believe.

    Tackling antisemitism is as important for me as tackling those issue facing Muslims.

    “But can you accept that there are also people who find some aspects of some interpretations of Islam to be regressive and harmful and who have a legitimate reason to think that these aspects should not be passively accepted.”

    accepted and legitimate questions on those aspects can and should be asked.

    “I’ve made it clear that I don’t agree with telling people what they can or can’t wear except when there are clear practical reasons in specific situations. But you can still hold the view that a belief system that calls on half the world to hide it’s face from the other half is unhealthy without being a bigot.”

    If thats what they want to wear that is their choice. They shouldn’t be forced to wear it but they shouldn’t be told they can’t wear it.

    “As I have mentioned before, where there is a free choice, most muslim women choose not to cover the face. Those who do so choose are sometimes met with boorish responses and that’s wrong. Where there is no free choice women have chosen to risk death, torture, rape and mutilation in order to demand that choice.

    My sympathies are mainly with the latter.”

    Agreed and this needs education for Muslims not to do these evil things. Again this stems from lack of knowledge and blaming this group or that creed is what is causing the issue to go by untackled. Too often western think tanks are quick to label groups or creeds and often this leads to many problems whereby people spend time defending themselves instead of tackling the issues.

    However this is an issue and the Muslim community needs to tackle this much like Darfur and they have failed miserably.

  402. sonia — on 6th July, 2009 at 4:04 pm  

    Well said Rumbold. the best way to entrench the burkha wearing would be to ban it. There are non-legislative ways of changing societal requirements around dress codes, (i.e. for those of us who do not think women should have to wear Burkhas as a religious and social requirement) and enforcing one particular dress code is not a good way to change another dress code. (sounds obvious but there you go) And anyway if people want to wear black plastic bags over their heads/faces/outfits well they should be free to do that.

    Obviously coming from within the Muslim community I know/ that burkhas/hijabs are Strongly linked in with perceived piety and socially enforced by the ‘group’ in the same way Any group enforces dress codes and norms.

    The point for me as an individual libertarian is an individual should be able to wear what they like. If someone wants to wear something because they think God told them too, well that is their problem. The real issue for me – is how societies regulate dress codes.

    It is silly and annoying and female unfriendly(in the Islamic context) that women have to bear the brunt of the modesty requirement, and that they enforce this on the part of other women. This is a big problem – the peer pressure and the implications about one’s moral character, and it is a flaw in the religion. Something to critique about the religion, and also social modes of enforcing religion. Legislation one way or the other is not going to change that.

    what we need essentially is a free society where a person makes up their mind on what to wear with (hopefully) the least amount of peer pressure. But we know that there is an incredible amount of peer pressure around what individuals wear, as a libertarian it fundamentally annoys me when people Still insist on pointing out that i wear odd socks.

  403. sonia — on 6th July, 2009 at 4:08 pm  

    Sarkozy is racist and that is that = the French are incredibly Old State about this enforcement of what individuals wear -no libertarian individualism about them, nope. they understand liberty as a group that’s it.

    the french hijab ban really fanned many racist flames, and personally, i found it very annoying. Im not even in favour of hijab wearing – or even scenting racism willy nilly, but it was really about making the outsiders feel like that – outsiders – for not /’fitting’ in. NO different to how Gulf states operate for example, when someone ‘else’ is in their midst. no tolerance of ‘outside’ customs. Frankly, it also did down the secularism agenda by confusing it with what individuals are doing (public domain or not, doesn’t make a bit of bloody difference). You are not the State – even when you are taking up services provided by the State. Secularism is/should be about state apparatus and religious authority – not about what ‘religious’ things individuals do in the public domain, as individuals.

    really the french are just not very libertarian really.

  404. sonia — on 6th July, 2009 at 4:11 pm  

    Of course the reality around all this is that in many Muslim majority countries (e.g. Bangladesh) most women DO NOT wear niqabs or even the black burkha thingie. Women who wear niqabs frequently are more hassled than anyone else for ‘sticking’ out or for assuming they are so god-damn attractive a man will be driven mad if he looks at them, so many men rise to the bait.

    and if this sort of thing happens in muslim majority countries..

    But you can’t #force# people to integrate, can you, that’s the point. religion tries to do that.

  405. Imran Khan — on 6th July, 2009 at 4:12 pm  

    Bananabrain – “i tend to agree with except, as i have said before, in the case of clothing which conceals the face, where i draw the line, for the reasons i have stated.”

