Niqab Warz Redux

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cabbie
Niqab Warz Redux

I found this. Please discuss and give your opinions: agree? disagree? (A bit of both?)

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...Lucien Bouchard cautions the Parti Québécois not to get mixed up with “identity politics.” What a card! Identity politics is, of course, the PQ’s raison d’être. Quebec nationalism came into being to protect Quebec’s “cultural identity.” Once upon a time, that didn’t need explaining: “La langue est gardienne de la foi,” Henri Bourassa said a century ago. The French language protects the Catholic faith. But the faith is long gone, and the churches are empty, and Quebec’s shrivelled, post-Catholic fertility rate combined with a constitutionally dubious, provincially controlled immigration policy has resulted in a recently arrived and ever swelling population from “French” (please, no tittering) North Africa and the Middle East.

Is that all that’s left of Quebec’s “cultural identity”? The lingo? Or to put it another way: suppose, in a few years’ time, the last elderly Anglos who still refer to Trois-Rivières as “Three Rivers” have died off and instead the streets of the province’s cities are clogged with niqab-clad francophones. Would Quebec feel it had won its battle to preserve its “cultural identity”?

Obviously not. Which is why 95 per cent of Quebecers favour the government’s niqab ban. Even in the ROC, support is running at about 80 per cent. Most of the social engineering and the remorseless dismantling of pre-Trudeaupian Canada takes place incrementally, under cover of darkness. The noxious brainwashing of our youth at Canadian universities is mostly concerned with theoreticals and abstractions. But the niqab and the burka are not abstract: they’re the starkest emblem of the gulf between one culture and another, and when they’re shuffling toward you down the sidewalk they’re telling you something about where your society’s headed. In that sense, they’re the most provocatively absurd of multiculturalism’s fatuities. Naema Ahmed’s lack of a face is, paradoxically, in your face—in a way that many of the multiculti delusions never quite are. It is also a reminder of our likely fate—that Western civilization will not be succeeded by a rainbow-hued utopia but by fractious and mutually hostile barbarisms.

 

At a certain level, the niqab wars are pathetic. They’re proxy battles for the real issues—on immigration, assimilation, and much else. But the niqab is blazingly vivid in a way that the big abstract nouns aren’t. And, whatever anglophone progressives may think, Jean Charest’s heavy-handed opportunism is in the grand tradition of Canadian statism.

 

http://www2.macleans.ca/2010/04/15/so-now-it%E2%80%99s-no-business-of-th...

al-Qa'bong

I think it would be cool if Western women chose to wear niqabs or veils as a show of solidarity with Muslims.

AntiSpin

cabbie wrote:

 But the niqab and the burka are not abstract: they’re the starkest emblem of the gulf between one culture and another, and when they’re shuffling toward you down the sidewalk they’re telling you something about where your society’s headed.

If you look back - or look to Islamic society today - you'll see the same or similar arguments against the rise of the mini skirt in the 1960s & 1970s, if you'll pardon the pun.

Government attempts at banning cultural symbols they dislike also says something important and powerful about where our society is headed as well.

If I had to choose, government coercion versus tolerating the niqab, I know which one I'd pick.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Do you feel at any time that you might be forced into wearing Niqab?

Unionist

al-Qa'bong wrote:

I think it would be cool if Western women chose to wear niqabs or veils as a show of solidarity with Muslims.

I would be far more impressed if Western men did so. But niqabs are only for women, right?

 

Cueball Cueball's picture

Heh.

Unionist

al-Qa'bong wrote:

I think it would be cool if Western women chose to wear niqabs or veils as a show of solidarity with Muslims.

Or how about this:

It would be cool if Western Muslims of any sex or gender chose to wear niqabs as a show of solidarity with Muslims!

Won't ever happen, will it?

 

cabbie

"I would be far more impressed if Western men did so. But niqabs are only for women, right?"

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8409778.stm

"Hundreds of men have posted photos of themselves wearing Islamic headscarves as part of the "Be a man" campaign to show solidarity with Majid Tavakoli..."

http://www.muhajabah.com/whyniqab.htm

"For Ummahat al-Muminin (rAa), the wives of the Prophet (sAas), niqab is fard. It has been commanded in Surah al-Ahzab ayah 53 and the hadiths confirm that Ummahat al-Muminin (rAa) covered their faces in obedience to the command in this ayah to screen themselves from non-mahram men."

http://www.islam-laws.com/hijabexcuse.htm

"Your body is on display in the market of Shaitaan* seducing the hearts of men. The hairstyles, the tight clothing showing every detail of your figure, the short dresses showing off your legs and feet, and the showy, decorative and fragrant clothing all anger the Merciful and please the Shaitaan. Every day that passes while you are in this condition distances you further from Allah and brings you closer to Shaitaan. Each day curses and anger are directed toward you from the heavens until you repent. Every day brings you closer to the grave and the Angel of Death is ready to capture your soul."

