Banning The Burka–Bye, Bye, Blinders!

burga prison 2

So apparently, the Burka Ban is gaining some ground:

Barcelona to ban Islamic veils in some public spaces

Barcelona has become the first large Spanish city to announce a ban on the wearing of full Islamic face-veils in some public spaces.

The ban was designed to include any head-wear that hindered identification, officials said.

At least two towns in Catalonia, the region that includes Barcelona, have already announced bans.

Belgium and France have both recently taken steps towards restricting the use of full veils in public.

Barcelona’s city council said the ban would be largely symbolic, since it was uncommon to see women in the city wearing the full veil.

“Barcelona will forbid the use of the burqa, niqab and any other item which hinders personal identification in any of the city’s public installations,” a council statement said.

And it’s growing in the rest of Europe:

The Islamic veil across Europe

Countries across Europe have wrestled with the issue of the Muslim veil – in various forms such as the body-covering burka and the niqab, which covers the face apart from the eyes.

The debate takes in religious freedom, female equality, secular traditions and even fears of terrorism.

The veil issue is part of a wider debate about multiculturalism in Europe, as many politicians argue that integration of minorities was neglected in the past.

There is one part of Europe where the opposite is true:

Chechnya women’s Islamic dress code: Russia blamed

Russia has been criticised for letting Chechen authorities impose a compulsory Islamic dress code for women.

A report by Human Rights Watch includes testimonies from dozens of Chechen women who were threatened or even attacked with paintballs by young men enforcing the ‘virtue campaign’.

The rights group says some attacks involved Chechen security forces.

The campaign has the backing of President Ramzan Kadyrov, relied on by Moscow to stabilise the region.

In 2007, President Kadyrov issued an edict that banned bareheaded women from entering state buildings. Though this is in direct violation of Russian law, it is strictly followed today.

Since then, an unofficial campaign limiting Chechen women’s freedoms has been gaining strength, Human Rights Watch says.

A Russian rights activist, Natalya Estemirova, who had publicly criticised the Islamic dress campaign, was abducted from Grozny in July 2009 and her body was later found in the neighbouring republic of Ingushetia.

As an atheist, I detest religious symbology as a rule. It represents a useless anachronism that we as a species should be free from. And likewise, something that covers the natural beauty of woman just because it might tempt some out-of-control loon speaks to me of a rapist culture, where there is no Schrodinger’s rapist, every man is a rapist, the assumption is that the rape will occur, and it will be the woman’s fault for simply being herself in front of others.

And the Middle East? A hotbed of rape culture, where women are routinely savaged, killed, or punished simply because of their sex. And apparently where the men are so insecure, they think every Tom Dick and Harry wants to rape their wives.

Let’s face it: Islam is no more (nor any less) anti-woman than the other two of the big Three Monos. In fact, I won’t even have to trot out the facts of any of those holy texts, because many of our steady readers will be happy to provide the ‘facts’ (such as they are).

In the 70’s in this country, women were burning their bras. Here in the 21st century, it would be nice to see these barbaric customs go right up in flames.

Halloo, Snackbar!

Till the next post, then.

This entry was posted in Absurdity, Crazy fundies, Delusion, for fuck's sake!, Islam, Mythology, Politics, Religion, Sexuality, Stupidity, Values, Women's rights. Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Banning The Burka–Bye, Bye, Blinders!

  1. stardust says:

    If women started burning their burqas as women of the 70s burned their bras, they would get more than scoffs and criticism. The rebellious act would bring physical danger to themselves, often death. The liberation of Muslim women will be much more difficult because of their barbaric and threatening control by their male dominant society.

