The French burqa ban

Covering the face has been a highly emotional and politicized issue in the Muslim community for the past two decades. I have written about it before and called it the sixth pillar of Islam. It has become a false banner for Islamic piety. Islam is now reduced to a dress code. It does not matter if you lie, steal or slander your friends and neighbors, if you cover your face you are perceived by society as an untouchable religious God fearing person.

When I read that the ban has gone through the French parliament with an overwhelming majority, I was unexpectedly ecstatic about it. I don’t live in France and I don’t even to plan to visit anytime soon and yet it made me happy that women there don’t have a choice. Yes this is one area where I’m anti-choice. Covering the face is the very essence of objectifying women. With her face covered, a woman is reduced to an object that needs to be protected by a male guardian. For every woman who truly chooses of her own freewill to cover her face, there are hundreds if not thousands forced and pressured to by the religious establishment, family and society. Who would you sacrifice, that one woman who can manage to find God in something else or those hundreds, so that one can liberally  choose?

The number of  times I have heard Saudi women here, who are conditioned to believe that covering is an unquestionable issue, sigh as they watch uncovered women on TV and say لهم الدنبا ولنا الأخرة (they get the world and we get the afterlife). These are the women “choosing” to cover, brainwashed into living to die. I wish I had the power to take the choice away from them.

What are women covering from? They believe that the sight of their face will cause men to commit sin. Fitna they call it. And yet the places where most women cover their faces, like in Saudi’s central region, you can’t take a step outside your house without being harassed, it doesn’t matter if you’re 18 or 80. It’s much more dangerous to walk the streets of Riyadh as a woman than it is in New York. Hence what the face cover is protecting us from has proven to be the complete opposite upon implementation.

It doesn’t stop at face covering. The subtle difference between putting the abaya tent style over your head or leaving it like a cloak on your shoulders decides if you’re “asking for it”. In both cases the face is covered but in the first the shape of the shoulders isn’t defined and so it’s a more religious and respectable style. Covering the face escalates into such silly issues like the seductive powers of a woman’s toes.  Isn’t it about time that men take responsibility for their actions instead of using the centuries old argument “she seduced me into it by not dressing properly”?!

How many public Islamist women figures (do they even exist?) do you know advocate face covering? The majority out there calling for it are men; Muslim men who brazenly stand there in Western clothes and with clean shaven faces and say it’s their religious belief that women should cover. Walk down Oxford Street London in July and see how many abaya swathed women with their niqabs are accompanied by their shorts wearing clean shaven male guardians. I want to take these men and shake some sense into them. I want them to consider the humanity we all share regardless of the genitalia we’re born with or the amount of testosterone in our bodies. Can they stand having their faces covered? “No but women are used to it”, they always answer when I ask them. “It’s their cross to bear for being so womanly and feminine.”

Well-meaning liberals and Human rights activists are trying to stop the French ban. They say it’s Islamaphobic and driven by the right-wing in a thinly veiled racist campaign. To them I say the old Arabic proverb خذ الحكمة من أفوه المجانين (take wisdom from the mouths of fools). If the Islam they are afraid of measures my piety by how much I hide my identity, then I share their phobia.

If there’s one book that I wish I could put into the hands of every Muslim woman who says that God wants her to cover her face and hand over her affairs to a man it’s this one:

It’s written by a Jordanian, Abdulrahman Omar Al Khateeb. He accompanied his sister and her kids to Makkah and the muuttawa there yelled at her “cover your face you hurma“! He had been thinking about the issue before due to how the face cover had been used against Islam in Western media but that incident was what got him working. He went back to Jordan and meticulously researched every argument that the muttawa used and showed it for what it is; political and fundamentalist propaganda.

262 Comments

Filed under Gender Apartheid, Popular, Regional and International

262 responses to “The French burqa ban

  1. Coolred38

    As far as Im concerned…the only thing the face cover supposedly “protects” Muslim women from…is Muslim men…ironically…the very men she should fear the least…are the ones she ends up fearing the most.

    Go figure.

  2. My American friend chooses to cover her face. She lives in the states. Why would you take this choice away from her?
    You speak of humanity yet you’re happy seeing women being forced to take something they believe in and love off.
    Covering the face is not because men cannot control themselves or the sight of the face will cause men to commit sin. The reason is much deeper than this superficial reasoning.
    I believe not covering the face for a Muslim woman is allowed. But I also believe God created us free but responsible individuals. It’s no one’s right to take something I believe in wearing off per their own thoughts and philosophical opinions.
    Finally, in Islam, Muslims cannot have a difference of opinion on definite matters. But they can have differences on indefinite matters like covering the face. And each opinion must be respected and tolerated. So the writer of the book you mentioned has his opinion which I don’t believe it’s wrong but it does not mean those who disagree with him are wrong.

  3. Bo Nasser

    Isn’t it about time that men take responsibility for their actions instead of using the centuries old argument “she seduced me into it by not dressing properly”?! (Agree!)

    It’s much more dangerous to walk the streets of Riyadh as a woman than it is in New York. Hence what the face cover is protecting us from has proven to be the complete opposite upon implementation.
    (Too much Exaggeration!)

    • Rabia

      last night my friend and i wanted to go for a little walk on the street of riyadh. we had a child accompanying us. we had only taken a few steps when a car passing by stopped and started teasing us. we ended up getting back into the house.

      • Marcus

        How utterly sad… My heart goes to all of you who have to experience this type of harassment hell..
        It will be you of course, the women who bring change exactly like the women of England who fought and died for the cause and equalities in gender.

      • Dinar

        if this is the measure, all women must leave USA as studies showed that a women is raiped every couple of minuts.

        your case is not a measure and should not be taken for granted. we go out at all times no matter the time and no one teased us.

      • That’s sick! Some men are just perverts through & through, I also think that the forcefull way that Saudi goverment control theire citizens has an effect on making men ever more perverted, because they seem more restricted…I can’t exactly explain my point propperly…

  4. “…showed it for what it is; political and fundamentalist propaganda.”

    One could say the same about the French burqa ban. It has more to do with winning elections in France and less to do with anything about women, their faces, their cover or not, etc.

    On those grounds, I think the French ban is objectionable, even if one would prefer women not choose to wear a niqab or a burka.

    In France it is a ploy to get the far right to vote for Sarkozy who will then be more indebted to the far right. The far right in France are anti-immigrant (meaning anyone not descendant from the Gauls, and Roman Catholic), Islamophobic, racist against Arabs in particular, and lead by a man who spent the Algerian war torturing Algerians in France, and is unrepentant.

    I doubt you would want the far right in power in France, or in the other countries in Europe using the same ploy to gain votes on the far right. These are not the people who will do well by anyone in the country who does not conform to standards it is impossible by definition for Arabs to meet. The Magrehbi in France, who form the major part of the Arab Muslim population are not in favour of the far right having power there.

    Just to put a fine point on it, the far right in France are fascists, as defined by reliable, not partisan or activist political scientists. And we all know how well Europe was run by the fascists.

    • Delux

      I have to agree, this is really much more about the anti immigrant far right and voting politics. Given the context of whats going on there– its only a few months ago that a town government filed a discrimination complaint against a restaurant chain for only serving halal food– I dont think this is really about the status and conditions of Muslim women in France.

      • ernie

        As right as delux and Chiara may be, tell that to the thousands of women in France who are forced to cover up their faces while their husbands stay out late in the pub meeting with the East European ‘tourists’. Try to get the wider picture folks.

      • Mac

        You are partly right only. Yes the far right uses these issues to whip up anti immigrant feelings.

        But that’s not the fundamental issue. The issue is human rights from a western perspective in a western country. And women in the west have struggled for far too long and far too hard to get where they are today for some pieous minority to come in and turn the clock back many centuries.

        “I think the French ban is objectionable, even if one would prefer women not choose to wear a niqab or a burka”

        If you read the post you would have understood that it’s not HER choice in most cases. I’ve known muslim (girl) classmates who tore off their veil as soon as they got off the bus to school but had to put it on again as they went home because their male family members would scorn them (or worse) it they found out they didn’t cover up “properly”. It’s degrading and it’s inhuman to force women to cover themselves. It’s degrading to women as it suggests they have to be controlled and it’s degrading to men as it suggests we are mere animals who cannot restrain ourselves.

        It has no place in a modern society. Ban it!

  5. Wow… that was a tough subject. I must say that as you know well, I do not cover. Yet, I do strongly believe that a woman (Not a husband/father/uncle/cousin etc) who wants to cover, should be at liberty to do so. It is only when its forced that I believe it is wrong. As I always like to say; Oppression n my eyes, is when a person is forced to do something against their own will.

  6. Um Yousef

    I thought it was not permitted for women to cover their face during pilgrimages to Mecca…? What are the muttawa doing?

  7. This is a very interesting post, I very much appreciate hearing this point of view from a Saudi woman. I truly wonder how far this legislation will go in French parliament. Is it really just a political talking point to win votes? Entirely plausible. But why is it even a point of debate to begin with?

    A lot of newspapers and groups claim that westerners fear the niqab because the covering of the face is likened to balaclavas worn by criminals and it is a simply a backlash against muslims in the post 9/11 milieu. I disagree with this and I’m happy to see a posting that addresses what I think is the main issue – a conflict of values. I think that the niqab does not sit well with Westerners because we interpret it as a symbol of female oppression and it is this aspect of it that truly triggers an emotional reflex of distaste. In the most simple terms, the veil is something that is worn by women to protect men from female sexuality and is promoted in a way that compels women to show their modesty. And we do hear cases, many anecdotal, of women who are being pressured to do it by the men in their lives – this in particular strikes a very strong nerve, because it goes against everything that the women’s movement strived to eliminate over the course of a hundred plus years in the Christian west. This is what I feel lies at the heart of the vague inarticulate discomfort that people feel with the veil – that while one woman wears it of her own volition, others are being told they are undevoted if they don’t. It does not help that there seems to be an overaching dispute among muslims on whether niqabs are islamic, and that there are so few veiled women talking publicly about why the veil is so important to them.

    I want to be careful to qualify this, because I think the point of view I present is not something that can be neatly filed into right or wrong. At what point does a country’s simplistic view of what they see as a symbol of oppression trump the freedom of the individual to express themselves? Whose values should be protected? What policy really creates the greater good? I truly do not know the answer to these questions.

    In typical Canadian fashion, I complain and ask a lot of questions but propose no solutions😉 But anyhow, thanks for this posting.

  8. Ahmed

    Real nice to hear a different view point from one branded Saudi Woman, but ofcourse every ones been given the power to reason, some just chose not to use it.

    If I understand correctly, it is said in Islam something like ” Make not haram what has been made halal, and make not halal what has been made haram”. Hence, I find it really sad when our fellow muslims go around doing just that.

    I have had long discussions in family regarding this hijab issue several times and in the last week itself. I have family who says covering the face is FARZ (Compulsory). How wrong is that !

    I am of the opinion that it is may be preferable if the woman chooses to cover her face, but she doesnt accumulate any sin for choosing not to. And this should be clearly communicated.

    And for France, they are just Islamophobic. This is entirely against basic human rights, and secularism which their constitution proclaims.

    • Vicks

      Hey Ahmed
      What do u say about the Saudi law of compulsory wearing the burqa,,, what are they according to u ??? what would u brand them as ????
      Awaiting patiently for your reply on this.

      “I am of the opinion that it is may be preferable if the woman chooses to cover her face, but she doesnt accumulate any sin for choosing not to. And this should be clearly communicated.” by you.
      Can u convey your above message to the saudi muttawa’s,,, pleassseee….

      • Unnamed

        It’s not compulsory, what are you talking about? I’ve seen women without headscarves even in Jeddah, it’s not an unusual sight.

    • alahad

      And wasn’t there an instance where school girls in Saudi were killed when a guard did not open the gates of a burning school because the girls were not “properly” dressed or covered?

  9. Great post, Eman. I love getting your take on these issues. I truly believe that God did not intend for our lives here on earth to be lived behind a veil. Why do all these “rules” apply to only women? Because they were made up by men perhaps? Claiming that religion is the reason for women veiling is just plain wrong and unfair. Thanks for this post!

  10. It think it is important to review the context of the proposed ban. It was first proposed by Sarkozy last June, and was in all the French newspapers. I read the top ones across the political spectrum, and across the political spectrum the journalists wrote that it was an election ploy by the relatively centre right Sarkozy to be sure of a solid win by gaining votes from the far right. The ban was condemned, including by those on the right, and by feminists, even on the right. It was seen as detrimental to the women who do cover, as it was assumed, with justification, that this would result in those women who were being forced to cover being forced to stay home instead. That means, among other things, no school as soon as they turn 16 and it is legal to take them out.

    Very, very, few women in France wear a niqab or burka, and most of those who do are French (the “white” kind) reverts doing so voluntarily (within their belief system). This makes sense because most of the Muslims in France are Mahgrebi of the Maliki school, and from former French colonies, ie they don’t wear the niqab in their “home” countries either.

    It is important to know that for the far right, no matter how long a Mahgrebi is in the country, or what the citizenship status, ie no matter for how many generations s/he is born and raised there, should go “home”. In one election they were proposing that Arab children not go to the summer camps that French children almost universally go to in the summer months, because…well they, born and raised in France, are Arabs. This was of course during an economic downturn when it was more acceptable to talk about “them” taking “our” jobs.

    It is also important to know that the far right in France (which does frighteningly well in elections for the European Parliament) is so bad, that in the last election in which Chirac ran, when they came in second (and a close second at that) to the more centre right party, ie Chirac, in the 1st of France’s 2 part electoral system, ALL the other parties mobilized their members, adherents, supporters and made very public campaigns to help Chirac win even though he was disliked because of accusations of fraud as Mayor of Paris which had just come to light. That includes the centre left and the far left, socialists and communists (both those are longstanding and healthy parties in France). The list of their slogans is brilliant and wide ranging in its appeals to all members of French society. The one I liked best, and which had the broadest public traction was “Mieux l’escroc que le fasco” [Better the crook than the fascist].

    There is another economic downturn in France and the country is moving farther right in reaction. It is a ripe time for vilifying “them”, the ones that don’t belong here, the ones taking “our” jobs, the ones who are “le sale arabe du coin”.

    I am preparing 2 posts currently related to French politics, one on the burka ban and the other on the reaction to the French World Cup performance. As someone who has a specialization in decolonization I thought I had read it all, but I was stunned at the reasoning of a writer on the far right, and at the expression of it, about the reason for the French team’s losses and behaviours and the broader implications drawn about all of French society.

    The burka ban in France sits squarely in this racist, send them all “home”, they are all dirty, lying, cheating, women beating, blah blah blah, rationale and politicking. Not worth it for banning a very few women, mostly French reverts doing so by choice (misguided or not), from wearing a niqab.

    It is better, as those French politicians, including Sarkozy’s own Minister of the Interior, said at the time of the initial proposal of the ban, to go after the Islamist extremists who actually are preaching hate or anti-French sentiment and giving false information about cover in the mosques themselves, than to yet again punish women to make a point.

    • Bart

      The European parliament isn’t relevant. Lots of Europeans vote for the far right in European parliament because they’re just against the European parliament.

      • The European Parliament is highly relevant because success there brought greater success to LePen and co. in France to the point where he almost became President of the country.

        Protests votes are dangerous. Just ask anyone in Canada who voted Conservative to “teach the Liberals a lesson” thinking they would get a minority Liberal government–they got a minority Conservative government of the GWB ilk instead.

  11. young muslima

    Salam 3alaikum,

    I oppose the Burqa ban because i believe that the women have every right to cover out of choice, rather than what you say that they shouldn’t have a choice. This also means i believe a non-Muslim woman deserves the choice to not have to wear the abaya in KSA, and that anyone in a religion can express themselves like any unreligious person can through their clothes or lack of.

    Yes there is a issue with some women who are forced to, and that should be dealt with but not in the manner which you said where no one is allowed to wear it even by choice to stop the ones who are being forced to.

    However, i do agree with you about the Muslim men who are standing next to their wives dressed in completely western clothes, does annoy me, like in London. Although i cannot say all the men do this, as i have seen Muslim men in traditional dress with their long beard standing next to their black-clothed wives in London too.

    I still most defintely oppose the ban , and its oppression on these women who want to do it.

    • Vicks

      Dear Young Muslima

      The french ban will perhaps affect less than 2000 BURGA wearing women in France,,,,,, which is a tiny figure when compared to thousands of muslim women not wanting to wear the burqa,,, but are forced to in hardline islamic countries like Saudi, Afghanistan, Sudan and likes ,,,,,
      What about them,,,???

    • Unnamed

      I suppose if a man sports a long beard and the traditional ‘thob’ he will be fine….?

      He won’t attract violence and be singled out for discrimination etc…. I recall once seeing a young Pakistani man in traditional clothes enter a train, you should have seen how nervous the passenger felt due to his presence and he was singled out for a stop and search by the transport Police, merely because of the way he was dressed, nothing else.

      I accept that women wearing the hijab attract the same thing more or less (there was an interesting BBC documentary by Panorama on this, where the woman was spat on, bottled and harassed by teenagers) still, women attract less violence than men – usually.

  12. Lisa

    I can’t imagine a law which either requires or forbids someone to don a particular form of attire dictated by religious practice. I concede my perspective is formed from being in the U.S. where the separation of church and state is one of the pillars of society and constitutional law, and civil libertarians are vigilant against any encroachment by the government to promote, benefit or burden any religion. While I do not believe any woman should be forced to wear a burqa – whether through threat of violence or manipulation – the French ban is as paternalistic and oppressive as any law which requires women to cover up. If they really want to protect woman from having to wear oppressive religious attire they should also ban nuns habits.

  13. Jenna

    I agree with you 10000000%. I am liberal but in this I argue with my friends because I believe the Niqab should be banned everywhere. There is a continuum of what I would like to call… common sense… if I cannot run outside here in the US without my shirt and go bare breasted like my brother and enjoy the sun on my chest….. that is the end of one continuum… the other is this crazy face veil which only makes women inhuman in society. You are absolutely right in your observation that the more women are covered the more they get harassed (not less) in the streets.. as if they have no right to exist or “be”. The face is the window to the heart the brain the soul of human dignity… to pretend otherwise is to assume a set illogical conclusions about human nature, Islam and the nature of men and women.

    Case in point.. let us look to African and South Pacific Island tribal nations.. wow… all the women are all half naked…all the time! Boobies swinging all over the place! Are they getting raped every second of the day? No. Why? Because it is the norm for that society. Contrast that with Victorian England which was so much like Wahhabi Islam they even put skirts on table legs so men would not get horny looking at a table leg!

    We not only dehumanize women when we allow the niqab… we also demonize men… in saying that they are only slaves to lust. Anyone who studies the breadth of human culture and nature and history will see that this is not the case.

    • Safiyyah

      some good points – but just wanted to point out that sexual violence towards women in Africa is one of the highest in the world (south Africa and Kenya especially), and steadily on the rise.

  14. This is a brave post, and clearly written. Your theme is not about choice, nor about the various meanings attributed to face-covering. It’s about the absurdity of a custom that has accumulated so much baggage over the centuries that its original purpose has been obscured.

    Years ago, I read that the original purpose of face-covering was to keep women’s skin from darkening under the strong desert sun. Perhaps this explanation was made facetiously, but it makes more sense than any rationalization I’ve heard since.

    Many of the readers who’ve responded to this post have missed the point. Though I do agree with them that the issues of choice and politics play an important role in the French ban as well as in every woman’s practice, I underscore the point that face-covering should not belong to religion. I believe your statement re: Al-Khateeb, ” He went back to Jordan and meticulously researched every argument that the muttawa used and showed it for what it is; political and fundamentalist propaganda.”

    I agree with you wholeheartedly– the choice to cover one’s face should be revoked. To my sisters who believe in it and do it in the spirit of what they think is piety, I suggest that the practice actually contaminates true piety.

  15. I am completely with you on the burqa being a tool of sexist oppression. But a ban by a secular government will not cause the Islamic supporters of the burqa to change their minds, and could instead cause a backlash. I explain more fully at
    http://piperhoffman.com/2010/07/13/burqas-a-civil-right-patriarchal-oppression-liberating-refuge/

    • The idea of a backlash is interesting, and I am not convinced that it would be undesirable, if it were to occur. This issue of face-covering will continue to present a huge barrier for cross-cultural, inter-faith sensibilities. You’ve hit the nail on the head in the post to your own blog; face-covered women do pose threats to others, because they cannot be evaluated with respect to their intention or motivation. Throughout the history of civilization, villains everywhere wore face-masks.

      The only place this principle doesn’t hold is in Saudi Arabia, where an entirely different dynamic– no less insidious– is operational.

  16. Salaam Aleikum,

    Either way, laws that force and deny a woman’s choice to wear what she wants denies her own agency. Coming from KSA of course any sensible person would see the niqab and its constant enforcement as oppressive, even negating — all the more so with laws restricting women’s mobility tied into the package.

    In the West, and I believe also in the Qur’an and Muslim traditions of adab, free expression is highly valued and either way, telling a woman what she must or cannot wear is a violation of the right to free expression.

    As a Muslim I know that the religious rationales for the niqab are bogus (I cannot imagine Khadijah or Aisha in veils — especially Aisha leading an army into battle!) but we allow people to understand and express their religion as they best understand it themselves.

    As an old drag queen I also know the power of transgressive attire. In Saudi Arabia the niqab is a prison. In most Muslim countries it is a choice. In the West it is a statement, and whatever one thinks of that statement, any effort to take away the right to it is an abridgment of free expression.

    And so what if some veiled women smugly look down their hidden noses at unveiled women? Sanctimony and pride are un-Islamic (much as they are indulged in every religion), but not in any way illegal. And in the West, women who wear low necklines and short skirts to please their men are no less acceding to objectifying peer pressure than the niqabis.

    Where free expression is valued we need more, not less. The answer is not to feed into the polarization and stress that this issue creates by banning the niqab, but to promote women who can speak effectively as faithful Muslimahs, who show their faces, teach, preach, lead prayers, study Scripture, and otherwise engage fully in their/our religion. The media make a show of the Ayaan Hirsi Alis at one extreme and the niqabis at the other, ignoring the great many wise and wonderful Muslim women who simply “draw their veil over their breasts” and get on with life with heads uncovered. Seeing such women engaging with their religion is surely an antidote to the cheap piety that is presumed to lurk beneath a veil.

  17. Safiyyah

    I object the burqa ban, its a silly, fascist, racist ban..and will only further alienate Muslim women, just as I object to countries like Saudi which co-erce women to wear it, which is even more objectionable!

    • Lisa

      The more I think about this issue, I wonder whether the ban in France will result in a different form of oppression of Muslim women where they are confined to their homes.

      • I am pretty sure it will become just that :s

      • lark

        On the one hand people say that the niqab wearers in France are reverts.

        On the other they say, with a ban on niqab in public, niqab wearers will be confined to the home.

