July 07, 2007

Burqa debates

Arafat slams the remarks of Michael Savage, host of The Savage Nation, the "the third most-listened-to talk radio show" in America. Savage said:
You know, when I see a woman walking around with a burqa, I see a Nazi. That's what I see -- how do you like that? -- a hateful Nazi who would like to cut your throat and kill your children. Don't give me this crap that they're doing it out of a sacred ritual or rite. It's not required by the Quran that a woman walk around in a seventh-century drape.
Arafat argues:
...is public tolerance reserved only for matters of religious or cultural 'obligation'? Whatever happened to choice? I mean, society allows tattoos and piercings not because people get them out of some kind of compulsion, but because it's a matter of choice.
Commenter Achelois argues
Hijab/niqaab is not a clothing item of choice. They may wear a blue ‘shuttlecock’ burqa out of choice and not the black – that is choice.

I don’t like the burqa and it makes me very uncomfortable to talk to a masked ‘human’; a human who has made herself believe that veil is her religious obligation and then claims that she should be given personal choice to wear what ‘she’ wants!
Update: Lets make this debate interesting. A Bahraini girl tells her story about her colleague wearing Hijab (via Global Voices Online):
Several days ago in one of the malls a girl stopped me, and her features seemed familiar…For a moment I thought it might be a colleague from work, but there was a big difference in the appearance of the two. My colleague, ever since I have known her, wears hijab (headscarf), and I have never seen her wearing short or tight clothes, just as she doesn’t wear any makeup on her face.

When she put out her hand to greet me I knew for certain my suspicion was correct, and she was the same colleague that I know. I asked her about the reason for the big transformation in her appearance which had surprised me. She said she didn’t always wear hijab, and only wore it during official work hours, and this was her normal way of dressing. Why this double life? Aren’t men the same wherever they are?

She answered, ‘Yes, with one small difference. I deal with those men for eight continuous hours during the working day, but outside, wherever I am, I am away from this closed circle of daily monitoring, from the annoying looks that follow me. I wear hijab during office hours because men usually talk more daringly to women without the hijab. This covering that I put on my head puts a clear boundary between me and those who do not respect women and do not behave well towards them unless they are wearing hijab.’
There we go we have Hijab as a makeshift tool to tackle men in a patriarch society.

Update II: The clerics in Kenya are outraged because prostitutes and criminals are using Buibuis or Burqas to hide their faces and avoid authority's crackdowns (BBC). The organising secretary of the Council of Imams of Kenya, Sheikh Muhammad Khalifa says:
"For God's sake, if one has decided to join this profession, the uniform of prostitutes is well known. "They should stick to their disgraceful attire."


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