Sarkozy wants “Burqa” ban

French President Sarkozy says that the “burqa” is not welcome in France and has given his support to a law that will make it illegal for a woman to wear the garment:

Mr Sarkozy said that while freedom of religion was paramount in France, the burqa represented a symbol of the debasement and servitude of women: “The burqa is not welcome on the French Republic’s territory. It is not what the French Republic wants for the dignity of women … we cannot accept in our country that women be prisoners behind a screen, cut off from society and all identity.”

The problem is, of course, that banning women from wearing an article of clothing doesn’t increase their freedom but limits it.  And a number of feminist bloggers appear to agree.   Regardless of what  Sarkozy may imagine, the vast majority of women who wear a niqab in the West are not “prisoners” and continue to have an identity — albeit one that the French state and their social engineers might not approve of.

32 comments ↓

#1 ariana on 06.24.09 at 3:42 pm

sorry i have to disagree. covering your whole face whilst in the company of half the members of society has to start affecting you psychologically. while wearing a burka, a woman can never be free or independent, no matter what naive or idiotic proponents of it might have you believe. a burka demans a woman to nothing more than a sexual object-it implies that every single part of your body, even your face, is sexual explicit. posing naked for playboy or wearing a burka are two sides of the same coin.

the burka is not a religious issue. it is not mentioned anywhere in the koran or the hadiths. its purely an outdated cultural phenomen that needs to be stomped out…much like the corset, or foot binding in china. just because something is “traditional” dress does not make it right, or acceptable in modern society. frankly many islamic leaders have been too silent on this issue, and need to start voicing their condemnation

#2 Rashid on 06.24.09 at 7:59 pm

If the burqa must be banned because it demeans women, do you agree that high heels should be banned for the same reason? And miniskirts and bikinis?

#3 Eudaemonion on 06.24.09 at 8:49 pm

To paraphrase Ariana, the State should dictate what women cannot wear because it might do horrible things like affecting their psychology, imply that there entire person is sexually explicit, or heaven forbid, is the equivalent of painful and debilitating foot binding.

Clearly, the word liberté means nothing of the sort.

#4 AY on 06.24.09 at 9:07 pm

The republic of france motto is

Liberté, égalité, fraternité

Liberty is defined in the 1798 in Article 4 of the declaration of the rights of man the citizen as

“Liberty consists of being able to do anything that does not harm others: thus, the exercise of the natural rights of every man or woman has no bounds other than those that guarantee other members of society the enjoyment of these same rights.”

clearly the banning of the burqa goes against this. It is banned for no other reason than it is offense to the sensibilities of some people.

it also goes against the second founding principle of the french republic; equality before the law

Article 6

“must be the same for all, whether it protects or punishes. All citizens, being equal in its eyes, shall be equally eligible to all high offices, public positions and employments, according to their ability, and without other distinction than that of their virtues and talents”

this law if enacted would ban clothing for one subset of the population, but not others, for example surgeons who wear facial masks, nuns who wear the habit, or even motorcycle riders who wear face masks, or even the actors in euro Disney who wear full costumes.

The flaw in Sarkosy’s argument (the prussian midget), is that France has tried freedom, and hoped that by allowing Muslim women to be free in France they would give up their religious dress. When they fail to do so, indeed they do the opposite and wear it even more enthusiastically, he threatens to remove the freedom, because they have not exercised it in accordance with his sensibilities.

This is also clearly racist as it singles out predominately Arab and African woman who are disproportionately Muslim.

Ariana you stupid bitch, I am going to do a Sarkozy on you and ban you from expressing any opinion other than my opinion.

#5 Andrew Abbott on 06.24.09 at 10:02 pm

Sarkozy is a socialist drunkard (i.e. French).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7fMCTo-GQ2A

#6 Ariana on 06.25.09 at 12:01 am

Eudaemonion said..

“To paraphrase Ariana, the State should dictate what women cannot wear because it might do horrible things like affecting their psychology, imply that there entire person is sexually explicit, or heaven forbid, is the equivalent of painful and debilitating foot binding.”

Well yeah..pretty much. individual liberties sometimes need to be sacrificed for progress. i say liberties, but the burqa is more like a prison..it doesnt have to be a forced one, it can be self imposed.

