Debate today: Is the Burqa a threat to freedom?


by Sunny
9th August, 2010 at 8:59 am    


(click on it for the full version)

More about the event here
Today · 19:00 – 22:00
Location The Cafe at the Rich Mix centre
35 – 47 Bethnal Green Road
London, United Kingdom
Free to attend


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Filed in: Civil liberties,Events






43 Comments below   |  

Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. sunny hundal

    Blog post:: Debate today: Is the Burqa a threat to freedom? http://bit.ly/cJ93Jq


  2. Kenan Malik

    RT @sunny_hundal Debate today: Is the burqa a threat to freedom? http://bit.ly/cJ93Jq. Can't come, but my take: http://bit.ly/9HlmEE


  3. Adrienne L Parkins

    RT @kenanmalik: RT @sunny_hundal Debate today: Is the burqa a threat to freedom? http://bit.ly/cJ93Jq. Can't come, but my take: http://b


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    [...] Pickled Politics » Debate today: Is the Burqa a threat to freedom? [...]




  1. MaidMarian — on 9th August, 2010 at 9:43 am  

    Straight answer – no. However….to pretend, as many do, that this is simply an overhyped issue is wrong-headed.

  2. cjcjc — on 9th August, 2010 at 10:43 am  

    Well I might well go to this – though it surely won’t last three hours, will it??!

  3. Cauldron — on 9th August, 2010 at 11:50 am  

    Depends on whether you think the burqa is a symbol of a religion or of a culture.

    Religions represent a threat to freedom because the very essence of religion is to deny freedom of thought.

    Wahhabi culture is a threat to freedom because it is inherently fascist and barbaric.

  4. Sarah AB — on 9th August, 2010 at 1:08 pm  

    It depends whether it is being worn freely.

  5. joe90 — on 9th August, 2010 at 1:09 pm  

    oh great another burkha debate like we haven’t flogged this dead horse already.

  6. damon — on 9th August, 2010 at 1:30 pm  

    Joe90, isn’t flogging the punishment for not weraring your burka?

    I hope someone records this and puts it online.
    I’m sure it will be most entertaining.

    It would be funny if bus driver who was supposed to have banned the niqabed woman from geting on his bus was there
    It might turn out like the Jerry Springer show.

  7. salim — on 9th August, 2010 at 4:08 pm  

    damon
    “Joe90, isn’t flogging the punishment for not weraring your burka?”

    No it isnt. Only in the old Afghanistan which is where you would see this being worn. You wont see a burqa being worn in the UK , though you might see a niqab, making this whole “debate” pointless and redundant

  8. Trofim — on 9th August, 2010 at 5:56 pm  

    salim @ 7
    I’ve seen a woman (presumably) in a burqa – Sparkbrook, Birmingham.

  9. TORY — on 9th August, 2010 at 6:05 pm  

    Obviously not if the letterbox ladies want to wear the medieval garment. Its pointless to legislative against people enslaving themselves anyway. Its also a barrier to work which is probably a good thing. Best not to have religious extremists serving the public they hate so much.

    Salim, I saw one in central London last week. I presume this the thing with the metal grail over the eyes? Most Englishmen would offer help in those circumstances but everyone walked around her. Possibly because a male fundamentalist might turn up shouting at you for breaking the Sharia. Mainly because the veil is very intentional cultural, social and political SCREW YOU to every non-muslim in the country.

  10. Kamal — on 9th August, 2010 at 6:49 pm  

    The Sikh Turban and Hindu Bindi are both a threat to personal freedom and should be banned.

  11. Kamal — on 9th August, 2010 at 6:52 pm  

    Ironically Tory’s arguments would be made by his Muslim equivalent as to why women should NOT show their hair!

  12. MaidMarian — on 9th August, 2010 at 7:20 pm  

    Salim – ‘You wont see a burqa being worn in the UK , though you might see a niqab, making this whole “debate” pointless and redundant.’

    It is exactly that kind of minutae that is the reason that the anti-burka crowd have the upper hand. This debate is not pointless or redundant to those who, entirely reasonably, feel that the wearing of masks is A Bad Thing. Such people, including myself, really don’t care about the culture or scripture behind it, what is underneath it or the feminist aspects.

    Recently, there was a suggestion that EDL members would walk around Bradford wearing face-veiling Islamic garments, you OK with that Salim?