        These do not add up.
        The reverts do whatever they want, in “the name of Islam.”
        The other women, forced to veil, are bullied. This law is a stand against such bullying, but it will not work in every case.

  18. Jenna

    Let’s take a look at Turkey’s long standing ban of Hijabs in government positions and Universities… has it kept women confined to the home for the most part? Has it really oppressed women… or has it helped encourage women to perform on a level playing field with men?

    I find banning the niqab on par with banning Chinese foot binding, female genital mutilation… while the niqab is not a physical deterrant it acts the same as it controls the movement and expression of a woman in open society.

    When Chinese foot binding was popular young Chinese girls would beg to have their feet broken to be just like everyone else…. even though they could no longer run or jump or even walk normal…. in Africa you have young girls begging to get cut even though they will never feel normal passion as God intended…. the cultural impetus and sincerity behind these Chinese and African girls is no less than the Niqabi woman… but both are hobbled… both are NOT free… you cannot run 5K in a Niqab you cant swim… you cannot run from an attacker….sometimes you just have to call it like it is and enact laws which supercede the oppressive cultural artifacts of a society which obviously oppress a woman.

    • shirleybk

      This is excellent, Jenna. Your comparisons with foot-binding and genital mutilation are right-on. I have read of some Muslim women who veil because they think “the more clothes, the more God is pleased.” This is totally legalistic; how can anybody think that? I agreed with your comment entirely. Thanks.

      • Chinese footbinding and female genital excision are permanent alterations to the body and hardly commensurate with putting on or taking off a veil.

        Turkey’s banning the hijab was done by a Turk, and for the whole of the populace, not by a majority group for a minority one with racist overtones. Still it was not peaceable, and now there is unrest because of women insisting on wearing more cover than legally allowed.

      • You don’t think there is psychological scarring when a woman is raised to believe that the opposite sex is a pack of sex-hungry wolves that are out to get her? And that she is a lamb, jewel, piece of candy, frosted cake…anything but a human individual?

      • “Turkey’s banning the hijab was done by a Turk, and for the whole of the populace, not by a majority group for a minority one with racist overtones. Still it was not peaceable, and now there is unrest because of women insisting on wearing more cover than legally allowed.”
        And the French ban is for the French by the French. Or does original ethnicity supersede current nationality?

  19. Jerry M

    A burqa ban is not needed in France. The place it is needed is Afghanistan (or Saudi Arabia if you consider the face veil a burqa). The face veil has nothing to do with modesty. It is about control, male control of women. There are women who do well in an oppressive system, but that doesn’t make it right.

    The idea that morality for women is based on clothing designed for societies over a thousand years old is absurd. We have buildings with glass windows, we have central heating and often central air. In the west our clothing has changed to fit our needs. The robes that made sense when the outside weather was also the inside weather simply don’t make sense for us. Why should women wear the same kinds of shrouds their ancestors wore hundreds of years ago? If Islam cannot conceive of morality in a modern environment, what value is it? We don’t live in tents in a arid, dusty environment. The examples of a millenia ago are foolish if followed without understanding what world those examples were lived in.

    • Jenna

      Jerry I agree with this: “A burqa ban is not needed in France. The place it is needed is Afghanistan (or Saudi Arabia if you consider the face veil a burqa). The face veil has nothing to do with modesty. It is about control, male control of women.”

      In so much that for France it is not TRULY an issue of Women’s oppression… they dont care about that… it is about fear of losing cultural identity. The French have long been very protective about what they perceieve as French culture…. this niqab and women in Paris running around all covered up to them is an invasion of their way of life… this is about protecting THAT… not about the loftier goal of women’s rights.

  20. salaam, with all due respect, I wish people around the world would realize that Arab social practices do NOT represent our religion. Please. I am sorry for my sisters in Arab countries that must cover, but there is nothing in Qur’an or the Hadith that requires this which has been proven over and over. The oppression of and violence against women happens in ALL countries. Islam does not oppress women, men do.

  21. The point in France is not that face-covering is or is not religious, it is that the burqa ban is a political manoeuvre by the right and the far right that bodes ill for Muslims and minorities ie Arabs (and Africans) in ways far more generalized than the banning the face veil for the small minority who wear it.

    Conflating this proposed ban with what should or should not be taught to Muslims or legislated in Muslim majority countries is dangerous.

    • Chiara, you are probably correct.

      However, if Muslims would voluntarily recognize the custom as bidaa, and reject it, this particular right-wing ammunition would be rendered impotent and irrelevant.

      The French burqa ban is an example of how such a well-entrenched habit of bidaa can be turned against the very Muslims who cling to it.

  22. The burqa is a manufactured threat. There are very few Muslims in France wearing the niqab. Other Muslims addressing this, or the state monitoring teachings in Islamic centres for serious and real threats it more a propos, but it doesn’t gain the attention that banishing the niqab does. Targetting the niqab and the women who wear it lets the right look like a liberating force.

    Kind of like GWB went into Afghanistan to rescue the women he seemed to have been able to ignore for years before it became politically expedient to send Laura out campaigning for his wars.

    I think the issue of religion is for Muslims to address, and as I said above the vast majority of Muslims in France are maliki and don’t wear niqab in any country, and most often don’t wear headscarves either in my experience.

    I don’t think Saudi hitching its wagon to Sarkozy’s proposals is fruitful. This is after all the same man who said about riots in the suburbs and the young man burned to death that he had no interest in the social conditions of the “racaille” trash, in this case Arab trash–that is French born Arab trash.

    Now he makes a political platform of falsely presenting Muslims in France as Islamists, oppressors of women, and we are supposed to think he is liberating them. Doubtful.

  23. Wow…aren’t we gorgeous us humans and our minds. So as an Aussie when I heard of the French move I was irritated by yet another governmental decree on how individuals wish to dress/think/be.

    Then I read this blog and thought of how our individual choices create repercussions for others.

    Then I read the comments and thought of the beauty in the diversity and interpretations of the human beings mind.

    Ultimately I think, religous, culture differences aside, it is these kind of issues that challenge us to grow…grow in acceptance of others, in understanding of ourselves and ultimately in understanding that it is the interpretation we give something that can create conflict not the thing itself.

    I hope in Australia we never have such a ban whilst acknowledging I might feel very different if I was in a Islamic country.

    I also and more so, hope no woman in Australia ever feels she ‘has’ to wear anything.

  24. Culture is a straightjacket for so many people. They feel that, since something is the norm in their culture, it is right, and they will do it forever. What I think would help people is more ability to break free of the conventional wisdom and complacency that culture provides and think for themselves.

    I still do not know, however, if it is right to ban something in a country that should be a bastion of individual rights. Would it not be better to ban men from forcing the women in their families to do things?

    • Jenna

      menso I am in agreement with you… but how would one catch and enforce such a thing as making men treat women in their homes with equanimity? I think it is because of the difficulty inherent in that prospect that we must start with banning the outward artifacts of oppression.

  25. mya

    For someone who is so opposed to the niqab, why do you choose to define yourself by it? I’m referring to the image in your banner in case you were wondering.

    You seem as if you’re full of contradictions. Whenever I read your blog, I get the feeling that I’m reading about a super hormonal teenager who is trying, very desperately, to make a statement.

    “it made me happy that women there don’t have a choice”
    This statement made me lose any possibility of respecting your opinion.

    I think it would be very enlightening if one day you wrote a post defining what Islam actually means to you, instead of always reacting or responding to what you think it is not.

    Define ‘tawheed’ in your terms. What does aqeedah mean to you? I think it would help your readers to understand where you’re coming from.

    • “For someone who is so opposed to the niqab, why do you choose to define yourself by it? I’m referring to the image in your banner in case you were wondering.”
      There is no denying that the niqab is a cultural symbol. This is how Saudi women are perceived, a pair of beautiful eyes on a silent and covered face.

      I know your type, I’ve been dealing with them my whole life. If I don’t conform and feel privileged to be oppressed, then you attack my intellect, my intentions and my faith. And then a a couple of years later I find you doing the exact same thing that you were attacking me about.

      • mya

        I don’t know how you could have figured out my “type” so quickly. An interesting statement. I’m not really the “type of person” who likes to put people into categories, so I don’t really understand how you did that. I’m not trying to say anything about you. I just wondered why you allowed that image to be the first image people see on your webpage.

        I asked questions. I didn’t make assumptions. I’m very sorry to see that you still insist on reacting instead of defining. I don’t need you to become anything nor do I want you to become anything. What is it exactly that you think I’m doing now? And what will I be doing in a couple of years? It must be a fun past time to play fortune teller.

      • You say: “I asked questions. I didn’t make assumptions.”

        referring to these comments:
        “Whenever I read your blog, I get the feeling that I’m reading about a super hormonal teenager who is trying, very desperately, to make a statement.”
        “This statement made me lose any possibility of respecting your opinion.”
        “I think it would be very enlightening if one day you wrote a post defining what Islam actually means to you, instead of always reacting or responding to what you think it is not.
        Define ‘tawheed’ in your terms. What does aqeedah mean to you? I think it would help your readers to understand where you’re coming from.”

        So you don’t like to put me into categories? And you are only asking not assuming? These are typical muttawa tactics to belittle anyone who ever goes against them. Instead of taking my post at face-value and responding to it’s contents, you attack the writer personally and question my right to have an opinion. My religion and how I practice is none of your business. I do it for God not so that I gain your approval or anyone else’s for that matter.

      • Marcus

        SAUDIWOMAN.
        Salaam walaikum.
        I hope your doing ok…

        “If I don’t conform and feel privileged to be oppressed”….

        Can you confirm that for me, just so I understand completely… you feel privileged that you, as a woman are oppressed? Are you saying that because you are a woman and the man oppresses you, you feel privileged?

        chat soon.

    • umm.. relax! Why are you pyscho-analyzing? Humans are full of contradictions. Thats what makes us human. Also, why does she have to write a post explaining her beliefs to you? Why is it your business or any of our business?

      This post irritated me so much that I had to respond!

  26. Hassan

    Well done French parliament!

    There should be a ban on this burqa everywhere else also.

  27. May Allah guide us the true path…….this post endorse the Lack of true knowledge in Ummah.

  28. Islam does not opress women.

    • Marcus

      Of course Islam oppresses women… It is very clear and evident when reading any and all Islamic scriptures and your statement is quite astonishing and quite dangerous…

    • alahad

      It’s double standard actually. In Islam, women are not supposed to be sexually attracted to men, hence the men don’t have to cover up.

      Obviously, it’s not the same for men.

      I rest my case.

  29. Lis

    Assalam alaikum

    Loved your post!

    When I converted at first I hated the idea of niqab. I thought that it’s oppressive and is an obstacle for a healthy society.

    Then I changed my mind because I read about how it’s a freedom. Maybe it is for few women. There are many more who have no choice left in this matter and have to cover the face.

    Later I started to wear the niqab, I thought of it as my own choice. Now I can’t take it off if I want. My family takes it for granted now, I have to wear it. I grew to resent the whole idea of it. I view niqab more as a cultural practice rather than religious. It does not at all represent how religious I am. It’s just a piece of cloth. Unworthy piece of cloth. It does make a life of many women more complicated, uncomfortable and restricted no matter what few niqabi women proclaim.

    Niqabi women should always be a minority for a healthy and harmonious society. I also hope no woman rushes with the decision to start covering her face. It should be well though over.

    • shirleybk

      lis, dear heart, please don’t define yourself so tightly that you can’t make a change. We can ALL change, though it takes a very firm decision and tough follow-through. I wish you the best in perhaps becoming non-niqab.

  30. Mac–
    The issue is human rights from a western perspective in a western country

    Exactly, ie choice. Which is why the French feminists are against the ban, starting with the highly reputable Martine Aubry (Socialist Party).

    I read the post, and if you read my comment you would know that it is a choice, for French reverts. It is also a choice for every French citizen over the age of majority. I repeat, most Muslims in France are Maghrebi Maliki and don’t wear the niqab in their countries of origin. Those being forced to do so by family have all the other rights of French citizens and recourse to Family Services, as well as freedom from family guardianship as soon as they are 16.

    Women in the West did fight hard for choice, and given that French feminism is less dichotomous than American feminism, one could argue they have more breadth of choice in France than in some other Western countries.

    Banning the niqab feeds the right eg The National Front, in case anyone was in much doubt, ie the ones who almost one the Presidential elections when Chirac got his last mandate. The ones who are not unhappy (to put it mildly) to be called fascists, the ones who have names like Jean-Marie, Marie-Ange, Jean-Joseph-Marie, Marie-France, etc ie Roman Catholic from before the Papacy was in Avignon, or Aix-en-Provence.

    Such extreme positions also force other more moderate people into “us” or “them” camps, and into defending aspects of their faith they would prefer not to.

    • lark

      The ban on the niqab has more than one aspect. It is shameful that the left has been silent and the right has been a defender of women from bullying in this instance. The cultural relativism of the left has made them inadequate to this task.

      But a defense against bullying it is. Pressure to veil is bullying, whether it be parental, sibling, from husband, from friends, from law, from religion. There is much pressure.

      The notion that the ban is oppressing women who choose to veil ignores the wider context of tremendous, life long, bullying on women to veil. This bullying weakens women in many areas, that is why this is a core issue.

      Ban niqab: take a stand against bullying.

      I admire the women who forthrightly and publicly support this ban. You are courageous. How long will it take before these women get death threats?

  31. Saudiwoman–

    You don’t think there is psychological scarring when a woman is raised to believe that the opposite sex is a pack of sex-hungry wolves that are out to get her? And that she is a lamb, jewel, piece of candy, frosted cake…anything but a human individual?

    I study and treat psychological scarring and it is much harder to treat when there is an ongoing, irremediable, difficult to hide (including from romantic partner or spouse) permanent physical alteration.

    The dominant discourse about women in France is far from what you describe, and is the one in the public schools that most French Muslims attend, as well as permeating all media, and living example in the ambient society. While the impact of family is great it lessens, even for those from highly traditional cultures, in adolescence and adulthood.

    I think conflating the Saudi and the French situation on this issue doesn’t help either cause.

    And the French ban is for the French by the French. Or does original ethnicity supersede current nationality?

    According to the people actively promoting this ban yes, it does. The children of immigrant Maghrebi workers only recently won (under Mitterand) the right to French citizenship if born in France, and the right to acquire it after that legislation took effect if they went through a series of administrative hoops. To call their parents immigrants is a bit of a euphemism, because the “travailleurs immigrés” only won the right to French citizenship in that same batch of reforms. Up until then, even after,40 years in the country they had no citizenship claim.

    The people actively in favour of this ban and doing the most to push it through would be happy to see those laws changed.

    I have studied French politics and on this issue long enough to know that this is not a good direction in which to head. My own personal favourite is reviewing the campaign in 1981 that first put Mitterand in office. A major plank of the Front National’s platform was to send all non-Gallic French home on election. Chirac’s response (supposedly Centre Right) was: don’t worry, we will send them back as soon as possible.
    But the best was the far right running on a promise not to send Maghrebi children (born in France, but does it really matter?) to the summer camps that almost all children go to–because they aren’t our kind and we don’t want them to be with the other children. That is the mentality one is dealing with here.

    Again, I appreciate your zeal for reform in Saudi, and your desire to improve the lot of Muslim women, but the French burqa ban has specific dangers within the context of French politics and culture.

  32. All-This is the post I wrote after reading the French news this morning, and which I just posted:

    Why, even if you hate the niqab, you should hate the French “burqa ban” more

    When you see the pictures you will get the fuller picture, I hope, and especially after reading the text.

    All are more than welcome to comment.

  33. Leila

    I support the ban for reasons stated in this blog. I doubt niqabis living in France have jobs, its likely they are supported by the state or their families. Its not the government’s fault if these women now choose to stop going to the local shop or drop their children at school, its their mindset that is standing in their way. However its needless to discuss whether the niqab is oppressive or not by the French goverment, why not just ban all types of face covering worn by both sexes in public places?

    • There are very few niqabis living in France, most of them French reverts. Forcing them into an all or nothing, us vs them conflict is not going to help their mindset.

  34. I’m torn on the issue of the Burqa ban. There are both reasons for and against the ban and your post certainly is helpful for giving a Saudi woman’s perspective.

    There is one lingering question I have though – will the ban help the people it’s meant to? Or will it leave said women further isolated?

    In the end I think, the answer to those two questions will decide whether the ban is a good thing or not.

    • My problem is that it is meant to help elect the right in conjunction with the far right. And yes it will help do that, and Sarkozy et al. don’t give “deux sous” about the women–otherwise they would address social issues affecting minorities, and extremism in certain mosques. The Grand Mufti of Paris, essentially the Chief Imam of France is an Algerian, Maliki. He agrees with the ban to curtail the influence of Islamists–but that could be achieved more effectively by doing what Sarkozy’s Minister of the Interior suggested: paying closer attention to what is being taught in the mosques.

  35. mya

    I couldn’t find a link to reply directly to your comment. I think maybe the reason you always take a defensive tone is because living where you do, you probably have to very often. And that is not fair to you. People should have a choice when it comes to religion. It is in the Qur’an itself and should not be argued with. Where I think you misunderstand me is when you think I have the power or desire to take away your opinion or your rights.

    This is not the case at all. Instead what I said was, I didn’t respect your opinion once you said you think women should not have CHOICE. Is there something more demeaning to women than that statement? I, personally, don’t think so. And, I of course, like you, am entitled to have my opinion am I not?

    My comment on how your blog seemed as if it was written by a “super hormonal teenager” was uncalled for, and I apologize for the offense. But, still at the time, that is what I felt.

    And just lastly, I’d like to say:
    “My religion and how I practice is none of your business. I do it for God not so that I gain your approval or anyone else’s for that matter.”

    Ironic concluding lines. Was not your post expressing your ecstatic joy in the fact that there are people who will be limited in their religious freedom? Just because you are suffering in an environment where you are unable to live freely the way you see fit, does that deem it necessary for people elsewhere to be limited as well? Is that really the solution?

    • Covering your face is not about spirituality or religion. What if a group of people started to say that clothes were against their religious beliefs? would you be ok with them practicing their “freedom of choice” on your streets?
      I don’t know if you are Muslim or not, but let me just tell you that the Prophet PBUH at his very last public speech, a woman with a sunburned face stood up and spoke to him in front of everyone. In every Hadith about the incident, the person telling it remarked on her face. If covering the face was so important to being a Muslim, wouldn’t the prophet have said something to her about it? No, he just responded to her question.

      • ProudMuslimah

        Saudiwoman, can you tell me where I can find this hadeeth inshaAllah, its just that im struggling to find hadeeths that prove that the sahaabahs uncovered their faces. I have cine across only one which is weak.

      • That’s funny! No you show me one hadeeth saheeh that proves women covered their faces at the time of the sahabah. I dare you.

    • Leila

      Mya

      The aqeedah or tawheed of Saudiwoman is not relevant to the subject being discussed. You have asked for her definition because as rightly said you want to put her in a category, a category where her opinion and experiences are dismissed because in your eyes and others like you her beliefs are questionable.

    • AsSalafiManhaj

      I couldnt have put it better myself mya..!

  36. Sandra

    All I can say is Viva La France!! Nuns have been giving up the “habit” since the 1960’s. Any woman-and I mean any woman from any country of any religion-who is forced to wear a particular piece of clothing or garment, IS being burdened and crushed by authority and power. Period. It is both spiritual and mental abuse. And no liberal feel good BS is going to change that. God created us-if you believe in the major religions-so exactly what is being hidden from God?? God already knows what is where-and how and when it should be used. I always find it amazing that so many “religious” men tell women what they need to do to, and hence get and stay pure. The puritan aldermen in Salem Massachusetts started with the witch killings and ended up murdering many men, women, and children. It seems that they had a long and storied tradition to build on.
    Saudiwoman-I love you for bringing this up. Who and what we are is in our hearts. I say-clothing optional.

  37. Arianne

    Aside from the subjugation of women, terrorism is a major reason to outlaw veiling since people often use the tent-like garments to commit their crimes:

    Two suicide bombers, one in women’s clothing, detonated their explosives outside a mosque in the southeastern Iranian city of Zahedan…The death toll, initially estimated at 20, rose to 26, according to local officials on Friday who said the wounded included some with life-threatening injuries…
    Eventually the whole nonIslamic world will most likely ban the wearing of the burqa, chador, abaya, etc.
    Veiling is offensive, even if it’s “merely” hijab. It renders women second class citizens, makes them seem all the more tantalizing in their “forbidden fruit” garb. The Turks seem to know this having outlawed hijab for decades in university and government. Religion claims that the misbehavior of men is the fault of “improperly” dressed women. The veil sexualizes women and female children in a manner that would not happen if they were normally dressed.
    When the Islamic world gives human rights to their own people, in particular women as well as foreigners, then they can scream about “human rights violations” in other nations. Women of the world are not exactly rushing to take vacations in Islamic hot-spots like KSA just so that they can wear a tent in double-digit heat and be harassed by disrespectful pious males. The KSA and many other Muslim nations ban certain western clothing like shorts and sleeveless tops. The west should be free to ban the demeaning veil—that walking coffin.
    As Jerry said: ”The face veil has nothing to do with modesty. It is about control, male control of women.”
    One does have to wonder about the Muslim female-herd-mentality, to be so willingly instrumental in their own subjugation, degradation and dehumanization at the hands of men and their society. It is up to Muslim women to free themselves. The west can only insist on adherence to its laws and customs. It has every right to do that!
    It is eternally fascinating to note that Muslims incessantly demand that the rest of the world respect their values and traditions, yet they refuse to reciprocate. The French (and the whole nonMuslim world) have every right to ban anything that denies the human rights of half of the human race. Muslims cannot demand that nonMuslim women veil or dress “properly” in Islamic lands while they, themselves will not respect the laws and customs of the west and other nonMuslim nations. Those who don’t want to be subject to “man-made” laws should stay in dar al Islam!

    Arianne

    • You said,”The KSA and many other Muslim nations ban certain western clothing like shorts and sleeveless tops.”

      This is the right of KSA, and it has nothing to do with whether or not Muslims adhere to Western standards while living in Western countries.

      Actually, Muslims can demand,”…that nonMuslim women veil or dress ‘properly’ in Islamic lands while they, themselves will not respect the laws and customs of the west and other nonMuslim nations.”

      They feel their customs are superior, and should take precedence over everyone else’s, which is again their right. However, any people who do not consider the impact of their practices upon the rest of the world are short-sighted and arrogant at best. At worst, their hubris fuels conflict that has and will continue to breed nothing but cross-cultural resentment, and, ultimately, war.

  38. Unnamed

    I’d like to see SaudiWoman answer some of Mya’s questions.

    From reading this blog, the feeling I get is that there’s nothing about Islam or her culture that she likes or agrees with – only nitpicking at flaws continuously and call anyone who raises this point a ‘muttawa’?

    • ProudMuslimah

      Thats what im thinking….

      • then save yourself the trouble n stop reading her blog if it annoys you that much.