[*Shaitaan=Satan]

http://islamicissues.org/id11.html

"Allaah [sic] is the One Who has commanded women to cover their adornments. This has been enjoined upon women as a protection against abuse and temptation. That is because women are the focus of desire, and the focus of what those who are tempted to look at. So if a woman uncovers her beauty she will provoke desire, and people will become attracted to her and will follow her. This is the cause of many immoral actions such as adultery and the things that lead to it. So hijaab is obligatory for women and was enjoined upon them in the aayah (interpretation of the meaning):

“…and to draw their veils all over Juyoobihinna (i.e. their bodies, faces, necks and bosoms)…” [al-Noor 24:31]

The veil (khimaar) is that which comes down from the head and covers the face, and the jilbaab is an outer garment with which a woman covers herself, leaving no part of her body showing. And Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “…And when you ask (his [the Prophet’s] wives) for anything you want, ask them from behind a screen…” [al-Ahzaab 33:53] So it is a protection for women so that there will be no room for people to treat them as playthings.

"Is it necessary to wear hijab in a kaafir country? It is not permissible for you or for any other woman to take off your hijaab in the kaafir countries, just as that is not permissible in any Muslim country. It is obligatory to observe hijaab in front of non-mahram males whether they are Muslims or kaafirs. Allah commands his believing servants to migrate from a land in which they are not able to establish Islam, to the spacious earth of Allah where they can do so."

Cueball Cueball's picture

All societies and countries enforce morality laws on modesty.

Michelle

Unionist wrote:

al-Qa'bong wrote:

I think it would be cool if Western women chose to wear niqabs or veils as a show of solidarity with Muslims.

I would be far more impressed if Western men did so. But niqabs are only for women, right?

 

I love you, Unionist.  Will you marry me?

Cueball Cueball's picture

Take it to PM you guys. I hate to have to moderate your immoderate behaviour.

Unionist

Cueball wrote:

All societies and countries enforce morality laws on modesty.

Cueball wrote:
Take it to PM you guys. I hate to have to moderate your immoderate behaviour.

Ahh! Thanks for the example, Cue.

All societies and countries also treat women like second-class human beings. That's a good argument for change. Not for the status quo.

I believe that we should not interfere in how other societies and countries legislate "modesty" or any other quaint thing. I also believe, however, that we should very much enforce equality of women and men in our society and country - no matter who likes it or not.

 

AntiSpin

Cueball wrote:

Do you feel at any time that you might be forced into wearing Niqab?

 

Is there a difference between being forced to NOT wear a cultural symbol and being forced TO wear one by the State?

 

 

skdadl

AntiSpin wrote:

Is there a difference between being forced to NOT wear a cultural symbol and being forced TO wear one by the State?

No. The obsession with what people -- well, women, eh? -- wear is to me evidence of either bigotry or neurosis.

It's also deeply Protestant. Now, sort that one out, given the places now attempting to legislate how much women should disrobe.

Unionist

Skdadl, China banned binding of feet in 1949. Should they lift the ban and let individuals be free to make their own choice?

 

Sineed

Generally I agree with your take on this, Unionist, though that particular analogy doesn't work.  Foot-binding involved breaking a young girl's metatarsals and bending the broken foot in half, mutilating the foot and crippling the woman for life.  Wearing a niqab/burka doesn't inflict physical harm on the woman.

Your foot-binding analogy would be more applicable to, say, a discussion of female genital mutilation, where again a girl's body is mutilated to suit cultural mores.

skdadl

Why should I take that at face value? I don't.

Everyone has a right to an opinion about why other people do what they do, but that doesn't mean that you know or can know or should know their version of why they do what they do, and it's their version that matters to their liberty unless they are breaking the law. (Here, of course, we get on to the territory of laws made on the basis of neurosis, bigotry, or paranoia ...)

Me, I could not give a good goddamn whether anyone, certainly any man, and for sure any public official with power to compel (delegated to him/her BY ME), thinks that I am liberated enough, in the right ways or to his/her satisfaction. For that reason, I don't see why anyone else, certainly any other woman, given the creepy fascination with women's dress in every society historically, should have to give a good goddamn either.