  13. Niels Christensen — on 9th August, 2010 at 7:44 pm  

    The Burkha in it self isn’t a threat to personal freedom; but the religious and political ideology behind the symbol is.

  14. Eric Clyne — on 9th August, 2010 at 7:58 pm  

    The burka is not a threat to the freedom of Koran readers in Katar. But introducing words with a ‘q’ without a ‘u’ after them leaves me feeling qriously vulnerable.

    In Saudi Arabia veiled women bang their trolleys into one in supermarkets. Sometimes one likes it.

  15. kamal — on 9th August, 2010 at 9:34 pm  

    “The Burkha in it self isn’t a threat to personal freedom; but the religious and political ideology behind the symbol is.”

    Likewise the cross, star of david and Hindu religious symbols.

  16. leon — on 10th August, 2010 at 12:26 am  

    How did this go? Was hoping to attending (given that I work five minutes walk from the venue!) but ended up working late…

  17. damon — on 10th August, 2010 at 3:09 am  

    Salim

    No it isnt. Only in the old Afghanistan which is where you would see this being worn. You wont see a burqa being worn in the UK , though you might see a niqab, making this whole “debate” pointless and redundant

    In Britain it seems that burqa is the generic name for both. Most people cant be bothered with the distinction. Is one ‘less bad’ than the other?

    I suppose you can’t look sexy in a burqa, but in a niqab??
    http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2006/10/azmiPA_228x327.jpg

    Her name is Aishah Azmi, and I still remember her from 2006. Can you see why?

  18. farouk — on 10th August, 2010 at 12:46 pm  

    damon
    “Her name is Aishah Azmi, and I still remember her from 2006. Can you see why?”

    Because you’re an obsessive Muslim hater with no life?

  19. June — on 10th August, 2010 at 4:29 pm  

    Likewise the cross, star of david and Hindu religious symbols.

    Why of course!

    That’s why the UK gives danegeld millions to Hindu and Jewish groups to prevent religious extremism.

    Those bints wanting to wear either a niqab or a burqa should be given two stark choices:

    1)That they go live someplace else.

    2)That they agree to be locked up in a padded room and
    undergo de-programing.

    Let’s face it, if you refuse to integrate and participate in the wider society to the point of hding your face, then you forfeit all right to live in that society.

    Many of the islamic world’s dysfunctions – its poverty, its disorder, its illiteracy, its utter technological and scientific backwardness, not to mention its USELESS males, can be traced back to islam’s gender apartheid, a gender apartheid symbolised by the burqa, the niqab and the hijab, a gender apartheid suitable to a tribal, Bronze Age society, but a gender-apartheid that is now a filthy anachronism and a brutal handicap for any society that foolishly agrees to accommodate it.

    I have no moral, ethical or financial responsability or duties towards women ( and their offspring!) so brow-beaten, backward and brainwashed they can only see themselves as mere appendages, as simple *sub-males*

    Such bints are udderly useless parasites, and will never have any hope of supporting themselves in an independant manner.

    Spread the good news! We don’t have to tolerate this cultural/religious aggression, and we don’t have to feel bad saying so!

  20. Don — on 10th August, 2010 at 4:51 pm  

    I agree with Kenan Malik’s view @Reactions#2

    With the reservation that when he said that women compelled to wear a garment against their inclinations already have the protection of the law, he could reasonably have added ‘theoretically’. If they are in this situation it is unlikely they could, in practice, invoke the law.

    What we choose to wear, as distinct from work clothes, sends out a signal and I am shallow enough to take those signals at face value. Sometimes the signal tells me that this is someone I could pass the time of day with, sometimes that this is a someone to avoid. Sometimes that this is someone I should avoid but, damn, could be fun.

    The full-face covering tells me that this person strongly objects to any kind of human contact with me. I don’t take it personally and I’m not one to intrude where I’m not wanted, but they are missing out.

    As long as it is voluntary, within bounds of decency*, doesn’t impact on safety or the ability to perform your job and isn’t inciting violence, then wear whatever you like and expect people to react accordingly.

    *I’m fine with public nudity in designated areas where you don’t have to go, but not in Waitrose. And the occasional naked cyclist making a point, that’s fine too. Just don’t get your junk in my face without being invited.

    @farouk

    You are wrong about damon. But then, you are generally wrong whatever name you post under. Troll.

