Sadiyya Sheik
Sadiyya Sheik

Burqa ban, just another form of oppression

Speaking about the ban on the burqa, Denis Ducarme, a Belgian Liberal Party MP said: “We are the first country to break through the chain that has kept countless women enslaved.” As noble as this may sound, I cannot say that I agree with his statement.

First, how exactly does one go about liberating women who are not exactly enslaved? Though it may be true that some Muslim women are forced by their family, husbands or even society into wearing the burqa, there are many women for whom wearing a burqa is a choice. A means of practising their religion, identifying themselves as Muslim and also as a means of integrating into society under the protection of the burqa. How can one argue that a ban preventing a person from dressing in a way that they choose is less restrictive or oppressive than forcing a person to dress in a particular way? If the Belgian Liberal Party members who proposed and voted on this ban were concerned about the women being coerced into wearing a burqa, why then do they propose a ban which prevents those women who choose to wear a burqa from doing so? Is that not also oppression?

Is it really women’s rights that we’re concerned about or is this another example of Islamophobia? One Liberal Party MP said: “We cannot allow someone to claim the right to look at others without being seen.” This statement alone reveals that not much is understood about Muslim women and the reasons they choose to wear a burqa. For many women, a burqa allows them to be functioning members of “Western” ie non-Islamic society without compromising on their religious and personal beliefs. That been said, I think it is quite evident that a ban on the burqa most definitely negates religious freedom.

  • Hussein

    http://www.loonwatch.com/2010/05/reuters-european-push-to-ban-burqas-appalls-afghan-women/

    ““As much as I am against imposing the hijab on women, I am also against its total ban. It should be regarded a personal matter of every human being and it should be up to women if they prefer to wear it or not,” she told Reuters by email.”(Former lawmaker Malalai Joya-Afghanistan)

  • ardee

    Unfortunately for Muslim women, the burqa is not just a garment. It has become a weapon in a war of ideology: a war in which women are the battleground and their rights and freedoms are at stake.

    Here’s the problem. Those who are critical of calls to ban the burqa perceive it to be an attack on personal freedoms. They view the burqa as an individual choice – which is arguable – and a religious requirement, which it is not. They look straight past the woman hidden from public view under heavy cloth, and instead applaud our multicultural tolerance. This is a mistake. The burqa has nothing to do with ethnic diversity and everything to do with a war against women. Those who wear it, and those who insist it be worn, subscribe to an ideology in which women are inferior sexual temptresses, whose female form is a problem and must be covered. This is based on the contradictory proposition that men are both superior and yet unable to control their sexual urges if they see women in their natural human state. If this wasn’t deadly serious, it would be funny.

  • ardee

    Numerous Islamic scholars, men and women, argue that there is not a single reference in the Quran that mandates women must cover their face and bodies and hide themselves from public view. The Quran does call for modesty, which some interpret as an obligation to wear the headscarf. But even that is widely questioned by progressive Muslims scholars. These progressives are furious at Islamic extremists for their “gender apartheid”, They insist that even the hijab is being used by fundamentalists as a “political tool” who have turned it into “the central pillar of Islam”.

    In actual fact in the privacy of their homes there are plenty of Muslim women who despise the burqa and niqab, and are prepared to say so. One friend of says : “I abhor the burqah,” saying that she was “offended” by the presumption that women who wear it “are more pious and true” than her.

    There is no doubt that women who don this ostentatious costume in the West are proud of their piety. One such woman told me, “the niqab is submission and servitude to my Almighty Creator” and that I had no right to question her choice to wear it. Well, I do. What God demands men roam free while women wear a sackcloth that restricts their movement and dehumanises them? What God wants to punish women in this way? What God hates women so much that he restricts her right to be man’s equal? The answer is obvious. No God.