    Yes but where you draw the line is for reasons different to Sarkozy who harps on about other reasons why he wants to ban the niqab.

    “i absolutely disagree and dispute that. in the case of most women i know who cover their hair (and i know a *lot* of them) and are out in the workplace, in the vast majority of cases their workmates have no idea that they are dressed “modestly” according to a religious code.

    let’s ask the picklers. come on, you lot: who here would be able to pick out a woman in the street as modestly dressed according to orthodox jewish dress codes?”

    I’ll let people answer but in my experience I can tell you that people I know can spot an Orthodox woman from some distance. There are certain signs I will come back to but lets see.

    “the annoying thing is that i think you understand this, but you don’t like the outcome, which is why you are seeking to move the goalposts:”

    That is rich and laughable because a society that claims to be one things is dictating and imposing on another so its the society that claims to be secular and free that is moving the goalposts. What you cannot seem to realise is that I am arguing for these women to have the choice to wear what they want.

    “that’s a bit rich coming from you. you brought her up in the first place in order to “address the wider issue” – in other words, sufficiently broaden the argument in order to obscure any clarity.”

    Again this is nonsense – with respect what I said and I stand by this is that the charge towards this debate has been led by the likes of Mel and Pipes. The mantle has then been taken by the right wing and then by right wing politicians such as Sarkozy. So yes she is very much part of this debate because she is the one who hollered loudly until it came on the agenda. she implied that pieces of clothing were a threat to western civilisation.

    “more to the point, what you expect me to do about it (by some means, walk up to mel after shabbat morning services perhaps? i know where she davens)”
    Not you but the Jewish Community needs to make its opinion heard.

    The Muslim Community keep getting asked to speak out against extremists in their midst so why does the same not apply to other communities?

    “if every time you commented, i went on at you to go and tell asghar bukhari off for being a pillock. he is a pillock and he is responsible for a great deal of muslim ill-feeling towards jews, but i don’t see how that is relevant to whether you, imran khan, can construct a cogent, coherent argument or not.”

    Look I have never met him but I have spoken out against him and his organisation and continue to do so. If I met him I’d tell him he is a pillock. I’ve warned various community projects to stay away from him and his organisation. You tell me anymore I can do and I’ll try.

    But if people are not prepared to face off extremists in their community then these tensions will continue to rise.

  406. sonia — on 6th July, 2009 at 4:16 pm  

    Actually Imran, the Muslim community does need to challenge the fact that too many elements within it are confused about the female modesty aspect within the religion. Everyone and their Auntie has a different view on this – so no wonder “other” people are confused.

    Back where i come from, it would be considered frankly WEIRD to do what so many girls in tower hamlets do – wear hijabs, with tight jeans and tight tops. You’d be considered far more ‘conservatively’ dressed in a loose shalwar kameez with your hair UNCOVERED.

    So as we can see, the social norms within the muslim communities are different around this. But there is a strong theme running throughout which is the link between head-covering and morality/modesty. As long as this remains, people will be confused about what they are doing – whether they are doing it for ‘themselves’ or because someone told them they are going to Hell if they don’t cover their hair. Of course if people want to believe that, and cover their hair as ‘insurance’ that’s fine too. But maybe they shouldn’t be trying to convince other girls they will go to hell too.

    my best friend at school wore a hijab. she never suggested to me i should wear one as well. which is why we were friends!

  407. Imran Khan — on 6th July, 2009 at 4:17 pm  

    Bananabrain – “”speaking personally, the perception i am getting right now is that jewish organisations are all in fire-fighting mode. first security, then dialogue, in that order. the only people really doing anything worthwhile are those with credentials and a track record, either grass-roots organisations like alif-aleph, or the higher echelons of the BoD and CST, who certainly understand the connection between dialogue and preventing extremism. what sort of events do you propose, though?”

    I want to see the major mosques in London do something to build better relations with the Jewish Community. So a series of events including visits to Mosques and Synagogues.

    However I can’t see them doing anything without the Jewish Organisations asking them to so they know they’ll have some cooperation.

    The ban on IslamExpo has led to a certain nervousness about doing events so in some respects it has backfired on the Jewish Community.

    The Jewish Museum opening is again another area for exhibitions to bring the two communities together.

    So exhibitions, places of worship visits etc.

    Any ideas for pushing this forward??

    We have to get out of this mess and the time to start is now.

