Unveiling the Truth About Burqa Bans

In a free society, no one should be forced to integrate

If you are Amish and accustomed to seeing women only in long-sleeve, floor-length dresses with bonnets covering their hair, it must be uncomfortable to visit a non-Amish town and confront women in miniskirts, girls in tank tops, and females of every size and shape in form-fitting garments cut down to here and up to there.

But that's life in a free society. Any Amish who object to provocatively dressed females have the option of staying away or averting their gaze. Any non-Amish who are annoyed by the sight of "Little House on the Prairie" fashions can do likewise.

The mutual tolerance approach works well in this country. But some nations that require ultra-conservative Muslims to accept constant exposure to immodest attire think modern Westerners should not have to put up with the clothing choices of ultra-conservative Muslims.

These governments want to forbid women to venture into public wearing the niqab, the black dress that covers everything but the eyes, and the burqa, which covers the eyes as well. Belgium has banned them, and French President Nicolas Sarkozy wants to do the same.

Never mind that faceless women are not exactly rampant in the West. The Belgium Muslim Council says that of the country's 500,000 Muslims, only two dozen or so keep their faces covered. Among France's 5 million Muslims, those in veils number just 2,000.

So why are some people so riled? Muslims suspect the motive is religious bigotry, but the opponents insist they are safeguarding the values of a democratic society as well as the rights of women.

The veil, we are told, is a symbol of oppression imposed on women by husbands and other male relatives. Could be. But how do the critics know? The same thing can be said about surgically enhanced breasts in Europe and the United States.

Just because a few adults may be coerced into doing something doesn't mean others should not be allowed to do it of their own free will. If men are employing violence to control wives and daughters, the reasonable response is to punish them sternly while encouraging women to report the crimes.

But outlawing the burqa merely trades one form of compulsion (you must wear this) for another (you may not wear this). Besides, it is bound to backfire: If brutal men can no longer prevent women from wearing veils when they leave the house, they can prevent them from leaving the house at all.

It may be difficult to interact with someone whose face you can't see. But lots of things that are difficult when unfamiliar soon become tolerable or irrelevant.

When I first met someone I knew was gay, many years ago, I was very ill at ease. The first time I conversed with someone wearing a safety pin through her eyebrow, likewise. In both cases, I got over it. I suspect that if they had no choice, the anti-burqa crowd would adapt as well.

A more imaginative argument is that covering the face is an attack on civilized norms. "The niqab and the burqa represent a refusal to exist as a person in the eyes of others," says French parliamentary leader Jean-Francois Cope. Journalist Christopher Hitchens calls them "the most aggressive sign of a refusal to integrate or accommodate."

But in a free society, none of us is obligated to integrate. The Amish don't. Neither do the Hare Krishnas. Or Trappist monks. Wearing a suicide bomb around your waist is aggressive. Concealing your face is peaceable.

Veiled women are not refusing to exist in the eyes of others. They, like all the rest of us, are merely deciding on what terms to make their existence visible.

It's also claimed that covered faces are a security threat, since criminals have donned burqas in a handful of instances. Veils can be put to sinister uses—just as scarves, ski masks and sunglasses are often worn by camera-shy bank robbers. We don't ban those, and absent compelling evidence of an epidemic of burqa-enabled felonies, we shouldn't ban veils.

Contrary to the prohibitionists, being deprived of an option is not liberation, and choosing your own clothing is not aggression. The few Muslims who take cover behind the burqa should be tolerated as long as they observe the first axiom of a free society: Live and let live. Maybe someday their opponents will learn to do the same.

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  • Fluffy||

    It's just one more variant on the concept of "false consciousness".

    To a liberal, anyone who wants anything other than what the liberal wants isn't really thinking. They're either under coercion, or they're brainwashed. In either case, legislating against the choice the liberal doesn't want you to make "liberates" you from the thing you falsely think you want.

    Yay!

  • MNG||

    fluffy
    As a liberal and long time poster here that has crossed paths with you can you give me or us some slack? I think this is a horrible law. The proponent of it is after all the Conservative leader of France. I'm sure some silly liberals support this, but those of us who try to base their liberalism on the book On Liberty can not.

  • Fluffy||

    OK.

    To be fair, these initiatives all over Europe are coming from conservative politicians. Because they're the ones who hate Muslims the most at the moment.

    But the specific rationales they're employing they learned at feminism's knee. So I'm giving liberals the genetic blame.

  • ||

    Words like liberal and conservative as we know them don't really apply to European politics. I'm sure the supporters consist of both by our standards.

  • Brian E||

    They're either under coercion, or they're brainwashed.

    And you really believe this is not the case? The entire point of the burqa (discounting the BS religious explanation) is to make the woman wearing it feel isolated and separate even in public. How am I supposed to believe that anyone wearing one is actually exercising a choice free of coercion?

  • Fluffy||

    Millions of Americans dress up in leather and have people beat them up for sexual satisfaction.

    Some people like it so much they pay others to do it to them. Or they pay admission fees to clubs where people hang out and do it to each other.

    Just because I think it's stupid and bizarre and perverse is no reason for me to think that the people doing it aren't as conscious as me.

    The problem here is that many westerners can perfectly understand that someone might WANT to stick a bullship up their ass and take a picture of it, but can't understand that anyone anywhere might want to express body modesty in a particular way that's alien to them personally.

  • Brian E||

    Millions of Americans dress up in leather and have people beat them up for sexual satisfaction.

    And I've got no problem with that. I would have a problem if I started seeing doms parading submissives around with ball gags and handcuffs in public. As I said in another comment, I'm uninterested in trying to figure out what's consensual and what isn't on a daily basis. You want to play with the societal notions of consent, do so in private. In public, act like a free human being.

  • Ray Ray||

    ... I've CERTAINLY seen doms parading submissives around with ball gags and handcuffs in public. And I live in the suburbs, so... It has to happen a lot... I don't think there is a law against it, nor should there be...

  • Ray Ray||

    How does your right to not see something trump anybody's right to their own body and their own wardrobe? Why is that your business at all? If you are uninterested in trying to "figure out what's consensual and what isn't" on a daily basis, you might wanna try minding your own business.

  • Brian E||

    Said the slaveholder to the abolitionist...

  • EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy||

    Sorry, Brian.

    I can sympathize.

    I, too, suspect that there are "religious" folks out there wearing the costume and conforming to the behavioral norms because they don't know any better.

    But to use that as an excuse to tell me what I can't wear in public is deeply wrongheaded.

    You are trying to justify an evil means with a decent end, and that doesn't work.

  • Brian E||

    It's not that they don't know any better. It's that they're being coerced both overtly and subtly. Try putting one of these things on for a day and walking around in it. It has a real and undeniable psychological effect.

    I don't live in a world where someone might make a free choice, uninfluenced by indoctrination or coercion, to wear the burqa. I live in a world where women are told they must wear the burqa. I live in a world where barbaric things like genital mutilation are done to these women by their fathers and husbands in the name of religion.

    This is not an "evil means". It is only the banning of slavery.

  • EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy||

    In reasonable civilized parts of the world, slavery is *already* banned and these people *already* have recourse to state power to protect them if they ask.

    In places where these facts do not obtain no one is suggesting fixing it with a burqa ban and it wouldn't work if they did.

    So your position is either (1) they don't know that they have choices (i.e. ignorance) or (2) they are too dumb or weak willed to do what is necessary[*].

    Now, these may be the case, but your position is to deprive them of their fundamental human dignity in the name of saving them. *And* you're going after *my* fundamental human dignity at the same time.

    Handing the state the power to interfere in as basic a choice as what to wear because "anyone who'd 'chose' to wear that must be brainwashed or barking mad" is damn foolishness.

    [*] Contact an agent of the state and swear out a complaint or contact one of the many private organization that exist explicitly to protect women from abuse.

  • Joshua||

    There certainly aren't MILLIONS of us. Perhaps a few hundred thousand.

  • Patriot Henry||

    "How am I supposed to believe that anyone wearing one is actually exercising a choice free of coercion?"

    The limits of your ability to believe others shouldn't be the limits of their liberty.

  • Brother Wolf||

    The "Liberal" vs "Conservative" language is lazy and doesn't accurately describe the described political movements. This is especially obvious when referencing Europe.

    For the record:

    Liberal = "for Freedom"
    Conservative = "for conservation, preservation, austerity"
    Socialist = "all property is essentially owned by the people(state)"

    If you use the word "liberal" as a swear, then you are not a libertarian (and listen to too much am talk radio"

  • Some Guy||

    +1

  • MrGuy||

    Liberal and Conservative is the difference between a closed fist and an open hand.

    Open Hand, Liberal: Helps others, emphasis on everyone, keeping the peace is imperative.

    Closed hand, Conservative: The people can help themselves, emphasis on their own lives, defending yourself is imperative.

  • EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy||

    These are the proper prescriptive definitions.

    But they long ago cease to be they correct descriptive definitions.

    Now, I'd like to reclaim their proper usage---because I'm painfully conservative when it come to language---but I don't actually believe that you'll get anywhere with that argument right now.