 

AntiSpin

Let's take at face value the assumption that, in Canada, the niqab and burqa are symbols of male hegemony toward women and that the Muslim women are coerced into wear these garments by husbands, fathers, brothers and their religious dogma (ignoring for the moment the paradox that these same women also frequently wear modern fashion underneath).

In short, the niqab is oppression and wearing the niqab a form of segregation and, more importantly, social marginalization.

Our solution, or at least Quebec's, is to have a predominantly male legislature pass a law that forces Muslim women to literally unveil themselves in public? Our solution is to replace one form of oppression with another in the name of democracy, freedom and personal liberty?

Sure, that makes sense.

And herein lies the heavy irony of Quebec's attempt to eradicate the niqab. The Quebec government and many Quebec feminists see the niqab as a symbol of gender oppression. Their answer is to be equally oppressive in demanding Muslim women to choose between their cultural/religious convictions and access to government services. The same government doesn't care if you're wearing a burqa or a bathrobe when you're paying your taxes but takes exception only when you actually require services that you've paid for. Funny that.

It is indeed a strange method of integrating immigrants into Canadian society by overtly marginalizing them.

 

absentia

The only difference to a woman between which of two men (groups of men) forces her to wear what the men like is that she has to live with one man, or one group. The legislators, up in some castle, aren't going to be around to protect her from retribution for choosing civil law over the father-in-law.

Anyway, the only purpose served by outlawing immigrants' traditional garb is to create an illusion of uniformity. The purpose served by immigrant males keeping their wives and daughterts from assimilating is to preserve the illusion of familial and community control. Dress is a symbol of freedom only when it's varied and personal - when nobody can predict what you'll wear on any occassion, or explain why - and that won't happen until people, including women, actually feel both at home and free to express themselves. That can't forced or legislated or rushed: it evolves, or it doesn't

AntiSpin

skaddle....exactly.

Unionist

Do you folks actually believe the Québec law (with which I don't agree for a host of reasons) is driven by men?

Only a non-Quebecer could get it so wrong.

 

Sven Sven's picture

People interested in this subject should read "Infidel" by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somalian who was raised and grew up Muslim and who was unwillingly married off by her father to a distant Somalian cousin living in Toronto...but, while in transit to Canada, escaped to Holland where she sought and received asylum.  I just finished reading "Infidel" and am now half-way through her latest book, "Nomad".

absentia

Unionist wrote:

Do you folks actually believe the Québec law (with which I don't agree for a host of reasons) is driven by men?

Only a non-Quebecer could get it so wrong.

I hadn't thought of that, but now that you remind me, of course i can see a certain type of woman's bossy and none-too-sensitive hand. That doesn't change the situation for recent immigrants, though. If one feels insecure and unsure of one's rights, the nearest (that is, at-home) authority is still the real authority. And the only way to improve that situation is to reach out and include new people, not to render them invisible.

Unionist

What makes you think that the couple dozen (maybe) people who wear niqabs in Québec are recent immigrants, or insecure, or unsure of their rights?

absentia

Because i've been an immigrant and known lots of other immigrants. But, that was long ago, in Ontario and BC, so i actually don't know about Quebec at all.

Cueball Cueball's picture

AntiSpin wrote:

Cueball wrote:

Do you feel at any time that you might be forced into wearing Niqab?

 

Is there a difference between being forced to NOT wear a cultural symbol and being forced TO wear one by the State?

 

An excelent question. Thank you for asking it. The answer is no, there is no difference.

skdadl

Unionist wrote:

Do you folks actually believe the Québec law (with which I don't agree for a host of reasons) is driven by men?

Only a non-Quebecer could get it so wrong.

What earthly difference would that make?

Do you seriously expect to set the agenda for feminists everywhere, Unionist, when we all know that feminists everywhere are seriously divided on issues like this, which means in the first place that you should back off and in the second that women who expect to set any other woman's agenda should also back off.

Stockholm

al-Qa'bong wrote:

I think it would be cool if Western women chose to wear niqabs or veils as a show of solidarity with Muslims.

I think it would be way cooler if feminist women across the Muslim world all set up bonfires and burned their niqabs and veils etc... to show their contempt for the patriarchy that wanst them to wear such garments - in the same way that women in the west burned bras a generation ago!!

Cueball Cueball's picture

You seem to have a lot of ideas about what it would be "cool" for Muslim women to do. Maybe they have some of their own ideas about how they prioritize the actions that will lead to their personal and collective empowerment. However, as always, you know what is best for Muslim women.

Unionist

skdadl wrote:

Unionist wrote:

Do you folks actually believe the Québec law (with which I don't agree for a host of reasons) is driven by men?

