Veiled Bigotry in Germany

Source: The New York Times

Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany has been a bulwark against the anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim and anti-globalization forces afflicting Western democracies. So it was dismaying when, on accepting her party’s nomination on Tuesday as its candidate for another four-year term, she joined in the spreading European campaign against the full-face veil worn by some Muslim women.

In France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, Bulgaria and Norway, where bans on face veils are in force or in the works, they have been portrayed as a defense of women against patriarchal subjugation, or as a security measure, or as an incentive to assimilation. But the truth is that the bans are first and foremost a direct expression of antipathy toward Muslim immigrants, usually meant to appease far-right xenophobes.

Ms. Merkel apparently believes that her endorsement of restrictions on face veils “wherever legally possible” is a relatively innocuous sop to discontent among Germans over her decision to allow more than a million asylum-seekers, most of them Muslims, into the country since 2015. Her address to her Christian Democratic Party was otherwise an admirable reaffirmation of her faith in human dignity and tolerance, along with a realistic assessment of an era in which “many people have the feeling that the world has gone off the rails.”

The chancellor had rejected a drive in August for a complete ban on face veils by members of her party, ordering them to write a more limited law. The measure Ms. Merkel spoke of this week would not be a blanket ban, but would apply only in places like courtrooms, government buildings, schools and public demonstrations.

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  1. MPs in the Netherlands have voted overwhelmingly in favour of a ban on wearing face-covering Islamic veils in some public places, including schools, hospitals, government buildings and on public transport.

    The rule – which will outlaw all face coverings including ski-masks and helmets – was approved by 132 members of the 150-seat house. UKIP leader Paul Nuttall says UK should ban Burqa. Dutch lawmakers debate partial ban of burqas and Niqabs. Norway sets out plans for banning Burqa.

    What do you expect from a so called civilised nation? West must earn to respect and tolerate those who are different. The problem of extremism we are experiencing is not “mass immigration”, immigration has been happening since the dawn of mankind. The problem we are experiencing is a direct result of lack of respect and tolerance substituted by ignorance. The problem we are experiencing is the direct result of poor consciousness and awareness of selective “information” being conveyed to us through various mainstream media sources. There’s a new mainstream anti-Muslim racism that is built on fears for the survival of Western values. That’s the product of a nervous society in which social betterment is becoming increasingly difficult and in which there is a sense of omnipresent competition and struggle. The emotions generated by this are often not directed at a system, but at those who are different, at foreigners. This is also launched from the political arena and absorbed at grassroots level.

    Burqa is not locking women, it is a buffer line between protecting chastity and exposing. Being naked and drunk is acceptable but being covered and modest is inhuman.

    Surely nobody should be telling women what they can and can’t wear. Face covering? Would that extend to my precious Ray Bans? Why not… apparently face-recognition cameras don’t work when confronted by the simple sun glasses. And what about bushy beards and moustaches? And what next… hoods, floppy wide-brimmed hats, anti-pollution masks, scarves? Where does this silliness end? Just for peoples information when security’s a concern the women can remove the veil and the few I’ve spoken to do.. On the grand scale of things how much of an issue is this really? Don’t be distracted. Around 0.1% of the UK’s Muslim population were a veil.

    This is Britain. We are to a large extent ‘free’ people. Therefore they should be allowed to wear what they want. I am sick of government intervention in ever aspect of everyone’s lives! So we make the rules to promote so-called Freedom of Right and then when we come up against an issue we don’t know what to do. Typical Britain, where we do not seem to think about many things before we act in the first place. This is just the beginning. As they say when you go to Rome do what the Romans do! But we are not and will never be the Romans either.

    When I were a lad I went to Spain. Most of the nuns wore full face veils and they were HUGELY respected for their religious vows. Fast forward to 21st century Britain and we’re terrified of Muslim women in veils! Guess what? The media is constantly scaring us against them. Anti Muslim Britain or what? Who’s orchestrating it? who keeps wanting to bomb Muslim countries? You know who! Don’t hate. How is a women under a sheet a threat?

    The government must’ve gotten it’s people paranoid with its propaganda against Islam. I am more scared of my own government and policing in this country then al-Qaeda. al-Qaeda aren’t got time for my a…

    The UK’s National Secular Society came out against a burka ban, saying “the NSS opposes any attempt to legally ban the burka or niqab. We do so on two grounds of principle: a woman’s right to choose what she wears, i.e. her right to free expression; and her right to religious freedom.”