  2. Digital Atheist says:

    Burkas should be banned with the zeal and enthusiasm that books are burned by the religious. (bomb thrown, head ducked ;-) )

  3. ChuckA says:

    After reading this Post, and the somewhat humorous, but shockingly accurate, “Schrodinger’s rapist” link, which, incidently…made this (IMHO) relatively harmless old masculine fart rather glad that I AM old…I was reminded of just HOW fucking totally batshit religions really are…
    ALL RELIGIONS!
    Probably the best clinically Psycological descriptive word is “Psychopathic”.
    [There's a Psychology article link in my files (which I originally got from one of our old Posters, "The Old Git"; who's alive & well, BTW.) regarding that; which, if I manage to rediscover it, I'll be sure to post it. The Psychology professionals steer clear of the obvious and appropriate accusation of religion as "Psychopathic" for reasons which are obvious to any rational atheist! IOW...they already have enough bad PR from the incredibly batshit Church of Scientology. :shock: ]
    Ok…my real point in commenting here is linked to the total insanity of what just happened in Norway on Friday (7/22/11); and the scary thing, to my thinking, is that we have the same sort of totally batshit Right Wing nut-bags lurking right here in the good ole USA. In fact considering, in particular, the Rethuglican “C” Street/Family Cult jerks already roosting in high places in our own Federal Government…not to mention (OOPS!) the extremist religious nutbag morons like Bachmann, Santorum, Perry, etc. who are thirsting for even more political power in 2012…it’s even MORE important to be, as I think KA is demonstrating in this Post, on EXTREME HIGH ALERT!
    For more on Anders Behring Breivik and the Norway insanity; and simultaneously, to point out just how fucking insane religious influence is…RIGHT NOW…from the, all-too, demonstrably sadomasochistic, psychopathic, Abrahamic “Mono” religions:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-14259989

    “Nights Templar”? WTF!
    Are we all STILL stuck…even hopelessly trapped…in some fucking “Middle Ages”/”Crusades” time warp?
    SHEESH!!!

  4. KA says:

    Star:

    If women started burning their burqas as women of the 70s burned their bras, they would get more than scoffs and criticism.

    True enough – but the results would bring more attention to the plight of women in the ME especially.

    The rebellious act would bring physical danger to themselves, often death.

    I don’t know how to respond to that w/o sounding flippant – but that danger is prevalent in their lives already.

  5. ChuckA says:

    Regarding my referred to Psychiatric article link…
    change my descriptive use of “psychotic” to…erm…
    “pathologically delusional” (or whatever semantics you prefer?).
    Anyway, here’s the related article info & link:

    The Author: Ryan McKay
    At: The Macquarie Centre for Cognitive
    Science (MACCS), Macquarie University,
    P.O. Box 79, Waroona WA 6215, Australia.
    The Title?…
    “Hallucinating God? – The Cognitive Neuropsychiatry of Religious Belief and Experience”
    [Check out the article for a brief abstract, etc.]:
    http://homepage.mac.com/ryantmckay/Paper%20PDFs%20for%20Website/Hallucinating%20God.pdf

  6. stardust says:

    I don’t know how to respond to that w/o sounding flippant – but that danger is prevalent in their lives already.

    I didn’t mean that they shouldn’t try. Just pointing out the obvious that it’s not going to be anything like women’s liberation in the West. Things will get uglier than they already are for women in the ME and other Muslim countries.

  7. John-in-Oz says:

    Stuff the totalitarianism of the Burqa banners! Secular authorities have no place telling a woman what she can or can’t wear. They should no more be able to order a woman to remove her Burqa than to remove her Bikini. That they think a woman wearing a Burqa ought to choose differently is as irrelevant as their opinion on someone wearing a mu-mu. The Chechnyan dress code is the exact same evil of busybodies trying to take away a woman’s right to choose. The issue of identification in official contexts can easily be resolved – we used signatures for hundreds of years quite satisfactorily, before the development of retina scanners or routine fingerprinting.

  8. Sue Blue says:

    I think it would be great to point out, constantly, in public forums everywhere, how bad the modesty trope makes these fundamentalist men look. They come off as insecure, immature, totally undisciplined morons, little more than hormone-soaked penis slaves who can’t exhibit the slightest impulse control. The idea that a woman can incite a man to uncontrollable lust with the merest flash of skin only makes women seem more powerful. Don’t they see this? Oh, wait….religion’s main side effect is impaired critical thinking. That explains it.