Only a non-Quebecer could get it so wrong.

What earthly difference would that make?

It makes no difference whatsoever, skdadl. I was responding to a post that was trying to make some kind of point about the Assemblée nationale being "male dominated". The point was wrong.

skdadl wrote:
Do you seriously expect to set the agenda for feminists everywhere, Unionist, when we all know that feminists everywhere are seriously divided on issues like this, which means in the first place that you should back off and in the second that women who expect to set any other woman's agenda should also back off.

I happen to believe this issue does not belong to feminists. Nor does it belong to Muslims. It belongs to all people and to all of Québec society. So how would it be if I said that non-Quebecers should back off? That would be pretty awful, wouldn't it?

My problem with Bill 94 is essentially the same as Québec solidaire's. It doesn't go far enough, and it targets niqab-wearers for no good reason. But, as I have mentioned before, I do not believe that there is a human right to express oneself through one's clothing, which implies that you must be served by one sex and not the other. I believe that any such right is trumped by society's demand for the equality of men and women. I am NOT talking about whether niqab-wearers are oppressed or not. I do NOT agree that people should be legally prevented from covering their face. But I will never agree that some individual's cultural or religious belief should require the rest of society to divide itself into male and female (or any other division) - like, "send a male cop please, I can't deal with women strangers".

But you know my views on this, skdadl, and we're going to have to agree to disagree. What is very important is that non-Quebecers should make accurate statements about the origin and state of the controversy here if they wish to comment on it at all. That, unfortunately, has not always been the case, as we saw upthread.

skdadl

Have a good evening, Unionist. We certainly do disagree.

"Society's demand for the equality of men and women" -- excuse my snort and my snerk. And forget entirely about telling me what  "equality" for me would mean. Honestly: I don't know where you guys get the nerve.

skdadl

PS: Unionist, I hope you know that I will defend Quebecers against the prejudices of anglo Canada, which are very real, and have already proved dangerous to us all (in Harper's propaganda, eg). At the same time, I will not defend your claims of privilege if they violate my understanding of human and civil liberties in any democracy.

Stockholm

Cueball wrote:

You seem to have a lot of ideas about what it would be "cool" for Muslim women to do. Maybe they have some of their own ideas about how they prioritize the actions that will lead to their personal and collective empowerment. However, as always, you know what is best for Muslim women.

I'm saying what I would enjoy seeing - its called EXPRESSING AN OPINION - something we are allowed to do here - much as you don't seem to tolerate anyone ever expressing an opinion you disagree with. Maybe "western women" have their own ideas about how they prioritize their actions as well and don't want to do what "Al-Qabong" thinks is "cool" (ie: wearing niqabs to express solidarity with Islam).

Stockholm

al-Qa'bong wrote:

I think it would be cool if Western women chose to wear niqabs or veils as a show of solidarity with Muslims.

Maybe they should also wear old-fashioned nuns habits to express soliadrity with Catholics!!

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

al-Qa'bong wrote:

I think it would be cool if Western women chose to wear niqabs or veils as a show of solidarity with Muslims.

I don't know that I could, in good faith, show solidarity with Muslims on the niqab issue.  I think, at base, it is a cultural oppression of the female, and I can't support that.  I'm sure it's a flawed position that I'm holding, but it comes from the gut.  Nobody should have to hide his or her face for any reason.  Not even religion.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Stockholm wrote:

Cueball wrote:

You seem to have a lot of ideas about what it would be "cool" for Muslim women to do. Maybe they have some of their own ideas about how they prioritize the actions that will lead to their personal and collective empowerment. However, as always, you know what is best for Muslim women.

I'm saying what I would enjoy seeing - its called EXPRESSING AN OPINION - something we are allowed to do here - much as you don't seem to tolerate anyone ever expressing an opinion you disagree with. Maybe "western women" have their own ideas about how they prioritize their actions as well and don't want to do what "Al-Qabong" thinks is "cool" (ie: wearing niqabs to express solidarity with Islam).

Indeed they did. There were several generations between Nelli McClung and women in the west burning bras. In fact, feminist women very commonly made every effort to conform to social standards of respectable dress, because their struggle was for much more fundamental changes. Being respectable in appearance and confroming to social standards often helps in keeping the focus on real issues, as opposed stupid discussions about aesthetics.

writer writer's picture

Western men could wear skirts and heels in solidarity with Western women, if such a thing would somehow forward our equality.

Drag shows not included.