        Of course, she’ll talk about flaws, what good would come out of talking about nice cool things in saudi, this is not a tourism blog!

        Saudi like any other country has its good share of good n bad things. if her exposing of the bad things going on here offends you so much, you don’t have to read, it’s your choice.

        Meanwhile, I applaud her for being of the very few who dare talk about what’s wrong in this country .. keep it up!

  39. Pingback: Making Sense of French Burqa Ban | MCA Youth

  40. Countrygirl

    It’s nice to hear a voice for the nijab banning from the KSA.

    Chiara said that the majority of the women wearing the nijab are converted but those women simply trowed away their westerness, they are more royalist than the king, for them their countrymen/women are kuffir someone to avoid, for them the nijab is compulsory because it’s written in the Koran.

    Sadly in Europe the wahabbism is getting stronger. In some part of Europe (Bulgaria, Cecenia, and part of former Yugoslavia) there are many mosque financed by KSA and of course the imans preach the most radical form of islam.

    I’m wondering the daughters of those french women wearing the nijab will be able to chose of NOT wearing it?

    Some weeks ago here in Italy a woman was fined because she was wearing the nijab and the husband said to the journalists….” I don’t have the money to pay for this fine, so I WON’T let my wife to go outside” so where is the freedom of not wearing it, how can you tell that a woman chose to wear the nijab, how can you tell that a converted was brainwashed by her husband to wear it?

  41. Recently I signed a petition to try and stop Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani ( & any future woman) from being stoned to death. Not french I know nor to do with covering ones face and yet…

    Is it possible that we can still stone a human because of the beliefs that underline things such as the burqa?

    As I read through these blogs I think of the harm Christianity has/is done/doing to women & children. See
    http://leesis.wordpress.com/2010/05/17/the-uncontrollable-penis/ http://leesis.wordpress.com/2010/05/26/attention-roman-catholic-leaders-step-up/

    It seems to me that god has absolutley nothing to do with this except to watch and see how we sort it out and hope perhaps we might figure it out with love.

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  43. mouna

    As a French-Candian secular mouslim of algerian origin, i totally support the ban on burqah in france. In fact I hope its ban becomes law all over Europa and spread across the Alantiqe to North Amerika. I have seen first hand what burah and beard have done to my native land of Algeria. Many of the burqah clad women in Algeria were directly involved in terrorism acts such as slipping communication letters,small arms, and intelligence to other radical islamist cell members. They destroyed Algeria and forced many of us upper class well to do Algerians to flee the country and go to Europe. Those bastards destroyed our lives and caused civil war in my country. When i first fled my country and went to france, there were not many burqah clad women there but it started to mestasize like cancer. This was in 88. However by mid 90s, buqah become the norm rather than exception among some religious and radical segments of muslim community, mostly immigrants from algeria and other north afrikan countries. However, many native born french women who accepted islam were brainwashed(and also heavily bribed) by radical imams and female students from saoudy and gulf, that to be a good muslim and to compensate for their past sinful lives, they must adopt full veil (abayaa) no matter what and anything less, they would not be considered true muslims. A good number of them especially the converts, but also north afrikan diaspora and other muslim students and immigrants from afghanistan and pakistan, adopted full veil and beards. As a result, many of them were awarded by saoudy sponsored organizations. They were given lots of money, good apartments and cars and free first class tickets to makkah. I know this personally first hand as in the beginning i was offered a couple of times but i refused. Even at that time, i had a dreadful sense that the curse of the burqah (and also beard) had followed me from algeria, across the mediterranean to the steets of paris. Then in 97 i left france for canada where i finished my education and got a good job offer. It was in toronto that i observed that hijab was an exception just like it was when i first arrived in france in 88, but now it has began to spread among mouslim community. True, most mouslim women dont wear burqah but many do and many of them who do wear are usually forced to wear it and many of those burqah wearing women have abusive and narrow minded husbands. Some indeed do wear burqah by free choice and conviction but they are too strict in their religious interpretations and are supportive of jihad. As a psychologist, I know many of them have severe mental health issues and really need therapy but these women are brainwashed. They keep citing Saoudy Arabia as a perfect example of an ideal mouslim society, but i know from my saoudy contacts, that many saoudy women, as the blogger also confirms, secretly detest abaya as it is a more cultural phenomenon rather than religious. BTW, why do saoudy sponsored organisations spend millions of dollars every year on mouslim communities in Europa and Amerika preaching them to follow a more rigid and restrictive form of islam? It is worth pondering over. I have no doubt that burqah is a symbol of a very rigid and perverse form of islam which is suffocating mouslims worldwide from achieving progress and their full potentials. I know first hand the carnage that these burqah and bearded islamist caused in my country and what they are doing in iraq and afghanistan during taliban control. In my practise as a psychologist, i have come across many burqah/abayaa/hijab clad females and know first hand the abuse and brainwashing they have gone through. Yet it is so hard to kick sense in most of them since they do not properly understand how psychologically and emotionally ill they are and really need care. I dont blame non-mouslim Europeans and Amerikans for fearing the burqah as they have suffered terrorist incidents on their continents and have much to fear from such incidents in the future. If these burqah clad women were so strong in their conviction, why dont they migrate to some place such as soudy or soudan or iran?! Besides, would saoudy or soudan or iran allow foreign non mouslim women to dress as they wish and let them walk like that in their cities?! We all know the answer. Hell, one of soudan’s own mouslim citizen had to flee the country when she wore some jeans!! Or in saoudy, where women are locked behind the veil with no rights. I am not saying western countries are totally perfect, but at least there is univeral human rights for all citizens and we try to accomodate all cultures,creeds, customs and religious beliefs. Mosques are allowed to be built, islamic centers and schools are allowed to be built but all these countries are asking for is a spirit for assimilation not isolation and confrontation. Truth is, when i was still living in France before moving to Canada, there were rumours of physical and sexual abuse in mouslim community ghettos. Last time i visited France was in 06 and when i met old friends, they told me that the situation for mouslims has worsened ten fold in the decade since i had left. Many mouslims had espoused a strict wahabi style of islam, beard and burqahs had increased dramatically, assimilation was an all time low, moderate and secular mouslims intimidated by their more strict peers, reluctantly went along, mouslim ghettos outside of paris and other main french cities were the highest in the nation in terms of drug abuse, prostitution, physical and sexual abuse, and of course honor killings. Crimes were so rampant, that police really didnt want to enter those ghettos or shanty towns. In fact, some of my friends who were also fellow mouslims confided to me that the french police were worried about reports that in these ghettos, jihadist literature and radical imams were present, dangerous arms were present which could be used in future terrorist attacks. Some mouslim immigrants who were rich enough or saved quite some money didnt want to live in such ghettos outside the main cities and moved to better places. Some who were moderately religious shaved off their beards and ordered their women to dress french since they didnt want to be associated with the majority of their religious counterparts living in the ghettos and I dont blame them since I would not want to be associated with such loozers, criminals and psychopaths. Thus its very good that the French goverment has woken up and are taking concrete steps to counter the menace of radical islam before it becomes too late and banning the burqah is the first proper step.

    • You have actually made an excellent argument for doing exactly what the French Minister of the Interior, some Muslims, and many feminists in France said to do–go after the type of Islam being preached in the mosques and the activities that were against normal freedoms of speech and religion, rather than target the women.

      Only 6% of the French population is even Muslim, so comparisons with a Muslim majority country are inappropriate. Algeria has very specific problems with governance which facilitated the rise of the Islamists beginning with the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood, many of them expelled from Egypt.

      You are also making an excellent argument that there are other problems more worthy of the French government’s energy like all forms of domestic violence including among immigrant and minority populations. Banning the niqab is like treating a minor symptom rather than a psychopathology (to put it in terms of psychological diagnosis and treatment).

      In other terms, banning the burqa in France is like making Somali women stop wearing a headscarf in Canada and thinking it will stop female genital excision in the Somali immigrant community; and moreover, by the logic of many commenting here, that it will have any impact on the practice in Somalia. What does have an impact is making performing female genital excision in Canada illegal for anyone to do–even allowing that many then just take the girls on holiday to Somalia and have it done there, or do it before arrival, or do it clandestinely here. It does not have any impact on rates of female genital excision in Somalia. Only changing attitudes and laws there can do that–mostly attitudes, especially as it is currently a failed state.

      • Marcus

        HI there, hope your well…
        Your statement: “In other terms, banning the burqa in France is like making Somali women stop wearing a headscarf in Canada and thinking it will stop female genital excision in the Somali immigrant community; ”

        I disagree… this has nothing to do with a head scarf, I doubt very much anyone really has a problem with ladies wearing a nice stylish headscarf.. I used to think Sofia Loren looked stunning driving along in a red Ferrari, black sun glasses and a Gucci head scarf…
        The face veil is completely different in my eyes.. The face is the window to the heart.. Where Love lives… Hide that away and you take Love away… , face veils cruelly hammer home this point…
        The men are scared of the women… and thats a fact…
        I remember attending a Royal wedding back in 1980/81… and the young girls dancing, swishing their hair, music playing, fires burning, men playing drum and Arab style string instruments… Only later do I realise that the girls (all with gorgeous dark flowing hair) were being traded…
        The male dominated society prevalent in the Gulf and Islamic world, which suppresses all others who do not follow its doctrine and or the religion or faith of Islam, as well as their own women folk, will most definitely change girls… of course it will…. You changed it already…
        May I wish you all a wonderful day…

  44. Tiziana

    I totally agree with the French ban, for the same reasons you magistrally explained in your post. Go on writing this bitter amazing blog.

  45. Al Britaaniyah

    As-salaamu alaykum….

    To be honest, as much as I dislike the ban itself, I believe that if France decided to ban it in their country, the women there should wake-up and realise that they are living in darul kufr (land of disbelief)..Where I will get angry though is when a country like Britain who goes on and on about freedom of speech, freedom of choice and dress…FREEDOM, FREEDOM, FREEDOM, is calling for the same ban as France! Where is the freedom in that?!

  46. It does make sense. And I would argue it’s not just because of security reasons.

    The same way freedom of speech cannot be ruled for those who wish to preach for hate or against the very freedom that they themselves use.
    It’s pretty similar as you can’t expect someone who grew into a culture which educated him that his only 2nd best after men, to go against everything he had been taught and indoctrinated since childhood even though it’s put her at the very bottom for no reason.

    • The majority of women wearing the niqab in France are French (ie white non-immigrant French) Catholic reverts to Islam. I use the word reverts because they use it about themselves. Part of the argument for the ban is that those who want it see this as evidence that Islamist groups are making inroads into traditional French culture among “the French of France”.

      These women were raised that they had equal opportunities as men, that they are equal to men, that they can have a career, marriage and family and should (French state run schools from age 3 on make it a lot easier there), and that they have personal freedoms guaranteed by the state.

      They were not raised nor indoctrinated as you describe.

  47. Arianna

    Marahm says: ”They feel their customs are superior, and should take precedence over everyone else’s, which is again their right.”

    I absolutely agree that it is their right in their own lands. In nonMuslim lands however, Muslims must adhere to the customs and laws of those lands instead of demanding to impose the laws of discriminatory sharia. As to their customs being “superior,” that’s a bit of a stretch since no other customs demand stoning of adulterers and death for apostates or inequality for women and nonMuslims.

    Al Britaaniyah claims that Britain and other “darul kufr (land of disbelief)” should not be permitted to make their own laws because it’s “not freedom” to demand that Muslims obey western laws. We would suggest that Muslims stay in dar al Islam if they don’t want to obey the laws and customs of the kufr.

    Again, the problem is that Muslims want it both ways, they want that unbelievers obey the laws of Islam in Islamic lands and that Muslims can impose their 7th century, discriminatory, tribal rules and customs while in diaspora in the lands of the unbelievers.

    Evidently, the rest of the world, especially the west, is not buying that since the west also believes that its customs, laws and cultures are superior. The proof of the pudding is in the eating. Clearly the rest of the world agrees since most people, including Muslims, have adopted western lifestyles, use western discoveries, innovations, developments and products. Muslims have the choice, as do all peoples, to abstain. Oddly, all too many do no such thing.

    The “kufr” find it very odd that so many believers are not ashamed of using anything and everything that the infidel world provides, yet, they still wish to eliminate that world, often via violence. Where would even the wealthy KSA be without “kufr” products, technology, medicines, foods and labor? Those that have oil can’t even get the cursed resource out of the ground without kufr help from expats. Where will the world be if everyone becomes a Muslim—back in the 7th century?

    An ancient Chinese saying states: “Women hold up half the sky.” Lands that subjugate and objectify their women while denying them human rights are infamous for being backward and corrupt in the extreme. To shun and deny the skills, talents and humanity of half of the human species is not only a morally bankrupt, but also a self defeating policy that will leave such lands in poverty and corruption. As Pulitzer Prize winning author Nicholas Kristof has said: ”Women and girls aren’t the problem; they’re the solution.”

    “Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide,”

    Many people in the world believe that any woman who is foolish enough to permit her husband or her society to demand that she be veiled or that a woman should be stoned for “adultery” or that apostates should be killed or imprisoned, that women should have fewer rights than men, etc. deserves her chosen fate.

    If Muslim women want equality then it is up to them. There is little to nothing that the rest of the world can do for them. They must rise up themselves as western and other women did and fight for their rights. If they like the status quo then so be it. Look at it this way, the mutawa can’t and won’t imprison or kill all women who demand their equality. If all Muslim women rose up one day for their rights, what could these men do? In reality, they would be overwhelmed.

    In the meantime—when in Rome. . . the believers should attempt to respect the kufur laws and customs because, if they do not, more and more laws will be passed in dar al Harb to curtail their monumental disrespect.

  48. lark

    Here is an American Muslim journalist (woman) who has a blog, and she writes of supporting this ban:

    http://www.monaeltahawy.com/blog/?p=283

    • Thanks for this link. Mona says, “Liberals decrying the infringement of women’s rights should acknowledge that the absence of debate on these critical issues allowed the political right and the Muslim right to seize the situation.”

      She has pointed to a misplaced concern on the part of those who would stand up for “women’s rights.”

  49. Thank you for this very interessting article. I was very happy to hear an opinion of a woman that has really something to do with that culture and not the opinion of a journalist of a German, French, Dutch, American, western journalist. In my opinion it is a very horrible thing that woman are forced to hide their faces and body but I also thing if a woman thinks that she wants to wear a burka due to her religion in order to feel closer to god or whatever, it is her right. I am just concerned if all women who think that they do it due to their religion really do it because of that and not because they actually think they need to because of the society. In general, every person should have the same rights and the right to choose what to wear.

  50. Maram

    I could not agree more!

    A person’s face is their identity and covering it makes no sense at all, even to me as a Saudi woman. Having people normally walking around with their faces covered is an underestimated threat to security, at least in my opinion.

    If a woman doesn’t want male attention, she can simply restrain from wearing make-up, wear modest clothing and cover her hair if she needs to. That should do! Covering one’s face is a ridiculous measure.

    Ironically, most Saudi women who cover their faces showing only their eyes, claiming they don’t want male attention, most of them wear extensive amounts of eye make-up.
    That fact, alone, says a lot!

  51. Marcus–the headscarf was used as the analogy because Somali women in Canada, if they cover wear a headscarf, not the niqab. The headscarf and the niqab were not posited as equivalent, only examples in 2 different communities of treating a symptom rather than the problem itself.

    Generally, I am well aware that the face veil is not an Islamic requirement, and that women manage to be sexy and flirt wearing one. The university community I am in has a number of just such women, also just as many or more are not being flirty, at least not around me. I often come across them at the cafeteria, eating, joking, laughing, and complimenting each other on how well turned out they are.

    The French issue is really more about broader socio-political issues, and far less about rescuing Muslim women from oppressive mores or oppressive men. There is a corresponding conservative turn within the French culture and even French feminism that wants all women home, making babies, and out of the workforce and the broader social sphere. Coincidence with a general time of economic recession, and worse right now? I think not.

    I have written about that with the links, here:

    Mother’s Day in France and in the Former French Colonies of MENA

    • Marcus

      HI there../
      And yes, I understood exactly what you meant and I dont agree your conclusions.. The head scarf for whoever wishes to wear it is fine… Somali or not.. The covering of ones face is a completely different matter all together…

    • lark

      “The French issue is really more about broader socio-political issues, and far less about rescuing Muslim women from oppressive mores or oppressive men. ”

      The fact that this is true for you does not mean it characterizes the issue as a whole.

      The above discussion verifies that.

      This is an issue that has resonance far beyond French borders (and within French borders) due to how it relates to women’s freedom.

      • Marcus–glad it was clear. We can then disagree.

        Lark–if it were just my personal interpretation I wouldn’t bother sharing it.

        I sincerely believe that women’s freedom will be more compromised by bolstering far right prominence in French politics, than by banning the niqab for the very few who wear it. And I really cannot for the life of me believe that this will have any impact in any of the Muslim societies where women do where the niqab. In fact it merely reinforces the idea of the lack of tolerance of the West and bolsters the us vs them from a different angle.

        I’m usually very good at seeing all sides of an issue, but on this one, having lived in France for years, and in different parts of the country, most of the time with an Arab Muslim husband, and having studied French culture in detail and at length, I really don’t see any good coming of this. Hopefully I am wrong.

      • I’m extremely sure that the ban will have an impact not only in France but also in Muslim communities in other countries. If Europe makes a stand against the oppression of women, it will NOT be considered as racist by moderate Muslims. Because the majority of Muslims know and understand the importance of equality between genders in the West. This ban will only bother the extremist who are already bothered anyway and won’t be happy until their extreme version of Sharia law is implemented everywhere. If we don’t bully them down, they will bully us down.

  52. ProudMuslimah

    Saudiwoman whats funny? Im being serious, where can I find that hadeeth if its too difficult for you to reference then dont worry. Quote the reference of the hadeeth please.

    • عن جابر بن عبدالله رضي الله عنه قال: (شهدت مع رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم الصلاة يوم العيد …فقالت امرأة من سطة النساء- أي جالسة وسطهن – سعفاء الخدين – أي فيهما تغير وسواد – …الحديث) وهذه الحادثة كانت فيها المرأة الخثعمية غير محرمة لأنها وقعت يوم العيد بعد رمي جمرة العقبة, ولو كان الوجه عورة يلزم ستره لما أقر الرسول الكريم كشفه بحضرة الناس, ولأمرها أن تسبل عليه من فوق..
      صحيح مسلم, ج3, 19
      سنن النسائي, ج1, 233
      الطبقات, ج 1, 164
      سنن الدارمي, ج 1, 377

    • UN

      Abu Dawood Book 14, Hadith # 2482
      Narrated Thabit ibn Qays (Radhiallaahu Ánhu): A woman called Umm Khallad came to the Prophet (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) while she was veiled. She was searching for her son who had been killed (in the battle) Some of the Companions of the Prophet (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) said to her: You have come here asking for your son while veiling your face? She said: If I am afflicted with the loss of my son, I shall not suffer the loss of my modesty. Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) said: You will get the reward of two martyrs for your son. She asked: Why is that so, oh Prophet of Allah? He replied: Because the people of the Book have killed him.

      • Marcus

        wow…. and Mohammed can do that, I mean, he can just give two martyrs, just like that… ???

        I am amazed…

  53. Saudiwoman–I hope you are right. I fear you are wrong. Bullying usually backfires, at some point. Far right political power usually spells bad news for minorities, and women.

    This has precious little to do with Muslim women’s rights. It would be fine if it accidentally did some good. I doubt it will. I have enough experience with life in France and Europe to trust that doubt.

    The niqab is mainly symbolic, for Islamists and Islamophobes alike. Most oppression of women occurs without a niqab being involved. Symbolic victories can be powerful, this one is more likely Cadmean

    • Niqab is definitely not symbolic to those having to wear it. You can say it’s reality, oppressive…. anything but an abstract symbolization.

      • I didn’t mean to imply that it was symbolic to those who wear it because of coercion of any sort, only that it is symbolic in the case of this ban, and those from the political or politicized camps arguing for and against it. My apologies if that was inadvertently implied.

        Women in France no matter what influences they have at home, in the mosque, or in their community, also have far more options to choose not to wear the niqab or the hijab at whatever point in their life, and certainly as soon as they reach the age of majority. They also have far more resources within French society to help them and many mainstream discourses encouraging them to fulfil their broadest potential, and to make a legitimate choice if they decide to choose marriage, motherhood, and homemaking as their primary or sole role.

        As politics and society shift to the right these discourses, resources, and choices are more and more restricted for all. By using the niqab ban, the political parties who proposed it are inflating the notion of the otherness of “non-original French” and the impact they are having on “true French” society. This helps advance their broader platform which is xenophobic, exclusionary, and misogynistic to the extent that it is natalistic–a natalism that keeps women at home making the “right kind” of babies.

      • Chiara
        The people who choose to wear it are people who want to emphasize their otherness and believe that they are somehow chosen and the rest of French society is decadent infidels. Is it healthy to have people like that having families and growing within a society they condemn? The ban might not be the only thing that would push them to integrate and interact with society but it definitely is a step in the right direction.

  54. Unnamed

    SaudiWoman:

    There aren’t 10 version of Islam, there isn’t an extreme or a moderate version of the Sharia, there is only ONE version of Islam as practiced by the Prophet (PBUH) and his followers.

    It’s pretty simple, either A) You accept the premise that Muhammed was a prophet of God, therefore his decree came from above, ergo, our creator knows what’s best for us…. You accept the WHOLE package, complete submission and total faith.

    … Or B) You harbour some doubts about the validity of your faith and some of it’s pillars and in that case, one is always free to walk away and form their own belief system to navigate the ways of this world.

    In terms of the hijab, the Quran is 100% clear on this issue, our emotions and logic may say otherwise, infact as you may well know, the prophet himself did not make any decree’s on this issue even though Umar Ibn Khattab wanted it that way…… that is until the revelations ordered him to tell the Women of Medinah to cover and dress modestly.

  55. Marcus

    HI there, hope your well.
    You say:
    “This ban will only bother the extremist who are already bothered anyway and won’t be happy until their extreme version of Sharia law is implemented everywhere. If we don’t bully them down, they will bully us down.”

    No, just Sharia Law…😉

  56. Arianna

    Unnamed says:

    ”There aren’t 10 version of Islam, there isn’t an extreme or a moderate version of the Sharia, there is only ONE version of Islam as practiced by the Prophet (PBUH) and his followers.
    It’s pretty simple, either A) You accept the premise that Muhammed was a prophet of God, therefore his decree came from above, ergo, our creator knows what’s best for us…. You accept the WHOLE package, complete submission and total faith.”

    That is precisely what scares the Hell out of the rest of the world, the notion that “there is only ONE version of Islam as practiced by the Prophet.” Which was some pretty bad stuff when it comes to human rights.
    That means Islam is everything that nonMuslims fear. Is it any wonder the infidels are making laws to protect their way of life?

