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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Muslim women and burqa - not free to choose

Barack Obama in Cairo:

"it is important for Western countries to avoid impeding Muslim citizens from practising religion as they see fit - for instance, by dictating what clothes a Muslim woman should wear." (The Economist.)

The problem with this idea is that the Islamic world (including Islamic enclaves within the Western world) does not recognize the right to practise religion as individuals see fit. Rejecting Islam is punishable by death in many countries including, in practice, western countries. Burqa (the thing that covers Muslim women from top to bottom) is not something Muslim women choose to wear but something they wear because they're afraid of the consequences of not wearing it. Freedom means freedom from physical violence or the threat of it. Freedom does not mean freedom to subjugate individuals in the name of religious nonsense.

Banning the burqa (which goes against the principle of individual liberty) should be viewed as a compromise: Because the Muslim world is nowhere near mature enough, we should assume that a woman wearing a burqa is not doing so out of her own free will. If banning the burqa means that some subjugated women will simply be forced to stay at home instead of walking outside in a burqa, then this should be taken as a call for further action against Islam in the West. Banning the burqa would be a violation of individual liberties only in a world where Muslim women are truly free from other Muslims.

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12 Comments:

Anonymous Jadah Bilal said...

What a load of crap. Some women wear the burqa because they are forced to, but many choose it, especially in the West. Just like I don't say that you wear Jeans and make-up because you're forced to do so by Western men, you shouldn't say that women wearing burqa's are always doing it because they are forced. Some see it as a sign of modesty and piety and choose to wear it.

August 28, 2009 4:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i agree with jadah. I am a muslim and when i am old enough i will wear a burqa because i WANT to and if i dont want to i wont be forced.. and of course there are some countries that do force women to wear it.. but thats not in america where i live.

August 28, 2009 5:31 AM  
Blogger Mikko Sandt said...

Just like I don't say that you wear Jeans and make-up because you're forced to do so by Western men, you shouldn't say that women wearing burqa's are always doing it because they are forced.

The comparison is poor. Not putting on make-up may cost you a drop in attractiveness but not your life. Social pressure is slightly different from the threat of violence.

but thats not in america where i live.

I agree that America is an exception. I probably wouldn't advocate a burqa ban in America (with the exception that owners of property should be allowed to set their own rules concerning clothing) because the melting pot model is better at integrating people than the European multicultural model.

But Europe already has serious problems with integrating Muslims. Allowing the burqa only worsens the situation.

August 28, 2009 4:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rubbish
Where i live in UK everyone i know wears the Burqa coz they want to.
im going to wear the burqa when i leave skl coz its a sign of piety and modesty and so that i get respect from men wherever i go.

August 29, 2009 8:09 PM  
Blogger Mikko Sandt said...

so that i get respect from men wherever i go.

Why would you or any self-respecting person seek respect from the kind of men who respect women who wear the burqa? What kind of a man thinks that a woman should wear the burqa anyway?

Why aren't you demanding that men too put on something as degrading as the burqa? Why does it seem that these demands for piety and modesty concern women only?

August 30, 2009 12:04 AM  
Anonymous Jargo said...

So do you admit that your point about muslim women forced to wear burkhas is wrong, or do you claim to know these things better than muslim women themself ?

And by the way demands for piety and modesty in islam concern men too.

August 30, 2009 8:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i have an aunt in england and she wears it beacause she wants to. And when i was there with her we were walking around in public and no one said anything

August 31, 2009 12:16 AM  
Blogger Mikko Sandt said...

So do you admit that your point about muslim women forced to wear burkhas is wrong

Why would I admit such a thing? I never said that every single Muslim woman is made to wear the burqa against her will. So the fact that you and your buddies are able to come up with a few anecdotes of Muslim women willingly wearing the burqa is worth nothing. Do you not acknowledge that a huge chunk of Muslim women wear the burqa because they're afraid for their lives?

In the West we have this thing called equality: men and women are equal (better yet, individuals are equal). Islam is fundamentally against this. If you don't agree with western ideals concerning equality, you've not been integrated. If you agree with Islam, you don't agree with western ideals and you won't become integrated.

What I do acknowledge is that a ban on the burqa would go against some of my own ideals concerning individual liberty. But I also see that not banning the burqa would harm individual liberty on a much larger scale than banning it would. Therefore, I'm forced to make a compromise.

(On top of all this there are good security-related reasons why individuals should not be allowed to disguise themselves in public.)

And by the way demands for piety and modesty in islam concern men too.

So why no one is demanding that they walk around in prisons?

August 31, 2009 2:13 AM  
Anonymous Jargo said...

"Why would I admit such a thing? I never said that every single Muslim woman is made to wear the burqa against her will. So the fact that you and your buddies are able to come up with a few anecdotes of Muslim women willingly wearing the burqa is worth nothing. Do you not acknowledge that a huge chunk of Muslim women wear the burqa because they're afraid for their lives?"

Those few anecdotes are more than you have. Do you have any proof for your claim ?

September 01, 2009 9:09 PM  
Blogger Mikko Sandt said...

Eh, in many countries you get beat up or killed for not wearing the burqa (google any human rights report concerning women and islam for evidence) and you're asking me for evidence to back up my claim that many women wear the burqa out of fear?

And what about those women who are brainwashed into not questioning the burqa by their sick parents who force their children to wear the burqa? (Fortunately France already banned wearing Islamic headscarves in public institutions such as schools.)

Those few anecdotes are more than you have.

You think so? You think I'm basing my opinion on guesses and not on what's actually on the news from time to time, maybe even at an inreasing rate these days?

What are you trying to say anyway? That no woman wears the burqa out of fear? That it is not a serious problem?

Link, link, link, link.

September 02, 2009 5:06 PM  
Anonymous Jargo said...

Of course I was aware about honor killing happening in poorer countries and in the west. However were were talking about if we should ban burkha in the west. You did not provide any links that described any honor killing in the west related to burkha.

"What are you trying to say anyway? That no woman wears the burqa out of fear? "

Very small minority. At Least not enough to put in effect a "goverment clothing law"

"That it is not a serious problem?"

Honor killings are.

September 02, 2009 5:24 PM  
Blogger Mikko Sandt said...

You did not provide any links that described any honor killing in the west related to burkha.

I did.

You also missed one point: the threat of violence is usually enough to keep Muslim women obedient so that there is usually no need to kill anyone, because the potential victims (I'd assume that daughters, wives and sisters know their fathers, husbands and brothers and if they're capable of violence) are cautious as not to provoke their relatives. And if they are, they don't get killed and therefore don't show up in honor killing statistics.

As to whether those killings (thousands each year) are committed in the west or in the Islamic world, it doesn't really matter if the culture of violence and subjugation against women exists primarly in the Islamic world. When immigrants come here and fail to integrate, that toxic culture is here.

Moreover, a Muslim woman living in the west who's being beaten up or forced to wear the burqa by her Muslim husband (or some other relative) may not even know (or consider) that such behavior is wrong and therefore will fail to seek help.

(I'm not saying or pretending that western men don't beat their women: just that at least subjugating women isn't our culture and that we actually have a system that punishes such behavior (well, maybe not in Finland).)

Honor killings are.

And they're committed for various reasons, including disputes over dressing, boyfriends etc. Just saying that "honor killings are a problem" doesn't tell you much.

September 04, 2009 2:21 AM  

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