  • Geotpf||

    To confuse matters further, when talking about European politics, "liberal" tends to mean "libertarian".

  • Joshua||

    You forgot to define progressive.

  • Some Guy||

    I could never respect or care about anyone who is so brainwashed that they wear one of these or thinks that women should, but fuck anyone who wants to ban clothing they don't like.

  • Sagger Dude||

    Yo.

  • Super Sub Monster||

    I know a woman who wears something very much like these. But then again she does it on account of a very serious (potentially life-threatening) reaction to sunlight. She has had people follow her in their cars and call the police on her in three states (California, Arizona, and Utah) and has to carry a medical note with her explaining her condition so that the police will leave her alone when they do pull her over.

  • ||

    It's kind of pushing it to be living in three of the sunniest states in the Union, no?

    Come to Northeast Ohio and have no medical worries about sunlight for at least 6 months out of the year!

  • ||

    She could move to the Puget Sound area and avoid the sun ~350 days a year.

    Q. What do the natives do during summer in Seattle?

    A. If it falls on a weekend, they go on a picnic.

  • ||

    clearly,she should move to forks

  • Steff||

    Ha! No shit. But yesterday was definitely not one of those days.

  • ||

    Looks like all week will be dangerous for the sun-sensitive. I think summer might actually have arrived for its customary week before going into hiding for two or three more.

  • Worry||

  • Brian E||

    Doesn't that mess up her peripheral vision?

  • ||

    So long as they drop the rag for the DMV photo, or when the airline security wants to match their photo ID, who gives a shit?

  • Contrarian||

    At least a few of the so-called "libertarians" at this site might argue with you over airline security. Many people here don't believe you should have to "show your papers" before boarding a plane. Burqa hiding your identity? No problem!

  • ||

    Then those few librarians AND the shroud clad Arab can back out of line and take a boat. Surely neither would bitch about the rights of the airline not to serve them.

  • Contrarian||

    Good point. And the "libertarian" response is...

  • Crickets||

    ...

  • Fluffy||

    ABSOLUTELY the airline has the right not to serve them.

    But the state should not have the power to compel airlines to refuse service to certain passengers, either.

  • ||

    I have no quarrel with that. In fact 20 years ago, when asked why El Al didn't have a hijacking problem, a Moussad agent said, "first of all we don't allow Arabs on our planes".

  • ||

    Wasn't this essentially Rand Paul's [politically unwise] argument against one of the titles of the Civil Rights Act? Government shouldn't have the power to determine who gets served and who doesn't (unless it's Marques Houston), and those companies take the potential PR risk.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    But the state should not have the power to compel airlines to refuse service to certain passengers, either.


    So then No-fly Lists should be scrapped?

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Good point. And the "libertarian" response is...


    Whose airline is it?

    Is the government preventing them or anyone else from forming their own airline?

  • ||

    Awesome!

    Islamic Fundamentalist Airways. Come imagine our smiles!

  • .||

    Many people here don't believe you should have to "show your papers" before boarding a plane.

    Shouldn't that be up to the owners of the airline? There's no god-given right to fly on someone else's planes.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    And what would happen to an airline, in terms of the government, if it decided that it did not require identification?

    Oh yeah...now who has the crickets?

  • Ron||

    the government wouldn't have to do anything because nobody but terrorist would ride on those planes.

  • Ray Ray||

    And run them into buildings.

  • Ron||

    the planes won't leave the airports because the pilots will know their terrorist and hence won't fly them.

  • ||

    Requirement to show ID? Yes, because the no fly list to date has been so very effective in keeping terrotists off planes.

  • ||

    considering that airlines are privately owned and nobody has a "right" to fly at any particular airline, it should be perfectly consistent with libertarianism. don't want to show yer face? don't fly

  • EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy||

    The important question is: when"NorthEast Airlines" comes along with a business plan to cater to burqa-clad and libertarian customers (and to indemnify themselves far beyond the total 9/11 losses in order to do so, of course), are you willing to let them?

  • ||

    Enough libertarians carry guns, so probably yeah, as long as there aren't any metal detectors.

  • plutosdad||

    Of course we will let them. I, however, will not fly on any airline that doesn't do full body cavity searches on every single passenger.

  • Patriot Henry||

    "Many people here don't believe you should have to "show your papers" before boarding a plane. Burqa hiding your identity? No problem!"

    Correct. Anyone who would use a burqa or false id to board a plane in order to commit an act of terrorism could also use a surface to air missile or they could employ any of a million other ways to commit an act of terrorism. Security is not achieved by arbitrary guidelines that do nothing to stop the individual who is set on committing acts of terrorism.

  • CaptainSmartass||

    It's one thing if a women actually chooses to wear a burqa. But when women are beaten, nearly to death, for not wearing these things, I think it's entirely appropriate to ban them to help these women enter the 21st century safely.

  • Fluffy||

    Some women are beaten nearly to death for not making some dude a chicken pot pie fast enough.

    Clearly, the answer is to ban chicken pot pies.

  • ||

    Or women. We all know that if they didn't own a cooter ther'd be a bounty on them all.

  • anarch, Nevada legistlator||

    Chicken ban? Check.

  • anarch, Corpus Chisti cop||

    Pot ban? Check.

    Oh, wait...

  • anarch, vending-machine Nazi||

    Pie ban? Check.

  • Solanum||

    "No Kitty, this is my pot pie!"

  • ||

    Chickens are banned in Nevada?

  • ||

    Anarch Nevada you want to ban yourself?

  • Cartman||

    I said "Hey bitch, go get me a chicken pot pie!"

  • Brain Trust||

    "But when women are beaten, nearly to death, for not wearing these things, I think it's entirely appropriate to ban them..."

    Crazy thought: Maybe we can prosecute the people who beat these women?

  • Jen||

    And how do you suppose we do that? You don't imagine many of these women are going to come forward, do you? I guess we can just report the abuse upon seeing all the bruises...oh, wait....

  • .||

    Okay, Swifty Jen....ya beat me to the post.

  • ||

    And so banning burqas is going to solve this problem how?

  • Jen||

    That's not really my problem. I was responding to Brain Trust's disingenuous claim that prosecuting people for beating women into wearing burqas is going to solve anything. I've seen nothing to back that up and no responses at all except for more sarcasm.

    There are no easy, fits-all answers here, and both sides of this issue need to accept that. Those who support the ban need to accept that some women actually want to wear the burqa and that, for those women, they are restricting religious freedom in the name of liberation. Those who oppose the ban need to accept that they are supporting the oppression of a great many women even as they cry for religious freedom. But to say that "prosecuting beaters" is going to neatly tie up the loose ends and we can all just get along now is to lie.

  • St. V||

    Kind of like when I beat my woman about the ribs? You can see those, right?

  • .||

    Only if you can get the women to testify. Many would be afraid of being killed.

  • Wegie||

    Good luck! The beaters will claim it is for religious purposes.

  • St. V||

    Which would fail in court... bless you though.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    It's one thing if a women actually chooses to wear a burqa. But when women are beaten, nearly to death, for not wearing these things, I think it's entirely appropriate to ban them to help these women enter the 21st century safely.


    So prosecute people who would beat women for refusing to wear burqas.

    After all, states prosecute people who beat teenage girls who refuse to share their vaginas.

  • jacob||

    Completely stupid reasoning. The root problem is oppression of women. The symptom is the burqa. Banning the burqa does not fix the root problem, and opens the door to statist precedents.

  • ||

    But the muslims of Europe don't avert their eyes. They rape and murder those "whores" dressed in clothes they don't like. There is a culture war going on. Culture does matter.

  • ||

    The don't avert eyes when beholding the lap dancer or hooker they've employed as amusement prior to their suicide plane ride either. Any "culture" that can embrace such as a path to Valhalla is devoid of value and suggests they qualify for eradication.

  • Super Sub Monster||

    Cite please. If there is rampant rape and murder, you think we'd hear about it and the criminal thugs who perpetrate it would be tossed in the hoosegow over it. You can assert there is a culture war going on (when is there not?), but your argument does not give any clear reason why *we* (i.e., members of liberal European society) should escalate it.

    I know a Turkish woman who left Turkey because she refused to remove a headscarf to attend her university. The Turkish ban was enforced only sporadically and she'd gotten through all but her final semester before they cracked down. Most of her friends ended up shaving their heads and wearing wigs so they could technically comply with the ban while not showing their hair. She wouldn't do it—because, amazingly enough, she actually believed in the reasons for wearing the scarf despite not having a father or a brother ready to beat her and despite knowing all the arguments for and against—so she abandoned four years of work to start over in the U.S. If she believed in the principle enough of her own free will to abandon years of work rather than trick her way past it for a few months, it's hard to convince me that she was compelled or tricked into it.

    It's easy to say that all light and truth is on our side, but this woman was a highly-educated Islamist feminist (finishing her PhD) who had absolutely no problem with women here making choices other than hers (she got along very well with my wife). All she wanted was the right to dress herself as she saw fit.