  21. Muslim — on 10th August, 2010 at 5:17 pm  

    June
    “Many of the islamic world’s dysfunctions – its poverty, its disorder, its illiteracy, its utter technological and scientific backwardness, not to mention its USELESS males, can be traced back to islam’s gender apartheid, a gender apartheid symbolised by the burqa, the niqab and the hijab, a gender apartheid suitable to a tribal, Bronze Age society, but a gender-apartheid that is now a filthy anachronism and a brutal handicap for any society that foolishly agrees to accommodate it.

    I have no moral, ethical or financial responsability or duties towards women ( and their offspring!) so brow-beaten, backward and brainwashed they can only see themselves as mere appendages, as simple *sub-males*”

    Says someone whose religion worships a man. Guffaw.

  22. Muslim — on 10th August, 2010 at 5:18 pm  

    Trofim
    “salim @ 7
    I’ve seen a woman (presumably) in a burqa – Sparkbrook, Birmingham.”

    well done. So this totally justify having a public discussion on it. One woman.

  23. Don — on 10th August, 2010 at 5:45 pm  

    Muslim,

    Says someone whose religion worships a man. Guffaw.

    June is an idiot, but…what?

    If she is a christian then christ is not worshipped as a man but as fully human, fully god.

    As an atheist I don’t believe that stuff, or see that it makes any sense. Any more than I do your (putative) religion. But I at least try to be reasonably informed about what I criticise and avoid mere sectarian abuse.

    If you have a contribution to make to the discussion, make it. If you can hold you corner, do so. Drive-by’s and sock-puppeting make your comments worthless.

  24. June — on 10th August, 2010 at 6:08 pm  

    Says someone whose religion worships a man.Guffaw.

    Let me, as an agnostic, make a very clear and concise (drive-by) distinction between Islam and Christianity.

    In Christianity, Christ raised a nine year-old girl from the dead, whereas in Islam, “prophet” held one down and raped her.

    “PBUH” that, sweetie.

  25. sonia — on 11th August, 2010 at 5:24 pm  

    I missed this, sorry. Any feedback?

  26. sonia — on 11th August, 2010 at 5:27 pm  

    I think this is worth a read!

    The French vote to ban Muslim women from covering their faces in public is just as oppressive as the Islamic law forcing them to do it in the first place, says Nesrine Malik.

    “There is depressing similarity in the way different cultures view changes in women’s dress as the first harbinger of national invasion and subsumation. It is a heavy burden for women to bear. I sincerely hope that no 18-year-old Muslim girl will ever arrive in the UK and be forced to take off her niqab.”

  27. sonia — on 11th August, 2010 at 5:30 pm  

    obviously the imposition of burqa is a threat to personal freedom. and similarly, the forcible removal of a burqa by the State is a threat to personal freedom, of dress.

    Legislating this area, is a threat to personal freedom.

    and How do you ‘scrutinise’ whether someone is wearing something out of their own ‘free’ choice?

    As far as I can see, most people don’t ‘choose’ freely to wear suits, effectively they have no option if they want to go to work.

  28. sonia — on 11th August, 2010 at 5:31 pm  

    and in my opinion, it ain’t got anything to do with ‘protecting’ religion. People aren’t entitled to freedom on the basis of some religion they follow or not, in my view, they are entitled to freedom just on the basis of their individual whim. you can’t say someone can’t follow their individual whim because it happens to be tied up with religious symbolism.

  29. douglas clark — on 11th August, 2010 at 5:53 pm  

    It seems to me it is the people in the middle that get all the bother.

    As someone once said:

    “It’s the rich what get the pleasure,
    It’s the poor what get the blame,
    It’s the same the whole world over,
    Isn’t it a bloody shame?”

    The point being that there is a high level arguement a-going on about who rules? Is it the theocrats or the democrats?

    Women who want to wear a burqa should be allowed to do so, subject to exactly the same criteria we apply to motor cycle helmets. Last time I looked, you had to take your helmet off when you walked into a bank. Seems to me that, if you started wandering around Heathrow Airport, say, with a motor cycle helmet on, the lads with the Uzis would be wanting a chat.

    So, there is already a civil understanding that identity denial is inappropriate in certain circumstances. Outwith those specific circumstances, the entire arguement is flim-flam.

