“During times of universal deceit telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act”– George Orwell
Can Common Sense Prevail Over the Veil?
By Hwaa Irfan
I am one of those people who unfortunately is always in the middle, never left or right, but slam bang in the middle, It is not a comfortable position to be in at a time in human underdevelopment whereby one is not allowed to reason, to even think for one’s self sometimes, but has to quite simply oblige the insecurities of others. This is not to say that I am not without my own insecurities, but when the ridiculous outweighs the common good how much more should one allow oneself to tolerate whether the argument is a Muslim one or a non-Muslim one.
Egyptian writer Mona Eltahawy’s argument in the Washington Post (From Liberals and Feminists, Unsettling Silence on Rending the Muslim Veil) over the French vote to ban the full veil in public begins “the right move by the wrong group”. The basis of this point of view I simply cannot fathom. I cannot comprehend, and will never comprehend what parliament has to do with what women chose to wear. If there has to be a political debate about what women choose to wear surely it is when that piece of clothing is detrimental to society as a whole. With all the uproar over human trafficking, and sexual violence against women and children, surely the issue of clothing that sexually objectify women and children is a more pressing argument; yet as we all know, this is the least likely debate to take place in any parliament or the U.N!
Then Eltahawy goes onto argue: “Some have tried to present the ban as a matter of Islam vs. the West. It is not. First, Islam is not monolithic. It, like other major religions, has strains and sects”.
Is it a matter of relativism if the matter is one of Islam vs. the West? The issue of Muslim women clothing has been going on for a long time in the West, first as a love affair with the “mysterious”, and then as the French occupation of Algeria demonstrated the attraction of western men for the unobtainable. Muslim women represented the unobtainable, and on the streets, and on the university campus’ that still prevails to some degree. Then Islam began to represent the obstacle, the obstacle that had to be defeated because it represented in the minds of western powers that which they wanted to obtain, i.e. more power and more wealth. This was the underlying force behind toppling the Ottoman Empire, and remains the force behind the so-called war on terrorism. To achieve that goal, propaganda was an important tool, and remains to be so in vilifying and removing the obstacle. As the process of vilification descended to the common man, woman and child on the streets, some non-Muslims without any understanding of Muslims have taken on the ugly portrayal of Muslims through a process of “branding”. This has been made easier as the “Responsibles” have demonstrated a cavalier attitude with what they believe is their right. Their perceived right is sustained power, position and wealth, and as such they have turned the world into a very insecure world to be in for everyone – both Muslims and non-Muslims. Now the “Responsibles” have the common man, woman and child at each other’s throats metaphorically speaking: men vs. men, men vs. women, women vs. women, adults vs. children, the secular vs. the religious, mankind vs. nature, and of course non-Muslims vs. Muslims, as well as Muslims vs. Muslims, but let us also realize that they have our inner selves struggling with the reality of the nightmare that they have created for us called “progress”.
This is the reality behind Islam vs. the West, because deep down in their subconscious they know that Islam in its 360 degrees of the whole of mankind, is the real alternative. Not even many of us Muslims realize that, but instead swallow their debate, and instead see ourselves through their eyes. We excuse ourselves for being Muslim, and then before you know it, which was the case bedfore 9/11, children will resent their parents for not teaching them anything about Islam, not even how to pray!
“If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything” – Malcolm X
The face veil is not Islamic dress, so let us get that argument out of the way, but the day I cannot wear something because a Parliament consisting of insecure men and women decide out of their personal insecurities that I have no right to choose what I want to wear is the day (which is upon us by the way) when we will ask the question “I wonder what life would have been like if Communism succeeded in winning WWII?” In this we do agree when Eltahawy said: “The French ban has been condemned as anti-liberal and anti-feminist”.
The argument over the niqab and the burqa, has mainly been a politicized one taking place in the mainstream press, but for some of the ordinary young Muslim who chooses to wear the niqab and/or the burqa, this argument is far removed from their reality. For them their religious beliefs have not grown stronger and more knowledgeable, because for them the niqab and the burqa is simply their refusal to be sexually objectified in an increasingly sexualized world, as was the case in the early days of anorexia nervosa/Peter Pan Syndrome in the West!
From Liberals and Feminists, Unsettling Silence on Rending the Muslim Veil. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/16/AR2010071604356.html
The Tresses of Forgetfulness.
Sexuality Beyond the Veil
Society Says Your Body Not Your Mind!
Islamophobia: From the Spanish Inquisition to the Western Inquisition
The Pill, Our Bodies, and Ourselves
No Wonder British Women Are Bored!
The Law of Three: Concealment and Attraction
Prince Charles on Islam and the Environment