    I find it very odd that there are any so-called libertarians who would argue that it's OK for women, even “brain washed” ones to be compelled to dress or not dress a certain way. That is the antithesis of libertarian thought.

  • dr esq||

    Actually there is high accounts of violence in Muslim communities against those with non-sharia principles, particularly gay-bashing. The incidences of homophobic crimes as compared to increases in Muslim communities are practically exponential. I won't cite because they are too numerous to cite but you can feel free to look them up yourself.

    It is absolutely no secret that fundamentalist islam is quickly seeping into the west and islamic countries are becoming ever more conservative. If you look at Egypt 30 years ago and Egypt today, there is a marked difference in how much more conservative it is today. The nicab and the burqa ARE, as Christopher Hitchens says, deliberate defiance of Western ideas. They are also, just aesthetically speaking here, very menacing looking. How many amish terrorists do you know of? Besides, the Amish wear old-timey clothes (I see them in my Farmer's Market all the time). They aren't deliberately going MORE conservative.

    If anyone thinks it's being open-minded to allow people to not assimilate in any way shape or form, they can be open-minded all the way to meeting their maker. Just demographically speaking alone, Muslims are increasing their populations in Europe and America MUCH faster than their secular or other religious counterparts. Big deal, right? Wrong, of the countries that are 20% or more Muslim, only THREE are considered "free countries," Serbia, Suriname and Benin. We can't keep kidding ourselves and hiding behind multiculturalism lest we lose what really make these countries great.

  • dr esq||

    there "are" high accounts....

    my bizzle

  • MrGuy||

    "I won't cite because they are too numerous to cite..." [Citation Needed]

  • ||

    Here, let me Google that for you (third link for "Muslim homophobia").

    dr esq brings up much of I wanted to say. There is a culture war going on, and a religion which is, at its core, purely anti-libertarian, is making great strides. (And I don't mean the Amish or Hare Krishnas.) Libertarians are by nature ill-equipped to deal with such a threat. While I would not be comfortable with an anti-burqa law (on minaret ban) here, I understand why they want to do it Europe.

  • St. V||

    In what ways are libertarians inherently ill-equipped to handle such a thing?

  • ||

    Because a "live and let live" philosophy makes it hard to resist the influx and growth of a totalitarian religion.

  • Patriot Henry||

    "Because a "live and let live" philosophy makes it hard to resist the influx and growth of a totalitarian religion."

    Strange - despite exposure to Muslims I have no desire to convert. Even stranger - the limited dialogues I've had with Muslims showed those individuals to be more inclined to libertarianism than most Christians, Jews, or atheists I've talked to.

  • ||

    Maybe, but pretty much any society where Muslims are a majority is a libertarian nightmare.

  • Marian Kechlibar||

    Islamist feminist?

    I am not sure whether she wasn't just a very ideologically confused lady.

    Feminism is based on the equality of women and men.

    Islamic law explicitly says and enforces otherwise: a woman has about half of value of a man when it comes to the Sharia't court. This is something on which all the mainstream Sharia schools agree, so it can't be said that this is just kind of a small subset of Islam. It is the mainstream of Islamic law and proposing anything else is heresy, if not outright apostasy (a la Druze or Bahai's).

    I cannot understand how someone can adhere to both these ideologies at the same time.

  • ||

    Just because you indignantly question the possibility does not mean that such a creature does not exist.

  • Marian Kechlibar||

    I certainly believe that people who consider themselves to be adherents of two incompatible ideologies do exist.

    Nevertheless, I question the logical mechanisms behind such double allegiance.

  • ||

    Remember, Super Sub Monster referred to this sort of person:

    a highly-educated Islamist feminist (finishing her PhD) who had absolutely no problem with women here making choices other than hers (she got along very well with my wife).


    It would appear that, indeed, this is a live-and-let-live sort of Muslim woman. Why is it "ideologically incompatible", then, to also be a feminist if one is accepting of others' choices?

    In fact, I see this pretty frequently in countries ruled by Sharia as well as here in suburban NE Ohio. A hijab-wearing female will walk into the gym (for example) and exercise with a much more immodestly dressed relative or friend of the same faith.

  • Marian Kechlibar||

    OK, once again. Citing myself.

    Islamic law explicitly says and enforces otherwise: a woman has about half of value of a man when it comes to the Sharia't court.

    As long as you consider Shari'a a part of Islam, which is reasonable to do, this conflicts a lot with the proclaimed feminist aim to have men and women equal in various situations in life.

  • ||

    Imagine, someone who manages to adhere to parts of ideologies which one prefers/thinks is fair vs. parts that they don't. That's never happened through history, especially not during the Enlightenment and other large cultural movements.

    You appear to be arguing for a sort of purity test (interestingly, something for which libertarians are somewhat well-known) for others to follow regarding ideologies you don't follow. This seems somewhat paternalistic.

  • Marian Kechlibar||

    If you select a subset of religion to follow, and reject another part of that religion, can you still label yourself a follower of that religion?

    I would say, only if the religion itself supports such semi-membership.

    Does Islam allow that? I would say, no, you buy the whole package.

  • ||

    You can label yourself whatever you want.

    There are millions of Turks who don't do the 5-a-days, drink alcohol, but still don't eat pork. They still consider themselves Muslims.

    There are loads of American Muslims who don't slavishly adhere to all aspects, but they're still Muslims.

    There are a number of less-adherent groups in Indonesia and Malaysia.

    Ibadis reject entirely the idea that sinful Muslims are cast out as unbelievers.

    Ijtihadism means "personal interpretation" of scripture.

    Anyway, here's a section specifically on Islamic feminism from the Wikipedia article on "Liberal movements within Islam":

    However, other Muslim feminists embrace hijab, pointing out its tendency to de-sexualize women and therefore assist them in being treated less as an object and more as a person. Furthermore, some Muslim feminists prefer to wear the hijab as an obvious sign that they are indeed Muslim, while also feminists. Most -but not all- schools of Islamic law require women to cover all but the hands and the face, while men are only required to cover from the navel to the knee. That said, the Qur'an does require women to dress modestly and cover their hair and bosom as had been custom amongst the Jews and early Christians (see: Qur'an 24:31), although some would point out that while the words "bosom" and "modest" are found in this aya, the word "hair" is absent. However in the same verse woman are prevented from showing their "adornment" towards non-related man. Some conservative muslims follows the wearing of the hijab but did not prevent the woman from showing their adornment. Thus, one of the liberal view for the verse was intended for that time. And a general meaning of the verse for modesty can also be found from this.

    You can certainly keep trying to shove everyone claiming membership in a group into a purist, single-interpretation box, but you're going to end up looking like a paternalistic jackass.

  • Marian Kechlibar||

    As far as I know, all Islamic-majority states, including Turkey, still classify their inhabitants according to religion. Your ID card says: Abdullah Kemal, Muslim.

    Changing that allegiance is usually impossible.

    Yes, in my opinion, such religious bureaucracy is paternalistics jackass-ism.

    So, what does it say about the combination of Islam and politics?

  • Steff||

    In all fairness, NE Ohio has a lot bigger problems to worry over than rampant discrimination, too. We're one of the most diverse areas, but we're so damn economically beaten that most people are more worried about survival than bothering with hatred.

  • Mike||

    I presume you consider a Christian feminist to be a contrast in terms as well?

    It is entirely reasonable to believe in the core of a religion while simultaneously rejecting parts of it as outdated remnants of a patriarchal society. Essentially every western person of religion does this, so I don't see how this woman is being unusually confused.

  • Marian Kechlibar||

    In my experience and opinion, mainstream Christianity, as of 2010, is much less strict in its adherence to the written basics than mainstream Islam of the same year.

    Islam is very much fixated on the literal text of the Qu'ran and on the hadith. Although there is some flexibility (mainly because some of the basics are contradictory), the degrees of freedom are significantly lower, especially in countries where Islam is the state religion, and a binding version thereof is enforced by the state.

  • ||

    While Islam professes to focus on literal readings of the Qu'ran, it sure does have a lot of imams issuing a lot of fatwas regarding the "literal readings" (this is code for clerical "interpretation", something other monotheistic religions engage in from time to time and only started to abandon very recently), and they certainly do not always agree on the same issues at the same points in history.

  • ||

    Sure, but I agree with Marian's basic point. Islam is different from most other religions. The Koran is said to be the literal word of God: not written by different inspired people over generations, not translated (God speaks medieval Arabic, don't you know), and not really arguable. All Earthly copies are copies of the one in Heaven. The argument that many Muslims aren't strict doesn't change the fact that the religion itself is strict. And counting on less-than-strict followers to make things better seems like the sort of wishful thinking that counted on "moderate" Marxists to reform the USSR.