    Burn those burkas, baby. If they can’t see your eyebrows without getting an embarrassing hard-on, too fucking bad.

  9. Mark says:

    Not to change the subject, but here is one of them nut-jobs that harass me and others at youtube…any one here want a crack at them.
    http://www.youtube.com/user/royalclass23548

  10. ChuckA says:

    My apology to KA for the following; but, I think it’s ALL related to the ever-on-going absolute insanity of any of the religious and related topics we discuss here on AO.
    [IOW, ala a line from Mel Brooks’ “The Producers” (1968):
    “I try…MAN, how I try!” :shock:
    Erm…”having said that”; “and, with all due respect”…
    Here’s some info shtick you guys might find interesting; and it should relate to ALL atheists regarding the age-old “argument from Evil”, which is, after all, the most potent argument against the existence of ANY god…especially the socalled “All-knowing/All-loving/All-zama-zama Abrahamic version.
    [Along that line, I’m repeating links to some great articles from one of my favorite article Sites…Ebon Musings.
    Again, here’s the link to that great article/essay Site:
    http://www.ebonmusings.org/atheism/index.html
    In particular, two article favs:
    1) “All Possible Worlds” RE: The problem of evil:
    http://www.ebonmusings.org/atheism/allpossibleworlds.html

    2) “Infinite Punishment for Finite Sins” RE: The doctrine of Hell:
    http://www.ebonmusings.org/atheism/infinitepunishment.html

    More to my immediate point…
    For those of you who follow the weekly “Atheist Experience” online podcast; you’re probably aware of the rather interesting guest named Gregory S Paul, and his somewhat recent research into carefully estimated statistics RE the astounding numbers of all-time pre-birth deaths of children [IOW MISCARRIAGES (natural abortions), birth defects, fatal childhood diseases,etc.]
    OK…some LINKS:
    1) the Atheist Experience show:
    Atheist Experience #719: Greg Paul and the Problem of Evil
    Or…
    “WHY THE GODS ARE NOT WINNING”, with host Matt Dillahunty & co-host Don Baker.
    [Specifically, starting at 11min:29sec to ca. 33:06 (which includes some, IMO, rather ‘choice’ comments by Matt.)
    http://blip.tv/the-atheist-experience-tv-show/atheist-experience-719-greg-paul-and-the-problem-of-evil-5408591

    2) Greg’s previous appearance on Atheist Experience #708 with Don Baker & Russell Glasser:
    “Greg Paul and Atheist Civil Rights”:
    http://blip.tv/the-atheist-experience-tv-show/atheist-experience-708-greg-paul-and-atheist-civil-rights-5140784

    3) Here’s the link to Greg’s Blog page:
    “THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION”
    [A "tongue in cheek" title?...Perhaps to attract some, unsuspecting, Scientifically naive, Googling Xtians? ;)
    Check his Technical & Popular article pages, etc.]:
    http://www.gspaulscienceofreligion.com/index.html

  11. keddaw says:

    The ban was designed to include any head-wear that hindered identification, officials said.

    Why should officials wish to identify us in public places? What business is it of theirs?

    So-called “burka bans” are simply a police state masquerading as pro-woman. Wake up people.

  12. Sue Blue says:

    Keddaw, that bothers me too. It’s like they can’t just come out and say “we’re banning it because it’s a fucking medieval misogynist religious practice and as a progressive country in the 21st century we’re not going to put up with that” – no, they’ve got to come up with some official namby-pamby to soften the blow against the religion behind the burka. I can understand it if they just want to have a clear way to identify someone’s face on a driver’s license or other I.D. but that shouldn’t be the only reason. The religiously-enforced covering of women should be right up there with bans on female genital mutilation and honor killings as a crime against women.