    How do you arrange events that the Jewish Community then won’t be pushed to boycott because of some rigth wing hysteria.

  408. bananabrain — on 6th July, 2009 at 4:18 pm  

    fine, but you are wasting your breath having a go at *me* all the time. you’d be far better off writing letters to the jewish chronicle or the jewish news – they’d be far more likely to be printed if they came from a muslim. as for me, the reason i don’t tell you off about asghar bukhari is that i don’t need a post-it stuck to my screen to tell me that you are basically trying to do the right thing. i would appreciate it if you could refrain from ceaselessly lecturing me on the subject of mad mel and daniel pipes, because it is rarely going to be anything to do with what i am on about.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  409. sonia — on 6th July, 2009 at 4:19 pm  

    Its not about ‘minority’ rights – its about the rights of the individual! (which is ultimately the biggest minority)

    the whole problem is one of seeing it as majority vs. minority (certainly in France anyway).

    it needs to be about individual rights, regardless of where the fuck they come from/identify themselves.

  410. bananabrain — on 6th July, 2009 at 4:20 pm  

    How do you arrange events that the Jewish Community then won’t be pushed to boycott because of some rigth wing hysteria.

    i really wish i knew. i don’t actually think high-profile events are the way forward. i think they encourage grandstanding and gesture politics. we need grass-roots engagement, not organisational agendas.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  411. sonia — on 6th July, 2009 at 4:21 pm  

    Anyway, the whole point is that here in Britain you see more muslim people covering themselves than in the countries they come from: so what does that say>

    they perceive themselves to be in a ‘foreign’ place religion wise so it makes them more religious? this is the whole ‘minority’ thing playing out.

    they are interpreting religion more strictly than in their home countries -so that’s what communities here should be trying to think about – why is that?

  412. Imran Khan — on 6th July, 2009 at 4:25 pm  

    Sonia – I have already said tat part of the problem lies with the Muslim community and their inability to explain Islam and especially the role of women.

    “Back where i come from, it would be considered frankly WEIRD to do what so many girls in tower hamlets do – wear hijabs, with tight jeans and tight tops. You’d be considered far more ‘conservatively’ dressed in a loose shalwar kameez with your hair UNCOVERED.”

    Agreed.

    “my best friend at school wore a hijab. she never suggested to me i should wear one as well. which is why we were friends!”

    I know females that cover and those that don’t cover as well. I agree that people should be able to make up their own mind which is why I am complaining about Herr Sarkozy and his fashion police. However I have met females that wear the Niqab who have been very successful in their careers.

    There are issues I agree with you but the agenda shouldn’t be set by the right who are trying to make this an issue of survival of western civilisation which is nonsense. The debate is to be had but its being diverted which is the sad part.

  413. Imran Khan — on 6th July, 2009 at 4:56 pm  

    Bananabrain – “i would appreciate it if you could refrain from ceaselessly lecturing me on the subject of mad mel and daniel pipes, because it is rarely going to be anything to do with what i am on about.”

    I didn’t lecture you – I highlighted that part of the reason this debate and its uptake by the right wing is due to Mel and Pipes hysterical ranting about Eurabia.

    I have lectured you in the past to no avail but I still feel there is a lack of will to speak out against people like Mel and Pipes.

  414. Imran Khan — on 6th July, 2009 at 5:00 pm  

    Bananabrain – “i really wish i knew. i don’t actually think high-profile events are the way forward. i think they encourage grandstanding and gesture politics. we need grass-roots engagement, not organisational agendas.”

    I want to see grassroots events with no politics :-)

    I know of organisations trying to do this without the issue of I/P so no politics but the worry is how to get the Jewish community to visit.

    We are in a crazy position that we are being led by the right wing elements in both communities when the communties themselves are not that way inclined and do want to come together,

  415. Imran Khan — on 6th July, 2009 at 5:01 pm  

    Bananabrain – “I have lectured you in the past to no avail but I still feel there is a lack of will to speak out against people like Mel and Pipes.”

    BTW The lack of will being about the Jewish Community and not you. Just to clarify.

  416. Imran Khan — on 6th July, 2009 at 7:29 pm  

    Here is rather a sad outcome of what happens when you demonise people and their dress:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/8136500.stm

    This is the story of a woman who wore a Hijab who was murdered by someone she sued who had called her a terrorist because she wore a headscarf.

    This is the end result of years and years of people saying they are different, they dress different and it gets to the point that it spills into violence and eventually murder.