  • GRRRR||

    Think of all the Christians or other god fearing people that believe in evolution and that the Bible, and therefore creation, are the true word of "God"... Those two ideas clearly contradict, but as long as they don't think too much about it they can go about their lives. An Islamic feminist seems far less contradictory in comparison.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    "she actually believed in the reasons for wearing the scarf despite not having a father or a brother ready to beat her and despite knowing all the arguments for and against—so she abandoned four years of work to start over in the U.S. If she believed in the principle enough of her own free will to abandon years of work rather than trick her way past it for a few months, it's hard to convince me that she was compelled or tricked into it."

    Perhaps without the compulsion of a violent man to beat her for showing her hair. But certainly not without the compulsion or trickery of a religion that says that an all-seeing and vengeful god will get really pissed off if she doesn't cover up that hair. There is no way reason would lead someone to abandon all but her final semester and four years work for a head scarf. She was tricked and coerced but she is also responsible because she has a mind and she should be able to see through the bs rather than sacrifice her life to it. I'm opposed to the law but I hate it when people try to make it sound noble when somebody sacrifices their future to rescue their magic from reality.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    But the muslims of Europe don't avert their eyes. They rape and murder those "whores" dressed in clothes they don't like. There is a culture war going on. Culture does matter.


    Does that not go against the teachings of Islam, since Islam teaches premarital chastity?

  • BakedPenguin||

    ...and the border ad I get is for Victoria's Secret. Don't tell me bots have no sense of irony.

  • ||

    Meh. It's not all that far-fetched. In the malls in the UAE, you see at least as many BMOs browsing the naughty lingerie racks in the naughty lingerie stores as you do Westerners.

  • Anon-bot||

    That's like so accurate, dude!

    Lou

  • Marian Kechlibar||

    An ethnically based society can never be "free" in the sense that Steve Chapman promotes. It is, after all, centered around the concept of shared culture, language etc.

    European countries are not the USA and are not based on the concept of shared values a la the American Constitution. Mostly, they are nation states.

    It makes no sense to try to remodel them to the American melting pot concept, as the recent failed attempts to introduce multiculturalism have shown very clearly.

    It also does not really make sense to scold them for lack of liberty if they introduce what basically amounts to anti-Islamic legislation. The history, identity and culture of the continent is in large part defined by centuries-long violent struggle between Christianity and Islam, and you can't just wipe that kind of ancient cultural baggage away by political theories, no matter how hard you try.

  • Super Sub Monster||

    Let's rewrite this c. 1950 in the U.S.:

    An racially based society can never be "free" in the sense that Steve Chapman promotes. It is, after all, centered around the concept of shared culture, language, appearance etc.

    Southern states are not the rest of the USA and are not based on the concept of shared racial values a la the American Constitution. Mostly, they are segregated states.

    It makes no sense to try to remodel them to the American melting pot concept, as the recent failed attempts to introduce desegregation have shown very clearly.

    It also does not really make sense to scold them for lack of liberty if they introduce what basically amounts to anti-black legislation. The history, identity and culture of the Southis in large part defined by centuries-long violent struggle between whites and blacks, and you can't just wipe that kind of ancient cultural baggage away by political theories, no matter how hard you try.

    Quite frankly, I find your insistence that the folks of Europe cannot change and so should be given a free pass on creating illiberal laws insulting to them and totally ignorant of the radical transformations that all societies can and do make on a regular basis. Your reasoning here is the sort that would excuse almost any sort of hideous action. This “reasoning” deserves to be mocked and scorned.

    Of course we should be aware of the historical reasons for things that are going, but history is not destiny, and history does not make immoral actions moral by virtue of the fact that they have always been that way.

  • ||

    We are not talking about preventing any transformation. We are talking specifically about slowing down the spread of Islam, which is a totalitarian ideology that in the last millenium or so showed to be incompatible with libertarian (liberal) values.

  • Super Sub Monster||

    Ahh, the old “we must enact illiberal laws to prevent the spread of illiberality” argument. Islam has not shown itself over the last thousand years to be incompatible with libertarian (liberal) values. Throughout much of the middle ages you would have found a much more liberal viewpoint throughout much of the Islamic world. You could object that that is like saying Islam was the tallest of midgets, but before you make claims like that, try learning something about history. And try learning that “Islam” is not some sort of monolith and that various strains of Islam have been (and still are) quite tolerant and liberal, much more than Europe was for most of the last century.

  • Marian Kechlibar||

    I believe that most Euros would have no problem with people like Avicenna or Omar Khayyam.

    It is the Wahhabist strain of Islam that causes 90% of the hard friction. Nevertheless, this strain grows vigorously and actually suppresses the older, tolerant forms of Islam both in the Islamic world and in the immigrant diaspora, not least due to generous funding by Saudi Arabia. About 2 billion USD yearly are spent on Wahhabist projects.

    "Islam has not shown itself over the last thousand years to be incompatible with libertarian (liberal) values. "

    My suggestion: limit yourself to, say, last 100 years. Then try arguing this point with Ayaan Hirsi Ali or other prominent apostate (Ali Sina, Sam Solomon, Salman Rushdie). I do not think you will be able to win such debate, but I would be certainly happy to watch it.

  • ||

    I'm not interested in the slightest in whether in the middle ages Christianity was even worse than Islam. Christians in the West nowadays don't execute gays. Muslims do. Give me an example of any substantially influentual Muslim sect that is tolerant of gays. Since Islam is not some sort of monolith, it must be really easy for you.

  • Super Sub Monster||

    You were the one who suggested the thousand-year time frame, not I. If you want to change the terms of your question when the answer doesn't suit you, it will be very hard to argue. Next you'll want to limit it to a particular geography, and then a particular strain...

  • Brian E||

    The thousand-year timeframe is relevant because Islam hasn't evolved in that time, particularly in its view of individual rights. The western world and Christianity clearly has.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Unless you're name is Matthew Shepard.

  • Joe the mole||

    Islam is cannot be blamed entirely for the despotism of the middle east, most of the illiberalism of the last 75 years has been at the hands of secular regimes. Remember it is not the Muslim brotherhood in egypt that is torturing and killing egyptians at random, it is the secular government.

  • ||

    Here's the problem. And I should preface this by saying that I fully support the right of Muslims to keep their culture in our country and believe we should respect their decisions as long as they are willing to respect ours. However, the reason Islam was more tolerant in those days is that the Quran mandates a certain amount of tolerance. However, Muslims do not believe that they are to be more tolerant than that. The New Testament, on the other hand, says nothing about government tolerance, because it does not really envision any sort of Christian government, as Christianity was illegal for its first 300 years. So Christian government had nothing to go on, and figured they could be as cruel as they want. Then people learned to read the Bible, and figured that a Christian government, if there should be such a thing, ought to be as tolerant as a Christian individual is supposed to be.

  • Super Sub Monster||

    Should also note that I have no clue where you got the idea that I said that 'Marian Kelichbar’ was trying to prevent changes. That's not in what I wrote. I was objecting to the argument that we should not expect Europeans to be able to enact liberal laws because their history prevents them from being able to do so. I thought that was clear, but obviously it wasn't.

  • ||

    If the tenants of Liberalism are fundamentally superior to the tenants of Authoritarianism/Islamic fundamentalism, why should we have to "slow" the spread of the naturally inferior system? If it's foundation is rotted, why not let it keep rotting?

    It's common to assume the M.E. is extreme and growing more-so, and without drastic action on the part of "free" societies, the M.E. won't ever be free, but that seems to me to smell like insecurity, rather than confidence.

    On another question, what gives us 1) the right, and 2) the ability, to "slow the spread of Islam."

  • ||

    If it was up to me, we would stop the spread of Islam not just slow it down. Authoritarianism/Islamic fundamentalism must be attacked. I've never said that the foundation of Islamic fundamentalism is rotting. It's inferior but it's not weak.

    Fundamentalism is seductive to many people. It is popular just as other fundamentalist ideologies were often very popular.

  • Big Brother||

    If it was up to me, i would have stopped the spread of your daddy's seed before the damage had been done...

  • ||

    It's a duty of every decent person to stop the spread of a hateful, totalitarian ideology. Islam is a hateful, totalitarian ideology that personally threatens me as a gay man and an atheist. I have nothing but contempt for Islam and its left-wing apologists.

  • Big Brother||

    It's a duty of every decent person to stop the spread of DOUCHE. Douche like youu personally threatens me as an intelligent, good looking, man with a massive shlong. I have nothing but contempt for buttplugs and buttplug apologists.

  • ||

    I'm not surprised at all by your homophobic non sequitur.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    I'd suggest you have bigger problems in Mississippi or Utah than M.E.

    You need some damn perspective.

  • ||

    mad,

    Are you for real? That ignorant? I probably didn't get your sarcasm.

  • Marian Kechlibar||

    Perhaps the folks in Europe can change, but I can't see it anytime soon. Quite to the contrary.

    There was an atmosphere of 'let us try it' with regard to multiculturalism in the Western Europe 1990s. At that time, most of the people bought the line that Islam is religion of peace etc.

    What followed was not a multicultural utopia, but a serious clash of cultures.