    ”one is always free to walk away and form their own belief system to navigate the ways of this world.”
    Right!
    He who leaves his religion: Kill him! Bukhari 9:57
    until the revelations ordered him to tell the Women of Medinah to cover and dress modestly.e
    Modesty does not mean being enveloped in a tent unable to breathe fresh air. The Qur’an does not specify any form of veiling! It is an invention of Muslim men in an effort to control their women. Why is it that other men on the planet can handle unveiled women, while Muslim men cannot?

    • simran

      hey arianna,
      i personally as a muslim do not believe that burqah is a requirement for muslim women. However, some muslims in their interpretation, which of course i and many other muslims disagree with, believe that burqah is a requirement. Most muslim women in France and the rest of Europe do not wear burqah. From what i heard from a few reliable sources, only 8% of muslim woman in whole of europe actually wear burqah; in france itself its a bit higher like about 12%. Most of them who do it are white european women who convert to islam as well as of course 1st and 2nd generation immigrants from north africa,egypt,pakistan and afghanistan. Most of the muslim women wearing burqah, about 80% do it out of their personal choice, especially the ones who convert to islam. Thus, there is a tiny fringe of muslim women who are forced to wear it but not as exaggerated as portrayed by the French president. The proper remedy for such a problem is for the french govt. to set up anonymous hotlines with national TV ads encouraging such women who are forced to wear abaya or physically abused to call those lines and have her rescued from such a torturous environment. Such women should be offered free counselling,food,medicine (if needed) and should be assisted in getting divorce from those oppressive husbands. The counselling center can help her with rehabilitation and with the help of NGO, a job for her to become self-independent (if she is a french citizen or a legal immigrant who intends to become a french citizen). Of course, to set up a system, the french govt. must be willing to spend some money on such services but i have no doubt, in the long run, it will be a very wise investment with profitable returns. Also, the french govt. must be willing to collaborate with moderate elements within the french muslim community to develop trust and to ensure the above program succeeds. Also, if a husband is found guilty of physical abuse, rape or forcing a woman to stay home or forcing her to wear burqah, then he should be severely punished. If that oppressive husband is a french citizen, he should not only be jailed for at least 5 yrs, but he should be denied any benefits by the govt. and if he is currently enjoying those benefits, they should be taken away ASAP. If he is a non-french citizen, he should be declared an undesirable alien, and deported back to home country with no permission for re-entry (and this also includes those who are in france on asylum status if they commit such a crime). After rehabilitation, most of those women will understand that they didnt have to tolerate the attitude of those male chauvinistic pigs and as french citizens or legal immigrants in france they do have basic human rights and will indeed be protected by the state if protection is needed. While most muslim men in france and whole of europe are law abiding and do not abuse their wives, there is a small fringe within the community that does but after the above mentioned steps are taken, they will be exposed and made to face the consequences. As of those who do wear the burqah by choice, as much as i disagree with their step, i do believe that it is their personal choice and that state should not ban it, othewise it will be seen as an attack on islam by the state and will only cause confrontation and resentment. The proper and wise way to counter this burqah phenomenon is not by banning it but by giving moderate muslim clerics who oppose burqah airtime on the national media who can debate those rigid wahabi types. They will be able to explain through Quran and Hadith with proof that burqah is not a requirement and has more to do with culture rather than religion. This will appeal more to such rigid types and while i am not saying it will cause burqah wearers to take off their burqah overnight, but in the long run it will have a strong effect in diluting the rigid wahabi ideology which advocates burqah. Further the french govt. needs to have water in its balls to investigate some muslim organisations which receive heavy funding from a couple of Muslim nations promoting their rigid wahabi ideology. France needs to tell the ambassadors of those countries with a straight face that their govts. must stop funding such organisations in france with their petrodollars. France must give proof to those ambassadors that their money is supporting radical muslim/wahabi organisations in france and that it must stop ASAP. We should not be blackmailed by their threatening to reduce our oil supplies. We should clearly make it clear to those govts. that if any elements from those groups are involved in terrorism in France or against French residents or French interests, France will make those countries suffer punitive damages as well as diplomatic and even military consequences. I am very well aware as most moderate muslims all over europe, that these foreign sponsored, benign sounding organisations spread vile propaganda and are against basic european values such as democracy, freedom of speech, freedom of worship etc. I as most moderate muslims are well aware that you can both be a patriotic french (british,danish, italian, german etc) as well as a faithful muslim; there is absolutely no contradiction. In any event, this is the right and appropriate way to rectify the burqah (and indeed the whole rigid wahabi/salafi ideology) problem by taking most muslims who are moderate into confidence by making them feel part of the system and state, and by respecting their cultures,customs and religion. Unless the french govt. can convincingly prove that the burqah is a national security issue, banning it is only going to make the problem more complicated. Also last but not least, before foreign muslims are allowed to immigrate to france they must be made clear that as a condition for them to immigrate and become french citizens, they must first consider them french first and muslims second (indeed it should be a requirement for other immigrants such as jews,christians,hindus etc). They must pledge total allegiance to french constiution. None of this nonsense like they have here in britian of some radical muslims saying, “to hell with british law, we are first and foremost muslims”. So before an immigrant is allowed to become a french citizen they must sign such papers and also agree to accept basic human and eurpean civil rights such as freedom of speech, freedom to allow others including their wives and children to live freely, and not to incite violence, and not to abuse their wives in any manner,shape or form. If they violate such promises after becoming citizens, their french citizenship should be revoked immediately and they should be deported back ASAP to their home country.

      • Leila

        Majority of Muslims are law abiding people who feel comfortable with identifying themselves as Muslim and British or French. To them its not one or the other. You need to stop reading right wing papers and get to know some Muslims. I dont need to sign any papers, my father and husband have never abused me and i dont know any Muslims who incites violence. However i do know that violence against women affects every community, the BNP, EDL and Islam4UK are looking to incite violence.

      • Marcus

        Anyone who wishes for “their” women folk to wear a black cloud is mentally sick and unstable and needs serious help… I am sorry.. it is that simple.. and I have to be straight again here, it could take a whole generation to help so many and address this most serious issue.. So tell the doctors…
        Spain will be next to ban the Burqa and I am fairly positive the UK will follow suite… And dont think it is going to stop there.
        With close to 100 sharia law courts operational in the UK, there is a huge movement to eradicate them and I mean people are marching and numbers are building and scaring the government… The sheer volume of numbers, if they started a political party, would have greater numbers than some unions… and most are working class lads and lasses who have been lied to by Labour… The Left.. not the bloody right… Jeez.. you people… Hitler was not a far right activist, he was a far left socialist workers party… Stalin, Lenin, Marx and all the other lunatic Left wing liberal communist socialists… That is the true face of Labour Government… filth and scum.. A Government who ONLY via whistle blower freedom of informations acts, we see PURPOSEFULLY removed border control and to flood the Islands with Immigrants… and why we all screamed???? To grab the BLOCK MUSLIM VOTE!!!! And hoped to hold power…. It is Labour and the Liberals who have crushed these great Islands… destroyed whole communities, bankrupt education systems, NHS, Housing, Social services and social security and the crazy benefits system… Labour Socially engineering the face of Britain to hold power…. what we should do, is dish out the old punishments for treason to the lot of them, hung… Drawn… and quartered… Then the Gizzards Strewn upon the Gates of the Tower of London… Seems pretty Fair…
        It is Labour Government who have appeased Radical Islam and Muslim extremists in the UK for decades… The seeds have been long sown… And people`s feelings on the street are very disturbing… The talk of civil war is not a joke.. There will be mass public disturbances in the future, its a definite… as there was this weekend in Dudley, West Midlands, where six people were hospitalised and in serious condition when a car driven by Muslims drove at speed into the crown during a demonstration against the proposed construction of a new Mosque… Tensions are very high… And rightly so…
        The ban is fantastic news and I hope all of Europe adopts this policy, then All of North and South America, Australia, Central Asia and Eastern EU, and as many Arab and Middle Eastern States as we can muster join in loud voice..

        and then I hope all of the Arab world for crying out loud… Jeez guys… get a bloody grip our yourselves… and yes, down there if needed… control yourselves… Women are the most gorgeous creatures… Let them be free and let us enjoy the smiles together.. I just could not imagine a day without women in the world.. The thought frightens me.. gulp… wow…
        I said it before and say it again… The men are scared of women… scared of the female species.. and while they puff out their chests and feel big.. and superior.. and in charge.. all they actually do is make themselves look absolutely pathetic and the laughing stocks of the world..
        The draw Mohammed day was a prime example.. LOL… now that was funny… and the laughs will get louder and louder until folk will be saying “enough is enough, take this stupidity and chuck it in the gutter where it belongs”… and say good bye to Islam in its destiny.. for it is doomed…

        Goodness and love always survives and never dies…
        Love is the key and the path… Love to you all.

      • Arianna

        Hi simran:🙂

        Much of what you have suggested has already been implemented, not only in France but all over Europe. In fact, June 29, 2010 the French parliament voted unanimously to  give final approval to a new law to even criminalize “psychological violence.”

        “France Makes ‘Psychological Violence’ a Crime”

        This law has been heavily criticized as being to “vague.”

        The Germans require much of what you have suggested including a “special” test of western values aimed specifically at Muslims.

        However, you must know as well as anyone that all too many Muslims use taqiyye and kitman to get what they want—a toehold in a nonMuslim land. Thereafter, many get on the dole, have multiple wives in order to collect more from the infidel and do whatever they want under the radar.

        The bottom line is that these people use western democratic freedoms against the democracies.

        As for the banning of the burqa and niqab: Poll show that most people in the west believe that any nation is within its rights to ban these. If people can’t wear hats and sunglasses in banks and retail shops because of security issues, they certainly should not be able to wear Islamic shrouds.

        As I have said before, I believe that even hijab is at once a supremacist statement as well as making a woman a second class citizen. However, if a woman chooses to wear the ugly-making thing she should be free to do so and deal with the consequences. Those consequences might be anything from disapproving looks to being discriminated against.

        As for “most” (80%) Muslim women having the choice to veil, sorry, but based on empirical worldwide evidence I simply do not believe that this is the case. The Afghans are forced to wear the burqa. The Iranians the chador or at the very least the manteaux and scarf; the Saudis the abaya. Egyptian women must veil or be harassed. Even without the veil they are harassed (as are non-Muslim women) as current news articles and YouTube videos clearly show. Pakistanis must veil or suffer punishment. Ditto for Indian Muslims, Maylaysians and Indonesians. In fact, non-Muslim women are also forced to veil in a number of the above countries. (And just to be clear, contrary to your claim, the French president is well aware that most women in France or Europe do not wear burqa.)

        Tell us why only Muslim women must be veiled to be “protected” from lecherous, harassing men when everywhere else in the world women seem to manage just fine being unveiled and needing no “protection” or even chaperones. Telling a non-Muslims to stop his advances seems to work most of the time. Telling a Muslim male to stop harassing seems to excite and encourage him.

        In many parts of the west there are currently double-digit summer temperatures. I cannot imagine having to wear a tent in this weather. Still, most women are modestly dressed with short or 3/4 sleeves and pants just below the calf and perhaps a large, stylish hat for sun protection. Why is comfortable, weather appropriate clothing not OK for Muslim women, but just fine for Muslim men?

        People continue to ask: What is wrong with Muslim men that they are so undisciplined and sex-crazed that they cannot deal with seeing a normally clothed woman? Sexual predators aside, all the other men in the world seem to manage.

        As of those who do wear the burqah by choice, as much as i disagree with their step, i do believe that it is their personal choice and that state should not ban it, othewise it will be seen as an attack on islam by the state and will only cause confrontation and resentment.

        Simran, Muslims can’t have it both ways. Either there is only ONE Islam or there are many. Which is it?

        Muslims constantly claim that the Qur’an is the word of their god; that not a single word has ever been changed, (not historically true, but OK, let’s go with that); therefore its tenets must be taken quite literally. The claim is also that there can never be a separation of mosque and state; that Islam is a whole way of life; that Muslims must emulate Muhammad and how he lived. Wahhabi and Salifi Islam are very much along the lines of what Muhammad and his companions practiced.

        If all of that is so, then Islam the way Muhammad, his companions and his followers practiced it is clearly incompatible with modernity, democracy, pluralism, equality and virtually any other form of government in the free world. True believers obviously cannot be ”both be a patriotic french (british,danish, italian, german etc) as well as a faithful muslim.”

        If any of you disagree then please explain exactly how you can follow the Qur’an and/or other Islamic texts and at the same time the required western separation of religion and state?

        As for the oil. Let’s be honest. Muslims who have oil have have one-horse economies. They must sell that oil or starve. Threatening to stop selling oil would hurt them a great deal since they import virtually everything for modern life from the non-Muslim world.

        What one does always wonder about is why Muslims make such a fuss about laws in their host countries, when they don’t have any form of democracy or equality in their home countries.

        Why don’t Muslims protest that along with the unspeakable daily, Muslim-on-Muslim carnage and work toward making things better in dar al Islam instead of being a thorn in the side of western governments and their citizens? Is it because they can in the west and would probably be brutalized or killed in an Islamic state if they made a fuss? After all, there are a lot of Muslims. The governments and morality police can’t jail or kill them all.

        The disrespect that all too many Muslims show in diaspora to their host countries is what is driving these laws against veiling. There will be more and more such laws as time goes on and as terror strikes extreme fear into the hearts of free peoples worldwide.

        Most people couldn’t care less what Muslims do, just as long as they do it in their own lands, to their own people and don’t try to impose Islamic culture and backward sharia laws into non-Muslim lands.

        That seems only fair, don’t you think?

    • simran

      hi arianna🙂
      i think you took my post in a wrong way—first of all, i disagee respectfully when you say that there are already laws in place to protect abused muslim women—sorry but they r too weak and there is no real govt. support system to help abused muslim women. That is one main reason that abuse of muslim women goes unpunished. Second, as i said in my previous post, french or for that matter european immigration laws are not strong enough to determine who is fit for european basic laws and thus more prone to assimilation and who is not. And that is why i said if someone who gets dole, if they abuse french law, then they should be punished based on whether they are french or not. (refer to my last post as i wrote in detail what should happen). Also, just because most of french ppl dont like burqah, doesnt mean it should be necessarily banned as it could possibly infringe on rights of those muslim women who wear it out of conviction. Of course you could ban it, but then your no different than saudi or iran on the other end of the spectrum who forcefully implement their code of dress and conduct. And as i said before, i as a european muslim am strongly against the burqah but as much as i hate that ninja dress, i dont believe i should force a woman who wears it out of conviction, to order her that she cannot wear it, even though she is strongly brainwashed by wahabi ideology that she must wear it. And about that 80% who wear it by choice, obvioiusly u didnt read carefully, i was talking about muslim women in france, not in muslim lands. of course i know in most muslim lands, most women dont have a choice. As far as being one islam, yes the religion is one but unfortunately, not the interpretations. if you had read my previous post carefully, i explain that burqah is an interpretation of some muslims based on their interprations of some verses of the Quran. Just like in Judaism there is reform version,conservative and orthodox as well as other religions. About most muslims being sex crazed well im talking about in europe in general and france in particular, most muslim men are not sex crazed or perverts—some maybe just like in any group but not most. sorry but i dont agree and i dont know where you are getting your statistics from. Now if your talking about muslim lands, then yes i do agree that many, if not most do indeed harass women and its truly a shame. That is because the environment is different than is europe —dont get me wrong, i am absolutely not justfiying the behavior of those male chauvnistic pigs and loosers and in fact its such behavior that sickens most moderate muslime like me. But we are talking about france, not muslim lands. Also keep in mind that the separation of state and religion you are talking about is a general statement regarding how muslim lands should implement their social laws. If a muslim goes to a non-muslim land, they are required by the Prophet to follow and obey the laws of those lands as long as those laws dont stop a muslim from practising the basic fundamentals of their faith. Your further wrong in saying that salafi/wahabi follow the Sunnah; sorry dear they really dont they follow their tribal mentality and place it above religion which shows why many muslim lands today are so screwed up. Thus muslims can be patriotic french and at the same time faithful muslims; there is no contradiction at all. And you are again wrong when you say that most muslims make fuss and are troublemakers in western countries; in fact most muslims are educated and play their role in contributing to the success of their host countries. Of course, there is a fringe splinter group causing trouble, and yes they should be monitored and checked i agree with you. But its because french govt. has not banned some radical organisations getting petrodollars from a few foreign govts. Rather than banning that stupid piece of cloth which is only going to causing more tension and make france appear as anti-islamic state, why not go the right way to tackle the problem; take moderate muslims into confidence and have national debate in the media, fund those hotline and shelter programs, become strict on welfare and immigration laws for abusers, and summon ambassadors of those muslim countries who are funding those radical organisations. I bet you if france and indeed most of europe adpot these measures strictly, which they currently are not, this whole wahabi mentality of which burqah is only a symptom of, will gradually diminish and most of the tensions will evaporate in thin air. Case in point: here in UK where i live, we have these couple of radical organisations like al-mahajiroon which have radical leaders such as anjum choudhary. For the most part he is more of an annoyance. But there have been cases where he and his followers have demonstrated against UK foreign policy in Iraq and Afghanistan(again he like any british citizen has a right to peacefully protest against govt. policy if he disagrees). However there have been instances in which he has said something more or less like “we want shariah in UK;bomb bomb white house;bomb bomb buckingham palace, death to rushdie, we are muslims first and last, allegiance to Allah and not the queen” etc (you got the point) and they are chanting this loud in public and stomping on the british flag, all this in front of the police who standby and do nothing. Many of them also go to muslim majority neighborhoods and intimidate moderate muslims into joining them—i have seen many of them going to fancy halal restaurants and i wonder how they can afford to go there couple of times a week and then i learn that they get govt. dole (i mean these guys are very young and not disabled and most of them speak english very efficiently) They dont make any real effort to find jobs or even go to unemployment offices and just receive their monthly or three monthly checks. In fact a few yrs back, i went with a friend and our families to a pretty high class pakistani restaurant on edgeware road and we went inside and got a big table since there were about a dozen or so of us. We were surprised that so many beards (radical types) were dining. Later the manager came and gave me a shock of my life when he told me apologetically that we cannot dine because the women with us were not wearing hijab. I was like very embarrassed and angry and told him that it wasnt his business and that this was Great Britain not saudi or iran where our women have to be covered in such a strict fashion—he said sorry but most of his customers are conservative and they object to any female customer without hijab—i told him that this is unfair but he said that his business depended a lot upon these bearded men and their submissive women in burqah (i then was later told by another “secular” type given the boot about the govt. welfare these idiots were receiving which allowed them to dine at expensive places). If i didnt leave, these bearded types would boycott his place and his business would greatly suffer. Basically not serving a couple of secular type customers wasnt so harmful to his business and with no choice and very pissed we left that premise. Also i have seen radical imams in asylum in UK like omar bakri and abu hamza enjoying UK govt welfare and support but spouting venom against society. Yet for years and years nothing happened and that is the point i am trying to make; lack of enforcement. To shouting the above slogans and stomping on the british flag, should had been prosecuted and if on welfare, it should had been cancelled. if any were non-british, they should had been immediately deported with no permission for re-entry. if british citizens, they should had been jailed for at least a few yrs and welfare benefits revoked. But nothing happened and these ppl were allowed to grow. Many of us moderate muslims have been quitely complaining to the authorities how our mosques,community centers, and residential areas have been overrun by these bastards, but they just shrug their shoulders and say sorry, cant do anything because of freedom. I mean freedom to kill or incite violence or what the hell? But they again say sorry unless an actual crime takes place they cant take direct action. Until a couple of yrs back, moderate muslims were not even given enough time on national media; in fact media was giving much more air time to these choudhary and bakri type imbeciles.
      Now i think you very clearly get my point; just banning a thing here and there is not really going to help solve the problem. we need a very comprehensive plan to combat this problem without appearing to be taking away rights and putting ban on clothes. There is a more smarter way to combat the problem but for that the french govt. needs to make enforcement of certain laws strict such as welfare,immigration, and incitement to violence.

    • shirleybk

      Right on, Arianna! And this business about only ONE Islam—I don’t see it; the Sunnis would say their version is the One, the Shi’a would say theirs is the One; etc., etc.

  57. Fantastic opinion. Thanks for sharing. I am sending this go to my well-meaning friends who adamantly opposed the ban.

  58. Saudiwoman at July 19, 2010 at 11:12 am

    The “right kind” of babies as understood by those promoting this ban from the political sphere are Roman (Gallic), Celtic or Frankish Roman Catholics (real ones not what usually passes for Roman Catholic in France) descendants of the same. They are not brown, not descendant from any other stock, and not reverted/ converted from any other religion.

    The children raised by any niqab-wearing mother (no matter how few those may be) in France will be amply exposed to other discourses, and societal norms to choose not to where the niqab as soon as they are 16. or before, if they are made wards of the state and fall under the purview of the DASS.

    It is up for speculation in what direction those banned from wearing the niqab would head: further integration, or further isolation. For sure this does give fodder about the intolerance of the West for Islamists. Another reason it would be even better to follow the advice of Sarkozy’s own Minister of the Interior, and direct the state’s energies to being aware of what interpretation of Islam is being taught in mosques, private Islamic schools in France, other Islamic institutions, and what type of missionary strategies if any are being used.

    Most niqab wearing French reverts to Islam are in late adolescence and single. Adolescents, and ones in late adolescence particularly (freer from parental constraints) are a prime target for missionaries of all sects, who often have university campus outreach programs.

  59. Sana

    I agree 100% with all your points, especially “if we don’t bully them down they will bully us down.”

    It might be hard for people who have never been through something like this to understand, buts its very true. peaceful, progressive people too often stay quite while the regressive, right-wing scream and bully society into submission. It happened in Iran, in Afghanistan, its happened in Egypt, and it is a concerning trend that has been going on for some time in the world. however, i think its starting to turn around now.

    Who knows that in 1928 Afghan women were given the vote, while in 2000 they could not even go to school? Or that in Kabul and Cairo in the 70s you could walk around in a miniskirt if you so wished? Or that the Iranian revolution was stolen from the leftists and students and hijacked by the Islamistis, resulting in abbhorant human rights abuses ever since?

    We all need to fight against these regressive forces, not underestimate them.

    I’d also like to point out to Chiara that the same French right-wing facists you speak up against (and I agree with you in your distaste) are the kind of people who encourage and promote the Burqa in the Muslim world. I do not like the rightwing in the west, but I equally do not like their Islamic counterparts.

    Saudiwoman you also made a great point the the Niqab reduces a woman to nothing but a sexual object. Her identity is lost, her voice is drowned, ability to be an active public citizen is hijacked…above anything else-above being an independent, intelligent human individual-she is a sex object who needs to be possessively covered from anybody elses view.

    And as to the issue of choice…I strongly doubt it can be anybodys true will to wear a niqab. There are always issues in your past that strongly effect this supposed choice. To Niqabi women i say, if your parents had raised you like mine have raised me..to know that you are an important member of society..to be proud to be a female and to fight for womens rights..to believe that there is more to you than your body, than what men think of you…to know that your voice should never be stifled and your identity compromised..to know that this life is as important as the next..than you too would not make that ‘choice.’

