Posts Tagged ‘niqab’

Burqa On Trial 3

Dr Ali. Photo Courtesy WA News/Sharon Smith

I feel vindicated to some degree because a leading Muslim academic has come out publicly against the wearing of the burqa/niqab. (Burqa has a mesh face covering, the niqab is the one that leaves just a slit for the eyes to look out from) While some ethnic community spokespeople might claim banning the garment attacks one’s cultural habits the fact remains it is not a part of our culture and it is both offensive to many and confronting to nearly all.

As the academic, Dr Ali, clearly states, the garment signifies a mindset as much as anything else. The wearing of it is, he says, “the lingering relics of a patriarchal, misogynistic and tribal culture” and argues there is no religious obligation in the Koran for it to be worn”.

He goes on to say that several European countries have banned the wearing of the garment in public places, including the Arab nation of Syria. My argument posits that if Muslims and predominantly Muslim countries find it offensive and confronting then surely we westerners can’t be labelled racist or religionist or whatever for wanting our public places free of this aberration.

My position has always been one of asking what does this garment say about the mindset of the wearer and her husband? What about their sons and how they view our women who don’t wear such a covering? Back in their home countries they can do as they wish because I will warn my daughters against travelling there or having anything to do with those men who support this cultural habit. But here in their own country they have a right to walk the streets as free from fear of harm as possible. We have enough home grown threats and hazards without importing more.

Burqa On Trial 2

Tasneem X, the woman who prefers not to show her face to men

The Muslim woman who doesn’t wish to remove her niqab (veil) covering her face that I reported on a few posts back has put her side of the situation to the media. Tasneem has made it clear her not wanting to show her face to men other than her husband is not a religious requirement. To my mind that means she must remove the veil when giving testimony.

She has said she would prefer to give her testimony via video link up from a separate room with a woman present. I don’t have a problem with that as it is something we do for other witnesses for various reasons. I have my own views on the mindset of someone who doesn’t want other men to see her but I will keep them to myself. The world is full of eccentric people who aren’t like ‘most people’ in the society they are a part of and that isn’t a crime. At least not yet.

I believe she has made it clear there is no reason she gets special treatment other than her own personal choice. I don;t think that is sufficient reason to make an exception because of the precedent it sets. Perhaps I would like to appear nude in public because it is how I prefer to be and has nothing to do with my religious beliefs but it is a decision I made some years ago. Where do we draw the line?

A Balaclava, or ski-mask. As used by bank roobers, rapists and people needing warm clothing for their head.

This is a Ninja.

Balaclavas as worn by terrorists of the IRA

Burqa On Trial 1

Phot Courtesy International Society for Human Rights

In Perth a Judge is deciding whether to allow a Muslim woman to appear as a witness in a fraud case while wearing the full face covering burqa (burka, niqab etc). I don’t see what the problem is. The answer should be an unequivocal ‘NO!’

If she wants a Driver’s License or a passport, she needs to show her face. That is the law and you can see the notices to that affect on the Post Office wall and at the RTA. If we were to enter a bank wearing a full face motorcycle helmet, a balaclava or a clown mask, we would be breaking the law and even if there for legal reasons, they would refuse to serve you. Why not a woman wearing a burqa? Someone in that garb has already tried that stunt so there is precedence. It (armed robbery by burqa wearing crim) has happened here, it is not just something that might happen one day.

In our system of courts, laws and justice (never make the mistake of confusing one for the other) the accused has the right to see their accuser and that includes witnesses against them. If they did not have that right then, like often happens in many other countries and especially those that insist on wearing the burqa, anyone could accuse anyone of anything. And when it comes to women, they all too often do, as you can read in a recent post.

In Pakistan for example, to prove she was raped a woman has to produce four male witnesses, otherwise she is considered the guilty party and punished accordingly and barbarically. Common sense would beg the question what were four grown men doing witnessing such a heinous crime and not doing anything to prevent it? It is ludicrous but it is their law, their way and I respect their right to live under such laws. In their country. But in ours, they should and must live under ours or leave.

I know I risk sounding like one of the torch and pitchfork brigade but I am adamant. I do not travel to certain countries because I do not like or agree with their culture and way of living. Is that a crime? I’m not about to roll out the old ‘many of my friends are Muslim/Gay/Left Handed’ line because I don’t have any Muslim friends and very few of my acquaintances are Muslim. The only reason for this is that I don’t choose my friends or acquaintances based on their religion, ethnicity or orientation and like most humans I tend to gravitate towards my own kind, don’t they?  I don’t vilify or incite racial hatred of these people or agitate for them to overthrow their governments or discard their way of life. But in this country I will take a stand for the culture we have. A culture that has more than enough to offer to attract them here in the first place.

We are a migrant nation and we have plenty of room for more. I welcome my fellow migrants but with two proviso’s. One, join the queue and come here legally. Two, respect our laws and culture and adapt and assimilate, don’t try and force us to change to accommodate you.

That is precisely what must happen in that Perth court room on Friday when the hearing is scheduled to go ahead. The woman must either uncover her face or refuse to take the stand and the prosecution must proceed with her sworn testimony as her only evidence. If the court rejects it without her testimony then so be it, but then prosecute her for Contempt. What do you think about wearing the burqa? Please, no racial vilification, just reasoned argument.

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