AY said…

“it also goes against the second founding principle of the french republic; equality before the law”

it does not go against equality before the law. it is proposing the banning of a garment, not of a religious practice. sarkozy in his speech said that islam deserves as much respect as any other religion in the republic.

“this law if enacted would ban clothing for one subset of the population, but not others, for example surgeons who wear facial masks, nuns who wear the habit, or even motorcycle riders who wear face masks, or even the actors in euro Disney who wear full costumes.”

..are u seriously equating the burqa to surgeons who wear facial masks or helmets worn by people when on motorbikes? is your logic that flawed? and the habit is more like the hijab, not the burqa.

“The flaw in Sarkosy’s argument (the prussian midget), is that France has tried freedom, and hoped that by allowing Muslim women to be free in France they would give up their religious dress.”

Sarkosy’s argument is not about muslims giving up their religious dress..ill repeat, the burqa is NOT RELIGIOUS DRESS. its cultural. the wearing of the burqa is not mentioned anywhere in the koran nor in the hadiths. its a cultural tradition, and as humans and values evolve so do societies and cultural practices.

“Ariana you stupid bitch, I am going to do a Sarkozy on you and ban you from expressing any opinion other than my opinion.”

i can tell you have alot of respect for women. i express an opinion, on a completely WOMANS issue, and you call me a bitch.

Lets get down to the real issue here. the burqa is a cultural phenomenon that often gets confused as a religious one. its not, and it shouldnt be treated as such. it should be treated as all other cultural traditions that are expressions of partriachy and oppression. As an educated woman, I know that there is more to my face than merely sexual desire. It is a sad that more islamic leaders are not speaking out on this issue and voicing their condemnation.

Lastly, France is staunchly secular and has a right to be so. They have a right to govern their own country as they see fit. immigrants have to intergrate into mainstream society. intergration does not mean forgetting ones roots or culture..it merely means interacting, communicating and respecting the culture of the wider community, and sometimes adapting certain practices to fit that.

#7 Scrofulous on 06.25.09 at 10:25 am

I think you are missing the point,

it does not matter what the reason is that these women choose to wear what they want, they can do it for fashion, for religious obligation, or for no reason whatsoever, the point is what right does the state have to interfere with the dress of a citizen.

If the burka had no religious significance (which Ariana incorrectly claims), the French would not seek to ban it.
They don’t ban other dress codes that cover the face.

Lastly the talk of “integration” is disturbing when one is talking about the behavior of individual in a self declared free society. Surely all citizens have equal rights, there is no heirarchy in citizenship that requires newer citizens to observe the behaviour, dress and customs of earlier citizens. Thats absurd.

Lastly France is a secular society but that does not mean it bans private religious as you (ariana seem to understand, rather it means that the state has no role in regulating religious observance. Secularization is against your argument, not for it. The state should butt out of personal religious practice.

#8 Qumburger on 06.25.09 at 3:14 pm

Sarko is the archetypal the short man

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/new.....equal.html

#9 ariana on 06.25.09 at 4:32 pm

“If the burka had no religious significance (which Ariana incorrectly claims), the French would not seek to ban it”

Ok..then why dont you tell me what religious significance it exactly has?

“the point is what right does the state have to interfere with the dress of a citizen.”

That is where you and i disagree..i think depending on the circumstances and context, state intervention can be justified. You have to look at the spread of the burka/niqab in muslim communities around the world.
the niqab is a bedoin traditional practice. the burqa comes from afghanistan and pakistan. in other muslim communities it is totally foreign. however, wahabbi elements that wish to radicalise islam have introduced it into places where it is not cultural under the guise of “religion.” these people tell women that to be a good muslim you have to completely cover every inch of your body..they equate being pious to covering your face. wahabi clerics, often working in certain mosques funded by wahabbi money, manage to convince a portion of women that to cover your face is a religious duty. it has now been introduced into countries and communities where it was never seen before. i can give you countless examples. societies dont always progress..sometimes radical, fascist, etc forces take over and cause them to regress. my problem is that i dont want to see radical islamists, with their wahabi interpretation of islam, to cause the regression of the religion. if it was just some bedoin women wearing their traditional niqab, i wouldnt support the state telling them what to wear and what not to wear. But thats not the case. from what iv read on france, radicalization of islam is a problem and women who wear the face-cover is on the rise. in those cirumstances, i think state intervention is necessary..to help the young mulsim women who might fall victim to the wahabbis.

every muslim i know would like to see the demise of the burqa..activists from afghanistan, to iran, to europe have spoken out against it. a few islamic countries have already outlawed it. however, its hard to bring about its demise when you have wahabbi clerics trying to encourage it (and these wahabbi clerics are not your peaceful and tolerant kind of people)-again in cases like that i believe state intervention can be justified.