    • Unnamed

      I always enjoy reading the theoretical aspects of life, we can almost convince ourselves of anything.

      The strong willed, independent women here want to be on big brother, and will sleep with a guy that has a healthy bank balance, they’re starving themselves to fit into size zero clothes etc…. Not all but far too many to say the least.

      Theoretical understanding of the world and the way people REALLY ARE are so far apart, it’s mind boggling. Women here are suffering under a different form of oppression, a view that places their worth on what they wear and how they look.

      Let’s legislate against this type of oppression as well.

  60. Simran–I agree with much of what you have said, particularly about who is wearing the niqab in France. The British situation is a little different because the composition of the Muslim population there is different, and the cultural traditions they bring with them as well. All countries that I am aware of including those of the European Union (I am an Italian national) make it clear to immigrants that they are required to obey the laws and go along with the customs. In my experience people would lie about the niqab or hijab or whatever to get in and then do what they wanted, especially after becoming citizens.

    Leila–I agree with your comment above.

    Sana–I think I have a good handle on Islamo-fascisms thanks. I realize that the extremes of cover are often part of political extremes, though are in some places traditional conservative covering. This is part of the distinction between the covering debate in Europe, and in Muslim-majority countries, and part of why they need to be recognized for their differences in who is articulating them, with what impact, and why. I have never argued for extremisms of any sort, and I am certainly for women being full members of society with equal rights in law and in practice.

    We agree that the progressive people need to speak up. It is important that they do so knowledgeably, with specificity to the context of the debate, and not only in a knee-jerk thumbs up way.

    Alas, for those who disagree, some women do make this choice to wear the niqab. They may also choose at another point in time or in another place to not wear it. As has now been pointed out many times, including by others, most niqabis in France are French women raised in Catholic homes, going to French public schools, who have chosen to convert, and chosen the niqab. They have had the option of the more mainstream interpretation of Islam as practiced by the majority of Muslims in France, and they have chosen a more conservative interpretation. Not all were brainwashed or are deluded (any more than anyone is, in the lay senses of both terms) and they were fully aware of their freedoms, rights, voices, identities, and minds before they chose to put on a niqab.

    • Arianna

      Chiara says: ”I am an Italian national.”

      I thought you were a “Saudi woman” and a Muslim?

      Can you please explain, Chiara?

      Also, is there anything in Saudi society or culture that you see as positive? Can you give some examples?

      • I am amazed! I copy paste from my blog About:

        About Me
        My Photo

        Chiara
        I am a Canadian academic of Italian origin with qualifications in medicine, psychiatry, literature, and philosophy, and interested in the cross-cultural aspects of all of these. I am married Islamically and legally to a Moroccan. I remain a Daughter of the Book.

        I took Italian citizenship as an adult, by birthright (all 4 grandparent ; met dates and criteria to get it from maternal grandparents, as paternal ones had given it up to take Canadian citizenship); and “gave” it to my husband who had to swear allegiance to l’Italia, la Reppublica…blah blah. He still makes me laugh by raising his right hand and starting “Io juro che…”. He also was frantic to get a dispensation from obligatory military service. He did. So far he has 3 nationalities. Kids will get all.

        However, most of my cultural training and significant parts of my studies were done in and on France, and I have lived in various regions, and was well integrated; I can pass for French, in language, looks, social behaviours, and mentality, or to quote one of the adjudicators of my doctoral thesis “We didn’t know what you were, your name, your topic, and then your thesis was more French than the French”. Also French officials keep insisting to me that I am French, don’t need a visa, I’m in the wrong line, why would I ask about French citizenship…”.

        Hilarious, truly! Thank you, this has been the bright spot of my day!

        Also thank you for your detailed comment on my blog. I just replied specifically, as opposed to generally, to all this pm. My apologies that it took longer than usual.
        🙂😀

      • Oops, Just saw that this was Arianna not Arianne. Probably then you are not the same person. No matter the reply I gave at 11:14pm is still the same, regarding my Italian nationality and Francophilia.

        As to your second question, if you still want me to reply let me know and I will.

    • Sana

      “Not all were brainwashed or are deluded (any more than anyone is, in the lay senses of both terms) and they were fully aware of their freedoms, rights, voices, identities, and minds before they chose to put on a niqab.”

      Actually I think thats exactly what they are. Nobody in their right mind can think its necessary or religiously good to hide your face.
      Just like nobody in their right mind could choose to be a stripper, yet you hear many women say that its ‘their choice.” My point is that choices are never totally free..they’re always influenced by many different factors. and if you have some issues or a messed up past, you can make some pretty messed up decisions..either completely take your clothes off for a mans satisfactions, or completely cover yourself for a mans satisfaction.

      I’ve met some of these western converts that wear niqabs and in my experience most of them have had very unstable pasts..they cling to an extreme interpretation of religion as some kind of comfort. They obviously don’t feel worthy as normal human beings. Sometimes I also think its a sexual fetish. Maybe some of these women..and im talking about converts mainly, since social pressure can’t explain them wearing it…are masochists yet feel ashamed about it..so they choose to act on it in a way that they believe is religiously acceptable. just a theory but could explain alot.

      Also Chiara, my point is that you’ve never felt threatened by the Niqab yourself..you’re an open minded westerner and it really doesn’t affect you. But some of us have had it slowly creep into society, have had our societies turn more conservative and go backward, so yes we are wary of it. I know what it signals, and I want to see that signal extinguished.

      • Sana,

        I am married to an Arab Muslim. We have lived in France, we have spent a lot of time in Morocco. Any future children will be half Arab, and Muslim by birth and religious training.

        We both are open to living in European countries, North American ones, including Quebec, where there is also a proposal to ban the niqab, and MENA countries–all depending on professional and personal factors.

        So, yes, what happens in regards to the niqab in both Muslim and non-Muslim countries, who is saying/doing what to whom, and why does impact me personally and professionally.

        Racism and Islamophobia already have.

        The sentence you quote from me, if read in context, refers directly to “white” Catholic French converts to Islam.

  61. Unnamed

    Saudi Woman:

    I hope some of the responses here have wised you up out of your naivety, from Arianna being “scared witless” from people simply practicing their faith…. We’re not talking about Jihad, infidels etc, just simply practicing the spiritual aspects of the faith, to Marcus thinking that “enough is enough, take this stupidity and chuck it in the gutter where it belongs”… and say good bye to Islam in its destiny.. for it is doomed…

    It’s a shame that my fellow Europeans lack any sense of self-awareness, the same people whose forefathers convinced themselves that colonizing Africa for example was a noble thing “to enlighten the savages.”

    The attitudes have evolved slightly but the premise remains, any alternate view of the world to theirs inferior and this will never change, ethnocentric views are hard wired into their psyche. They see your fellow Muslim as a bunch of weak willed impressionable fools and speak of them as brainwashed cult members etc…

    Wake up and understand that you need to speak to other Muslims around you in Saudi Arabia if you want to change the injustices around you, instead of making a public cry on the internet, constantly moaning about how bad life is and taking your mousy friends on ‘muttawa safaris’…

    I haven’t taken any of my friends from Saudi to witness the antics of half dressed women falling out of clubs, completely wasted and drunk, throwing up on the sidewalks and violent guys brawling etc in an attempt to reinforce their prejudices, this isn’t the way to build cultural bridges.

  62. Arianna

    Unnamed says: ”Wake up and understand that you need to speak to other Muslims around you in Saudi Arabia if you want to change the injustices around you, instead of making a public cry on the internet, constantly moaning about how bad life is and taking your mousy friends on ‘muttawa safaris’…”

    The net happens to be the most powerful tool in the world for social change these in the modern era. Even the terrorists know that. Al Qaeda makes very good use of the net. Why shouldn’t Chiara and company rather than having a bunch of women over for tea and being watched by the morality police?

    Unnamed”from Arianna being “scared witless” “

    That is really funny. Where do you get that Arianna is “scared witless”?

    I don’t scare easily, bub! Furthermore a bunch of ignorant, illiterate, 7th century macho types who need to put their women into shrouds because, they are such losers and live off the infidel world, don’t scare me at all. I have known Muslim males, especially gulf males, all of my adult life at university, at work and in my private life. I can assure you that fear does not come into my mind with one of these pathetic guys. Like Chiara, I have stories that would curdle your cream and even set you laughing. I see them as fools who have so many complexes that they waste the skills and talents of half of the population.

    Get back to us when these pious men do something for their Islamic societies, especially for their women and the rest of the world. A society is judged by how it treats the least among them, its women, children and animals.

    Unnamed ”It’s a shame that my fellow Europeans lack any sense of self-awareness”

    I happen to be a European and know countless Europeans all over Europe who have lots of “self-awareness.” Every single one of them wants what I stated above for Muslims to respect their host countries.

    Unnamed ”I haven’t taken any of my friends from Saudi to witness the antics of half dressed women falling out of clubs, completely wasted and drunk, throwing up on the sidewalks and violent guys brawling etc in an attempt to reinforce their prejudices, this isn’t the way to build cultural bridges.”

    Well, at least those people have the choice of behaving badly and suffering the consequences. Muslims all too often do not have a choice. Those who don’t go along get ostracized, beaten, acid thrown in their faces or even killed. Muslim men and women all around the world have less freedom today than they did several decades ago.

    I know quite a few Saudis and trust me, the males make a point of going to clubs not only in Europe but in Dubai, Thailand and every land on the planet that offers debauchery on a small or grand scale, where they, very happily partake of the festivities. Along with the Germans, the Saudis are famous for going on those infamous “sex flights” to places like Thailand. Ever hear of temporary marriage aka “”mut’a”” or “sigheh” or “tafsir”? “Marrying” someone for an hour, a day, a week, a month and perhaps leaving some very poor girl pregnant, then walking away with no responsibility is very popular. In the rest of the world it’s called prostitution.

    You can read more about “Temporary Marriage in Islam” here if it interests you:

    “http://www.al-islam.org/encyclopedia/chapter6a/1.html”

    As for building cultural bridges, many people believe that “winning hearts and minds” is now up to Muslims because, we have done our bit. The west has spent blood and treasure to the tune of trillions of dollars to bring Islam into the 21st century. That is money that should have been spent for the benefit of our own people.

    Unnamed ”We’re not talking about Jihad, infidels etc, just simply practicing the spiritual aspects of the faith”

    You claim that the full veil has nothing to do with “practicing the spiritual aspects of the faith.”

    What exactly is “spiritual” about putting a girl or a woman into a walking prison where she continually breathes her own CO2 and is susceptible to diseases such as osteomalacia (soft bones) due to a lack of vitamin D from wearing the shroud?

    Plenty of Muslim women in the UK, as well as Europe have this debilitating disease. As a result these women are at “increased risk of pelvic fractures during childbirth because of vitamin D deficiency due to a lack of sunlight, a consultant warns.
    Babies born to women with vitamin D deficiency are also more prone to seizures in their first week of life, according to Dr Miriam Casey, of the Osteoporosis Unit in St James’s hospital in Dublin. Recently, Muslim women in the UK were warned that wearing the hijab could cause poor health for them and their babies.”
    Children suffer from rickets. Source: Times On Line

    Rickets: “…In most developing countries, rickets is seldom seen, supposedly as a result of high exposure to sunlight. An exception occurs in groups of women who are rarely allowed to leave the house (largely for religious reasons) or who must wear veils (chadors) when they do. Because these women may have low vitamin D levels, their babies are at a higher risk of developing rickets…”

    Rick R van Rijn, MD, PhD, Pediatric Radiologist, Department of Radiology, Academic Medical Center Amsterdam
    
Kieran McHugh, MBBCh, Honorary Lecturer, The Institute of Child Health; Consultant Pediatric Radiologist, Department of Radiology, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, London, UK

    “http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/412862-overview”

    Of course we are also talking about jihad and infidels, human rights, women’s rights, etc. because these all too often go hand-in-hand. Are you aware that there have been over 15,000 terror attacks since 9/11, most of them Muslims slaughtering Muslims? A number of suicide bombers have been veiled women or men dressed as veiled women. The latest one was last week in Iran. That seems reason enough to ban the full veil and niqab.

    Do you approve of women being chattel and treated like brood-mares, totally controlled in every aspect of their lives by men who think they are superior?

    Syria has just banned the niqab at university.

    Do you suppose that Syria, a secular country, knows something?

    From what you write, you seem to believe that it is the rest of humanity’s responsibility to build cultural bridges while the terrorists continue to blow them up?

    ”The attitudes have evolved slightly but the premise remains, any alternate view of the world to theirs inferior and this will never change, ethnocentric views are hard wired into their psyche. They see your fellow Muslim as a bunch of weak willed impressionable fools and speak of them as brainwashed cult members etc…”

    You seem to have missed the part where in the Qur’an Islam claims that Muslims are “the best of peoples” and superior to all other human beings. The religionists are supremacists. Unfortunately, they don’t have much proof of their supremacy. The ummah has not produced much to move humanity forward in the last 1,000 years. The Islamic world simply chose to miss the Reformation, the Renaissance and the Enlightenment. Now, there are calls for a “Muslim Renaissance,” by Muslims. Unfortunately, the extremists don’t want that. They prefer using infidel technology to commit terror that primarily affects fellow Muslims. Their mission appears to be to and make Muslims the world over suffer as much as possible in their attempt to conquer the world for 7th century Islam. The very idea would be funny, if people were not suffering and dying.

    I, like most other thinking people, merely want Muslims to obey western laws and respect western cultures if they want to live in the west. If they don’t, then they can do whatever they like and stay in the dark ages. Changing anything in their societies is up to Muslims themselves and doesn’t concern the rest of the world, aside from the human rights issue. However, if they attempt to put their backward, anti-human rights, undemocratic Islamic rules on the free world, then that most certainly does concern everyone else.

    I don’t know about you, but polls show that most people do not believe that democracy can be given to anyone. They have to want it badly enough to fight, bleed and die for it themselves. Some of the ways to free women in the Islamic world is via education, empowerment with micro-loans and their own businesses as well as forming groups on the net, as Chiara is doing.

    More power to her!

  63. Arianna

    Thanks for the info, Chiara.

    Now, how about some positives about KSA?

    • As it seems by your comment on Saudiwoman/Eman’s next post, that you continue to confuse the 2 of us, I will defer answering, and merely welcome you to read my blog. Thanks!

  64. Arianna

    Sorry about the errors, Chiara. I’m in a hurry to perform one of my wifely duties—dinner. (Wish that you had a preview pane.)

    Despite what some true believers claim, westerners, including the women, do have family values.😉

    • reema

      yes. yes. and despite what some “Westerners” ” true nonbelievers” or whatever you choose to call nonmuslims who have an atitude towards Islam like you do (obviously not all nonmuslims, or westerners) despite what they may believe, I do not cook dinner for my male family members, they cook for themselves, I do not marry men simply because they have taken interest in me and have money, when am not looking you in the eye, it is not because am submissive but because it is shocking what you are saying to me in a serious serious tone. oh, look look! i can wink too > 😉

      YAY! safgooly

      • Arianna,

        My blog, Chez Chiara, does have a preview pane. This blog which is Saudiwoman/Eman’s does not. Probably because mine is on Blogger which facilitates a preview pane, and hers is on WordPress which doesn’t seem to.

  65. reema

    let’s face it. Most of you who are opposing the nigab, whether Saudi or not, muslim or not, are disturbed by the way it looks. You do not really care much about the person who is wearing it, and if it is a choice they’ve made. Really, look at Dubai everyone is wearin what they want and all is fine with people lookin different (am not sayin it is a perfect city.) maybe for once you should try communicating normally with others who look different be it a nigab they have on, a load of tattoos, or a pair of speedos. Maybe that will do the lot of you some good.

    • countrygirl

      It’s the message that nijab have (and the woman who wear it), whatever the reason have the woman to wear it (brainwashing, forced by the family and maybe a tiny tiny minority by free choice) my thought goes to the daughter will they be able to chose to NOT wearing it and will be able to change religion (and in this case I’d like to have some opinion of the converted wearing the nijab).

      As others said lately many terrorist act were carried out by women/men wearing the burka/nijab. If I have to take off the helmet before entering in a bank why a woman wearing it scremed racism when she was asked to take it off before entering in a US bank, why granting her more rights?

  66. reema

    If it is nijab, then am not reema

  67. …and when you read from start to end you begin to see the divide between us.

    Can we build bridges instead…

    Betweens faiths, cultures, histories, governmental practices etc etc etc???????

    • Unnamed

      That’s a good post.

      Of course we can, but to do that we have to respect each others respective views and practice a ‘live and let live’ motto.

  68. Unnamed

    Arianna:

    “The ummah has not produced much to move humanity forward in the last 1,000 years. The Islamic world simply chose to miss the Reformation, the Renaissance and the Enlightenment.”

    … and

    “Furthermore a bunch of ignorant, illiterate, 7th century macho types who need to put their women into shrouds because, they are such losers and live off the infidel world, don’t scare me at all.”

    Not much to be said there about your ignorance when your making such claims, especially the first, and living off the infidel world, hah!

    The fact that women are making these choices to reject the nihilistic materialism lifestyle on offer and choosing something different is not a part of the equation, is it?

    More so, you keep pointing out the Saudi males who misbehave, for every Saudi male that parties and so forth, there’s a Saudi female too, trust me, I see them around as well but that’s not the point, the issue is about people who are practicing their faith – not cultural Muslims, even more to the point, we’re talking about France here, not Saudi Arabia, and the vast majority of Women wearing the niqab are white, educated women who know their rights, no body could force them to do anything against their will just like any other woman in France, but that doesn’t matter, right? They’re simpleton brainwashed teenage girls……….(Insert any excuse here)

    Finally, what does Muslims abiding laws have to do with this? I thought the vast majority overwhelmingly did? In fact Islam tells its adherents to respect the laws of their respective hosts.

  69. Arianna

    Unnamed “Not much to be said there about your ignorance when your making such claims, especially the first, and living off the infidel world, hah!”

    You don’t seem to be very strong on facts, merely bizarre, unfounded claims about the supremacy of Islam. I will give you that it is a supremacist religion out to subjugate the world, at least according to the Qur’an and all too many Muslim extremists. It is up to you to show exactly what the umma has accomplished in the last few hundred years. Put up or shut up!😉

    Stacks of books have been written about how far behind Islam and Muslims are compared to the rest humanity. According to the U. N. Reports on Arab Development (2002-2009) written by Arab scholars, the only region in the world that is worse off is sub-Saharan Africa. One of the main reasons for this is the lack of empowerment of women, not to mention the lack of freedom from religion.

    For your edification: Arab Human Development Reports

    Very few Islamic states are self sustaining. Most everything they use for modern life is imported from the non-Muslim world. About 50% of Muslims worldwide are in diaspora and many more want to leave because they can’t have a good life in dar al Islam. Education is low, in particular when it comes to women; development is practically non-existent in all too many failed states, crime, terror and repression are through the roof. There has been little progress since Muslims were driven out of Europe in 1492. They have chosen to stagnate all the while blaming the infidel/Zionist conspiracy for their self made lot in this life.

    There are 1.2 (or more) billion Muslims in the world and they have garnered a mere 7 Nobel Prizes among all of them. Only 2 of those are in hard science while the hated Jews and the infidels have hundreds. Those discoveries and developments have brought humanity the most comfortable existence in the history of the species. Where are the world renowned modern Muslim scientists, technologists, medical people, musicians, artists, etc. to help dar al Islam come out of the dark ages? Where is the Islamic Reformation, Renaissance and Enlightenment?

    According to Pervez Hoodbhoy, professor of nuclear and high-energy physics at Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad, and visiting professor at MIT and the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, among other institutions:

    ”The harsh truth is that science and Islam parted ways many centuries ago. In a nutshell, the Muslim experience consists of a golden age of science from the ninth to the 14th centuries, subsequent collapse, modest rebirth in the 19th century, and a profound reversal from science and modernity, beginning in the last decades of the 20th century. This reversal appears, if anything, to be gaining speed.”

    Do read Dr. Hoodbhoy’s book: “Islam and Science – Religious Orthodoxy and the Battle for Rationality”

    Here are a few facts for you:

    The Egyptians and the Babylonians got there first with the scientific method.

    “Between the 8th and 14th centuries, Muslim civilization led the world in innovation precisely because it let all manner of outsiders in – despite the threats they posed to order. The result? Several hundred years of creativity in agriculture, astronomy, chemistry, medicine, commerce, math, even fashion. It’s when the empire became insular to “protect” itself that the motivation to remain robust, and the talent to do so, disappeared.

    In a certain sense, this is true. We hear a great deal about Islamic literature – or at least a lot about the Sufi poet Jalaluddin Rumi (1207-1273) and The Thousand and One Nights. There is also the Persian poet Abu Nuwas (762-814), who had heterodox views of homosexuality; Al-Mutanabbi (915-965), whose surname means “one who pretends to be a prophet”; the heterodox Turkish Sufi Nesimi (d. 1417); the Persian epic poet Hakim Abu al-Qasim Mansur Firdowsi (935-1020), who set the history of Persia to verse. For his sources he made use of Christian and Zoroastrian chronicles which are long since lost; and many others. Many of these men were open Islamic heretics; few seem to have taken inspiration from Islam itself, with the possible exception of Farud ud-Din Attar’s twelfth century allegory The Conference of the Birds. They left behind many great works, but many if not most of these are notable not for their Islamic character but for their lack of it. To credit them to the inspirational power of Islam would be tantamount to crediting the Soviet system for the works of Mandelstam, Sakharov, or even Solzhenitsyn.

    Likewise, it is undeniable that there was a great cultural and scientific flowering in the Islamic world in the Middle Ages, but there is no indication that any of this flowering actually came as a result of Islam itself. In fact, there is considerable evidence that it did not in fact come from Islam, but from the non-Muslims who served their Muslim masters in various capacities.

    The architectural design of mosques, for example, long a source of pride among Muslims, was copied from the shape and structure of Byzantine churches. (And of course, the principles that keep domes and arches up in the air were discovered over a thousand years before the advent of Islam.) The seventh-century Dome of the Rock, considered today to have been first great mosque, was not only copied from Byzantine models, but was built by Byzantine craftsmen. Islamic architectural innovations, interestingly enough, arose from military necessity: the historian of Islamic art and architecture Oleg Grabar explains that “Whatever its social or personal function, there hardly exists a major monument of Islamic architecture that does not reflect power in some fashion….Ostentation is rarely absent from architecture and ostentation is almost always an expression of power….

    For instance, in 11th- century Cairo or 14th-century Granada the gates were built with an unusual number of different techniques of vaulting. Squinches coexist with pendentives, barrel vaults with cross vaults, simple semicircular arches with pointed or horseshoe arches….It is possible that certain innovations in Islamic vaulting techniques, especially the elaboration of squinches and cross vaults, were the direct result of the importance of military architecture, for which strength and the prevention of fires, so common in wooden roofs and ceilings, were major objectives.”