    Secularism is about respecting the right of people to follow any religion equally (or none), and of keeping religion out of politics and politics out of religion. Secularism is a check and balance against fundamentalist excess. Sensible people of faith are, or ought to be, secularists – unless they follow a brand of religion that wants to control everybody.

    The question is not about to veil or not to veil but for every woman to have the right to choose. This is question of basic human right including the right to freedom of religion and expression. French administrators have played into people’s fears and intolerance without adequately answering what great threat was posed by girls going to school in a headscarves? I do not believe in taking the rights of other people, and doing so shows the weakness of French democracy.

    We live in an overly vain culture that is having a detrimental effect upon the mental health of young women. We live in an overly promiscuous society in which abortion rates keep going up along with sexually transmitted diseases. It is a reality that some women may choose to opt out completely of this culture because they find it burdensome and exhausting on the spirit. Modern society is failing women and this has social consequences, no wonder the majority of people turning to Islam in the West are women, and no wonder that many of the women who wear the Niqab are British born converts.

    The right to wear a Niqab is in-keeping with people’s freedom of expression which supposedly a modern day Britain seeks to preserve. The right to wear a Niqab is preserved under religious freedoms which supposedly a modern state should seek to uphold if it wants to remain in keeping with the UN charter. If a women believes it to be fore mostly an act of submission and dedication to their God, then I see no argument for a modern Britain to interfere. The niqab does not conflict with principles of feminism if it is a woman’s chosen form of dress. A significant aspect of feminism is giving a women the right to choose what she wishes to do with her own body. Many women who wear the niqab regard it as empowering, claiming that those they encounter, give greater value to their speech over their cosmetic appearance. That may seem strange to some people, but is it stranger than nudist beaches, pole dancing clubs or barely clad ladies staggering home in stilettoes after a night out on the tiles? Cultural conditioning and social constructions alone seem an unfair method of determining that which is ‘normal’.

    French president wants Muslim women to be topless like his wife who posed topless in fashion shows. He has no right to ban the burqa because it is undemocratic and an unqualified attack on individual freedom. Burqa is not just a piece of cloth but a lot of ideological and cultural connotation to it. Women are just being exploited in the name of rights. Burqa protects women’s rights and treat each women like a princess. No one has the right to ban the freedom of choice in a secular and democratic country. The right to choice is a basic fundamental right the person should have.

    One Muslim woman, Caroline Chaiima, writing in, said she wore a veil: “Let those most closely concerned speak. I am a French woman born in France, with French parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and I am a Muslim. I wear the full veil and I feel like saying: So what? I am happy behind the veil, I protect myself from depraved stares. Neither my father, nor my brother, nor my husband forced the full veil upon me; it’s a personal choice.”
    Iftikhar Ahmad
    London School of Islamics Trust

  2. Hey iftikhara,

    The burka does not equal virtue of innocence, as well as being naked represents sin. If a religion or social norms forces a woman to wear something, then free will is lost. Where in the Koran,hadith or the Sunas does it require women to wear this stuff? It might have been practical to wear this in the dessert 1000 years ago but thats not true in real life anymore. We must change with the times or die out like dinosaures.

  3. This is a tradition pre-dating Islam with various origins.

    1. It was deemed necessary to protect the women-folk from the barbaric practices of the Arab tribes in the area, who would abduct women during their raids.

    2. It is also an Abrahamic tradition, which was adopted from the Jewish tribes who lived in the Arabian pensinsula, when Islam came into being in the dessert. Various Orthodox Jewish sects still adhere to ‘covering up’ in a variety of ways.

    3.And, of course, we still see the tradition perpetuated by nuns, one of the reasons given is that they do it for God, who in Christianity is Jesus, to whom they are also married. And it is often quoted by Muslim women too that they cover up for God.

    4. Those loose garments were/are suited against the extreme heat.

    So, there are various reasons for extreme covering up. But Islam itself teaches only modesty in dress, for both men and women, not complete shrouding. There is no logical reason why Arab women should walk around in their national dress in the rest of the world, where most have adapted to modernity. On the other hand, I would have to adhere to the laws of Saudi Arabia were I to visit, and increasingly other Muslim countries too.

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