    Because of the hysteria over the Hijab Muslim women have been attacked. Now we have hysteria over the Niqab and possibly others will be attacked. All so an intolerant right wing can have its say and influence and sod the consequences.

    This lady was pregnant and was killed for wearing a headscarf.

  417. Ravi Naik — on 6th July, 2009 at 8:29 pm  

    Sarkozy is racist and that is that

    To me a racist is someone like Nick Griffin. Sarkozy is cultural snob which is something different. He did have Rachida Dati – a Muslim woman – as the French Justice minister.

    Having said that, I find Sarkozy patronising and opportunistic. And I have some trouble picturing Sarkozy as a defender of female rights, for someone who divorced his wife, and married a model to inflate his ego. Yes, that’s an unfair comment, but that’s my gut feeling.

  418. Imran Khan — on 6th July, 2009 at 8:46 pm  

    Ravi – With respect Sarkozy opposes Turkish entry to the EU, has been criticised for his views and has been critisised for employing a writer due to his views which have been described as racist.

    From Lilian Thurman – the famous French Footballer:

    http://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKL1436284820070414

    ” “Sarkozy’s rhetoric isn’t quasi-racist, it is racist,” Thuram said in an interview with Spain’s El Mundo newspaper.

    “He wants to create a ministry of immigration and national identity and that’s dangerous … When you start to divide people and see one group here, Muslims there, the blacks over there, you teach people to see others as different.”"

    “What is being integrated? My mother is French, my father is French. Why do I have to be ‘integrated’? Because I am black. You’d never ask if a white man was integrated,” Thuram was quoted as saying.

    “France doesn’t have a problem with immigration, it has a problem with citizenship. Some French people don’t think other Frenchmen are French. If I stop playing football tomorrow and I go back to France, people won’t see me as a Frenchman, they’ll see me as an immigrant,” he said.”

    Then there is his speeches on France.

    Sarkozy is using easy targets the right likes to win support. If he isn’t racist then he hangs round with many that are who influence his view so what does that make him?

  419. Ravi Naik — on 6th July, 2009 at 9:06 pm  

    With respect Sarkozy opposes Turkish entry to the EU

    Oh please.

    He wants to create a ministry of immigration and national identity and that’s dangerous … When you start to divide people and see one group here, Muslims there, the blacks over there, you teach people to see others as different.

    Actually it is much to the opposite: what the French want is to erase ethnic differences – they have no official concept of ‘black’ or ‘Muslim’.

  420. Shamit — on 6th July, 2009 at 9:13 pm  

    Imran

    I think Ravi has been very generous and patient.

    You have a lot of time in your hands. And even when you think you are winning (in your own mind that is) you are still not making sense.

    But I don’t expect any different from you. Anyone who disagrees is a Muslim hater righ

  421. Imran Khan — on 7th July, 2009 at 9:14 am  

    Ravi – “Actually it is much to the opposite: what the French want is to erase ethnic differences – they have no official concept of ‘black’ or ‘Muslim’.”

    Not my words but those of a famous french black footballer hence the quotes.

  422. Imran Khan — on 7th July, 2009 at 9:17 am  

    Shamit – “You have a lot of time in your hands. And even when you think you are winning (in your own mind that is) you are still not making sense.

    But I don’t expect any different from you. Anyone who disagrees is a Muslim hater righ”

    You are a shit stirrer. This isn’t about winning its about discussing and a shit stirrer like you will never appreciate that aspect of blogs.

    I’ve listened to Ravi patiently as well and if you can’t appreciate that the don’t get involved.

    What is it with you that you come in a stir trouble?

    Either add to the debate or shut up. Its simple enough but don’t stir trouble.

    For someone who can’t contribute to say I have time on my hands shows how much time they have to stir trouble.

  423. Kulvinder — on 7th July, 2009 at 9:23 am  

    Oh he’ll never say that. Sounds like a bounty sort who sings the hyms of the white european against anything they want to do to ethnics.

    ‘lunatic, spineless and emotionally challenged’

  424. Imran Khan — on 7th July, 2009 at 9:30 am  

    Ravi – “Actually it is much to the opposite: what the French want is to erase ethnic differences – they have no official concept of ‘black’ or ‘Muslim’.”

    BTW This approach was taken in Holland with Indian immigrants and has had mixed success. The concept being that white european culture is superior to others and hence people need to lose their own ethnic culture.

