How an article of clothing brings out the worse in US


What’s the difference between this and that?  What are we told should be our reaction to the image on the right versus the image on the left?  Mankind has been struggling with women’s sexuality since the beginning of time and inevitably we end up objectifying women either as objects of pleasure or revulsion, yet legally speaking, in most western democracies women were allowed the freedom to choose what they could wear and we as a society were told to respect that choice or face legal consequences for our indiscretion.  You will not find one politician who will claim the woman on the right has an ulterior motive to subvert the American way of life by wearing such an outfit in public, yet women who appear as the image on the left we are told want to impose a way of life on us that is akin to the terrorist attacks of 911 and therefore the weight of the law should be brought to bear against them…..not their detractors.  Raising the cry of No Sharia, politicians, pundits and the general public alike have likened such an article of clothing as an act of sedition.  In fact, too many societies in the West are even deciding to remove the right of women to choose what they, women, want to wear or what they should do with their bodies or the bodies that grow inside their bodies.  Legally, no woman is responsible for the inappropriate behavior of a male  towards her if she appeared as the image on the right.  Rape, a crime of violence is rarely if ever excused because the attacker gave in to an uncontrollable desire to ravage a woman’s body because she was wearing clothing that excited him.  As a society, we’ve come to accept the notion that regardless how a woman may appear, we are not to infringe on her ability to appear that way or punish her with our male notions of how we can behave as a result, yet far too many people feel compelled to punish women who wear niqab, either by restricting their right to wear it or denying them access in society.

Authorities have given in to their uncontrollable desire to assault the body of women who choose to wear the niqaab with the full weight of a government that has ingrained in its law freedom of religious and personal expression by removing the freedom or right to those that offend government.   The silence of an American public so beat up with the fear of Muslims and Islam is more than deafening, its complicit.  That no one can see the charade of charlatans who invent an object of fear and then say the only way it can be dealt with is to undo the fundamental precepts on which this country were built in order to make people feel comfortable is not only an absurd notion but highly treasonous.  After more than a decade of intense fear mongering which has produced not one scintilla of an outcome we were told was inevitable, more straw dogs, like the niqab, have been erected to convince a weary public that more needs to be done to assuage their fear and rid us of a menace.  Yet, what we’re being rid of is a woman’s right to choose how she wants to behave in this society. This battle is being fought by Muslim women, pregnant women, teenaged women, of all races and ethnic backgrounds.  They should join one another in standing against a trend that can only lead to them losing control of how they define themselves.  Ours should not be a society that fears or objectifies women.

More Veil News


There are only a very few people who are acting responsibly concerning the veil worn by some Muslim women especially in European countries.  Caroline Spelman, a Conservative Party member in the UK is one of them.  While I don’t know much about the Conservative Party in England, if it’s anything like American Conservatives, this woman, Spelman is quite progressive in her thinking.

“I don’t, living in this country as a woman, want to be told what I can and can’t wear.“One of the things we pride ourselves on in this country is being free, and being free to choose what you wear is a part of that, so actually banning the burka is absolutely contrary I think to what this country is all about.

“I’ve been out to Afghanistan and I think I understand much better as a result of actually visiting why a lot of Muslim women want to wear the burka.

“It is part of their culture, it is part of understanding that they choose to go out in the burka and I think those that live in this country, if they choose to wear a burka, should be free to do so.

“You have to understand the actual culture and it was probably only when I went there and spent some time amongst women that I really understood that for them it’s a choice.

“For them the burka confers dignity, it’s their choice, they choose to go out dressed in a burka and I understand that it is a different culture from mine but the fact is in this country women want to be free to choose whether or not to cover their heads, whether or not to go out in the morning wearing a burka, that’s for them.

“We are a free country, we attach importance to people being free, and for a woman it is empowering to be able to choose each morning when you wake up what you wear.”

It goes without saying she’s been slammed by members of her own party, but the essence of what she’s saying, the freedom to choose shouldn’t be lost on those secular countries that say the same thing about a woman’s right to choose whether to have an abortion, for example, or what career she aspires to, etc.

