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Banning the Burqa is a bad move.

The French are discussing outlawing the burqa from the public eye.  Can anyone think of a better tit for tat?

Extremely orthodox Muslims want to eradicate the female image from the public eye, and now some in the French government  want to eradicate all signs of that eradication.

Perfect.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy says the burqa “goes against what we in France understand by the dignity of women.”

I notice he’s not aiming his guns at the glass ceiling in the workplace, the “tits and teeth” spectacle at the tired old Moulin Rouge, or the clients who patronize the poor freezing mini skirted hookers in the “seamy sexual bazaar” of the Bois de Boulogne.  Nope.  He’s going to integrate society by forcing certain segments into a dress code.  Let’s hope he never decides that any woman who refuses to show her legs is also going against the dignity of women - then I’ll never be able to take my sari wearing mother to Paris again.

The thing is – I’m no friend of the burqa.

Hate the things myself; hate the idea that little girls in Afghanistan can’t run and play as freely as children should, that women in ultra Muslim communities live in stifling heat dressed like loads of black washing, that a woman should be expected to show her love for God by rendering herself invisible.

But what I hate more is the hypocrisy that punishes women for a choice of garment that in the end, harms no one, changes nothing in one troubled aspect of society.  And all the time, he continues to ignore the real problems of integration:  for example, clearly biased employment policies in many Western countries that leave gangs of Moroccan and Algerian boys to loiter on the street, to commit crimes, to face stronger punitive measures and to end up in jail in relatively greater numbers.

The fact is that many second generation Muslim women in Europe are making a conscious decision to put on the veil or burqa.  These are girls who used to wear tight jeans and short skirts, who like rap music and who are sometimes going against their parents’ will by doing it.   And these girls are ready to tell us why they’re doing it, but we just don’t want to listen.

In The Netherlands, our own far right Freedom Party leader, Geert Wilders has proposed a tax for women who choose to wear a headscarf.  He did of course have to face return quips about taxes on silly blond male hairdos.  But let’s not get distracted from the real issue.

Why do governments insist on punishing the very members of a society who may well be the best educated, the most likely to integrate well, to grow out of the need of a youthful urge to rebel?  By locking them out of schools, jobs, and now, any public space, we are closing the door on the idea of an integrated society.

Bad move Mr Sarkozy.  Very bad move.  Its going to explode in your face.

9 Comments on “Banning the Burqa is a bad move.”

  1. #1 jasmin
    on Feb 4th, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    Most Western men, including those ruling the countries, are not very much interested in the liberty of women in burqa, as much as in the liberty for self to see them, as partially clad, as the Western women in their society! They see women more as an object than as person’s of substance. You know what I mean!

  2. #2 Arjan
    on Feb 4th, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    Interesting.You have put emphasis on ‘burqa’
    What about ‘ghoonghat’?
    In rural Rajasthan and in rural areas also in parts of urban India women are kept in ignorance for the ‘conservative’ society feels that this is how they will ‘protect’
    them.

  3. #3 sarla
    on Feb 4th, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    Some women might feel “protected” when they hide in burqa. Afterall in cultures where women feel “attacked” by the men who look/stair/gaze at her, veil is a refuge. But in the cultures where women feel safe, veils and burqas are unnecessary.
    It is not necessarily a clash of civilizations, but it is clash of perspectives.
    In Western culture, burqa is incompatible in public places as much as bikini would be incompatible in the East in similar settings . But with globaization Eastern and Western perspectives invite comments which can be given a political pitch.

  4. #4 Dev Narayan
    on Feb 10th, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    The Burqa is nothing bad for the woman who really want to disappear into it. But in today’s extremely dangerous security situation where in people explode as human bombs killing scores of people around there is much risk in the burqa ! Now when we see women terrorist explode by making burqa the safe hiding place for more fire power, we could learn about more uses for the burqa. We may feel to laugh it off. But as more and more woman terrorists appear and explode around us it may be too late to realize the terror the burqa will bring us along with the choice of dressing. As it is going to happen anyways it is too late to critizise the French. We may have to put Dheera Sujan’s words in another way; “Late move Mr Sarkozy. Very late move. Its going to explode in your face, you are too late”. With all respect to Dheera’s views I have to admit I am afraid of the burqa!

  5. #5 Dev Narayan
    on Mar 2nd, 2010 at 5:54 am

    The burqa! Even expressing one’s own opinion about it would bring all the hell upon you. That is what has happened in Karnataka when the famous author expressed her opinion about the attire. It is frightening to see how some sections of the society resort to violence for such hilariously silly reasons. If not for Dheera’s blog South Asia Wired I would never even have attempted to express my opinion on this matter. I wish to thank the people behind this blog for giving an opportunity to express our feelings and thoughts without the fear of getting physically hurt. Check this link: http://www.deccanherald.com/content/55735/taslima-article-sparks-riot.html.

  6. #6 Dev Narayan
    on Mar 2nd, 2010 at 5:33 pm

    A silly article resulted in riot and death of two people. Now the famous writer herself says that she do not have anything to do with it. She says that she has not written the article on Burqa which was published in her name. All these violence and death happened for a silly fake article in a silly local newspaper! Yes, here in India Burqa has become a dangerous issue exploding in our face for silly reasons! Check this link: http://in.news.yahoo.com/43/20100302/812/tnl-never-wrote-for-any-kannada-daily-sa.html

  7. #7 Dev Narayan
    on Mar 2nd, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    A silly fake article resulted in wide spread rioting and death of two people. Now we know from the writer herself that she did not write the article on burqa which was published in her name in a local Kannada daily. All the violence and death happened just in the name of a fake silly article in a silly local newspaper. Yes, here in India the Burqa has become a dangerous issue exploding in our face for wrong reasons! http://in.news.yahoo.com/43/20100302/812/tnl-never-wrote-for-any-kannada-daily-sa.html

  8. #8 Dev Narayan
    on Mar 3rd, 2010 at 11:55 am

    The article on burqa published in the Kannada daily caused wide spread violence and two deaths. The violence even spread to other parts of Karnataka state in India. The writer in whose name the article was published denies she has written it for the newspaper. Now if someone is interested in what the same writer wrote about the burqa in the Indian English Magazine OUTLOOK way back on January 22, 2007 could check it out here:
    http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?233670

    Is there substance enough in this article to cause so much violence, than ignoring it to oblivion?! It is frightening to see people feuding and dying in the name of an attire!

  9. #9 Dev Narayan
    on Mar 24th, 2010 at 5:28 am

    It is interesting to note what Malalai Joya feels about Burqa! Her understanding becomes powerful when we read it in full what she has to say about her life!

    Read it here in this article:
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=114207995

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