    The astrolabe was developed, if not perfected, long before Muhammad was born. Avicenna (980-1037), Averroes (1128-1198), and the other Muslim philosophers built on the work of the pagan Greek Aristotle. And Aristotle’s work was preserved from the ravages of the Dark Ages not first by Muslims, but by Christians such as the fifth-century priest Probus of Antioch, who introduced Aristotle to the Arabic-speaking world. The Christian Huneyn ibn-Ishaq (809-873) translated many works by Aristotle, Galen, Plato and Hippocrates into Syriac, from which they were translated into Arabic by his son. The Jacobite Christian Yahya ibn `Adi (893-974) also translated works of philosophy into Arabic, and wrote his own; his treatise The Reformation of Morals has occasionally been erroneously attributed to various of his Muslim contemporaries. His student, another Christian named Abu `Ali `Isa ibn Zur’a (943-1008), also made Arabic translations of Aristotle and other Greek writers from Syriac.

    The first Arabic-language medical treatise was written by a Christian priest and translated into Arabic by a Jewish doctor in 683. The first hospital, another source of pride among Muslims and often a prominent feature of Islamic accomplishment lists, was founded in Baghdad during the Abbasid caliphate by a Nestorian Christian. A pioneering medical school was founded at Gundeshapur in Persia – by Assyrian Christians. The world’s first university may not have been the Muslims’ Al-Azhar in Cairo, as is often claimed, but the Assyrian School of Nisibis.”

    The last world class Muslim scientist Ibn Khaldun was a social scientist who he died in 1332.

    “The world’s 1.5 billion Muslims produce barely 1% of the world’s scientific literature; R&D expenditure in the 57 member” countries of the” Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) lags way behind that of China, let alone that of the industrialised world; and tens of thousands of Arab scientists have joined the brain drain to the West. Predominantly Muslim countries are paying for these trends in terms of lost development.

    This is a frank diagnosis that comprises the introduction to an excellent portfolio on Science in the Islamic World prepared by various muslim scholars and posted on the Science Dev Net website”:

    http://www.scidev.net/en/science-and-innovation-policy/

    Unnamed says: The fact that women are making these choices to reject the nihilistic materialism lifestyle on offer and choosing something different is not a part of the equation, is it?

    Women are not making these “choices,” as has been shown innumerable times here and elsewhere. Men of Islam are making the choices for the women. Those women who do not obey are often persecuted, beaten, have acid thrown into their faces and “honor” killed—even in nonMuslims lands.

    You appear to approve of subjugating women, based on your posts. As for the western converts, it is clear that they were losers who could not make it in their own societies. So, they take up extreme Islam and don the shroud in order to seem important. “Look at me,” shouts the abaya. “I am superior to you, because I am now a covered sex object. No non-Muslim wanted me, but now, now I am forbidden fruit.” Every time one sees one of these “reverts” it is quite obvious why she needs to don the veil.

    “Nihilistic materialism lifestyle” [sic] you must be kidding! Muslims come to the west to get away from the ignorance, the violence and the abject poverty that extreme religion has given them in order to partake of materialistic nihilism. They want what the free world has and then some. The wealthy come to the infidel world to shop for serious materialism:

    Harrods Sees Profit From Islamic Fashion as Qatar Takes Control

    http://www.businessweek.com/news/2010-07-12/harrods-sees-profit-from-islamic-fashion-as-qatar-takes-control.html

    ”The made-to-measure abayas displayed there, worth up to $10,000, were donated to buyers, including members of the Saudi royal family.

    Saks Fifth Avenue, which hosted the event, then put designer ready-to-wear abayas on sale for as much as $12,000 at its stores in the Saudi cities of Riyadh and Jeddah. The abayas are displayed alongside designer evening gowns on the women-only floor of a shopping mall in Riyadh’s glass skyscraper, the Kingdom Center, owned by Alwaleed.

    At the top end of the market, Saudi princesses sometimes buy 15 to 20 evening gowns for as much as $20,000 each after ordering Saks to bring a selection of the latest Paris and Milan collections to their palaces, store manager Mohammed Nafisa said. They want abayas by the same designers to match.

    “They normally buy an outfit to be used only once at an evening reception,” which is an all-female gathering, he said.

    Saudi Arabia, which follows a strict interpretation of Islam, forbids mixing in public between men and women unrelated by family.

    Matching Accessories
    Clients have asked DAS to make abayas to match the color of their designer bags and high heels by brands such as Christian Dior, Hermes, Channel and Gucci “because they will be wearing the abaya in public where they cannot show a dress that would match with their accessories,” Beljafla said.

    Tens of thousands of dollars for an abaya, a Haute Couture tent, with matching designer shoes and bags of what’s under the sack, just to show off. Now that is nihilistic, materialism at its finest! In the meantime, Muslims world-wide are suffering from abject poverty, not to mention terror. “Let them eat falafel,” say the wealthy oil sheiks.😉

    ”“As long as you are covering the body, as long as you are conservative in the way you dress, why not be fashionable?” Beljafla said.”

    Soon, there may be gilded designer abayas for the “conservative” filthy-rich women to “freely” choose from.😉

    Unnamed states” ‘live and let live’

    In the west we do just that. That is not the case for Islamic states where women and minorities are all too often subjugated and persecuted. Unnamed, tell us where is the fairness, the equality, the human rights when men can wear whatever they please and do as they please, while women must be reduced to sexual objects, hidden in trash-bags? How is it justified, when even little girls are forced into the all enveloping Islamic shroud and therewith made into sexual objects long before puberty? This happens even in the west. The male owner of a local middle-eastern shop struts about in comfortable western clothing, while his hard-working wife and female children, ages 6 to 12, are forced to wear hoods, robes and be fully covered head to toe in serious heat. What is there to cover so completely on a mere child or another man’s wife that gets Muslim males all exited? Are they all sexual predators and pedophiles?

    People who emigrate to the west must respect our laws, our customs and our values. No trying to force the Islamic religion down our secular throats. Westerners who go to dar al Islam are expected to do the same. Chiara is not a Muslim, but she cannot go out without being Islamically covered. Women who walk about without abaya are in deep trouble, as Chiara has already pointed out. Not too many Muslims get arrested in nonMuslim countries for proselytizing Islam, unless they preach terror. Try promoting any other religion in KSA. That’s illegal and you will get arrested.

    The more we discuss this, the more ridiculous the idea of women having to “protect” themselves from predatory Muslim males is. The very fact that you even remotely endorse such imprisonment is very telling.

    • Arianna,

      Chiara is not a Muslim, but she cannot go out without being Islamically covered. Women who walk about without abaya are in deep trouble, as Chiara has already pointed out. Not too many Muslims get arrested in nonMuslim countries for proselytizing Islam, unless they preach terror. Try promoting any other religion in KSA. That’s illegal and you will get arrested.

      I am sorry to keep repeating this, but you seem to repeatedly confuse me with Saudiwoman/Eman.

  70. Unnamed

    Poor Arianna, filled with so much hate and blissful ignorance.

    To dissect that rant would be a complete waste of time since you’re terribly misguided I’m afraid.

    Maths isn’t my strongest point but if “The last world class Muslim scientist Ibn Khaldun was a social scientist he died in 1332″…… by my equations that would makes it about 674 years (even we’re to go with your wild assumptions) – not “the last thousand years”… as previously stated.

    The basic elements of maths eludes and you want to move on to more complex topics such as Politics, religion, Philosophy, Religion, Morality and so forth, speaking with such a misguided authority?

  71. simran

    arianna did you even read my newer post?!

  72. “Highly credible people make decisions to ‘suspend judgement’ when considering another person’s perspective. They do this because they are okay with being wrong – or, at bare minimum, okay with having their opinions challenged. This doesn’t mean they don’t have passion and strong beliefs. It simply means that their minds are open to other opinions, even if those are quiet different from their own.”

    -Sandy Allgeier in The Personal Credibility Factor (FT Press)

    Just a thought…Leesa

  73. I confess I have not read every single post on this thread, simply because I don’t have the time. I thank Arianna for the history lesson in her latest post. History is not my strong suit, and I enjoy learning FACTS from others who have taken the time to do the research. Arianna seems to have an agenda, however, but don’t we all?

    Muslims would do well to admit to some of our shortcomings, as pointed out in Arianna’s history lesson. However, non-Muslims would also do well in seeking out positive Muslim world influences (yes, they do exist).

    I’d like to see an experiment. I’d like to see a post challenging readers to defend the OPPOSITE position from the one they normally defend.

    My blog no longer has the readership to exercise such an experiment. Saudiwoman, how about it?

    • Unnamed

      A history lesson? Jesus weeps.

      • Marcus

        Jesus loved… and he loved everyone😉

        One does not have to have faith in God, or Allah, one does not have to be religious.. All one needs to know is that Love is the key and the path, and with love, the world actually becomes a much more beautiful place…

  74. Arianna

    Marahm states: ”Arianna seems to have an agenda, however, but don’t we all?”

    I don’t know about an “agenda,” however, my purpose in posting and any discussion about Islam is one of understanding why most Muslims seem to prefer being indolent, nihilistic, submissive “slaves of Allah,” instead of improving their societies with blood, sweat and tears. The other purpose is keeping my western, secular, democratic culture free of any religious extremist influences be those Islamic or otherwise, including those of Christian fundamentalists as well as orthodox Jews and all other fringos. Although I must admit that in my free-western, female secularity, I find Christianity, as taught by Jesus, more palatable than Islam as presented by Muhammad.

    For whatever reason “some” people’s agenda appears to be to ignore the fact that Muslims or anyone else who immigrates to the west is obligated and expected to obey the laws of the land. Westerners are not delighted at the Islamic attempts to change these laws in the name of “freedom” and “democracy;” something that Muslims do not have in any Islamic society, Turkey included. As has been mentioned by several posters on this thread, all too many Muslims have a hidden agenda, the agenda of the Qur’an which is to make the world Islamic. They will lie and do anything necessary to do it. Clearly, westerners categorically reject that idea!

    For many Muslim posters here, their “agenda” appears to be to obtain freedom and equality for their women, something that I believe cannot be done in an Islamic state, in particular one that has sharia law. Feel free to counter that claim with some FACTS, not Islamic fairy-tales, of “we are the best,” that have been passed down over hundreds of years, but are categorically, provably untrue. (Unnamed, you are up).😉

    Marahm states: ”non-Muslims would also do well in seeking out positive Muslim world influences (yes, they do exist).”

    It is up to Muslims to present the positives of Islam to the world, not for anyone else to seek them out. Most of humanity couldn’t care less about Islam’s positives or negatives, they just want terror in the name of Islam to stop.

    I have asked several times what Chiara finds positive in the culture of KSA. Muslims hail from every culture in the world, thus their “customs” may be different. However, the Islamic portion tends to be based in Arab culture and of course, the Qur’an. Many people find it very difficult to see positives in the Qur’an, in particular the Medinan surah which are overwhelmingly misanthropic, misogynistic, racist, anti-Semitic and very violent. Since the Qur’an was clearly influenced by Judaism and Christianity, if one removed the violent, misanthropic verses away, what would be left would be the Bible.

    Many of us find much positive in Arab culture: Food, music, art, hospitality. However, few of those are Islamic since these often predate Islam adnn emanate from other cultures as well. The “art and culture” pages of Arab News are regularly blank — and have been so for years. I don’t believe that going mall shopping as the only modern “cultural” outlet is a particularly positive thing, in particular when single men can’t get into the malls. Additionally, it is difficult to feel positive about the famed Arab hospitality, when one never knows whether it is genuine or merely a custom that could turn into murderous, tribal, revenge seeking violence at the drop of a hat. There are plenty of examples of that in the news of Muslims turning on other people including their own families.

    So, my question again to those who find Islam so positive, list the things that you find positive. Make a BIG list please and let’s discuss. While we are at it: Where are the modern Islamic Einsteins, Mozarts, Beethovens, Shakespeares, Newtons, Leibniz, Gates, Peis, Copernicus, Galileo, etc.? Where is modern Islamic science, medicine, art, music, literature, architecture, technology, etc.? Why don’t Muslims export the positives? Iran has wonderful modern writers, as does Turkey, however, these are all too often persecuted and not exactly household words in the rest of the world.

    Why does the world not see Muslims marching by the millions against the terrorists who seem to strike innocent Muslims every day of the week in some part of the world? Instead we see Muslims getting up violent protests against western cartoons and burqa laws while actually killing their own in the process.

    Why don’t Muslim women protest their subjugation via regular, massive protests instead of taking their enslavement so quietly?

    Certainly, there are some Islamic feminists such as Wajeha Al-Huwaider or Shirin Ebadi however, they are regularly silenced and marginalized. Those who are a thorn in the side of the religionists often get their internet blogs pulled, some even get arrested.

    It can’t be repeated enough, that it is up to Muslims to free themselves from the 7th century yoke of Islam. No one can do it for them. The other four-fifths of humanity can only work to preserve their own freedoms, democracies and human rights. Thus, the laws against the burqa/veil/niqab in not only western lands, but also some Islamic cultures such as Turkey and most recently, Syria.

    Most thinking people have no problem with most Muslims, IF they are peaceful and obey their host countries’ laws, while also respecting the lands’ customs. However, the radical Muslims who insist on Islamizing the the rest of the world, while using democratic freedoms and stolen technology to do so, those are a problem and cannot be tolerated!

    One more thing: It is incessantly claimed that the west has radicalized Muslims because of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Many would counter that Muslims have radicalized many in the west because, of the countless terrorist attacks—starting way back in 1979. 9/11 simply pushed a lot of people over the edge to the point that they quite frankly do not trust anything Muslims say because, of what the terrorists do such as the daily carnage in Islamic lands. Then there are the imams with their sermons and scholars like Tariq Ramadan, who say one thing for western consumption and quite another for Islamic ears.

    OK, please do post the positives about KSA, especially for women, and of course Islam. Don’t forget to explain why these are positive to you. Tell us how the world can benefit from these if they are unique to Islam.😀

    • Arianna,

      I have asked several times what Chiara finds positive in the culture of KSA.

      I do believe you actually want to know what Saudiwoman/Eman finds positive in the culture of KSA.

  75. My only agenda, as a world citizen, is to try and see beneath the top coating of radicals in all groups and try to understand the real issues.

    The only way as an Aussie woman I can do that regarding Muslims and their customs is to read the literature and blogs like this one.

    With all respect Arianna I think this following quote of yours is a tad inaccurate.

    “all too many Muslims have a hidden agenda, the agenda of the Qur’an which is to make the world Islamic. They will lie and do anything necessary to do it. Clearly, westerners categorically reject that idea!”

    Yes we reject that idea yet Arianna are we rejecting it on the principle of freedom of thought or for our own ‘Christian’ agenda that is so integral in our upbringing and culture but in a much more subtle manner than Islam.

    Can any of us truly deny we human beings all share in the compulsion to make others follow our own beliefs.

    I would remind you that Christianity has the same aim as Islam, i.e. conversion. Jesus is the only way to God, Muhammad is the last therefore most important. My goodness, Judaism doesn’t even leave any space for if we ain’t a ‘chosen people’ we just ain’t and that’s it!

    Fundamentalist Christianity, particularly strong in the United States, consistently tries to influence people. Westerners try to force on others that they justify within their religion. I offer abortion rights, homosexuality as only two examples.

    I read earlier this year of American soldiers driving in Iraq with fundamentalist Christian messages condemning Islam.

    We ‘others’ ain’t quite that evolved yet. Otherwise the Roman Catholic Church would have no say in women’s rights over their own bodies.

    At the end of all this reading and more I have learnt the following;

    [1] Without any doubt Islam and Christianity for reasons deep in our history have been atrocious in their treatment of woman.

    [2] Only woman can empower woman. Only the people within a country can change that country.

    [3] The ‘enlightenment’ period in Christianity gets more praise than it deserves and certainly did nothing for the treatment of women. The feminist movement did that work.

    [4] It is only when I face you with recognition of your common humanity that I can reach beyond belief systems and opinions and connect truly with understanding.

    [5] Folk who interpret scriptures, of the Quran, the new Testament, the Torah literally are not open to debate, growth, enlightenment nor any such thing. And that’s their right.

    Cheers…Leesa

  76. Arianna,

    I shall try once more to help you understand that there are 2 different people you are confusing. I am a commentator only here. This is a blog authored by Eman, who is Saudi. Here are our respective “About” descriptions on each of our 2 different blogs:

    ME–A COMMENTATOR HERE:
    Chiara
    I am a Canadian academic of Italian origin with qualifications in medicine, psychiatry, literature, and philosophy, and interested in the cross-cultural aspects of all of these. I am married Islamically and legally to a Moroccan. I remain a Daughter of the Book.

    THE AUTHOR OF THIS BLOG–EMAN:

    My name is Eman Al Nafjan and I’m a mother of three or at least I try to be. I am also a postgraduate student at a university in Riyadh. So many non Arabs and non Saudis out there giving “expert” opinions on life and culture here, hence my blog. Get it straight from the source: Saudi, genetically wahabi and a woman.

    I hope you are clearer now, Arianna, and can address your comments and questions accordingly.

  77. BOB

    I just read that Syria has banned the niqab ..good for them!
    The world is a changing

    source
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=128671593

  78. simran

    and i was also referring to arianna in my last post in which i said that she ignored my second response. anyways, she seems to be a loozer who cant face up to rational debate and just cops out. nothing more to say:)

  79. Arianna

    Some people are complaining about being “ignored.” On this blog it is difficult to follow whose post is responding to whom, since the order of posts is often convoluted. It would be helpful if posts were specifically addressed to the appropriate person, rather than simply hitting the “reply” button. Since there are 160 responses to the article, it’s easy to miss a post. Some of us have jobs and can’t wade through everything.

    Marahm, in the west your “tribe” is typically professional colleagues to whom many people “relate” most deeply. Just because one is genetically related is a silly reason to stick together. Jack the ripper and Osama bin Laden also have relatives. One can choose one’s friends, but not one’s family or neighbors. Making war on another tribe is really a bit 7th century. Marrying within closely related tribes produces genetic defects. The Islamic world has some of the highest birth defects in the world as a result of consanguineous marriages. In the middle east it is estimated that over 50% of marriages are consanguineous. This estimate also pertains to Pakistanis living in the UK, who account for some 3% of all births in the UK, produce “just under a third” of all British children with genetic illnesses.

    The risks of cousin marriage

    Since this is a KSA blog: Consanguinity among the Saudi Arabian population.

    Chiara: Thanks for the heads up. I’ve gone over the postings and see what a foolish error I made confusing you with the blog owner. Sorry about that. I believe the origin was because you thanked me for the detailed comments on your blog and I thought you were talking about this blog.

    Sana, good points on fascism. Many people consider Islam to be fascistic in its ultra-right-wing extremism. Thus the term: Islamofascism. The claim that Islam has been “hijacked” is quite untrue! If one looks at a definition of fascism and compares this to Islam, the similarities are very clear.

    simran, I finally saw your lengthy response to mine and may have to get back to you on that. I’m working at the moment. Chiara has already made many of my points. However, in a nutshell, the burqa ban is only a start because, the west is waking up to the dangers of Islam, whether “moderate” or just plain old as Muhammad revealed it. As to where I get my statistics, I get them from Euro Stat and other reputable sources such as government, medical and science sites. You appear to not be well informed as to what is going on in Europe. The laws in continental Europe are much stronger against Islamic extremists and for equal rights. There are over 129 immigrant “holding centers” to repatriate illegal aliens, many of them Muslims. There shelters for women as well. Some of the reasons that illegals typically wish to go to the UK. Speaking of the UK, it is notable that the government does the opposite of what the people are demanding. Case in point: Sharia domestic courts.

    The story about the restaurant and the “beards” is appalling. I would have raised one heck of a stick in the papers, on the net, everywhere. Letting these supremacists get away with discrimination will cause some serious problems in the UK.

    _________

    Back to burqa/veiling/niqab and feeling threatened. While I laugh at women who “voluntarily” don the shroud, as a western woman I feel very threatened by the democratic west remotely considering or permitting the subjugation and oppression of women by allowing the walking prison in our societies. After all, many a western woman has been harassed and even attacked by Muslim males for not being dressed “properly.” I have personal experience in the west with disrespectful Muslim males as do a number of my friends. The statistics for such attacks, especially in the Nordic countries are shocking.

    The very idea that a man can tell a woman, any woman, what she must wear to make him feel comfortable is ludicrous!

    More power to the French and any other government that bans the shroud. Is is a start, at least in the west that all people, including Muslim women, must be treated equally. Men who force their women to veil should be fined, imprisoned and or deported.

    As to Islamophobia. This is a misnomer. A phobia is an intense and unrealistic fear that causes interference in normal activities such as work or play.

    First, fear of radical Islam is hardly unrealistic given the tens of thousands of terrorist attacks since 9/11 and the historical spreading of Islam by the sword. Second, not too many people in the free world are sitting bunkered in their homes waiting for the Muslim hordes to come over the hill. OTOH, there are many Muslims who are very afraid of their own. And then there are the women who are imprisoned in their houses because they are afraid of Muslim men.

    In fact, one would make a solid claim that it is many Muslims who actually suffer from a phobia, the fear of modernity, democracy and the west. Perhaps we could dub that “Democracyphobia” or “Pluralismphobia” or “Modernityphobia”?😉

    The difference is that Muslims have a choice as to whether to adopt a western life-style, while victims of terror have very few choices if they are targeted.

    Why such anti-democracy, anti-equality, anti-human rights Muslims use western products, services or even come to the west is a mystery.

  80. Unimpressed

    Nothing like an ignored white washed Arab to give radical western hate mongers comfort in their racism and bigotry. The arguments from these hypocrites are so childish, one has to wonder how much of inferiority complex these colonized minds suffer from. Just because some secular puppet Arab banana republics taking their marching orders from the West banned the niqab doesn’t mean a damn thing. Monkey see, monkey do.

    Since when did female dignity come to be defined by the most violent perverted, uncivilized people with a dispicable human rights record? Did you know that in France incest is protected under the law? Where prostitution and homosexuality is legal, and beastiality is semi-legal? They not only tolerate but promote such social sicknesses, yet the burkha bothers them?
    These ignorant, ugly, mentally and morally challenged Europeans(read their history if you think my assesment is harsh) are a disgrace to humanity.

    Women have every right to wear a niqab or a burkha, if retarded white westerners with their “skanks in the city” mentality can’t handle the fact that world does not revolve around them, too bad. Stop living in that euro-centric white bubble and grow up, Nazis.

    • Jenna

      Unimpressed…. lovely use of what sounds like a western University education to make “ignored” (you meant ignorant…right?) commentary of the ills of all that is wrong of western society and “eastern” nations who pander to “banana republics” well played.. so which school did you go to… Brandeis? Vermont U? Which Western Company does your Daddy work for that paid for the education which allows you to so eloquently elucidate upon your liberal “down with da’ Man” position here? I bet this took you…what… about 45 minutes to come up with this? cute. I bet you are President of your local Muslim Student Association, too…

      The hatred oozing out of your post is terrifying. There is no need to be so angry. There is no need to call people names. Your very response only adds fuel to the fire, child, lay down and be tranquil it will all work itself out.