    Your rewriting of my post into defense of slavery and racial segregation is either misguided, or an overt attempt to silence the debate by playing the race card. The conditions on the ground are absolutely different for Europe and for the old South. The immigrant populations in Europe weren't kidnapped from their homes and dragged to the European continent to be enslaved. They came deliberately and often tried quite hard to get here, either to escape war and famine in their own countries, or to get a job paying better than jobs in their countries, or to hook up to the local nanny states.

    In such situation, the least you can do is to accept the culture of the country you voluntarily chose for your new home.

  • Fluffy||

    The problem is that if you accept the ideal of the non-ethnic state as represented by the US, nobody gets an exception.

    So it's pointless to say, "Well, the US is a multicultural society, but the nation-states of Europe are ethnic so they get to do this". BZZZT. The existence of the United States means that European states DON'T get to base themselves on ethnic identity. Not and have any moral legitimacy.

    This is what Wilson didn't understand, and what apparently is still not understood today.

  • Marian Kechlibar||

    if you accept the ideal of the non-ethnic state as represented by the US

    Well, I would guess that most people on the Earth do not accept such ideal. USA is a rare case of a state built by immigrants for immigrants, with the original population swept aside or assimilated.

    The Old World mainly consists of
    - tribes which have grown to nation states (most of current Europe and much of current Asia),
    - remnants of former empires united by ideology or the divine ruler (Iran, Thailand),
    - and, finally, in-organic conglomerates glued together by former Great Powers, which includes states as various as Iraq and Belgium.

    None of these state forms is particularly friendly towards USA-like constitutional order.

  • dr esq||

    i just love how perfectly predictable the defamatory comments just flow out of the mouths of leftists. it's like:

    "cue the derision of the south." check
    "cue racist accusations." check
    "cue utter refusal to acknowledge the argument." check

    so laughably predictable. you forgot to mention Fox news or rush limbaugh though. darnit, almost got 'em all!

  • Super Sub Monster||

    I'm certainly not accusing Marian Kechlibar of being racist. (If I did, please cite. Nope, can't do it.) However, statements like this:

    Perhaps the folks in Europe can change, but I can't see it anytime soon. Quite to the contrary.

    imply a cultural determinism that would say chance is impossible. I posited the American experience with ending segregation as a direct counter-example to this attitude. It is relevant and directly to the point, hardly defamatory, and certainly acknowledges the argument.

    Sorry you can't see the relevance and assume that the only reason to mention history in an argument about the role of history is to smear someone, but that sounds like your problem, not mine.

  • Marian Kechlibar||

    This statement does not imply cultural determinism, but describes reality seen in the streets of Europe.

    The continent is way less tolerant of Islam than 15 years ago, and the young generation is notably more realistic than the older one.

    Note that this is not the case with Indians or East Asians, who have integrated smoothly.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Quite frankly, I find your insistence that the folks of Europe cannot change and so should be given a free pass on creating illiberal laws insulting to them and totally ignorant of the radical transformations that all societies can and do make on a regular basis. Your reasoning here is the sort that would excuse almost any sort of hideous action. This “reasoning” deserves to be mocked and scorned.


    But Europe is not America.

    They have laws (such as Holocaust denial criminalization) which we would not tolerate in America.

  • plutosdad||

    Super sub monster Actually you got Marian's comment backwards. If you rewrite it you should use her argument for affirmative action: that we cannot have true liberty due to the legacy of slavery, and need to infringe on the freedoms of whites to fight against an inherently racist system built by white people. that is actually more similar to what she is saying.

    That would be the appropriate analogy and agree or disagree with that. (and appropriate given the furor over Rand Pauls recent comments)

  • Tim||

    Fooking Libertarians, always telling Belgians what to do...

  • lukas||

    But Rachel Maddow told me there could be no negative consequences to antidiscrimination laws.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Except that it doesn't get rid if discrimination, only succeeding to drive it underground and making it even more difficult to spot and punish, effectively rewarding racists by not getting the real justice they deserve.

    See institutional racism.

  • Jen||

    Interesting that there are plenty of Muslims who would like to see the burqa banned as well:

    http://muslimsagainstsharia.bl.....nment.html

  • anarch, in his anecdotage||

    I think I've told this story here before.

    Attaturk, attempting to modernize Turkey, met resistance to abolishing the veil. So he decreed that wearing the veil would be optional, but mandatory for prostitutes. Result (I am told): veils disappeared.

  • doofus||

    He should have checked out how modernizing Iran went for the Shah.

  • MicroNomics||

    Demographics don't bode well for the "native" Europeans. Their birth rate is well below the sustainable rate. Immigrant groups, mainly Muslim, have much higher birthrates and will be a majority in the not too distant future. The French are the most extreme example, but they have been doing this for years with their committees to preserve their language. I read somewhere that a committee has been arguing about what should the proper French term should be for "cloud computing."

    This whole thing sort of reminds me of Yassir Arafat bragging that “the womb of the Arab woman is my best weapon.”

  • ||

    Doesn't really work for Arafat, actually. Jewish Israelis have a pretty high birth rate.

  • MicroNomics||

    You're right, but Israel hasn't turned into an ossified nanny state. In agricultural societies you needed kids to work the land. In the pre-nanny industrialized states, you needed kids to take care of you in your old age. But with cradle to grave state support, who needs kids? The question is how fast can Europe indoctrinate their immigrants into being compliant servants of the state.

  • Marian Kechlibar||

    Quite a lot of Israelis would disagree with you.

    The degree of nanny-osifism is rather high in Israel, and the most fertile segment of Jewish population (the Haredi) actually has the least share of men 35-59 working: less than 50 per cent. They prefer studying the holy texts and being fed by the welfare system.

    My source is the Jerusalem Post, and I have an impression that this already creates quite serious political strain between the Tel-Aviv seculars and the ultra-religious.

    But maybe I am wrong and some Israeli can correct me.

  • Brian E||

    Quite a lot of Israelis would disagree with you.

    Jews worrying compulsively? What a surprise!

    Disclaimer: I kid because I love.

  • anarch||

    Jewish telegram:

    START WORRYING. DETAILS TO FOLLOW.

  • MicroNomics||

    Agreed. Any Israeli libertarians out there?

  • ||

    And do not forget that the haredi are excepted from the draft (Curiously, their leaders tend to be partidaries of aggressive politics)

  • ||

    Not really. The birth rate for Muslims is falling and is on track to be equivalent to that of the "natives" and the same could be said of most Muslim countries (In 2008, Iran's fertility rate was 1.71 compared to 2.02 in France) It seems that most Muslims today when they have to choose between providing a new warrior for Jihad or pay the bill of the car tend to prefer the latter.

    (Thereby demonstrating once again that capitalism is the best way to solve problems)

  • MicroNomics||

    The 2.02 is the total fertility rate in France.

    A quick search found this. Lots of numbers that seem to be fairly well researched. The bottom line is:

    "The birthrate of Muslims being three to four times higher than that of non-Muslims, the proportion of children, teenagers, and young adults in urban France is not 5-11 percent but a very impressive 33 percent or so."

    You're right about the solution - free markets. Integration of the Muslim community into France's economic life would solve many of the perceived problems. However, with the state and labor unions controlling the labor market (e.g., inflexible, high barriers of entry), I don't think it will happen any time soon.

    http://www.meforum.org/337/isl.....life-is-in

    Caveat emptor (I have installed a salt-lick by my computer to deal with statistics quoted in articles and on blogs)

  • MicroNomics||

    Oops. The article is from 1997. I wonder how things have changed?

  • ||

    Well, according to data from wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_France # Fertility) the Total Fertility Rates (TFR) for metropolitan France in 1997 Was 1.73 and 2.00 in 2008 (the 02/02 data includes the overseas Departments)

    It seems that in recent years France has experienced a baby boom and the birth rate has risen across the board:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05......html?_r=1

    And seeing the data from the French wikipedia (http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Démographie_de_la_France) seems to be that most of the growth in the birth rate is of mixed parentage (which seems to indicate they have in mind fun activities that religion)

    So do not expect the Muslim uprising tomorrow.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Demographics don't bode well for the "native" Europeans. Their birth rate is well below the sustainable rate.


    The solution is to encourage native European teenage girls to have sex early, often, and without contraception, and to promote motherhood by sixteen.

  • ||

    Amongst many gaps in your argument you don't deal honestly with the mask aspect of things. If masked men started hanging around playgrounds, would you so airily dismiss the issue? Would anyone nodding along with you?

  • Brian E||

    Bad analogy. I'm not afraid of the woman in the burqa, I'm afraid of what's being done to her. Perhaps a better analogy would be if we started seeing people going out in public with ball gags and handcuffs being led around by their partners. I'm uninterested in trying to determine what's consensual on a daily basis. What you do in your own home is your own business, but if you go out in public, act like a free human being.

  • ||

    I don't disagree with your point, but I think mine points up an issue the author just ignores.

  • ||

    We'd better besure to ban those jogging masks that cover a runner's face when it's cold. Also, baseball caps that are pulled way down...oh, and don't forget long hair that can conceal most of someone's face. These things could be used by ...CRIMINALS... to rape your pets and sell your children to dog fight promoters

  • ||

    And don't forget goalie masks. We can't have those. Sorry, hockey, but really, nobody watched you anyway...