Ripple

http://rabble.ca/podcasts/shows/redeye/2010/04/what-wrongs-attacking-niqab

This may have been linked to before -this has been an ongoing discussion.  I don't think any Muslim women have posted in this thread, and it's an important voice to listen to on the issue.

Sven Sven's picture

writer wrote:

Western men could wear skirts and heels in solidarity with Western women, if such a thing would somehow forward our equality.

Actually, Western mean should do their half of the work of running a household.  That is something which would forward equality.

AntiSpin

Unionist wrote:

 

It makes no difference whatsoever, skdadl. I was responding to a post that was trying to make some kind of point about the Assemblée nationale being "male dominated". The point was wrong.

 

 

The current Quebec National Assembly has 125 MNAs, 35 are women. Describing the Assembly as "male dominated" is factually accurate.

 

toddsschneider

Anyone else here dealt with niqabis on a professional basis?  Tell me about it.  I had no problems with showing her face for identification.

Unionist

Yeah, it's also Catholic dominated. And francophone dominated. And non-working-class dominated. Think that's relevant? The right to cover one's face is not a cause that women in Québec have stood up for. Maybe they will. But they have not.

 

AntiSpin

I find feminist-based arguments against the niqab ironic as feminism itself has fractured and split largely on the issue of cultural identity and the desire of women to be seen as heterogenous. It's perfectly understandable for some to ignore outright the question of whether or not the niqab is is a symbol of oppression in Canada. It's a messy question. I prefer to see the niqab as just another piece of clothing, no different than any other, and that women have the freedom to choose as they see fit, questions of false consciousness notwithstanding. What separates the niqab from the hijab is a few inches of cloth.

The argument that you have to be Quebecois to understand the issue is silly and without merit.

 

Unionist

AntiSpin wrote:

 

The argument that you have to be Quebecois to understand the issue is silly and without merit.

 

You don't have to be Québécois to understand the issue. You have to be Québécois to have a say in how it is applied in Québec.

For another example, you don't have to be Québécois to understand the fact that there is only one official language in Québec, and that in any sufficiently large workplace, French must be the language of work.

Non-Quebecers have struggled to understand Québec. The point, however, is that they cannot change it.

al-Qa'bong

Unionist wrote:

al-Qa'bong wrote:

I think it would be cool if Western women chose to wear niqabs or veils as a show of solidarity with Muslims.

I would be far more impressed if Western men did so. But niqabs are only for women, right?

Touché.  Nevertheless, do you really believe that the state has a place in the wardrobes of the nation?

 

 

Unionist

First tell me whether China should lift its 1949 ban on binding of women's feet.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Foot binding was actually banned in 1911, and women were threatened with execution unless they complied. Is that the law you are referring too?

In anycase, forced footbinding of children is obviously child abuse, and more on the level of genital mutilation, since it involves actually breaking the feet. It is not about "wardrobe".

trippie

Look, western capitalistm is in decline for many reasons. One of them being the finite amount of oil. Since there is a lot of oil in the middle east and the middle east has a lot of muslims in it, they have to be vilified so that we can go over there. kill them and take what they have.

This is just one way of doing that.

Another reason is that in our economic decline the left hand has to distract from what the right hand is doing.

 

Or since the procreation of muslims is higher then christian, the christians need to make some changes before their way of life is changed.

al-Qa'bong

Unionist wrote:

First tell me whether China should lift its 1949 ban on binding of women's feet.

That comparison is off the mark and is akin to questioning whether a government should impose a moratorium on the use of the garotte.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

AntiSpin wrote:

I find feminist-based arguments against the niqab ironic as feminism itself has fractured and split largely on the issue of cultural identity and the desire of women to be seen as heterogenous. It's perfectly understandable for some to ignore outright the question of whether or not the niqab is is a symbol of oppression in Canada. It's a messy question. I prefer to see the niqab as just another piece of clothing, no different than any other, and that women have the freedom to choose as they see fit, questions of false consciousness notwithstanding. What separates the niqab from the hijab is a few inches of cloth.

It's more than just a few inches of cloth.  Come on.  It's the idea that women are so inherently evil and destructive that they should not so much as show their faces, have an identity outside the patriarchally controlled religion one adheres to.

If I have to make a choice between supporting religious freedom (not entirely clear in the case of niqab, as a small minority of Muslim women adopt it) and the emancipation of women from patriarchal control, I will opt for the latter.

But then, I see religion as superstitious nonsense at the best of times.

al-Qa'bong

Religion schmeligion.  Unless you're a Maoist or an Inner Party member in Airstrip One, you shouldn't think the state has any say in how you're attired. 

Not that I'm telling anyone how to think...

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