“the talk of “integration” is disturbing when one is talking about the behavior of individual in a self declared free society. Surely all citizens have equal rights, there is no heirarchy in citizenship that requires newer citizens to observe the behaviour, dress and customs of earlier citizens. Thats absurd”

why is it disturbing? obviously there is no heirarchy, but there is responsibility on all to foster social coehesion. social coehesion means a hijabi respecting someone who wears a “miniskirt”, aswell as someone who doesn’t cover up respecting hijabis. it means both sets of communities interacting and communicating with one another effectively. legislating against the face cover is not legislating against the hijab, and so it is hardly asking anyone to observe french behaviour or dress.

#10 Eudaemonion on 06.25.09 at 4:51 pm

‘…state intervention can be justified.’

Er, no. State intervention in the clothing habits of its citizens is never justified, never mind the unsophisticated rationale you serve up.

Liberty means just that; liberty.

#11 Selwa on 06.25.09 at 6:57 pm

Ariana, you have posted thousands of words on this topic but you have yet to demonstrate

1. any evidence that women are coerced into this dress by men in their family, or “wahabi fanatic”. Lets see some facts, some statistics. Contrary to your assumptions, repeating an allegation parrot like does not make it true, or even received wisdom

2. lets assume you are correct, and that foreign wahabis are telling weak minded women what to do, then what is wrong with with it?

Every day foreign fashion editors tell weak minded women (like you) what not to wear (e.g. Susannah buffalo arse and Trinny Slapper). Your saying that one type of foreign influence on dress is OK and perhaps praiseworthy but another (from the arab world) is sinister and malicious, thats pure racism.

3. What precisely is the threat of women in black? that justifies such a draconian intervention into personal freedom.

Lets see some facts.

What is clear to anyone reading this argument is that despite your copious verbiage, your are a lightweight, you have not managed to land one blow, you just keep ducking and weaving.

That is the real reason that you want to ban free Islamic expression, because you cannot defeat it in a contest of ideas

#12 bart on 06.25.09 at 8:12 pm

So if niqab/burka isn’t a religious garment, Ariana, why ban it? It means it is a secular garment like a protective mask etc.

#13 Andrew Reynolds on 06.25.09 at 8:12 pm

Eudaemonion,
Clearly that is not correct, as all States prohibit the wearing of no clothes at all in public. They also tend to prohibit words or pictures that may “outrage public decency” like, for example, a graphic depiction of certain parts of the human anatomy. Perhaps they should not, but that is another argument. While we accept that the State has at least this role in setting clothing standards the question (to me at least) is a question on how far the State should go.
Perhaps we should accept that there should be a minimum, but not a maximum – subject to a public decency test – but clearly the absolutist position you were arguing for is not one likely to enjoy public support.
OTOH some dirty old men may agree.

#14 Terry on 06.25.09 at 10:02 pm

If they ban the veil, then Muslim women should just adapt and wear bridal veils such as this one from Givenchy. What will the cheese-eating surrender monkeys do then?

#15 Ariana on 06.26.09 at 1:46 pm

@eudaemonion…
exactly what andrew reynolds said.

Bart…

“So if niqab/burka isn’t a religious garment, Ariana, why ban it? It means it is a secular garment like a protective mask etc.”

ill say it again its not in the koran or the hadiths. therefore, how can it be religious?
why ban it? because many people believe it to be opressive and demeaning to women, and thus unhealthy for society in general.

Terry ..

“If they ban the veil, then Muslim women should just adapt and wear bridal veils such as this one from Givenchy. What will the cheese-eating surrender monkeys do then?”

They’re not seeking to ban the veil, they’re establishing a committee to look at the effects of the burka and maybe ban it if the comittee finds it necessary.

Selwa…

“lets assume you are correct, and that foreign wahabis are telling weak minded women what to do, then what is wrong with with it? ”

Um..everything. how could that ever be ok? especially given the rise in extremism worldwide.