  • ||

    I''ll play along, and pretend you are a serious person, despite the evidence. Hypothetical. A man in a hockey mask is hanging around the park where your children play. Reaction? My point is not that anything that can be used as a mask should be banned, but that the flippant negligent claim "it's just a clothing choice like pink teffetta or white after labor day" is false, and obviously false. That is why I said he does not deal honestly with this aspect.

  • Fluffy||

    It's a poor analogy because you have someone leading the handcuffed person around. If I go outside all by myself wearing nipple clips, will you be filled with confusion about whether that's under duress?

    The better analogy is to Christian head-covering women, whose numbers are skyrocketing.

    If we are going to presume that all Muslim women who wear the burqa are acting under duress, then we should also assume that every Christian woman who covers her hair is acting under duress.

    We won't, because since they're white and Christian we err on the side of thinking that they're actually conscious human beings.

  • doofus||

    This continued attempt to morally equate the Christian religion with the Muslim faith shows intellectual slothfulness methinks.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    This continued attempt to morally equate the Christian religion with the Muslim faith shows intellectual slothfulness methinks.


    How so?

  • ||

    Hijab with a face covering is not equivalent to a Christian women wearing a covering over their hair. One hides identity, the other hides...hair.

  • Ray Ray||

    Give. Me. A. Break. Maybe I was wrong, maybe it's more likely to happen in my suburb than, say, an urban area, since there is more space and people owning houses expect privacy, but I've seen people being led around with a ball gag and handcuffs. I didn't think they had kidnapped anybody. You wouldn't either. Just like you wouldn't wonder why a woman covers her whole body up. She has stupid beliefs. End of story.

  • ||

    There is some irony attendant upon liberals giving comfort to the most illiberal of ideologies.

  • Marian Kechlibar||

    This kind of irony manifested itself very bloodily when the Iranian leftists helped Khomeini overthrow the Shah.

    As soon as he gained enough grip on power, they found themselves facing the execution squads. Basically the entire left-leaning wing of Iranian intelligence was wiped out.

    At least they could say that they did not expect the Islamic republic to prevail; in the 1970s, Islam seemed to be rather moribund and communism seemed to be the way of the future.

    But for socialists of today to align themselves with Islam politically is real madness. They should study the fate of their Iranian comrades/brethren etc.

    There were some very interesting developments in the latest municipal elections in the Netherlands, by the way. It is well possible that the Dutch socialist party will split into a nativist wing and into an Islamic wing.

  • J_L_B||

    When I first heard of these bans, it struck me as attempting to supress Islamic extremism by banning one of their preferred tactics. It was a sign to the Taliban-wannabes in the West that you're on our turf now and you're outnumbered.

    I understand why the ban is counterproductive in terms of oppressive husbands controlling their wives, yet this is in done with more of a, "let's show those radical Arab's who's the boss" mentality. It's an attempt to defeat the extremists by forcing them to engage in behavior they find repulsive, sort of like trying to eliminate the Amish by forcing them to use modern technology. You hope to get enough converts to render the remainder ineffective.

  • Brian E||

    Who are you going to convert? The women are being kept in tents to separate them from the modern world and are being told that, at the very least, eternal hellfire awaits them if they convert - if not a more earthly form of punishment. The men are enjoying the opportunity to keep women in near-slavery without legal repercussions. I don't see this situation ending on its own.

    Oh, and there's no moral equivalence with the Amish, who explicitly make sure that their children have a choice.

  • Marian Kechlibar||

    Actually countries like France enforce attendance of children into public schools and yes, it has some visible effect on secularization and integration of some Muslim children.

    The situation is different in the UK where the PC-worshipping Labour encouraged proliferation of hardcore extremist Islamic schools, comparable to the worst madrassahs in the NWFP/Pakistan. In the name of diversity, of course. Who does not like it, is a Nazi-like racist.

  • Brian E||

    Actually countries like France enforce attendance of children into public schools and yes, it has some visible effect on secularization and integration of some Muslim children.

    I would guess that most of those arguing against the burqa ban are against this too.

  • Marian Kechlibar||

    Probably yes.

    I am split on the issue.

    On one hand, I do not like the state to prescribe my children's clothing and political views.

    On the other hand, deliberately importing seditious political preachers and unleash them on young docile population is quite obvious madness, and it has already had some very negative results for Britain.

    So, where is the red line?

    Ideological beings do not have to think about the right answer, they just ask their ideology and repeat what they read.

    Nevertheless, I just can't do that, as I do not like this kind of dogmatic approach to things.

  • ||

    And yet you approach the issue of Islam and feminism very dogmatically. Why is this?

  • Marian Kechlibar||

    I do not consider my approach dogmatic, but rather realistic.

    It *is* possible than in 20 or 100 years the meaning of "Islam" will be so diluted that Islamic feminism will be a complete norm.

    But today's Islam is, in my opinion and experience, far from that point.

    Maybe Turkey can get an exception - provided that Fethullah Gülen's interpretation of Islam does not succeed there.

  • ||

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_feminism

  • Marian Kechlibar||

    Timon19, I am aware about that specific Wikipedia page, although I do not consider it absolutely exact; for example, Fadela Amara, cited there, has AFAIK openly proclaimed her apostasy from Islam and so it is not correct to label her Islamic feminist.

    But in my world words have meanings and self-proclaiming myself something that I only partially approve of does not smell right with me.

    Imagine someone who proclaims himself a supporter of the American Constitution, with the exception of all even-numbered amendments.

    Is he what he claims, really?

  • ||

    There are others who have NOT openly proclaimed their apostasy. So fucking what? Does that example invalidate the movement that the page cites?

  • Ray Ray||

    No. It's stupid. People are so afraid they are going to burn in hell that they cling to titles while rejecting ideas that time and technology have proven to be wrongheaded. Christians do it, too, Jewish people do it, too, and that's stupid as well. Don't say you are a member of a religion, which holds very specific views and has very specific rules, and then not have those views or follow those rules. That's illogical and I have no patience for it.

  • Fluffy||

    I would submit to you that the problem is that the Muslim states that turned to modernity following the Second World War happened to do so when the modernist fashion ran to one-party socialist states.

    And that the failure of those states has poisoned the minds of the Muslims against modernity.

    Added to that, we have the fact that Israel also represents modernity to Arabs in particular.

    So we have a situation where "modernity" = socialist corruption and poverty + humiliation before Israel to many people in the Middle East.

    Whereas Islamic fundamentalists managed to humiliate the US in Iran, the Soviets in Afghanistan, and Israel in Lebanon and Gaza.

    The current wave of fundamentalism among Muslims has geopolitical roots, and that means that if geopolitical conditions change, yeah, in 20 to 100 years Islam may be much more westernized than it is now.

    Look at the USA 100 years ago. No honest observer of the USA in 1910 - not one - would have predicted that in 100 years two gay men could openly get married and post their honeymoon pictures in public for everyone to see. Not one. 100 years is a long time.

  • ||

    Oh well, you convinced me. Let Muslims defeat Israel and 100 years from now there will be gay marriages in Riyadh.

  • ||

    Yes, that's exactly what he argued.

  • ||

    interesting analysis and ideas

  • Ray Ray||

    Come on, Brian. Instead of trying to stifle freedom, why not spend some effort trying to educate women on the power of critical thinking? I don't buy the "brainwashing" thing. Most of us are born into homes and fed religious and political beliefs from day one. But as human beings we have a duty to seek truth and use our higher brain power to figure out ideas and beliefs on our own. Sure, that doesn't necessarily stop a muslim husband or father from dragging her by her uncovered hair back home and then honor killing her, but that's what police forces are for.

  • jkp||

    Sure.

    As long as they don't mind removing it for driver's licenses and passports.

  • ||

    How can the security question be dismissed so readily? Just because there have only been a few instances of burka enshrouded individuals blowing shit up, doesn't make it any less of a way to hide identity. I guarantee if people started running around with complete face coverings, for whatever other reason, that there would be legislation passed to stop the practice.

    If I owned a restaurant, I would absolutely not allow face coverings to be worn inside my building or on my property, for the safety and peace of mind of the others who are there. Would most here consider that unreasonable, or somehow racist or bigoted?

  • Fluffy||

    I would support your right to ban people wearing burqas from your restaurant.

    The question is whether it is to be made into a criminal offense.

  • doofus||

    What criminal offense?? You don't take the rag off for your picture, you don't drive. Your choice Rasputin.

  • Ray Ray||

    Uh. I don't think any libertarian here has a problem with private bans on the burqa or at least the equality of identifying yourself on a driver's license picture (while I'm sure some libertarians object to the license in general). We are specifically talking about making it against the law to wear em around in public. Follow, people.

  • ||

    Following sir, and you're right about the libertarian take on the DMV license requirement too. Which is reason #539 why libertarianism will contine to occupy mere cult status and not something more significant in American politics.