  13. Sue Blue says:

    Keddaw, that bothers me too. It’s like they can’t just come out and say “we’re banning it because it’s a fucking medieval misogynist religious practice and as a progressive country in the 21st century we’re not going to put up with that” – no, they’ve got to come up with some official namby-pamby to soften the blow against the religion behind the burka. I can understand it if they just want to have a clear way to identify someone’s face on a driver’s license or other I.D. but that shouldn’t be the only reason. The religiously-enforced covering of women should be illegal for the same reason that genital mutilation and honor killings are illegal – because they’re crimes against women.

  14. Sue Blue says:

    Sorry about the double-post. Thought I could edit my comment…

  15. KA says:

    keddaw:

    Why should officials wish to identify us in public places? What business is it of theirs?

    Damn straight! Why, I should be able to run around in a ski mask anywhere I want! What’s so suspicious about that? Even in 100 degree heat?

    So-called “burka bans” are simply a police state masquerading as pro-woman.

    If it’s pro-woman, it’s usually anti-religious.

  16. ChuckA says:

    WTF!…KA? I’ve had a comment waiting in the queue for moderation since 3:28PM, YESTERDAY (7/28/11),. Isn’t anyone paying attention?
    I guess it’s a waste of my time trying to share anything detailed in a comment here! Of course, it’s the number of embedded links that becomes the problem…I get that…IOW, anything over one link holds things up. (Kind of a fucking drag, I’d say! Who made that rule, BTW?)
    Excuse me for complaining; but things seem to have really changed around here, since the old GifS days; especially when Sean.was still around. Sorry if I sound a bit angry, KA, but with all the other BS goin’ on in the news, I’m somewhat surprised that, even amongst fellow atheists, nobody seems to give a flying fuck. I don’t usually complain about shit; BUTT…
    Later? AARGH!

  17. KA says:

    Sorry ChuckA – I usually don’t moderate, so I don’t know what’s going on.Your comment’s been released, so again profuse apologies.

  18. ChuckA says:

    Thanks, KA. Sorry for getting my “undies” in a twist. (‘Roger’, on the moderation chore stuff.)
    I feel MUCH better now…? ;)
    Of course, I haven’t checked today’s Political News yet; which, unfortunately, might further curl the…erm…
    remaining hair on my all-too over-stressed, and ever-aging..
    balls.
    What!…”All’s well that ends well”?

  19. keddaw says:

    KA:

    Damn straight! Why, I should be able to run around in a ski mask anywhere I want! What’s so suspicious about that? Even in 100 degree heat?

    Yes, you should. Just because something makes you suspicious doesn’t mean you are allowed to interfere with their civil liberties to appease your worries.

    When I want to protest the government’s anti-constitutional policy of spying on citizens I really don’t want to be forced to reveal my identity to them for what should be blindingly obvious reasons. When a country/city decides it is proposing a limit on EVERYONE’S civil liberties as “largely symbolic, since it was uncommon to see women in the city wearing the full veil” it seems appropriate to ask if they perhaps have an ulterior motive, no?

  20. Ms. D says:

    Here is my only problem with this. I don’t think that banning burkas is going to make women stop wearing them (or being forced to wear them, as the case may be). I think it’s going to stop those women who want or are forced to wear burkas to stay out of the places that would force them to remove the face-covering. So, these women will essentially become prisoners in their own homes, possibly without driver’s licenses or passports. That eventuality makes their situation worse, not better.

  21. Sally says:

    You’ve nailed the problem exactly, Ms D.

    As well as violating the rights of muslims, a ban on clothing is a sloppy way of getting at the root problem — the systematic, violent coercion of women.

    A woman who is being coerced by her family and/or community to wear the burqa/niqab is in far more danger, and thus subject to far more coercion in larger matters, if she is forced by law to go around unmasked. This is because the face covering affords her a degree of anonymity in her daily business. For example, with the face covering she may be able to stop at a women’s health clinic or a government office after she goes grocery shopping. Without it, the fear of being seen by a member of her community who will then tell her extended family is more prohibitive. If she is not allowed to go out without covering, she may never get to go out at all, may never meet or even see anyone who is not a member of her closed community and may never become aware that there is a world outside it.