    The results again in France are mixed with ethnics feeling they are discriminated against so the results of this policy are yet to be determined.

    Also as Thurman says they don’t question the integration of white people in France and the policy is only targeted at non-whites.

    The idea is fine in principle but rarely works in practice as even in France there will be cultural differences across the country.

    Again these ideals are being pushed by the right across Europe to stoke social unrest and emphasize that immigrants and ethnic minorities are different and not really European. Its dishonest rhetoric designed to increase the appeal of the right and Sarkozy is simply playing a card that the rest of the right is.

  425. Imran Khan — on 7th July, 2009 at 9:30 am  

    “‘lunatic, spineless and emotionally challenged’”
    Bounty Boy

  426. Kulvinder — on 7th July, 2009 at 10:04 am  

    Oh i don’t deny that.

  427. Rob — on 7th July, 2009 at 10:56 am  

    So Slavery is basically okay if it a cultural belief?

    In that case, I am going to put on my best KKK outfit and buy some Africans’ to pick my cotton!

    Yee-haw!

    The Feminists are notably silent on this issue.

  428. Rob — on 7th July, 2009 at 11:00 am  

    And another point.

    Isn’t the Burka at least as offensive and inflammatory as my Grand Dragon outfit is?

    Can I go to the shops in it and not get arrested?

    Hell no!

    Double standards.

    If they can be intolerant, then why can’t I be?

  429. thabet — on 7th July, 2009 at 11:22 am  

    Well, this is a surprise: a bunch of men obsessing over what women should or shouldn’t wear.

  430. persephone — on 7th July, 2009 at 11:26 am  

    I am not a fan of the burkha but equating it with the grand dragon outfit is absurd and immature..

    Y’now I always thought the grand dragon & other outfits were quite funny as they are like the dress up outfits that young children wear when pretending to be an imaginary super hero or other role that was aspirational and unobtainable …. there are some things you never grow out of.

  431. Shamit — on 7th July, 2009 at 11:44 am  

    Imran

    I despise bigoted sensibilities especially when it is cloaked in a false veneer of understanding and open mindedness.

    You do not have an open mind and your perspectives are far too narrow for my liking.

    I have actually argued various thoughts on this thread where I find Government trying to tell people what to wear is an abomination — and at the same time, if wearing a burqah is a result of indoctrination and brainwashing — then I have a problem.

    I also think it takes away a child’s childhood as demonstrated in the programme on Islamic schools in britain on Sunday. Now, you mean to say a girl of 12-13 can make a qualified reasoned decision — I don’t think so.

    On the other hand, if Yvonne Ridley wishes to wear a burqah or Yasmin Ali wants to do so — I have no problems.

    Do you get this? Or you think I am a muslim hater?

    I am not the shit stirrer and I contribute to various debates on this blog and not only in the ones that deals with Hindus, or India Pakistan. So grow up mate before you call me names.

    This was a kind rebuttal and lets keep it their. You do not wish to call me any more names mr. Cohen.

  432. Imran Khan — on 7th July, 2009 at 12:12 pm  

    Shamit – Its only in your mind that you consider yourself open minded and the way you attack people who try to speak up for their belief especially Muslims show that you are far from open minded.

    You started an attack on me and under the veneer of kindness have resorted to more name calling again.

    You so called kind words are simply someone trying to convince people they are open minded whilst at the same time telling people what they can and cannot do and comes from your usual propoganda.

    If you bothered to actually read what I said then I made clear I did not support the enforced wearing of a niqab or hijab but if people wanted to wear it then that should be there choice. How much of this do you find difficult to grasp that you need to lecture me?

    “I also think it takes away a child’s childhood as demonstrated in the programme on Islamic schools in britain on Sunday. Now, you mean to say a girl of 12-13 can make a qualified reasoned decision — I don’t think so.”

    If a Muslim child can’t make qualified reasoned decision on religious attire then at least be honest and say the same about other schools.

    “Do you get this? Or you think I am a muslim hater?”
    Don’t talk nonsense.

    “I am not the shit stirrer and I contribute to various debates on this blog and not only in the ones that deals with Hindus, or India Pakistan. So grow up mate before you call me names.

    This was a kind rebuttal and lets keep it their. You do not wish to call me any more names mr. Cohen.”

    So having called me names and my returning the compliment you now claim you are not a shit stirrer whilst name calling again so what is that defined as?