For Muslim women living in the West who would like to wear the face veil or niqab who have any reservations or doubts about doing so comes this word from the primeval Islamic source, Saudi Arabia

if Muslim women are in a country that has banned the niqab, or full-face veil, or if they face harassment in such a place, “it is better that the Muslim woman uncovers her face.”

Numerous scholars of various Islamic schools of thought agree on this point, Qarni said.

But he, Qarni, is not the only one saying this.  Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, has made similar pronouncements, and there is spirited discussion on Muslim forums about this issue.  Of course given the opportunity, most governments would love to define their constituents in the manner that is appealing to the majority or that would ensure government office holders remain in power…and “choice” really has nothing to do with that, it’s consensus or expediency that matters.  This is the attitude of western secular countries that tout one type of choice for women that is liked by a majority of them….abortion for example, but deny another type of choice not so popular.  Muslim countries don’t consider choice at all; rather it’s tradition that carries the day.  In traditional Muslim countries, it is up to women themselves to make their case for their choices and most likely it will have to start from the top down.  Grass root movements simply don’t exist in many traditional countries. What is most interesting to this observer is  two prominent Muslim countries, most notably Syria and Egypt, have said the niqab is not allowed either in public or by woman who work in government jobs, thereby placing themselves on equal footing with their brethren governments from the West; common ground found on the backs of women’s rights or lack thereof.  Sad.

Niqab in America


We’ve written about women who choose to wear the niqab before at several places here at Miscellany101, but it is becoming an increasing phenomenon here in America and has caught the eye of main stream corporate media as well. What distinguishes America from her European colleagues in government is she has allowed people to exercise their freedom and not just given lip service to the notion, even if doing so makes others uncomfortable.  That’s the beauty of this country.  It is up to us to insure it remain that way.   I strongly urge you to take a look at the article in its entirety at the link; I will post a brief excerpt for you to read below

HEBAH AHMED (her first name is pronounced HIB-ah) was born in Chattanooga, raised in Nashville and Houston, and speaks with a slight drawl. She played basketball for her Catholic high school, earned a master’s in mechanical engineering and once worked in the Gulf of Mexico oilfields.

She is not a Muslim Everywoman; it is not a role she would ever claim for herself. Her story is hers alone. But she was willing to spend several days with a reporter to give an idea of what American life looks like from behind the veil, a garment that has become a powerful symbol of culture clash.

All that’s visible of Ms. Ahmed when she ventures into mixed company are her deep brown eyes, some faint freckles where the sun hits the top of her nose, and her hands. She used to leave the house in jeans and T-shirt (she still can, under her jilbab), but that all changed after the 9/11 attacks. It shook her deeply that the people who had committed the horrifying acts had identified themselves as Muslims.

“I just kept thinking ‘Why would they do this in the name of Islam?’ ” she said. “Does my religion really say to do those horrible things?”

HEBAH AHMED (her first name is pronounced HIB-ah) was born in Chattanooga, raised in Nashville and Houston, and speaks with a slight drawl. She played basketball for her Catholic high school, earned a master’s in mechanical engineering and once worked in the Gulf of Mexico oilfields.

She is not a Muslim Everywoman; it is not a role she would ever claim for herself. Her story is hers alone. But she was willing to spend several days with a reporter to give an idea of what American life looks like from behind the veil, a garment that has become a powerful symbol of culture clash.

All that’s visible of Ms. Ahmed when she ventures into mixed company are her deep brown eyes, some faint freckles where the sun hits the top of her nose, and her hands. She used to leave the house in jeans and T-shirt (she still can, under her jilbab), but that all changed after the 9/11 attacks. It shook her deeply that the people who had committed the horrifying acts had identified themselves as Muslims.

“I just kept thinking ‘Why would they do this in the name of Islam?’ ” she said. “Does my religion really say to do those horrible things?”

“I was really questioning my life’s purpose,” Ms. Ahmed said. “And everything about the bigger picture. I just wasn’t about me and my career anymore.”

She also reacted to a backlash against Islam and the news that many American Muslim women were not covering for fear of being targeted. “It was all so wrong,” she said. She took it upon herself to provide a positive example of her embattled faith, in a way that was hard to ignore.

So on Sept. 17, 2001, she wore a hijab into the laboratory where she worked, along with her business attire.