    It is the regime of coercion that we should be opposing —a regime that allows men in the street to beat and rape women for not conforming publicly in matters of clothing and behaviour and male family members to beat and kill female family members for behaviour which should be permissible for every human being, yet is forbidden to women on the basis of the ‘laws’ promulgated by their invisible friend. The fact that a handful of muslim women may choose to wear the burqa/niqab does not detract from the fact that most are subject to extremely serious coercion to do so.

    I have no time for any form of religious doctrine, especially when it tramples on the rights of women.

  22. Petit says:

    I have a few questions for commenters and the author — What would be a sound plan for solving the problems that Christianity causes? I propose legislation of sanity:

    * require health insurance provided by churches to employees to provide contraception (Catholics hate this) and abortion coverage — hasn’t this already been done? I see articles about it but nothing definitive on what happened when the Church contested it.

    * require all OBGYN offices to provide abortion

    * require all pharmacists to dispense the Abortion Pill

    * this one would be the kicker — require all health care students (nurses + doctors) to assist with the abortion procedure during school

    * Remove the tax exempt status of Churches but still prohibit pastors (or ‘ministers’) from participating in politics

    * Remove the requirements in the workplace that allow Christians to request time on Sunday to attend Church (again — hasn’t this been done???? I see nothing definitive on the intertubes)

    * Ban Burkas for Muslims (done in France already)

    And then theres things that can be done at the public school level:

    * ban all prayer (its offensive, really)
    * require sex ed starting in 4th grade — 2 years before kids are starting sex. This may be extreme but it will dispell the religious connotations surrounding sex as ‘bad’.
    * Again, a bit extreme, but have a month to remember religious holocausts – the Crusades, the Salem witch trials, the Witch trials of Europe, the trial by ordeal in Europe, the way that the Albigensians were dealt with in South France in the early 1400s (“Kill them all, let God sort them out” was coined at one siege in that battle), and there are probably other examples but my history is rough

    So… there are some ideas. Any other thoughts on how to deal with the problems of their corrupting way of thought?

    Societies in the past have used democracy and representation to force ideologies out. Granted, in the past it has been to oust one religion (Judaism in west Europe, Paganism in Rome, Christianity in Rome, Muslims in Spain, Paganism in England). It should work just fine for ousting ALL religion.

  23. Sally says:

    Another measure is to stop granting paid public holidays for religious occasions (xmas and easter), especially since the holidays granted are based on the Western European tradition of christianity. At the moment in Australia, but not only do non-christians — including our own Aboriginal people — have to ‘apply’ to celebrate THEIR spiritual events, using valuable Recreation Leave to do so, but members of the various orthodox christian churches must do the same, because for them, ‘xmas’ and ‘easter’ may fall on different dates.

    The solution is to only mandate National/State holidays as PAID PUBLIC holidays and make everyone who wishes to celebrate religious holidays take them out of their allocated Annual Leave. I imagine the numbers celebrating religious holidays would drp dramatically.

  24. Ms. D says:

    You’ve articulated the problem I was getting at beautifully, Sally. I could care less about violating the rights of Muslims, but I want these women to be able to get out and associate in the larger world. If they can’t leave their house at all, they can’t be exposed to other cultural norms, they can’t get help if they need it, and, if they can’t get driver’s licenses or passports, it’s particularly hard for them to flee if they need to.