“Every day foreign fashion editors tell weak minded women (like you) what not to wear (e.g. Susannah buffalo arse and Trinny Slapper). Your saying that one type of foreign influence on dress is OK and perhaps praiseworthy but another (from the arab world) is sinister and malicious, thats pure racism.”

If you’re talking about foreign influence as in the culture of fashion consumerism, no i do not think that is praiseworthy at all..just like i dont think other forms of consumerism are good for society. If you’re talking about the fact that I dont cover, then you have just revealed your own bias. No I do not find it necessary to wear a headscarf/veil, but i respect those who do. And I expect my choice to be respected aswell.

“What precisely is the threat of women in black? that justifies such a draconian intervention into personal freedom.”

There is no threat of women in black-Where did that even come up? I would hardly call asking someone to uncover their face in public a “draconian intervention into personal freedom.”

“Lets see some facts.

What is clear to anyone reading this argument is that despite your copious verbiage, your are a lightweight, you have not managed to land one blow, you just keep ducking and weaving”

I’ve given you enough facts. If you want me to summarise again, then fine:

1. Burqa is not a religious issue
2. The law isn’t seeking to ban the hijab-an actual religious expression
3. Laws do sometimes regulate the way people dress…ie you can’t walk around the streets naked. Then why is it so hard to fathom that a country might be seeking to make a law for the other extreme-a burqa.

I dont see any facts whatsoever coming from your argument. I see a repeat of “burqa is religious” with no evidence to back that (very) false statement up with. I also see claims that governments cant interfere with your personal liberties like that..yet im sure if people were walking around nude on the streets you would mind!

#16 Amir on 06.26.09 at 3:49 pm

Ariana, you claim that niqab isn’t a religious garment. Does that mean that if it was a religiously-mandated garment, you would support the right of women to wear it? And who is the arbiter of what is and what is not a legitimate Islamic ruling on women’s dress? Surely, it’s not the French state.

And, as an aside, there are shariah proofs for covering the face or, at least, that is an allowable and praiseworthy act. It’s not something foreign to Islam.

#17 Johan on 06.27.09 at 6:40 am

This is a fascinating topic – very interested to see where it goes in the future. I think it should be a personal choice – obviously not enforced, but not banned either. http://www.mindreign.com/en/mi.....10pn1.html has some interesting ideas on the issue.

#18 DrM on 06.27.09 at 4:19 pm

I am fed with these racist neanderthals and their pathetic excuses of their racism. Only a pervert(and/or Mossad midget liek Sarkozy) would be so obsessed with womans clothing. Whats needed is a “stop westernization” in non-European societies.

#19 George Carty on 06.27.09 at 6:28 pm

Ariana is right in her criticism of the burqa — the two main strikes against it are that it deprives its wearer of the use of her arms, as well as impeding her vision.

However I suspect that most actual burqa-wearers in France are fetishists rather than Muslimahs, and that Sarkozy said “burqa” when he meant “niqab”…

#20 Ariana on 06.28.09 at 12:31 am

Amir said..

“Ariana, you claim that niqab isn’t a religious garment. Does that mean that if it was a religiously-mandated garment, you would support the right of women to wear it? And who is the arbiter of what is and what is not a legitimate Islamic ruling on women’s dress? Surely, it’s not the French state.”

No, then i wouldnt support a possible ban on it. If women thought that they would be going against their religion by showing their faces (and this belief was reasonable based on religious texts), then i wouldnt want a state to interfere with that.

There is no arbiter, each individual can interpret their religion differently..thats why muslim dress/lifestyle varies so much. however from my knowledge there is nothing that gives credibility to the claim that the niqab is islamic.

“And, as an aside, there are shariah proofs for covering the face or, at least, that is an allowable and praiseworthy act. It’s not something foreign to Islam.”

Ok well i havent really heard any. could you provide some examples? interpretations of sharia vary considerably, and even if that was the case, in my opinion exposing your face still wouldnt be enchroaching on any duties.

DrM..
“i am fed with these racist neanderthals and their pathetic excuses of their racism.”

criticising the niqab/burka isnt always racist. sometimes, especially when coming from the right, it is. im not sure what sarkozy’s intentions were..probably to win some cheap political points. however, muslim pms in france are supporting it, as is the imam of the paris mosque, dalil boubakeur . many muslims also criticise it..aswell as a high number of arab human and womans rights activists and politicians.