    You are making requests you find hard to follow yourself which is a tad rich coming straight after your earlier claims.

    You cannot grasp the fact that the right is using this debate to marginalise Muslims and build their own support. I don’t mind debate but holding up Sarkozy as a defender of the types of secular values that most people subscribe to is nonsense – he is a French version of Chenney.

    I suggest you grow up and understand what people are saying before calling them names and making claims about their opinions.

    Its quite simple if you don’t like my comments don’t read them or comment on them. I am not forcing you to listen to me.

  433. Imran Khan — on 7th July, 2009 at 4:52 pm  

    German Jews condemn slaying of pregnant Muslim woman
    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1098207.html

    “”All those people who have in the past belittled our concern about a phobia against Islam in Germany are seeing after this awful act how
    wrong they were,” he said, adding that the German neo-Nazis had been rousing up a climate of xenophobia in Germany for years.”

    “Officials from a German Muslim group and the country’s main Jewish group made a joint visit Monday to the Dresden hospital where the victim’s husband is being treated.

    “You don’t have to be a Muslim to act against anti-Muslim behavior, and you don’t have to be a Jew to act against anti-Semitism,” said Stephan Kramer, the general secretary of the Central Council of Jews.”

  434. Rob — on 7th July, 2009 at 9:28 pm  

    Persephone,

    You are absolutely right.

    I love dressing up.

    As an Aryan Superman.

    But the ‘Man’ calls me a racist and a bigot!

    Still does not change the fact that the Burkha represents everything that is against our freedoms.

    If they can hawk there crazy beliefs, then I want to be able to hawk mine.

    The KKK is a religious order, after all.

  435. freewheeler — on 11th July, 2009 at 8:31 am  

    hi folks,
    Just read this entire blog.

    There is little in the way of rational argument, reasoned positioning, or evidence.
    There is a lot of abuse,and posturing.

    I will not be back, as I left kindergarden 40 years ago, and have no wish to return.
    Do not bother with a response, I will not see it.

  436. Sumayah — on 27th July, 2009 at 6:54 pm  

    As a Muslim woman, I don’t agree with a jilbab (full outer gown) ban, but I always feel a bit uneasy when confronted with a niqab wearing or burqa clad woman because it’s always so hard to communicate. I know a highly educated Muslim woman who wears niqab and I always feel weird and uneasy after talking to her because I can’t read her facial expressions.

    Also, security concerns ARE an issue. Anyone could don a burqa and fool the system.

  437. samuel welsh — on 27th August, 2009 at 11:14 am  

    ban the nasty rag

  438. Reza — on 1st October, 2009 at 10:09 am  

    Okay, let’s not ban the burkha.

    But ‘tolerating’ the burkha and niqab is the thin end of the wedge. We’ve seen it before.

    First the multiculturalists force us to ‘tolerate’. Then we must ‘respect’ and ultimately we have to ‘celebrate’.

    And soon, the right to wear a burkha becomes specifically enshrined in our draconian anti-discrimination laws.

    Banks, airports and schools will be forced to make specific arrangements to accommodate those people. Shopkeepers and businesses will be prosecuted if they deny access to a burkha wearer.

    And I will be forced to employ people wearing this vile and offensive garment.

    So don’t ban it. But allow the majority of people in this country, who find the garment offensive, the freedom to be offended by it. Allow them to refuse to employ, burkha wearers or admit them to their premises.

    And withhold benefits from burkha wearers. After all, why should I as a taxpayer be forced to pay for people who deliberately make themselves ‘unemployable’?

  439. sonia — on 1st October, 2009 at 1:48 pm  

    And withhold benefits from burkha wearers. After all, why should I as a taxpayer be forced to pay for people who deliberately make themselves ‘unemployable’?

    Heh. that would be amusing watching the benefits system try and work out who wears a burkha and who doesn’t! (and just as well, where would our civil liberties be then?) are any of your suggestions Reza possible to implement?

    you come across as impossibly draconian,you sound like you have much in common with a Pakistani Mullah. Content of opinion may be diametrically opposed, but similar ideas of implementation. thankfully here we like our individual freedoms and there is enough of a post-punk desire to resist authoritarianism. phew

    Anyway, there are lots of people who some argue make themselves deliberately ‘unemployable’ – like mothers for instance who don’t work. Of course no doubt you would suggest they not be eligible for any state support of course.