      • Unnamed

        To be fair, it’s no worse than the hateful pile being peddled against Islam and the Arab culture.

    • Marcus

      I think your confused with the Mufti and Hitlers relationship obviously.?

      If we wish to throw stones, be careful one does not live in a glass house.

      The only Nazi here is you… with your vile gutter Gob attacking whites and Europeans so visibly transparent it is clear to see your hate for non believers.

      The “Monkey” speech was a good point… Isnt it so that as a Muslim one must follow in the ways of Mohammed? Monkey is as Monkey does.😉

  81. Jenna

    ahhh yeah… and shall I add more fuel to the fire habibis?
    now here this is a question I have LONG had about Islam…

    Jenna: Why are women marginalized in Mosques?
    Muslim: Because when they pray men dont look at them (their areas). and make them uncomfortable.
    Jenna: But the women cant see the iman or hear very well. and during the holiday the mosque is so crowded they cant go… doesnt that kinda tell women they are religiously…. “second class citizens”?
    Muslim: well… no… they should pray at home. plus its not meant to dishonor them… the mosque just gets so crowded.
    Jenna: Well then why cant there be a man’s mosque and then a woman’s mosque run by a woman imam? That would not break any rule right? that way the woman can be front and center and get to talk to the imam and go whenever she wants… why dont they make these?
    Muslim: (consternated silence)
    Jenna (sad)

    Okay I always wondered why not an all female mosque then? Well!!!! Apparently in Western China there ARE!!!! I think this is very very cool:

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=128628514&sc=fb&cc=fp

    • Excellent video! I, too, never liked the marginalization of women in mosques. I do support the separation of men and women at prayer may be a good idea, but not the marginalization that leaves women off to the side.

      Some mosques have upstairs areas for women that are spacious and comfortable. No man dares look up.

  82. Laura, the fact that immigrants and ill-prepared nationals work harder for less pay does not even things out. Immigrants, prepared or otherwise, eloquent in the language or illiterate, tend to have fewer opportunities in countries like Italy, where a tribal mentality prevails.

    That’s not necessarily a bad thing, mind you. Who says that anyone should be able to go anywhere and reap the blessings of those who have lived there all their lives?

    We’re getting off-post here, but let me make one more comment before exiting.

    Much has changed, indeed, in Southern Italy since the publication of Cristo… however, anyone familiar with Saudi culture will read Cristo.. and wonder whether Levi was actually in Riyadh, so close are the similarities between the Saudis and the Southern Italians of which he writes. It’s a wonderful read, testimony to the Arab legacy in Italy.

    • (This comment popped up before Laura’s comment to which it is addressed. I don’t know how that happened. Sorry, if it was my fault.)

      • Laura

        Marahm, I don’t know the level of knowledge that you have about Italy. I would that you don’t know that much. Please tell me a country where immigrant have the same opportunities than the local. I doesn’t exit. Even though you go to Scandinavian countries (that for me are an example to follow) this does not happens. Moreover there’s no tribal mentality here I would say that we are not tribal at all or not more than other countries. Immingrants who arrives 20 years ago are now perfectly integrated. Unfortunately now there is a difficult economical period everywhere then it’s much more difficult to find a job for everybody and this reflect much more on the weak stratus of the polulation as the immigrants but not only them.

  83. Rebecca

    If a woman is forced to wear the burqa surely it’s the fault of the people that forced her? And not the fault of her neighbor who wants to wear her burqa?

    Surely the law should go against the people who are forcing the burqa on others and not the people who want to wear it, no matter how few they may be.

  84. Cassandra

    So, Chiara, does this mean that you also post under Marahm?

    • Cassandra–no, it means that I have always, since my very first comment anywhere in Dec of 2008, posted as myself.

      In this one instance ever, while making a comment to Marahm I accidentally put her name in the Name slot, then my email (which is why you see my palm trees) and my website.

      I corrected it immediately.

      I’m not in the habit of asking myself to send me an email either.

      But you perhaps knew all that.

  85. Hafsa

    I cant believe that u wud be supportive of the burqa ban in France! i think that becuz of the fact that u r forced to do niqaab in Saudi Society, u have become very resentful towards the whole concept of niqaab. but what u dont like about the niqab is that saudi women usually dont have a choice! and everyone deserves a choice. whether to cover or not to cover. and the choice of the muslim women in france has been taken away from them. instead of being all for it, u shud be against it.
    personally, i think the burqa ban was put in place becuz the French just want to drive Islam out of their country.

  86. UN

    Sahih Bukhari Volume 6, Book 60, Number 282:

    Narrated Safiya bint Shaiba:

    ‘Aisha used to say: “When (the Verse): “They should draw their veils over their necks and bosoms,” was revealed, (the ladies) cut their waist sheets at the edges and covered their faces with the cut pieces.”

  87. UN

    Abu Dawood Book 32, Hadith # 4090
    Narrated Umm Salamah, Ummul Mu’minin (Radhiallaahu Ánha): When the verse “That they should cast their outer garments over their persons” was revealed, the women of Ansar came out as if they had crows over their heads by wearing outer garments.

  88. Dear SaudiWoman,

    This was an interesting post. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. I agree with almost everything you said. I find the niqab extremely problematic. It not only oppresses those who are forced to wear it but it also sets as a standard the idea that all men are vultures that cannot control themselves. Instead of protecting women, it places all the responsibility of any violence committed by men against women on women. You are right – no matter how much a woman covers up it is always her fault because she could have covered up more.

    Niqab wasn’t and still isn’t popular in bahrain which is where I’m from. However I am seeing an increasing number of Bahraini women wearing it and it is really worrying me.

    I find the women who wear niqab out of choice and not because they are forced very problematic. When a woman chooses to wear niqab, she actually is oppressing the people around her. We cannot see her facial expressions and therefore to some extent only know half the person we are talking to. We are conditioned to rely on our sense of sight more than our other senses so when a woman covers her face, we simply don’t have a complete picture of who we are talking to.

    That being said, I disagree with banning the niqab in France. While you feel that the ban may force these people to integrate with the rest of society, I fear that it may do the opposite. I think these women and their families may react by completely isolating themselves from french society. This is especially true if the woman wearing the niqab is wearing it out of her own conviction as she will feel that her beliefs are being attacked. As for the woman who are forced to wear niqab by their families, I fear that they will not be allowed to leave the house or that their families will move to a country that does allow women to wear niqab.

    Also, I do think that in the end, we should stick to the principle that it is no one’s business what a woman chooses to wear whether she is covering herself completely or wearing a bikini. I am hoping that by sticking to this principle niqab will slowly disappear from our society.

  89. Muslima

    But the Mothers of the Believers were niqabis, and the Quran says ‘draw their khimars (headcoverings) over their chests’. I do think that covering the face is sunnah and hijab fard, but I believe that if it is religious for a woman to cover more of herself, then it is also so for a man! And if I’m not mistaken even men wore veils in public in the Prophet’s day? Back then it was more to do with the heat than with modesty or religion.

  90. Paul

    Hello,

    Thank you for your post Saudiwoman and your comprehension. It is always refreshing to see someone without judgemental attitude. For the context, I am a french guy.

    First I would like to emphasize that I believe each people should choose their ways. Even if I am strongly anti burqa, I am not against other countries living with it. I just think it is not my role to judge how people in different countries live.
    To be honest, I am against Islam in France because, in my understanding, it is not a religion as we understand it but a constitution, supposedly given by God, so not amendable. No thanks.
    I will fight it in France until the end, with violence if needed. But if some other countries are happy to live by it, so be it.

    What I find very interesting in your post is that even if burqa is presented as a way to not distress men, it is not really effective. In your post what seems to arouse a man is his thinking that a woman is “asking for it” (and I can testify it can be arounsing ^^). And the only way he can “rationnally” think that, is if a woman behave in abnormal way for him, i.e. in a different way he thinks other women behave.
    So to be sure men are not distressed by using veiling must lead to perfect homogeneity of behavior in women, which can only be realisable practically with women secluded, and not even appearing on windows (it will be seen as “asking for it” by neighbours). Even then, an dishcloth falling from a window will be seen as abnormal, and so arousing…
    In conclusion, a more diverse dressing code from women should reduce the number of men thinking women are “asking for it” by reducing the set of behaviour seen as arousing and thus will reduce the number of distressed men. Ironic, isn’t it?
    But it will be in complete disagreement with the unveiled Khadija history where angels flee…

    Regards

  91. maja

    wow..it surprises me that a Saudi woman finally opens up…

  92. Salaam Alikam Sister,
    Subhanallah your happy a woman is forced to not wear the Niqab! What if she wanted to? I wear the Niqab out of my own choice, I wore it before marriage.
    Would you say the 4 Imam’s are incorrect?
    All of them say Niqab is Fardh and Imam Hanifa says its Wajib but if she wears scarf it cannot be colourful, she cannot wear make up, or fancy/tight clothes.

    Of course some women could be forced, but not all are…and inforcing a law to rid the niqab would be opression to a woman who chooses to wear one.
    I personally would feel naked to take off my Niqab

    • Jenna

      Yeah but why do people listen to all these Imams… who are they anyway? Why not listen to Allah instead? He didnt say anything about the Niqab.

      • UmmAbdulmalik

        Without the 4 Imam’s we’d not know how to pray, Qur’an doesn’t say how to do all the movements of Salaat…Hadith do, which were taught by the 4 Imam’s to their students, and their students taught their students,all the way down to us.
        Aisha(ra) said that Niqab is fardh…
        Sahih Al-Bukhari Volume 6, Book 60, Hadith # 282

        Narrated Safiya bint Shaiba (Radhiallaahu Ánha) “Aisha (Radhiallaahu Ánha) used to say: “When (the Verse): “They should draw their veils over their necks and bosoms,” was revealed, (the ladies) cut their waist sheets at the edges and covered their faces with the cut pieces.

        Do we ignore Aisha(ra) also? the Wife of the Prophet(as), the woman who would know ISLAM better then us, the Woman who’d know the Qur’an better then us?

      • Jenna

        Interesting… but if Muslims say the Quran is a complete Recitation and Perfect from Allah then why did people right after feel the need to then make all these additions? Maybe if Allah left it “open to interpretation” maybe Allah meant it just that way…open for interpretation? This for me is the number one contradiction of Islam that I just cannot make peace with. If the Quran is perfect then why then did people start adding to it immediately after? If the recipe does not call for almonds… then do not add almonds….🙂

    • Marcus

      A nice post… Can you tell me why you feel naked without this form of dress and why you “want” to wear this?

      It is very interesting to read how you say this is your choice, and you refer to the 4 Imam (who must be held in your most highest esteem to quote them) who are stating religiously that this attire is an obligatory act??? How absurd. Your following sentence goes some way to summing matters up when you say that “if she wears scarf it cannot be colourful, she cannot wear make up, or fancy/tight clothes”. Simple Suppression… To have a relationship with Allah, one does not have to wear certain clothing to have faith and to be looked upon as a good Muslim… As a woman, your not equal to the male, full stop… The man is on a higher plane to you religiously, for Allah and Mohammed say so… … Maybe it could stem as far back as this little beauty… Ya just couldn`t write this.. The Prophet said, “I stood at the gate of Paradise and saw that the majority of the people who entered it were the poor, while the wealthy were stopped at the gate (for the accounts). But the companions of the Fire were ordered to be taken to the Fire. Then I stood at the gate of the Fire and saw that the majority of those who entered it were women.”

      A MAN who rapes women is not man I hope you agree.. A MAN who murders innocent men women and children is not a man. A man that even has thoughts of killing people, building a militia to go out and rob highway coaches is Dick Turpin the highway robber… someone who raids, steals and loots desert caravans and takes captive all the females as sex slaves is a criminal to say the least.. I dont know any other way to describe it really… For anyone, they must be mentally disturbed and needs locking up in a straight jacket for the protection of society obviously..
      And to read that you make a statement that if a woman who wears a head scarf, she must not wear something colourful, no make up, no tight fitting clothing… and if your University is on fire and your not correctly dressed according to these so called educated loving peaceful Islamic Imams, please, dont attempt to flee the flames… just sit and burn to death…

      I hope you are well and enjoying a wonderful day.
      Love makes the world a much more beautiful place..

      • Allah swt said to the women to cover their beauty and to be modest…tight clothes isn’t modest. A colourful scarf or make up attracts men other then her husband or family which can cause fitnah.

        I hold Allah and his Rasool first of course, like every muslim would/should/does.

        I choose to wear niqab because from reading Quran & Hadith I believe it’s fardh.
        And words being quoted by the wife and friend of the Prophet(as) show something do they not? or do we ignore her also? Allah mentions her in the Qur’an so obviously Allah loves her, so we should follow her footsteps.

  93. Of course, we will be judged by how much good we did in life, after all.

  94. Pingback: The View of “Saudi Woman” on Niqab Ban « Odd Number 7

  95. I’ve always been against the idea of banning any item of clothing that people choose to wear for religious reasons; and been in favour of increasing the knowledge that (in this country at least) it is a choice.

    Yet in this debate it seems more and more as if the French have a point. Even if they may be coming at it from ther wrong viewpoint.

    I’ve spoken to Muslim girls who say here that all the men they know drink alcohol but they aren’t allowed to; it’s the same hypocritical stand just less fierce a debate.

    It reminds me of the story of Ataturk wanting to ban the veil; and how he daren’t risk the wrath of the strict Islamic community. So instead made it compulsory for prostitutes to wear a veil; thus making women instantly want not to wear it.

    It will never be an easy issue, but we must remember that promoting choice is not the same as stopping religious bullying.

    • You have given examples of cultural bias about appropriate male-female behaviour not religious bullying (though religion may be used as an excuse).

    • Yes, it’s sadly true, and there is however women who wear the niqab but commit adultery.
      There will always be people who don’t follow religion properly but try to show they’re ‘pious’.
      My mother who is non muslim use to tell me when i reverted that in her work(strip club) there was always arab muslims and she said it was weird because she thought they can’t see those stuff(the things she does as a work)

      I believe that if your in a democracy country…ie: england,australia ect: then you cannot ban the Niqab or any religious garment as freedom of religion,dress and expression is apart of the ‘freedoms’ . However if you lived in a Christian country, by Christian law, I’d understand it in a way, because in a Islamic Country with Islamic law you must follow what your religious text actually says…So christians couldn’t drink wine or eat swine if they were in a Muslim country because the Bible forbides those two things.

      • Amal

        You’re confused about what the four imams say about niqab. Please return and do some research. None of them called the face awrah, though there was difference of opinion about whether it was wajib. And NONE of them ever said what colors a woman can wear. There are too many ahadith about women in colorful clothing for this to have happened.

        You’re also confused about your kunya. “Ummi” means “my mother,” so if you want to be the “mother of Abdulmalik,” you must mean “Um Abdulmalik.” “Ummi Abdulmalik” means “my mom, Abdulmalik,” which, you’ll agree, sounds rather silly.

  96. Michael

    I have read the blog and a lot of the comments but not all of them, so forgive me if I am repeating someone.
    Now, to sum it up, I would like to say this. Screwdrivers can be used to build houses and cars etc. They can also be used to penetrate skulls and liquefy brains etc.
    Now, we do not ban screwdrivers we ban the abuse of them and seek to punish those who use them for bad things.
    Isn’t that what freedom is about?

  97. Psychodiva

    I support you in everything you say. It took a war for men to realise the importance of women in the West, it took another war before they began to even think of us as equals- what will it take for the Islamic world to rid itself of medieval thinking about women?

  98. Pingback: The Burqa Ban « Densoy's Blog

  99. I don’t think it is possible in a democratic country to ban the burqa. It is a violation of freedom, of choice.
    Now I do think that in security situations it definitely should be forbidden. And I also think that businesses and shops and cafes etc should be allowed to choose whether their clientele is hiding their identity or not. But you cannot ban it on the streets.

    In essence I completely agree with you.

    There are no women who ”choose” to veil out of their own free will, because the reasons stated for wearing it contravenes free will.
    As soon as you are successful in making women believe that they are better, or safer, or more decent, or more religious, that your face is the cause for sin, that God requires veiling (or hijab for that matter) and even that you will be damned to hell if you don’t, then there is no free will involved. There is only coercion.
    A coerced decision contradicts freedom and free will. It takes humanity away from the human and denigrates them to the status of a thing, an object, mindless chattel.

    But a ban is coercion too isn’t it?
    I wish it wasn’t.

  100. I don’t think it is possible in a democratic country to ban the burqa. It is a violation of freedom, of choice.
    Now I do think that in security situations it definitely should be forbidden. And I also think that businesses and shops and cafes etc should be allowed to choose whether their clientele is hiding their identity or not. But you cannot ban it on the streets.

    In essence I completely agree with you.

    There are no women who ”choose” to veil out of their own free will, because the reasons stated for wearing it contravenes free will.
    As soon as you are successful in making women believe that they are better, or safer, or more decent, or more religious, that your face is the cause for sin, that God requires veiling (or hijab for that matter) and even that you will be damned to hell if you don’t, then there is no free will involved. There is only coercion.
    A coerced decision contradicts freedom and free will. It takes humanity away from the human and denigrates them to the status of a thing, an object, mindless chattel.

    But a ban is coercion too isn’t it?
    I wish it wasn’t.

  101. Now this is strange; my comment keeps disappearing, I’ll try one last time:

    I don’t think it is possible in a democratic country to ban the burqa. It is a violation of freedom, of choice.
    Now I do think that in security situations it definitely should be forbidden. And I also think that businesses and shops and cafes etc should be allowed to choose whether their clientele is hiding their identity or not. But you cannot ban it on the streets.

    In essence I completely agree with you.

    There are no women who ”choose” to veil out of their own free will, because the reasons stated for wearing it contravenes free will.
    As soon as you are successful in making women believe that they are better, or safer, or more decent, or more religious, that your face is the cause for sin, that God requires veiling (or hijab for that matter) and even that you will be damned to hell if you don’t, then there is no free will involved. There is only coercion.
    A coerced decision contradicts freedom and free will. It takes humanity away from the human and denigrates them to the status of a thing, an object, mindless chattel.

    But a ban is coercion too isn’t it?
    I wish it wasn’t.

  102. expat

    hello, I just discovered this website and will be coming back for more.
    I am an American that has been living in France for 25 years. I am THRILLED that the French are banning the niqab – this is the perfect way to isolate women from society. What sort of professions can veiled women hope to have ? Pilots ? Doctors ? (oh sure, only for women. There were very few women in England that wore the niqab 5 years ago – now they’re everywhere.
    @Arianna : totally agree with your posts.

  103. Pingback: Burqa Babe « Going with the wind

  104. melaniegouby

    Great post! You can see my take (as a French woman) on the issue here: http://tiny.cc/cn5ea

  105. A'idah

    Marcus, I had the same reaction to the comments of Unnamed as did you and a number of other people, judging by the votes.

    The “Tu Quoque,” Argumentum ad Hominem, logical fallacy, (you also and even more,) thus diverting the question, is a speciality of those defending religion and its totalitarian states. What the rest of the world does or does not do is COMPLETELY irrelevant when it comes to human rights in KSA or any other land of the true believers. Evidently, Unnamed is not aware that the divorce rate in KSA is 60%, double that of the U. S. Then there is “temporary” or misyar/mutah marriage, very common in KSA and the rest of the Islamic world. In the non-Muslim world, that is called prostitution.

    To your excellent retort I would also add that it is Muslims who are leaving their “perfect” Islamic lands in droves to go to the free and prosperous non-Islamic world, only to bring their religious and tribal hatreds as well as their repressive, undemocratic customs with them. About 50% of Muslims worldwide are in diaspora and many more, especially those in the Gulf, want to leave according to the U. N. Reports on Arab Development. These emigrants from the Islamic world especially like to go to the UK where many end up on the dole collecting not only for themselves, but also for multiple wives and children.

    I cannot be repeated enough that there are not legions of non-Muslims trying everything in their power to get into any Islamic land, but instead it is Muslims who all too often travel illegally to the west, specifically to land in Italy and Spain and then disperse. Others enter on visitors’ visas and then overstay illegally.

    Conversely, the general reason that some people go to the Gulf states is for work, where all too many of such people are used as slave labor and mightily abused. The skilled tech workers most often live in walled, guarded enclaves that are completely cut off from the real KSA, while the maids and other menial workers are frequently kept as prisoners in the homes of Gulf Arabs, their passports having been confiscated and even their wages withheld by their Arab employers. Hardly a week goes by that some Arab newspaper does not print a story about maid or worker abuse. During Ramadan this seems to increase as the slaves are expected to work day and night, while the Arabs party. During this period embassies are often overwhelmed with fleeing servants who can’t be repatriated because, their passports have been confiscated.

    One of the biggest problems appears to be that the “modern” Arabs have failed to develop a modern work ethic. Articles on this subject estimate that Arabs work on average of about 2 hours per day. Believers have been inculcated by their holy Qur’an that they are “the best of peoples” and above all others. It is reported that all too many of them, with a useless Ph. D. in religious studies, feel they should be a manager. Real work is for infidel expats.

    Islamic imperialism used slavery and dhimmitude of the conquered peoples as a way to further the ummah’s prosperity. When there were no more lands to easily conquer and the Muslims were driven out of Europe in 1492, that prosperity stopped because there were no more new dhimmies to be the producers. In the modern world, the oil rich nations of Islam of course, still use slaves. Dubai, that “shining example” of Islamic-capitalism and excess, where every debauchery known to man and beast can be found, was built with such slave labor. Its debt rate is now 107% of GDP. The rest of the Gulf is well known for importing slaves from poor, third-world countries like the Philippines or the sub-Continent.

    It does strike one as odd that the believers have no problem whatsoever with 1,400 years of Islamic imperialism, while they rail endlessly against the VOLUNTARY, cultural imperialism of the west that has brought believers the good life. Unlike religion, there is no compulsion in using infidel products and services. One does wonder why so many Saudis partake?

    When men do not have meaningful, productive work and as a result, their societies produce little of value while everything needed for daily life including food, consumer products, medicines and technology is imported, then these men tend to take their frustrations out on other people, specifically women and children who are of lesser status in their society.

    Arab women appear very much to want to be free to study and work at any chosen profession, not just those permitted by the ulema. Unfortunately, their ne’er-do-well men, with the unwarranted superiority complex, won’t let them.

    Looks as if the women are getting tired of being restricted in this abnormal, inhuman fashion:

    “according to the Saudi Gazette, a young couple “appeared to be acting in an inappropriate manner” in an amusement park. A commission member who spotted them suspected they were not married or related and were therefore breaking the law. As the commission member approached them, the young man collapsed – presumably out of shock or fright – but the woman showered him with punches. He was taken to a medical centre to be treated for bruises.