#21 GMan on 06.28.09 at 2:07 pm

This is for dear angry Dr M. A little Michael Jackson in a non-western county:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fw6c81D0iMc

#22 A'ysha on 06.29.09 at 2:52 pm

You know what the most frustrating thing is for a Muslim woman (like myself) these days are? Non-muslim people in the public trying to ‘stop the oppression of Muslim women’. Firstly, we do not need anyone to speak out on behalf of us and ‘defend’ us when there is nothing to defend. If we find something wrong with our religion, rights, dress-code or whatever the issue may be, we will speak out against it or rebel. We do not need people like; Ariana, George Carty etc. to speak on our behalf as we are capable to do so, thank you very much.
Ariana;
You’ve repetitively been incorrectly stating that the burqa is not a religious garment, only a cultural one. I would like to educate you a little about Islam and the requirements for fulfilling our duties to Allah the best we can.
In the Quran;
‘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 only that which is apparent (like an eye for necessity to see the way, or outer palms of hands), and to draw their veils all over Juyub…’ (al-Noor 24:31)
-‘Juyub’ is interpreted as meaning ‘over the necks and chests so that nothing can be seen of them’ (Ad-Durr Al Manthur 6:182) and ‘bodies, faces, necks and bosoms’ (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Vol.6, Hadith No.282)
‘O Prophet, Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their Jalabib over their bodies. That will be better, that they should be known, so as not to be annoyed…’ (33:59)
-‘Jalabib’ is interpreted as meaning by ‘Ali bin Abi Talhah ‘a garment that covers everything except the left eye showing’ (At-Tabari 20:325)
This reference from the Holy Quran is evidence that a woman is to cover herself from people that are non-mahrams (lawful for her to marry) to her. It clearly states that the entire body is to be covered. Above are the interpretations concerning this.
Now lets look at the Sunnah of our beloved prophet Muhammed (peace and blessing of Allah be upon him).
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “The woman in ihram (a time in hajj) is forbidden to veil her face (wear niqaab) or to wear the burqa’.”
-This indicates that when women were not in ihraam, women used to cover their faces. This does not mean that if a woman takes off her niqaab or burqa’ in the state of ihraam that she should leave her face uncovered in the presence of non-mahram men. Rather she is obliged to cover it with something other than the niqaab or burqa’, on the evidence of the hadeeth of A’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) who said: “We were with the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) in ihraam, and when men passed by us, we would lower the khimaar on our heads over our faces, and when they moved on we would lift it again” (Reported by Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah. Ad-Daruqutni reports a similar hadeeth on the authority of Umm Salama)
It is also known that during the time of the prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) the believing women covered their entire bodies (including the face). This makes it a Sunnah as it was a practise that our prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) did not object.
This is the evidence from the Quarn and hadiths that you so eagerly requested. I can continue on for many more pages quoting many Shariah rulings, Ma’thahibs and High Scholars opinions and just command sense reasons as to why this choice of a dress-code is the Islamic way.
Ariana said:
“every muslim i know would like to see the demise of the burqa..activists from afghanistan, to iran, to europe have spoken out against it. a few islamic countries have already outlawed it.”
It is clear that you do not know many Muslims or that the only muslims that want your company are uneducated about their own religion (may Allah guide them to the right path). I know many Muslims that both agree with the burqa as a way of dress and that disagree with it. They have the right to form their opinion but to want to demise the burqa is like saying that the practise of the prophet’s wives and the believing women is wrong, which goes against Islam. If muslim women chose to wear the burqa or not then they will each be held accountable for their actions but it doesn’t go for saying that just because some women wear the normal hijab that that is what is required ONLY. Not everyone practises their religion 100%, even though we all should. These, so-called, activists should educate themselves with their religion before speaking out against it. To call yourself a Muslim means to adhere to its rulings, you can’t just pick and chose.
Ariana, please tell me which ‘islamic countries have outlawed it’. This is an answer I would like to hear most…
Ariana said:
” covering your whole face whilst in the company of half the members of society has to start affecting you psychologically. while wearing a burka, a woman can never be free or independent, no matter what naive or idiotic proponents of it might have you believe. a burka demans a woman to nothing more than a sexual object-it implies that every single part of your body, even your face, is sexual explicit. posing naked for playboy or wearing a burka are two sides of the same coin.”
Ariana, when you have hard evidence (or any evidence) that wearing the burqa starts to psychologically affect you then speak out confidently; otherwise please (for the sake of the women you are apparently speaking on behalf of) keep your opinions to yourself. Wearing the hijab or the burqa gives women more freedom than women choosing to reveal themselves in miniskirts and singlets because it gives us a chance to be interacted with as human beings rather than a sexual object in the eyes of stranger men. We get to be judged on the content of our character rather than how skinny, blonde, dark or attractive we are. Posing naked for playboy and wearing a burqa are NOT the same thing, one is being shameless and offensive while the other is being modest and respectable. That was a disgusting comparison and every Muslim women would be offended by that.
Ariana Said:
“muslim pms in france are supporting it, as is the imam of the paris mosque, dalil boubakeur . many muslims also criticise it..aswell as a high number of arab human and womans rights activists and politicians.”
Just because muslim pms and the imam in paris mosque agree and criticise it doesn’t mean that they are necessarily correct. Many muslim leaders in Islam after our prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) have been corrupt in complying with the governments wishes rather than the religious obligations. And for the ‘arab human and womans rights activists and politicians’, if they are not muslim, it shouldn’t concern them, and if they are, they should do some serious religious studies to further educate themselves.
Overall, I believe that France has been racist to Islam for many years now. Years ago, it was the banning of the hijab in schools and universities and now it is the banning of the burqa publicly. Women should be able to dress whichever way they chose fit as long as it is not revealing anything offensive to the public. Wearing the burqa does the exact opposite, it covers everything and I do not see how that can be offensive to anyone in the public unless they are perverts.