    I wonder why people like you choose to come and live in countries where the State functions and there is a collective agreement to pool money into a pot that is there for the welfare of that collective. and not those countries where the State doesn’t function and there is no such state-wide social welfare..like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iran, Afghanistan..and countless others. (that’s why of course people are so dependent on the family cartel for social welfare, that’s as far as the idea of a collective seems to go).

    Or again= to the US of A. the house of unamerican activities will spot the burkha wearers and not give them any benefits!!

  440. Reza — on 1st October, 2009 at 3:00 pm  

    You’re right. I would withhold or reduce benefits for anyone who either refuses to work or deliberately makes themselves unemployable. That would soon solve the problem of white single mums with litters of dysfunctional kids from different fathers and those irresponsible immigrant communities such as the Somalis, where despite an 80% unemployment rate have unfeasibly large families at the expense of the tax payer.

    Watch this space. It’s going to happen. Welfare will be reformed. It’s bankrupting us.

  441. Kismet Hardy — on 1st October, 2009 at 3:07 pm  

    Yay! Fuck the poor!

  442. Reza — on 1st October, 2009 at 3:18 pm  

    No. Just fuck irresponsible welfarism as a ‘career’ choice.

  443. Farah — on 11th October, 2009 at 1:10 pm  

    I have decided I will be wearing a burqa when i get married, there is no pressure. I believe that I would like to keep my beauty between me God and my husband. I also love the idea of looking like a ninja, but thats just an added bonus x

  444. A Realist — on 8th November, 2009 at 7:02 pm  

    Why is that every issue I find on these blogs is largely full of the same kind of uneducated rabble rousing. The generalisations are so worrying and the hatred and zenophobia is so apparent.

    Is a woman who wears a veil out of choice or even by force such a massive world issue – isn’t human trafficking and prostitution which occurs in every single country and culture a bigger deal.

    Also just to correct another ignorant misconception a burkha and niqaab (covering of the face) are not the same thing and don’t have the same cultural affiliations.

    A veil/headscarf is intended to be modest – nuns in the christian tradition, orthodox jewish women, rastafarian women etc also cover their hair. Hair is considered sensual in many cultures and religions why can’t you people get over it and understand that battling over this stuff is totally ridiculous.

  445. ian bell — on 5th February, 2010 at 9:31 pm  

    the uk stands for freedom and democracy , where in the burka and the supression of women is freedom and democracy ?

  446. ian bell — on 5th February, 2010 at 9:37 pm  

    ban it i like to speak to a person not a set of eyes

  447. MiriamBinder — on 5th February, 2010 at 10:40 pm  

    @ Ian Bell #s 445 & 446 – You are assuming that women do not elect to wear either the burqa or the niqab for their own personal reasons. Though this may well be the case for some it certainly cannot be a blanket assumption made for all. If the issue of coercion is such a factor, make it clear that those women who do not want to wear the burqa or niqab will be supported in their discarding of the same. Further, the right to choose should also include the right to choose to make oneself subordinate.

    And for your very personal call for the ban … you can always elect not to speak to a person wearing a burqa or niqab … you never know … you may even be doing them a favour ;)

  448. MrAnonymous — on 21st February, 2010 at 2:10 am  

    i think the french just want to ban due to all the negative media coverage of islam in its extreme forms eg… bombings, hate speeches, the ongoing war on terror… they equate the burqa as some sort of deviant wear. also because they want to raise the issue of their sizeable muslim population of immigrants integrating into french society..

  449. MrAnonymous — on 21st February, 2010 at 2:15 am  

    i’m sure sarkosy is a man of reason, just that he mistakenly left out the fact that some women willingly don the burqa.

  450. MrAnonymous — on 21st February, 2010 at 2:26 am  

    i feel that sarkovsy should set rules such that only those who have met the moderate representatives of the french muslim association and pass their checks on how well they know french culture, secularism and the moderate islam practise, then they can be allowed to wear the burqa in public… same for all other less understood religions. this way they earn their right, and no one can say rights are infringed. as for problem for those who claim women are oppressed into wearing, solution could be to toughen penalties on the oppressors on a case by case basis. set up avenues where women can easily ask for help.

  451. MrAnonymous — on 21st February, 2010 at 2:37 am  

    or how about enforcing this law- all burqa wearers have to wear a burqa in the colours of the french national flag

  452. Kismet Hardy — on 21st February, 2010 at 6:44 am  

    I’ve had sex with a woman in a burkha. Oh my god it was fabulous

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