    For the record, I think the political adoption of the burqa is a pretty pathetic political statement, and was not at all common before 9/11. Wonder what changed?

    I am still uncomfortable with the thought that many Muslim women wear it because their men folk tell them to, given that it is apparently not mentioned one way or another in the Koran.

    Perhaps some other commentators could keep me right on issues like this.

    ‘muslim’, perhaps?

    ___________________________________

    You cannot legislate a dress code – well you can – however you do become a laughing stock:

    http://criminaljustice.change.org/blog/view/the_racial_undertones_of_baggy_pants_laws

  30. sonia — on 11th August, 2010 at 6:59 pm  

    well said douglas.

    anyway its no good if women aren’t rejecting the veil themselves. what you want is obviously to create the right conditions that those who want to do so – can. But you can’t address that without addressing the wider question and context of choosing to believe in religion freely rather than at the exhortation of your family + community

  31. persephone — on 12th August, 2010 at 12:09 am  

    Reading Sonia’s link @26, it an interesting link & take on the burkha but I think the writer has lost her way on this, on several counts:

    “The uniform black costume has a charming egalitarianism about it, and is both a social and physical leveller. Once social status or physical beauty cannot be established, all sorts of hierarchies are flattened.”

    Would be true only if both men & women had to wear it.

    “Eye make-up and footwear took on extra significance. As the feet were the only part of the body one could legitimately flaunt, a good pedicure was not only necessary, it was an integral part of the ensemble. All of a woman’s sexuality resided in how she carried herself, and how groomed her extremities were.”

    So a womans self expression was re-focused to overcome being denied those aspects that are censored. From a human perspective she still needed an outlet for her individualism. It comes across as the woman feeling deprived and starting to overcompensate by adorning the parts that are ‘allowed’ (by others) to be on show. Must be a field day for the foot fetishists.

    “In that context, the outfit became empowering, enabling a reclamation of one’s sexuality by not fulfilling modern commercialised definitions of what makes a woman attractive.”

    And by donning it she is then fulfilling unmodern definitions of what a womans appearance should be…Not exactly empowering.

    On a related note, I have just learnt about the birkini (aka Veilkini) …

    http://www.veilkinistore.com/?gclid=CKGn-NbDsqMCFRM_lAodFBix3Q

  32. douglas clark — on 12th August, 2010 at 5:46 am  

    persephone,

    And by donning it she is then fulfilling unmodern definitions of what a womans appearance should be…Not exactly empowering.

    Exactly right.

    However, we allow that.

    It is up to Muslim women to grow up, at least, that is what I think.

  33. douglas clark — on 12th August, 2010 at 6:13 am  

    Sonia,

    anyway its no good if women aren’t rejecting the veil themselves. what you want is obviously to create the right conditions that those who want to do so – can. But you can’t address that without addressing the wider question and context of choosing to believe in religion freely rather than at the exhortation of your family + community

    Well, it is up to Muslim women to stop being the slaves of their men folk.

    I have read here a whole lot of shit that is a male perspective on what a ‘muslim’ is. I find that sort of idiocy stupid and unacceptable.

    Still and all, it is down to Muslim women to tell the likes of ‘muslim’ to fuck the fuck off.

    I cannot do it on your behalf.

    It is up to you……..

  34. douglas clark — on 12th August, 2010 at 9:27 am  

    For it seems to me that the likes of ‘muslim’ and his stupid wee friends would like to silence the likes of you and me. For we do not speak the same language as them.

    Thus we are a threat to their righteousness.

    That would never do, would it?

  35. persephone — on 12th August, 2010 at 11:24 pm  

    Douglas
    Yes they have to want to make a stand. But where it puts them in physical danger to do so it may not be so easy eg honour killings.

    And community/family conditioning can be a big factor in which case if they decide to follow a path to keep within their own circle then again that is their choice.

    But as you say @34 we the ‘unbelievers’ do not have to listen or agree with those who attempt to justify their ideology behind cultural mores

  36. to June — on 14th August, 2010 at 12:27 am  

    f**k you and your pagan homosexual idol “St” Paul

  37. Don — on 14th August, 2010 at 12:52 am  

    f**k?

    Speak plain.

  38. douglas clark — on 14th August, 2010 at 7:56 am  

    persephone,

    But where it puts them in physical danger to do so it may not be so easy eg honour killings.

    Point taken….

    This is worse than I thought.

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