  • St. V||

    Doof is absolutely correct. Clearly, the most effective way in legitimizing ourselves in the political sector is to support the banishment of the ninja costumes in the public square.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    As an irrelevant aside, I think most libertarians would reject drivers licenses mandated *by the state*.

    However, at least for me, if I were running an auto insurance company, there is no way in hell I'd sell you a policy unless you were credibly licensed - and if I were the owner and operator of a private roadway, I wouldn't want you driving negligently on my roadway, injuring my other customers and costing me gobs of cash in liability settlements for allowing your incompetent ass on my road.

    I don't think you can make a libertarian argument against licensing people to drive - only the method of licensing.

    Besides - let's be honest, who here has actually had to take a new drivers test since they got their license? It's been over 10 years and 3 states for me...

  • Mikey||

    No, it is your property and you may turn away whoever you wish.

  • Michael K||

    In most cases, I would agree with Chapman that people should have the right to wear a burqa if they choose to do so. In particular, I do agree that in America a burqa ban would be wholly unacceptable. However, I'm less certain when it comes to European countries.

    One way in which all human cultures throughout history have signified allegiance to a particular group is by adopting common dress codes. Thus, Muslims who choose to dress in a manner wildly different from Western norms are defiantly refusing to integrate into Western society. Given that the history of the West and Islam is a history of violent warfare, Westerners cannot simply allow people to proclaim allegiance to an ideology that seeks to enslave us and destroy our way of life.

    Now, I'm not saying the US should ban the burqa. America is an idea - a country based not on blood or shared religion but on a common understanding that liberty is the highest virtue and tyranny the vilest evil. For us, banning the burqa would be a betrayal of the very idea that binds us together as a society.

    By contrast, while many Europeans share these ideals, their countries are based on race and shared religious heritage. Islam is no less a threat to them today than communism was during the last century. Although I dislike laws regulating dress, radical Islam needs to be stamped out. I can understand why Europeans might want to ban the burqa - not to protect the rights of the women who wear them, but to make the Islamists (including their women) feel as unwelcome as possible.

  • Fluffy||

    So what you're saying is that since Communists also want to destroy western society, if I see anyone wearing a Che shirt or a Mao hat or something, I can imprison them? Awesome.

    How about guys with baggy pants? They're also pretty defiant. Time to beat them with billy clubs. AWESOME! FUN FUN FUN!!!!!!

  • ||

    That is not at all what he said Fluffy.

  • π||

    I don't know what was said, but for the record I like the idea of wearing burqas while driving intoxicated.

  • Michael K||

    What I'm saying is that America is a pretty special place - it's a place where we can disagree with each other about the proper way to live, to eat, to mate, etc. without feeling the need to impose our beliefs on our countrymen. Sadly, that's not the case throughout much of the world. There is a large segment of the Muslim population in Europe does not recognize the value of liberty and it is actively trying to impose their fanatical beliefs on people who do not share them. Their behavior borders on insurrection. So, in countries in Europe, I think that preventing people from wearing clothing associated with a movement that wants and actually may be able to destroy the free societies Europeans hold dear is actually a relatively moderate response.

    Freedom only works if people mutually agree to respect each other's right to choose their own lifestyles. Radical Muslims don't recognize that right and, as their numbers grow, societies may need to respond to the threat with increasingly severe measures. As I said, I don't think it would be appropriate to ban clothing in America - that's antithetical to our belief in religious liberty and would damage us more than it damages radical Islam. However, it may be an appropriate response in Europe.

  • Kroneborge||

    I don't have a problem banning it in America, anymore than I have a problem with banning nudity in public.

  • ||

    Except that the threat of foreign Communists has greatly receded and is no longer a concern. The same thing can't be said of Islam.

  • Joshua||

    Imprison them, yes. But only in Europe.

  • ||

    "Veiled women are not refusing to exist in the eyes of others. They, like all the rest of us, are merely deciding on what terms to make their existence visible."

    I wish to walk down the street topless - perfectly acceptable, I might add, in many cultures throughout the world. But if my 34DDs were exposed, I'd be arrested.

    Why? Exposing my tits is something less than "peacable"?

    Without the "protection"/excuse of some higher religious authority, I am not allowed to decide what terms to make MY existence visible. Why should others receive a right I am denied?

  • ||

    Restricting people's rights is the problem, not which rights are restricted. I fully support nudity and burqas. If that's what you want.

  • Marian Kechlibar||

    I do not think that you can combine these two.

    For some Islamic fundamentalists, showing naked breasts is "spreading corruption on Earth", which is punished by death, and that is also precisely what they will try to inflict on you.

  • ||

    Not at the same time, silly. I was getting at the notion that rights don't evaporate in the face of a restriction of rights. Two restrictions don't make a freedom.

  • Joshua||

    Yes at the same time! I want to imagine every woman walking by in a burqa to be a hot naked Moroccan chick underneath and reality can go fuck itself.

    Also, I'm in favor of striking all anti-nudity laws, even considering most of the people that are going to be prancing around in the all-together are ugly like me.

  • ||

    I support your 34DD's...uh, I mean I agree with your right for public breast equality.

  • Kroneborge||

    Sorry, so much fail at reason this morning.

    Full facial covering is unaccpetable in western society just like full nudity is.

    In western soceity we have a pretty broad list of acceptable behavior, but that doesn't mean that anything goes, there are limits. If you're not ok with that, well' there's the door.

    If that's not enough, there are plenty of practical reasons as well. Kind of hard to ID people that have their faces fully covered. It's bad enough they all look alike (the last part is a joke to be clear).

  • Ray Ray||

    That's. Just. The. Point. Libertarians- like the ones who read Reason- believe that individuals make up society and that an individual life is just as relevant as the masses. Therefore, just because certain things are considered "deviant" from a societal standpoint, doesn't mean you get to ban them.

    True liberty means that if you're not okay with burqas or nakedness, there's the door, NOT the other way around.

  • Kroneborge||

    But of course there are different levels of libertarians. Some accept no (or almost no) resitictions on freedoms. They are mini anarchists (or some are actually anarchists).

    So as some mentioned on here they would be totally ok with full public nudity.

    Most people of course aren't ok with that. Even a society that has very large norms such as America still has limits. low cut tops and skirts ok, no top or skirt not ok.

    In this care, I'm ok with using the power of the state to limit these extermes of free expression. I would even argue that banning the burqa is more important than banning public nudity.

    If that doesn't make me a libertarian, well that's ok with me. Your labeling of me really doesn't matter that much to me.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    How about this, Kroneborge...

    Everyone has the right to be nude in public all they want.

    Everyone also has the right to require people to wear clothes upon entry to their private property.

    Bonus challenge!: Store owners' property extends to the street, so the sidewalk is part of their property.

    Now sure, not *every* store or homeowner would require clothes, but I'm going to say it's a safe bet that the vast majority would. And of course anything in food service probably would have to for health reasons... Just to go on your daily errands, you'd probably have to wear clothes no matter what.

  • Joe the mole||

    Nail on the head. Thank you.

  • ||

    I'm for the ban just to send the message to muslims everywhere outside the middle east that "We don't want you here. Go back to the middle east...and enjoy allah's wonderfulness there."

  • Douglas Gray||

    "There is a large segment of the Muslim population in Europe does not recognize the value of liberty and it is actively trying to impose their fanatical beliefs on people who do not share them. Their behavior borders on insurrection."

    How do you know that a large segment of the Muslim population does'nt recognize the value of liberty? That's why they live in France, not the Middle East.

    As Steve mentions, hardly any Muslims in France are interested in facial concealment.

    If you let the few in the older generation who want to wear it do so, the next generation will most likely have even fewer "veilers".

    In the U.S., we have always given immigrant groups the freedom to segregate themsevles as much as they want, and paradoxically, this is why they end up integrating so well.

    Real liberty is addicting, you come from a repressive society and live around it for awhile, it gets under your skin.

  • Michael K||

    Doug, I think this is a pretty complicated issue that doesn't have an obvious solution. As I said in my comments, I do not think the US should ban the burqa because it would betray our committment to religious liberty and weaken the ties that bind us together. For the very reasons you stated, I also think it would make it more difficult to integrate immigrants into our society.

    However, France is not the US. European countries do not protect individual rights to nearly the same degree that we do and the basis of their national identities are shared racial and religious heritage. Europe will never be able to integrate foreigners with the same level of success as America because, while anyone can become an American, only a white person can ever truly be European. As such, it's not that surprising that substantial numbers of Muslims immigrants have failed to integrate successfully and are adopting a hostile stance towards the European natives. Perhaps Europe could have handled immigration matters better, but that does not change the severity of the Muslim problem it now faces.

    You ask how I know that a large segment of the Muslim population doesn't recognize the value of liberty. Well, I read the news. Whether burning cars in the banlieus, killing directors for making films critical of Islam, exiling an anti-Muslim MP from the Netherlands (on an immigration technicality), or rioting in protest of cartoons a large number of Muslims have most certainly demonstrated their disregard for the importance of liberty. It's a real problem and, for the Europeans who have to deal with it, something very serious and very frightening.