    I’m also staunchly opposed to security concerns over personal freedom. I’m not some libertarian freak, I think both private businesses and the government have the right to use public photo and video monitoring to improve public safety. Heck, I was at the forefront of a lobbying effort to get a signed crime camera at my street corner to deter drug dealers and other criminals (I could care less if they regularly have video of me watering my petunias or taking a smoke on my front porch…even if they have video of me coming out to assist the police in locating an alarm call this morning in my PJs during a power outage…I have all my neighbors’ cell phone numbers, so when they pounded on my window – I have an alarm with stickers, so they thought it might have been mine – I came out to see where the call came from). What you do in public is public business. But I ALSO have every right to wear a hat or hijab in public. First they came for the Jews, and all. As far as official photos go, there seems to be good reason to disallow face coverings in general…after all, I had to have my driver’s license and passport photos redone after I had LASIK because I no longer wore glasses (I didn’t officially need the driver’s license picture re-done, but I did if I wanted the corrective lenses restriction removed, and I could have been arrested for driving without my glasses after I had LASIK if I didn’t have that restriction removed). But otherwise, I would prefer that women could get out in their burka or hijab and see the broader world and get help if they needed it rather than being even more restricted than they are. I feel deeply for women in repressive situations, so I’m pro letting them leave the house. I know a few women who choose to wear a hijab (christian to agnostic parents, made the choice to become muslim), but overall the women I know who adhere to strict muslim norms do so under duress.

  25. Sally says:

    “Oh, but muslim wimen *want* to wear these garments”

    Seriously, the extent to which Muslim women have voluntarily taken to hijab is vastly overestimated.

    Yes, there is a small movement, largely limited to Western schools and universities, of muslim women claiming that they feel liberated by wearing hijab. These women aver that they feel protected from being perceived and judged as physical objects. Such an argument has some appeal to non-muslim female students — as well as many adult ‘feminists’ (e.g., Naomi Wolf) — because many are disenchanted with the porn and hook-up cultures that largely define and shape modern Western gender relations.

    The solution to this is not to ‘protect’ girls and women, either from themselves or from the big bad world, by wrapping them in a mobile tent and locking them away under the ‘protection’ of a male. The solution is to encourage girls to develop strength and self-confidence, enabling them to give back as good as they get, while at the same time striving to create a society where women and men are *equals* and the threat of coercive sexual violence is unthinkable.

    Yes, there is an equally small group who claim that they wear hijab out of cultural pride, somewhat in the manner of the young French woman in my street who wears a costume featuring her national colours of red, white and blue every year on 14 July. Good for them — and for her. But, just as the Americian woman’s garb is a statement of ‘political’ (< Greek 'politikos – pertaining to living in a society') values, so is hijab. Religion is always political — Benedict XVI’s zucchetto is as much a political statement as the neo-nazi’s swastika armband. One’s clothing can be judged on what it reveals about one’s ‘political’ position as much as on what it says about abstract ‘beliefs.’ And my French friend can remove her clothing if she wants to, even on 14 July — once they have assumed hijab, few muslim women ever have the opportunity to take it off again.

    Yes, there are some genuinely religious muslim women and some converts. Good for them too!

    But the majority of muslim women do not choose to wear hijab — they are pressured into it by their families, who present it to them from the time that they are very young as an inevitability for when they reach puberty, because this is what “good muslim women” wear. They are policed in terms of how ‘properly’ they are dressed by fathers, brothers, uncles and cousins and by other members of the community (and in some countries by ‘morality police’).

    Moreover, while there are men in every community who believe that they have a right to force their will on women, the rise of fundamentalism in muslim communities means that there are now muslim men who will claim they have a right to coerce women into ‘proper muslim behaviour,’ including wearing hijab, by violence if necessary. The threat of being beaten, raped or even murdered for going uncovered is an increasingly realistic one in many places and it absolutely counts as coercion.

    Most people would rather not admit that they are coerced, especially not to outsiders who may look down at them as a result. The psychological role of such coercion tends to be underplayed when discussing hijab with non-muslims, and is thus vastly underestimated by ‘outsiders.’

    [Of course, one can make the same argument — that some men will use the babblings of their invisible friends to excuse their barbarous behavior — in relation to christianity or any other religion.]

    And then there are women who wear hijab to signal their fervent commitment to islamism / ’political islam.’ Yet even they deserve compassion, for, once the promised world-spanning ummah (muslim community) has been achieved, the women who fought for it will be sent back into seclusion by the bearded-bricks-with-dangly-bits who think that their invisible friend has given them the ‘right’ to control women.

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