    In the second incident, which the LA Times calls an unprecedented outburst, a woman caught in “illegal seclusion” with a man shot at the religious police when questioned.”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2010/may/26/saudi-women-religious-police

    “Despite the possibility of facing imprisonment or lashing, the woman’s fisticuffs was hailed by Saudi human rights activist Wajiha Huwaidar.

    “People are so fed up with these religious police, and now they have to pay the price for the humiliation they put people through for years and years,” she said. “This is just the beginning and there will be more resistance.”

    The U. S. National Rifle Association could probably be of assistance to these women.

    Aside from education perhaps the developed world should send advisors to teach the Saudis and other Gulf Arabs by offering instructions on the work ethic as well as how a woman can take care of herself when abused by a man? Evidently, the above women have learned.

    After all, once the oil runs out, Arabs will certainly have to change their indolent/nihilistic attitudes and ultimately work for all those non-Islamic material goods that they covet, buy and use. It may even become a matter of honor to be self-supporting or to just be supported by a self-sufficient woman.😉

  106. Muslima

    I hate the endless arguements on subjects like these. Why can’t we all just get along.

    Yeah, there are women who are forced to cover in the Afghani burqa, or in the Saudi trademark black, or are fooled into thinking that they are mandatory. However, there are also lovely Muslimas out there who wear niqab out of choice, trying to go with their religion, but they certainly don’t mind wearing colors, stylish but modest clothes, etc. Such as my aunt, who’s a niqabi who plays indoor soccer. Not to mention that many of these ladies highly dislike the idea that they veil or cover because of their or men’s sexuality. To quote one, “I cover for my Creator and not for any man. It’s his own job to control himself, certainly not mine.”

    Let’s face it, Muslims argue. A lot. I have seen piles upon piles of Muslims yelling “No colors! Full veiling!” with a whole other bunch rising up bristling and disproving them with ahadith and Quran. These arguements go on endlessly between Muslims, so I really think that non-Muslims are never going to get a clear view of it all.

    • Marcus

      but we are here trying, endlessly, tirelessly meeting minds and attempting to understand. Lets also be honest, things are changing and changing fast, not many moons ago, this blogger could quite easily have whipped publicly.. So, we must all open up and share…
      Your post again hits home hard… very hard./.. I mean come on, who on earth puts up with men screaming at you if your a woman to cover up, wear black, no colours, and… I am sure… much more vile disgusting words to oppress the female, to make her know her place, she is nothing compared to the man… and lucky if she is considered half…. And your post really exposes the sheer size of the problem…

      Your friends do not cover for their creator, they cover because of the men and the male dominated society which rules over them…. Islam at its most political one could say… And for women to talk in such a manner hammers home the point when they acknowledge that the men are sexual predators who truly cannot control themselves… and will make up a whole bunch of excuses if they attack a girl or a woman… “she wasnt completely covered, the dirty slut, what does she expect?”

      Absolutely balmy and crazy laws enforced which can see girls die inside a University inferno, because they are not dressed according to Islam?? Unbelievable.

      The argument going on between muslims on this issue shows how pathetic the men are and frightened of you girls…. and this will only gather pace and rage from certain section as women force their way into society and the men will sulk… boo hoo…

  107. A'idah

    shirleybk ”Ai’dah: Absolutely great post!
Thanks”

    Thanks, Shirley.

    It’s simple really. Muslims living the non-Islamic world must respect and obey the laws, customs and cultural norms of those lands or leave.

    After all, places like KSA insist that all people, whether Muslim or not respect their laws, customs and cultural norms. Thus, they make even non-Muslims cover up to the nth degree in the extreme heat. Women can’t drive. They can’t leave their houses without permission. Non-Muslims are forced to not eat or drink in front of Muslims during Ramadan. They also have to respect prayer times. The rules are endless.

    Therefore, the French and all other non-Islamic nations have every right to ban the misogynistic burqa. Those Muslims who don’t like it need to live in an Islamic land.

    Ummi_Abdulmalik:”Allah swt said to the women to cover their beauty and to be modest…tight clothes isn’t modest. A colourful scarf or make up attracts men other then her husband or family which can cause fitnah.”

    Women are made to attract men and vice versa. It’s the natural order of things. Making something dirty out of that seems to be an Islamic specialty. Most women love the attention of men. Most men in the world are not obnoxious about it as are Muslim men. If a woman shows disapproval or ignores them, they stop. Arabs are famous for harassing women, veiled or unveiled. In KSA, single men can’t even go into a mall because they might “bother” women. Women can’t walk down the street without some jerk harassing them. Very sad, really.

    There is much more “fitnah” in the Islamic world than anyplace else on earth. The divorce rate in KSA is 60%. Playing musical wives is just the thing. Prostitution is rampant in dar al Islam as are rape, acid attacks, “honor” killings, terror attacks on innocent people and all sorts of debauchery. Booze, drugs and sexy undies are big business in the Gulf states. Afghanistan is a narco state. Many a Saudi female wears decadent outfits covered by a very expensive abaya to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars. So much for the “simple” life.

    Perhaps the veil and all that Muslim-male sexual repression and therewith obsession has something to do with it?😉

    What Muslims can’t seem to get through their heads is that no one cares what they do or how they do it! They can lock their women up like property, use them like brood-mares, stay in the 7th century with the prophet, slaughter each other until the Last Day or come into the 21st century in peace, harmony, democracy, pluralism and tolerance along with the rest of humanity. It is all up to them.

    What they cannot do is to dictate to the rest of the world that free peoples must obey Islamic laws. The veil is as offensive to free people as not veiling is to many a Muslim.

    When in Rome. . .

    Speaking of which; I would bet that Eman is NOT wearing a veil while on vacation in Italy. No doubt she is shopping for some very sexy, exquisite Italian clothing that she will have to cover with the black sack once back in KSA. What a shame to not be able to be free all the time.

  108. Marcus

    Ummi_Abdulmalik

    Salaam Walaikum.
    I hope I find you well.

    ” Allah swt said to the women to cover their beauty and to be modest…tight clothes isn’t modest. A colourful scarf or make up attracts men other then her husband or family which can cause fitnah.”

    Tight clothes are not modest??? Wow… A colourful scarf is not modest? And make up attracts other men?? I have had numerous affairs with married Arab muslim women from the gulf and yes, some have always worn the full outfit… still dont stop the fun…. The clothing has nothing to do with it… If one wants something and can quite easily have it, then if they want it, they will take it… its free…. And lets all be open and frank about it…

    I hold Allah and his Rasool first of course, like every muslim would/should/does.

    “I choose to wear niqab because from reading Quran & Hadith I believe it’s fardh.”

    And there is the problem. It is not… The Quran, from the time of Mohammed, follow in the way of Mohammed, he is the example… no questions, no ifs, no buts… Mohammed…

    If a female wishes to wear a gorgeous and sexy designer outfit, showing off her sweet feet in a sleek pair of slipper shoes, her ankles finely turned due to lots of tennis🙂, her legs are slim and slender, (she enjoys lots of outdoor adventure activities you see), her shoulders are on show, covered beautifully by a chiffon shawl… And she fancies popping down and into Mecca for a breeze round to sample the atmosphere…. Could she???
    Muslim women living inside Saudi are suppressed and your right, it stems directly from the Quran, Mohammed and his life, as some sort of example..

    All across the world… Central Asia and Kazakhstan recently, I witness the beauty of women and I will be open with you (but dont you go telling anyone ok?), I actually go into Bars in the cities I visit, and chat to women… Honestly… I am not pulling your leg… and sometimes I “pull” and sleep with them…. I quite enjoy it to be honest… And reminds me of a time in Kuwait… I was outside a cheap hotel in the city and a Muslim woman came out with her Mother… No veil, but full black garb… And her mother, same… She said hello to me in English as her Mother stood away from us getting into a taxi and we got to chatting… she was an English Teacher from Bahrain and visiting Kuwait. As we were just about to say good bye, (it was a very short conversation), she lifted her black head scarf a little from her head and simply shook her hair… A clear signal… I slept with her that night… And whats the problem… ???? I never saw her or spoke to her again….

    “And words being quoted by the wife and friend of the Prophet(as) show something do they not? or do we ignore her also? Allah mentions her in the Qur’an so obviously Allah loves her, so we should follow her footsteps.”

    If you wish to, then do so, it is your choice is it not? Or does someone make that choice for you? Dont take away the freedoms women deserve and by wearing this vile hateful clothing one in turns advocates the suppression… Forcing the women of their faith to cover in this manner and then to enforce this sickness with a moral police force, just beggars belief… Ya just couldnt write it if you tried…

  109. shirleybk

    You know, I really do pity the women who have to spend so much of their lives burqa’ed or abaya’ed. I think very few western women (including me) can have any concept of what it’s like. I’m a runner, & in the summer time, I run in shorts & T’shirt; when I play racquetball, I wear T’shirt & shorts or capris. I cannot fathom this business about men being so predatory. I grant you that once in a while a man may make a sexist remark, but we (American women) don’t experience harassment hardly at all, compared to what evidently goes on in Muslim countries. I never had a clue, till recently, that Muslim men were so totally randy that they can’t think of anything else. I hope that sooner or later, Saudi women (and other Islamic areas) WILL have the freedom to wear what is climaticly appropriate, and be able to break out of being viewed as nothing but sex objects. I have made it a point all my life to behave as a human being rather than trying to show off female traits. I feel that I have been respected, and have rarely had to deal with inappropriate behavior. Well, OK, one time I was attacked from the rear by a mental patient, while I was bending over a water fountain. But I turned on him, shoved hard, knocked him almost over, & he disappeared around a corner, never to be seen again. That’s the worst I’ve had to deal with in 72 years.

  110. منى

    عزيزتي ..
    ظهر في زمن الرسول المنافقين وهم الذين يظهرون الإسلام ويبطنون الكفر فأظهروا للرسول تصديقهم برسالته وأبطنوا كرههم لرسالته ولدينه ومن هنا تعلمنا أن مقياس التدين ليس بالمظهر وحده !!!
    الإسلام مظهر وجوهر يا عزيزتي وليس كما تعتقدين
    مظهر بارتدائك لحجابك وتغطية وجهك
    وجوهر بأخلاقك ومبادئك التي تستمدينها من كتاب الله سبحانه وتعالى و رسوله محمد عليه أفضل الصلاة و التسليم.
    أتمنى لك الهداية والسعادة في الدارين .

  111. Abd Alllah

    Assalaamou alaykoum,

    About the french burqa ban, let’s take a look at this funny video : “A muslim girl hides her niqab live !”

  112. Silje

    I would love to read that book, is there an english or french translation of it?? Thanks!

  113. While I respect your right to free speech, I help but wonder how can a liberal educated woman such as yourself wishes and advocates for a decision that limits women’s freedom!

    You say we are either with the 1 who chooses to cover her face willingly or the hundreds who don’t. But that is simply not true. It is quite irrational on your part. Can’t I support both of them in making their own minds? Wouldn’t introducing a concept of no forced covering had been a better course of action in your campaign?

    You campaign to take away the choice from women to cover their face, just because you hate what it represents, is making you look like some kinda of dictator to me.

    peace out

    • Once you figure out how you can ensure that a woman fully and willingly chose the niqab, I’ll agree with you. However real life has shown that the majority of women who wear it are pressured and sometimes forced to. Here in Saudi Arabia school doors are guarded to enforce covering the face completely. Many simple women I personally know abhor the face cover but endure it because they were informed by extremist shiekhs that without it they are no longer Muslims. Do you consider these women victims of ignorance and misinformation or women who freely chose to cover? Can you yourself endure a piece of black fabric on your face every time you leave the house? From a humane perspective, do you really believe that human beings were meant to start out their day that way?

  114. oum k

    salam alaykoum
    je suis francaise convertie à l’islam, je porte le niqab c’est MON choix, je suis choquée de votre avis!
    une feministe devrait se battre pour defendre les droits des femmes, c’est a dire qu’elles aient le droit de choisir ce qui leur plais, mais votre avis est sectaire kheir insha’Allah!
    quelle chance de vivre en arabie! ici c’est insultes et agressions juste car nous sommes musulmanes!
    et pas forcement celles qui portent le niqab, meme celle qui sont decouvertes!
    mosquée et cimetierre musulman profané!
    inna liLLAH wa inna ilahy raji’oun!!! never forget

  115. Pingback: Holy Father Google | Arabianism

    • oum k

      je n’ai pas compris, j’ai repondu sur le blog de saudiwoman non?
      je n’ai pas fait attention je voulais mettre un commentaire et non repondre a quelqu’un.

      • Oum K

        Ça y est. vous avez répondu sur le blog de Saudiwoman. Le “djinn du blog” (: ) ) déplace parfois les commentaires. Quant à moi, j’apprécie fort votre contribution.🙂

      • oum k

        salamalayki

        lol merci beaucoup ))

        vous etes convertie aussi ? masha’Allah j’essaie de lire un peu votre blog “chez chiara”

  116. Anna

    One thing that’s really bothersome about the whole “cover up” issue is that to this very day, Muslims argue over whether or not “it is written.” Muslims, Islamic scholars, etc. have been arguing this for centuries. And it’s not just the veil, but so many other important Islamic issues allegedly written in the Qua’ran remain unresolved and from WITHIN the Muslim community!

    Why so murky? Why so much confusion and contradiction? Could it possibly be that some of these “statements” have actually been made by… self-serving MEN? It’s obvious at least to me.

    How is it that in so many other non-Muslim countries and communities, men are quite capable of controlling themselves? In WHAT world are women “responsible” for the bad behavior of ADULT men?

    I completely agree with banning the archaic, male-created full cover. I also agree that it is not possible to distinguish the many who are forced under cover from those who are not. As a free woman it is a repulsive and oppressive symbol created by frightened, very small-minded men seeking power and control. Frankly to me, it says a whole lot more about the MEN than it does about the women.

    Just as it is illegal in free countries to imprison women — or anyone for that matter — inside their homes and just as it is illegal to separate people in the public sphere, yes, it should be illegal for a anyone to be covered beyond identification, in effect being rendered invisible.

    No matter what any woman is or isn’t wearing, most civilized men aren’t laying in wait to sexually attack them. In free societies, boys and men and girls and women generally learn respect and right from wrong in all aspects of their free lives — family, school, society, work place, religion, sports and of course, law. Generally speaking, the rigid, non-free societies of the world are masterful at keeping their peoples at a juvenile and sometimes infantile level.

    These are societies where “someone needs to be on top” and it usually starts with the men holding down the women. Well, you don’t control a group by RESPECTING them… you render them insignificant and invisible. It’s not just the “cover up” that so many free people detest… it’s the rest of the stuff that the veil truly “covers up,” which in my opinion, is the shame within the society itself.

  117. Vicks

    Guys please stop misleading everyone by saying niqab or burqa or the hear cover is not a compulsion in islam,,,, coz if thats the case then why do western women vips’ or diplomats when visiting islamic countries are required to cover up,,,, point of example is the recent visit of Angelina Jolie to flood ridden Pakistan….

  118. Saudiwoman, the most effective way to be rid of trolls is to block them.

  119. Alicia

    But Aidah’s stories are so wonderful! She is a middle class American woman who attends outdoor music events where women wear ball gowns, men wear tuxedos but nearby are leering muslim shopkeepers! And she meets with Saudi diplomats and royalty!

  120. ADS

    all women incl’-muslim-women world-over must come together, reach-over railway-routes, protest & stop-trains from running in every possible location/country, as many times as possible till they abolish, fully-relax&refrain & don’t make it compulsory for women from hiding faces behind netted-veils, Thats the only PowerFull/Brilliant & GandhianPeacefulWays to crack it down, don’t u agree?
    Hence Global/Local-WomensOrganizations must support this global-activity on rail-stop-protests to stop-veiling-women.

  121. Abubaker

    Yes gals go for it….take off the Hijab/Niqab and so forth..nothing to worry about…What religion?….it’s your democratic right to expose yourself…even the blameworthiness of the rapist ought to be substantially diminished…but ahoy ….this is the modern age and liberty and freedom are so pronounced that the men are now busy raping men… whose got the time to rape you…. maybe semi-naked gals may only get it in the afterlife….maybe!

  122. Pingback: Burka-Verbot: pro und contra | tazblogs

  123. Donna

    Years ago I lived in a US city known to have the largest Middle Eastern population in the US at that time. I rarely saw a woman. I fear that the banning of face covering in France could force women into the shadows of their home even more. If a woman is caught wearing face cover in France who is punished? The woman? That is from one jail to another.

  124. Student in Your Kingdom

    Living in your country, what strikes me as ironic, but at the same time I give you guys credit is that:

    The youth try and imitate the west by learning english, and the few intellectual, ambitious group – such as yourself, are a few steps back in terms of trying to balance between a muslim identity and this new culture of globalization.

    We who’ve lived and grown up in the US and other western countries have seen literally the trends you yourself have written about on your blog and are experiencing. It’s striking to me because I read some of your posts and it’s funny to me that i can read them and can guess and then say “yup been there, and the next step is..”

    We know where this heads, because the cycle is the same.

    1. Blind assimilation of the west.
    2. Realization of it’s vices.
    3. An attempt to balance between a clash of ideologies and cultures and try to rectify.
    4. Taking the good and realizing to leave the bad.
    5. Realizing the good was there all along, but thanking the west for making you come to this realization – and ridding yourself of the baggage that western capitalistic “democratic” idealism ingrained in you.

    It’s a cycle that no doubt is repeating itself in this new culture of saudi youth that i’ve seen, those that learned english and are using it as a tool to educate themselves [and not just a tool to pick up girls or guys when they go overseas :)]

    It’s again, just ironic to see this all playing out in front of our eyes, knowing where you guys are going to go next.

    All of these vices within saudi arabia I’ve narrowed down to what you posted just now – and it’s because true belief and true islam is not being implemented.

    Like one of the american islamic scholars mentioned

    “what’s worse is not seeing these people’s Fake Shar’iah being implemented… but rather their Fake Shar’iah being enforced on the poor.”

    Islam honestly has ALL the good of what you mentioned, and it is that constitution that has all of of what you ask for and more.

    It’s the lack of education about it that is a detriment to people that they think they need to turn to the other – when they simply need to look deeper and they’ll FIND what this so called “good” is in other ideologies – already within Islam.

    And most of all – the fake implementation of it causes people to hate it and not look really..

    The edicts in islam are not to be blamed – it’s those who are implementing them.

    Like this old street saying in america goes “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”

    Interesting blog. Just wanted to add my insights.

  125. flyingunibrow

    I am so glad to hear these sentiments, based on logic and rationality, being given a voice! It’s frustrating and demoralising to unsuccessfully try and make people understand that the veil achieves the opposite of piety- it objectifies a woman even more than the opposite. If saying that a woman is so sexually-potent she needs to be draped head-to-toe is not objective, then I think I’ll lose my mind being the only sane one in a planet of the insane. The fact is that women are so objectified by men in the name of Islam, the religion has become a mockery- a superficial political identity to throw about in everybody’s face. The veil is proof of the fact that people think women primarily objects that need to stripped of their identity, then they can learn to assimilate themselves in the public under the ‘limitations of religion’. I am tired of the nonsensical rhetoric people use to enforce and promote Wahabbi’s everywhere in the name of achieving some sacred form piety and modesty by depicting women first as natural temptresses who are born to make men -natural rapists or something- go ‘astray’.

    • Salma

      This is a response to flyingunibrow. I believe that walking around nakes objectifies women and strips her of her identity, reducing her to a sex object. My identity is not something that should be defined by the latest levi jeans or gucci handbag because that would not be an assertion of my identity but my conformity to the ideals of the mainstream media. What we can agree on is that what you wear does not make you who you are. You are who you are not matter what you wear. So if a woman is comfortable in a niqab let her wear it. It doesn’t necessarily make her pious and although perceived as such a woman in a mini-skirt is not necessarily a whore.

  126. Salma

    I think that a person’s viewpoint on the the niqab depends on the scoiety in which they were raised and their own personal experience. Life is all about choice. Allah has given us all free will and to him we shall return. I personally feel that the niqab is something beneficial but it probably isn’t obligatory. Allah’s knows best. Nevertheless, a woman should not be judged or belittled whether she chooses to wear a niqab or not. In Saudi Arabia-where you are from- women are sometimes forced to wear it and in France women are forced to remove it. I believe that it is wrong to take away a woman’s right to choose what to do with her face. I find it shocking that you support the niqab ban in France. Perhaps this stems from the sadism that can stem from a person who does not come from a “free” society. If you are abused or have your rights taken away from you you are less likely to be someone who champions human rights (not always the case of course).

    I travelled to Saudi Arabia a few years ago. I did not wear the niqab then. I didn’t feel any pressure to conform to Saudi society and to cover my face. I felt sorry for women who felt forced to do so. I am in my nativ country now and it is acceptable for women to walk around half-naked but the niqab is disliked. Nonetheless, being a non-conformist, I wear it. I choose to do so not because I think that it makes me more pious or makes me appear that way to people but because I like it. Mind you I don’t wear the heavy 3-layer saudi-style niqab but a ligh (bearable one). Why do I like the niqab? It suits me beacuse I am a very private and shy person. I always hated attention and being appreciated for my looks first. It also reminds me of what is truly important (beauty that comes from within and the actions that you do). I am not used to having personal choices being made for me so of course I will oppose a niqab ban in my home country. It is not of any importance to me what anyone thinks about my personal choices. If you think that I am oppressed because of my niqab you are free to think that and if you think that I am pious then you are free to think that but I think neither and Allah is the best of judges.

    We come from totally different worlds but Muslims are united by Islam. Arguing about the niqab is a very petty thing to do when there are more important issues to think about.

  127. “When I read that the ban has gone through the French parliament with an overwhelming majority, I was unexpectedly ecstatic about it. I don’t live in France and I don’t even to plan to visit anytime soon and yet it made me happy that women there don’t have a choice.”

    You were ecstatic and happy because Muslims have had a right taken away from them? Authu’billah. It’s one of the characteristics of the munafiqun:

    “Munafiqun happy with the calamities that befall the believers and envious with their happiness. When the munafiqun hear news that a righteous person had been stricken by a calamity, they will feel happy and spread the news to others. In their hearts, they feel happy and proud over the sufferings of the believers.”

    http://tinyurl.com/munafiqsq

    I think you might be a munafiq. Look into your heart and rectify your affairs Insha’Allah.

    May Allah guide you towards the right path.

  128. Norah

    Objectifying women is taking her choices away. Forcing her to cover her face is, in my opinion, horrible and should not be done. Forcing her to take cover off her face, is the same.. horrible and should not be done. In order to establish more rights for women, why not give her the right to choose? If advocating that she needs more rights like the men, do not take her right to choose away! Both are equally bad in my opinion!

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  132. Pingback: Activistas musulmanas critican el ‘burkini’ pero no entienden el veto francés – Project_Nuevo

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