  • Kroneborge||

    Liberty is not absoulte. If they were a bunch of gaia worshipping nudists that wouldn't be acceptable either.

    In fact freedom of religion isn't absolute either. Note the banning on human sacifice (even willing sacrifice)

  • EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy||

    There were more than a few "gaia worshiping nudists" (good phrase, BTW) among the hippies. Most of them covered up as they got older and acquired jobs and/or property to protect in society.

    Perhaps committed, single-issue gaia worshiping nudist would be different, but we seem to be short of interest on the matter just now...

    [[ Not a perfect analogy, of course: they'd have been arrested if they came into town that way... ]]

  • Ray Ray||

    What logic is this? Just because we have oppressive laws based on Victorian age prudism means that it's okay to oppress people? That enough people in the US have a problem with naked people running around makes it a nonissue?

  • Kroneborge||

    I would argue that having to show your face, and having to cover your groin isn't oppressive.

    Of course you are free to feel otherwise.

    Of course that's why liberarism doesn't get to far, they carry it to exteremes that most people aren't cofortable in going.

    Yes, I know having limits on behavior restricts freedom, but IMO some limits are still necessary and desirable.

  • St. V||

    Speaking of comment fails...

    The exception with your awful analogy here, of course, is that human sacrifice wasn't banned because people were afraid of the religion.

    Bless your meaningful intent though.

  • Ray Ray||

    Realistically, tho, I challenge the idea that most muslims move to France because of their strong belief in freedom, but okay.

  • π||

    Most Muslims move to Europe because of the cradle to grave care. The very reason al-Qaeda gave specific warning that Islam doesn't not tolerate socialism.

  • ||

    If you let the few in the older generation who want to wear it do so, the next generation will most likely have even fewer "veilers".

    Unfortunately, recent European history contradicts this. The Muslim immigrants of the '50s and '60s were rarely radical; it's their children and grandchildren who are.

  • Joshua||

    eh... didn't work so well with the hasidim...

  • Gal in the hood||

    Real liberty is addicting, you come from a repressive society and live around it for awhile, it gets under your skin.

    What skin?

  • π||

    Some people need to conceal their faces to avoid posing a threat to public health and safety.

    Kagan, Bader-Ginsberg, Sotomayer, put on those burqas, ..now!

  • kreminitly||

    Ha!! The Amish. I'm so glad Chapman brought them up. What an apt analogy. And fun, too. What with its burgeoning jihadist movement, it won't be long before you have young amish men crashing their horse drawn carriages into the sides of hardware stores while shouting "God is Great" in Mennonite-dialect German, somewhere out in idyllic Lancaster county.

  • π||

    That's actually funny. I had a friend who split rent with an old Amish man named Ira who was kicked out of his Amish community for running a business for profit if I understood correctly. Regardless of why he was out and roomating with my friend that old man was a gas. He decided since he was out why not go all the way, drinking, girls, driving, hell he even tried smoking some pot. Well, he had bought 3 vehicles by the time I met him and wrecked them all. It wouldn't surprise me if he had ran one into a hardware store, although he most likely would have been shouting "Party time!"

    Ira had to be in his 70s if not even his 80s at that time. One thing for certain is he was real pleasure to be around.

  • ||

    You can borrow any number of worthwhile attributes from the Amish. Like, how great would it be if my wife commenced to shun me?

  • π||

    I have no idea what you're referring to, I don't know anything about Amish customs. Done a little metal work for them, and those I dealt with were honest in business. The rest of what I know is Ira loved to party, and he said, she said.

    Nonetheless, my wife commenced to shun me years ago, as did my first. My second I shun her for trying to have me murdered. Maybe technically I'm Amish. ;-)

  • kreminitly||

    I too, plan to inaugurate my profligate years right around my mid seventies. I'm gonna friend Ira on Facebook. That guy needs to get a blog going, stat

  • π||

    Wish I kept track of that old party animal, it wouldn't surprise a bit if he had a Facebook account, or ended up in prison, or ran out of options and ended up crawling back to the Amish community. I'm hoping he went Facebook, he just wasn't cut out for life in Amishville, and I'd hate to find out he was jailed for trafficking drugs or driving while intoxicated, whatever. I don't know if they take people back after booting them, but that would be tough for him after discovering all the fine things the world has to offer. Then again, what I wrote about was at least 20 years ago, Ira probably died of old age by now.

    Well, if he died, at least he lived first.

  • anarch||

    Do veilers have Facelesssbook pages?

  • ||

    They can wear them in the streets, the problem is when they want to cover their face when testifying in court. That is a problem. 90% of communiciation is nonverbal and a jury needs to be able to see someone's face. "It's my religion" is no excuse to be allowed to cover your face when testifying.

  • kreminitly||

    I, for one, am not coming down on either side until Rand Paul weighs in on this.

  • Joshua||

    then none of them will ever testify.

  • π||

    My religion isn't formal. It's called the I refuse to testify in court or sit on a jury religion.

    So far judges have been cooperative in tolerating my religion. When one isn't, that's a bridge that'll be crossed when it happens.

  • ||

    On the one hand I support freedom of religion, despite my views on religion. If you want to believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster, more power to you, as long as you don't do anything involving guns or government in the name of your god.

    BUT... As a libertarian, I also believe that culture matters. While I am a staunch supporter of the freedom to defend oneself by whatever means is necessary, having a functional society with a viable economic system in the longer term means that I don't HAVE to win a few gunfights a day, or a week, a year, or a decade. At some point, there has to be a general social agreement (i.e. culture) of live and let live.

    So... When, exactly, does "religion" no longer constitute the last refuge of scoundrels? At what point can we decide that something goes beyond "freedom of religion"? There's some point, I think we all agree. Where?

  • ||

    I have a LONG list of cultural items that offend me far more than face coverings: truck nuts, the Confederate flag, anything having to do with Snooki, Glenn Beck, reality shows, and tramp stamps to name a few.

    I'd sooner vote for those to be banned than head coverings. One, it's ridiculously ignorant to believe that the ONLY reason a woman would want to cover herself is through threats or coercion. Yet, when women want to mutilate their bodies to look prettier, we think that's an intelligent decision??

    Two, as a woman, I have been suppressed far more by conservative Christians than any Muslim I have ever known.

  • ||

    Really, 3,000 of your fellow countrymen were slaughtered as they arrived at work by a conservative Christian? I must have missed that story. The niqab is not of itself any more than a black sheet. But as a symbol it is every bit as unpleasant as white hooded KKK members getting onto the bus. It says "I will not be a live-and-let-live citizen; I do not wish to be exposed to you; you are beneath me; you are an infidel".

  • ||

    The point is not whether something offends you. Wearers of tramp stamps or watchers of reality shows are not members of an extreme portion of a huge worldwide religion, one that believes you live in the "house of war" until you submit to live by the very specific rules of one particular book. What they do does not interfere with driving or court testimony or law enforcement.

    As for your "suppression" by Christians, were you denied a driver's license, a job, or education, or forbidden to be alone with a man? Was your testimony considered worth less than a man's? Was homosexuality, or abortion, or apostasy banned? Were your genitals mutilated? Because if not, you should be acknowledging that Muslim oppression of women is far, far worse than in the Christian world.

  • Chaos Punk||

    Does that mean middle-class college kids cannot wear the burqa in public for fun? They should just ban Muslims that look like they're terrorists. What's the problem with that?

  • ||

    99.9% of bank robbers favor the niqab.

  • ||

    You are missing the point, Steve. You are assumoing that moslem women ALL WANT to wear the burqa. They don't. They are being forced to wear them, in most cases by an opressive male/religion dominated society that they cannot opt out of, like the Amish can.
    Steve, could you stop being an idiot for five minutes?

  • ||

    Veils can be put to sinister uses—just as scarves, ski masks and sunglasses are often worn by camera-shy bank robbers. We don't ban those, ...

    Actually (in Virginia, at least) we *do* forbid people to go about in public with their faces masked. (The law was passed many decades ago as an anti-KKK measure.)

  • ||

    Until burqas are used frequently enough to commit crimes, I have no problem with allowing them to be worn anywhere -- with one proviso. That is, that I not be legally obliged to interact with the wearer - even in the case of a medical emergency. I will take prison over a legal requirement to interview or hire a person into my business when I have not seen their face.

  • Christian Louboutin||

  • ||

    Bullshit meter off the scale! Moslems are largely taking over many parts of Europe and forcing THEIR standards on everyone else. Banning the stupid burqa, like banning minarets, is one way to resist the ever increasing Islamic tide in Europe. Too bad those of you so hot to support free choice in this matter don't pressure Islamists to show the least tolerance themselves. If wearing a black sack with eye holes is what they want their women to do then they should take them back home.

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  • ปลวก||

    Actually (in Virginia, at least) we *do* forbid people to go about in public with their faces masked.

  • RAN||

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