#23 A'ysha on 06.29.09 at 2:59 pm

George said: “the two main strikes against it are that it deprives its wearer of the use of her arms, as well as impeding her vision”

The burqa is a loose material that covers the body, George, not a strait jacket. So, yes we do have full use of our arms, I am speaking from fact and experience rather than observation and opinion. Also, the burqa does not impede on the vision, when was the last time you heard a woman wearing a burqa walking into walls or getting run over by traffic?

#24 DrM on 07.03.09 at 2:22 pm

What utterly trite, Gman. Come up with a better distraction when you’re not obsessing over woman’s clothing.

#25 Abdullah on 07.04.09 at 5:05 pm

France’s version of secularism is so fragile, that even some kind of clothes could demolish it. Well, surely it doesn’t deserve a survival.

@A’ysha,

You have exposed what the so called ‘western value’ really is.

#26 Raseena Sherif on 07.06.09 at 2:52 pm

Why I wear a Hijab ?
By Raseena Sherif
I was asked by a friend about why I wear a hijab. This is my answer.

You asked me ages ago why I wore the hijab. It was always somewhere in my mind – not necessarily always the back – that I should reply and I finally decided I wouldn’t put off your reply any longer, and therefore you shall have it.

Having grown up in a practising Muslim household, many things were just handed over to me. And having studied in an Islamic school all my life, consequently having an entirely Muslim circle of friends, I never questioned them. That was the way things were done in my little world, and it was therefore the way I did things too. The hijab was one of them. I grew up in it. Physically and also mentally. I think the question, or at least the one with the more interesting answer, is why I continue to wear the hijab even after having spent more than three years now, in Christian colleges, and with a friend circle that is largely non- Muslim.

There are many things I found in the hijab as I grew up. Things as varied as the convenience of not having to spend considerable amount of worry and time on my wardrobe and outside appearance, to philosophical, spiritual, and you might be surprised to hear this, but even feminist concepts that I feel proud to stand up for and show my belief in.

In wearing a hijab, a woman is identified by the things she does and the things she stands for, rather than her looks. Even as a woman, there are times when I have found myself identifying another woman by her looks, where I might ask “Oh, the one with the long hair?” In underplaying my looks, I force others to look for more in me.

My hijab saves me a lot of the time, effort, thought and worry that would otherwise go into my dress, my hair, my skin and my make up. I think it’s a pity that while theoretically looks aren’t supposed to matter, one must spend so much time and money on them. With the hijab, looking good means looking neat and the best part is that I get to stop where others begin.

Comments on: France ponders a burqa ban | No cover up | The Economist on Wednesday, 01-07-2009 at 09:35am

Looking back now, at how I began to wear the hijab, I’m glad I did start the way I did. In spite of the fact that I prefer to find things out for myself, and hate taking things for granted, or doing things without really believing them. Because having started the way I did, to me, the hijab was always just another type of clothing.