“A co-worker said, ‘You need to wrap a big ol’ American flag around your head so people know what side you’re on,’ ” Ms. Ahmed said. “From then on, they never let up.”

Three months later, she quit her job and started wearing a niqab, covering her face from view when in the presence of men other than her husband.

“I do this because I want to be closer to God, I want to please him and I want to live a modest lifestyle,” said Ms. Ahmed, who asked that her appearance without a veil not be described. “I want to be tested in that way. The niqab is a constant reminder to do the right thing. It’s God-consciousness in my face.”

Quebec’s witch hunt against niqabi minority


(Our neighbors to the North have been struck with Islamophobia too)

Governments intervene against the religious wishes of Jehovah’s Witness families to give blood transfusions to save the lives of their kin. The Quebec government wants to intervene to deny health care to women whose religious wish is to wear the niqab.

In Saudi Arabia, Iran and parts of Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, police or vigilante militias crack down on women not wearing the niqab or the burqa. In Quebec, authorities want to crack down on women who do.

Quebec officials have already chased down one niqab-wearing woman to oust her from a second French language class after she had been hounded out of her first. The bureaucrats are emulating the gendarmes of autocrats Kemal Ataturk of Turkey in the 1920s and the first Shah of Iran in the 1930s who persecuted women wearing either the niqab or the hijab.

It is scary when a state feels compelled to keep women either covered or uncovered.

It is scarier when majorities in democracies feel threatened by a minority – in this case, a tiny minority within the Muslim minority. Or feel the need to crush an isolated religious or cultural practice. Had such attitudes prevailed in an earlier era, we may not have been blessed today with Hutterites, Orthodox Jews, Sikhs and others in the rich religious tapestry of Canada.

Across Europe and now sadly in Quebec, populations and governments are in a tizzy over a few dozen niqabi women. Sadder still, Quebec is not only out of step with the rest of Canada but has taken a bigoted leap ahead of Europe, the historic home of Islamophobia.

In France – where out of 5 million Muslims, 367 wear the niqab (as counted by the domestic intelligence service, no less) – a parliamentary panel has pondered the issue for a year and suggested a ban from schools and hospitals but nowhere else.

In Denmark – where out of 100,000 Muslims, there are less than 200 niqabis (as estimated by the ministry of social affairs), the government is still mulling a ban.

In Quebec, less than 25 women are said to wear the niqab – of whom only 10 turned up last year at the Montreal office of the provincial health board out of 118,000 visitors.

Yet the obsession with the niqab continues. On the day Jean Charest tabled his anti-niqab bill, Hydro Quebec’s $3.2 billion deal to take over NB Power and gain access to the lucrative U.S. market collapsed – with nary a public concern.

His bill calls not only for showing the face for the legitimate purposes of a photo ID and security. It also bans niqabis from working for, or even receiving services from, government and the broader public sector. These taxpayers may be denied all schooling, including French language instruction, and all non-emergency health care, including regular checkups.

Charest rationalized it on the basis of gender equity, the secular nature of the state, the need to integrate immigrants, and the importance of personal interaction. Except that:

The giant crucifix in the National Assembly will stay.

Property and other tax breaks given the churches will remain, including for the Catholic Church, where women must remain in the pews and not ascend to the pulpit.

Niqabi women will be driven out of the public sphere, end up with less personal interaction with others and be ghettoized. It is a strange way to advance gender equity.

It is argued, as by Nicolas Sarkozy in France, that banning the niqab is not anti-Islamic, since it may not be a religious requirement, as opined by a senior Egyptian cleric last year. We elect politicians not to propound fatwas but to implement secular, democratic laws in an equitable manner for one and all. As for those enamoured of the authoritarian ways of Egypt, they are free to move there.

We are witnessing collective hysteria, prompting even liberal governments to cave in. It was not a pretty sight to see Charest, a Liberal, competing for headlines with Ann Coulter, the Muslim-baiting neo-con from America.

That’s democracy in action, it can be said. But we have seen many ugly manifestations of the popular will before. Targeting the niqabis may not be in the same league as past Canadian sins against some minorities but history should provide us with the perspective to pause.