Sunday, November 17, 2013

Veiled thoughts


Malalai by Lana Slezic

 Lana Šlezić iconic 2004 photo of Lt.-Col. Malali Kakar, then the high­est rank­ing woman in the Afghan police force. In 2008, she was assasinated by the Taliban



I have mixed emotions about the veil. While I think every woman has a right to choose what she wears yet I am extremely uncomfortable around the niqab and burqua. I find them restrictive and misogynistic. I also can't decide if wearing them is a religious or political statement. Perhaps both.

So while I try to come to a decision, I keep reading. Here are some of the articles and books I have come across.


I must give special mention to Ayaan Hirsi Ali. This brilliant writer from Somali has written several books about leaving her homeland and Islam. She is living under 24-hour security because of death threats against her for speaking out:

"On the other hand, we were faced with Islam as an international political movement, whereby symbols like the minaret and the burqa, the beard — all of these can be seen as slogans or political symbols."
From her stunningly brave and honest book: Nomad: From Islam to America: A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations  “The veil deliberately marks women as private and restricted property, nonpersons. The veil sets women apart from men and apart from the world; it restrains them, confines them, grooms them for docility. A mind can be cramped just as a body may be, and a Muslim veil blinkers both your vision and your destiny. It is the mark of a kind of apartheid, not the domination of a race but of a sex.”

From her first book Infidel: “Wishful thinking about the peaceful tolerance of Islam cannot interpret away this reality: hands are still cut off, women still stoned and enslaved, just as the Prophet Muhammad decided centuries ago.”  
How is the world reacting to the hijab and burka:
  • England: wants to pass law forbidding in court. 
  • Italy, Belgium, France have all banned all ban the public use of face-covering niqabs and full-body burqas.  
  • Germany has banned them for teachers and is about to pass a law for all government agencies. 
  • Tunisia and Tuekt Australia just passed a law that the veil must be lifted to confirm identity when requested by police. 
  • In Canada it's illegal during the swearing in of new citizens. It may be illegal in Quebec.

What do you think of the hijab and burka?