I think about the kind of stereotypes people have about hijabs, and women who wear them, and I know that if I were left to discover the hijab for myself, it would have been tough for me to go beyond those stereotypes, to go back on all that I grew up hearing, seeing and believing, and to allow myself to actually see the hijab for what it is and its beauty. Having grown up wearing it, in a society that didn’t jump to conclusions about me because I did, or look at me like I was weird, I have always felt comfortable in it, and never thought of myself as any different from the rest. It was just my way of dressing. And with the stage for objective evaluation of that type of dressing set, I have come to love that way of dressing above others.

On the other hand, I know there are those that hate the hijab they wear. I feel bad for them – for the fact that they are forced to do something they don’t even understand, and the fact that they haven’t understood something so beautiful. However, I think the saddest part is that they are losing out on both the happiness they might have found in dressing the way they would have liked to, and the happiness they could have found in pleasing their Creator. It’s always our intentions that are considered and if you’re doing something only because you’re forced to, it doesn’t count. You might as well enjoy yourself living life the way you want to. And then if you are fortunate enough to find God for yourself, I think you are really lucky.

In fact, I feel bad for all those Islamic ideologies that are reduced to meaningless customs and traditions, and the joke that they have been allowed to become in the minds of people. Anyway, I won’t start on that or I shall go on for a couple more pages. I just want to ask you to make a distinction between actual Islamic ideology and the actions that one sees from some people born into Muslim households – especially the kind I heard you grew up with.

In the hijab, honestly, I feel blessed.

#27 GMan on 07.07.09 at 11:10 pm

Sorry Doc, did you mean how utterly trite or what utter tripe? Anyway, what can I say? The Jews made me do it (you know how us Shabos Goyim are). I forgot for a moment that there’s no humour in Islam, as a wise old Ayatollah once said. But look, I’m not obsessed with your clothing. Wear whatever you like and cover whatever you want.

I admit, though, that I’m a bit confused. Here I’ve been believing that black absorbs all light, making it hotter, and whiter reflects all light, making it cooler, but according to people here, it’s quite the opposite, which is why Arab men torture themselves wearing white while women breeze around in cooling black. Perhaps if I’d studied the Islamic sciences instead of those silly Western ones, I’d have got it right.

Well, must go. The sun is about to set in a pool of muddy water and if I don’t get home before it does I might turn into a pumpkin.

#28 Apostate on 07.09.09 at 7:34 am

If you don’t like the west and its laws….LEAVE FREELY.

#29 Apostate on 07.09.09 at 7:36 am

I won’t move to saudi arabia, because I don’t like their laws for women that have to cover. Got it?

#30 GMan on 07.09.09 at 10:55 am

Madness:

http://www.smh.com.au/world/de.....-ddge.html

#31 Fatima Ali on 07.09.09 at 4:32 pm

The enemies of Islam have many reasons to defame it by attacking its value systems, beliefs, followers, etiquette of life and countries of its believers. The disbelievers of Islam don’t realize that Muslim believe in One omnipotent , omnipresent and Omniscient God(ALLAH), who is more logical than believing in men as Gods or animals as Gods, or worshiping IDOLS, or human sacrifice, or DEVADASI system or DOWRY system or RACIAL superiority or Slavery or female infanticide, THE DISBELIEVERS IN ISLAM MUST KNOW THAT ALLAH IS ALMIGHTY AND MASTER OF THE DAY OF JUDGMENT AND RECKONING AND HE WILL TAKE CARE OF THEM WELL, TILL THEM HE HAS LET THEM TO WANDER BLINDLY AS THEY GO ASTRAY

#32 Fatheha on 08.14.09 at 4:38 am

wow, I was amazed at A’ysha’s reply to Ariana, u completely set her straight on so many facts she needed to hear. I find it irritating too when people try to “speak on our behalf” by saying hijabis or women wearing burqas are oppressed. Everyone has the right to wear what they wish as long as it’s not offensive and yes it was a very sick, stupid and disgusting comparison about women posing naked for playboy and women wearing burqa. Basically, I agree with just about everything you said and I actually admire it and your Islamic knowledge. I also found Raseena Sherif’s post very interesting as well, the way she wrote about her personal experiences, u seem to have really found happiness in hijab.

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