Oppose The Burka Ban

Oppose The Burka Ban

A secular state must protect the rights of citizens to free expression; once the door has been opened for the state to decide what we wear, our basic freedoms of expression and association are curtailed.

Here in the UK, many people are calling for the same unjust legislation, often fuelled by islamaphobia and racism. Clearly, the decision of the French government plays into the hands of the far-right fascist movements in France and elsewhere.

As an Atheist and secular humanist, I’m most concerned that each person should have the freedom to develop their intellectual abilities, cultures and ideas: those we disagree with are open to our public censure under the same freedoms and human rights legislation that, on the whole, strikes the right balance. I am thus as much against those forces that might insist on religious garments as I am against those who would ban them.

The argument concerning ‘security’ is also mostly spurious as any disguise good enough to hide or change the face is as effective. The crazy argument that suicide bombers won’t be recognized is simply laughable; why would they wish not to be recognized? The costs of having extra women staff to check IDs at ports and airports? What about the costs of taking women to court and policing the ban?

In addition to my ethical and political objections to the ban, there are considerable practical points too; one example might be how one deals with elderly burka wearers.

Consider an older single woman living alone, perhaps in her 60s, 70s or 80s, who has never appeared in public without wearing her burka. Is she expected to suddenly change her habits of a life time and feel almost naked in the street? The chances are she will not go out and have to arrange for all her shopping and to be done for her. Her social life will have to take place at home and she might become so isolated that her life becomes unbearable, never mind the threats to her physical health; lack of exercise, not shopping regularly for fresh food and so on – it is forced disablement.

As for the supposed ‘right’ to see people’s faces and the idea that seeing the face is somehow crucial to communication and recognition – what rubbish. Blind people can have excellent and fulfilling relationships like the rest of us. If we are sighted, we can recognise the Burka wearing woman (if she is a close friend) pretty instantly by body language, style, gait, voice, height and weight and so-on. If she is not a close friend then seeing her face is not at all important anyway.  

The sense of outrage displayed by those in favour of the ban seems to me to be misplaced at best and, at worst, just another way of undermining women.

If you wish to provide support for those against the ban, there are Facebook pages and the site started by Rachid Nekkaz. I think support from Atheists might carry some weight as many think it is only Muslims who object.

I’m at a loss to understand the perspective that in France, or other secular countries, women are mostly coerced into wearing a full veil. While I don’t know of any statistical analysis, I have previously lived in an area with a very high Islamic population for 7 years and when meeting staff at the Islamic drop-in centre (on environmental business) I was as likely to be greeted by the receptionist wearing a burka as wearing jeans and a T shirt – the same woman incidentally. The majority of Muslim women I worked with were indistinguishable from their non-Muslim colleagues and some often chose to wear either a veil or a full Burka when not at work outside the home. This freedom to mix and match is extremely common in other areas I know well with high Islamic populations. Undoubtedly there are cases of coercion in secular countries but the Muslims I have known have come to the west to escape coercion elsewhere as well as for economic reasons.

As for the repeated arguments supposedly in favour of women’s rights, I can only say that it is already illegal for adults to coerce other adults in to doing anything (unless they are the police or equivalent) and laws regarding domestic violence should be upheld. Fining a man a paltry sum for coercing a woman to wear what he chooses, in cases where that happens, undermines existing laws. What about the man who coerces his spouse or partner to wear a bikini in public under threat of violence? Are we to fine him a paltry sum instead of prosecuting him for intimidation with threats of violence?

Finally, if the French state, or any other, wishes to make serious improvements in the lives of coerced women perhaps it might be better to put greater effort into enforcing the existing laws designed to protect women from domestic violence; there’s hardly a lack of evidence for those crimes amongst non Muslims. As Tracy Chapman sang, “last night I heard the screaming, loud voices behind the wall, it doesn’t do no good at all, to call, the police, they always come late if they come at all.”

Lets get our priorities right.

Nick Nakorn.

Will nuns be next?

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About Nick Nakorn

This is the blog of a concerned citizen.
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10 Responses to Oppose The Burka Ban

  1. Andrea says:

    Your political correctness disgusts me ! Your false Islamic propaganda, just as much…Islam is a disease, just like the black plague ! Being against the Islamic ideology is not racism, you arse…you’re just trying to make people feel guilty ! And those who voted the law against the burqa weren’t fascists, smart-ass…many other countries will join in with the ban, don’t worry !
    Did you know Switzerland banned the minarets, and that was the people’s vote…these are very healthy attitudes ! 😀
    I don’t care about some primitive hag wearing a bed sheet on her head…if she lives in Europe, then she must ADAPT to our laws and culture, NOT the other way around ! Tell that to your little Islamic friends…

    Jihad Watch:
    -Muslim students attack Jewish students at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
    -New Jersey: Boy suspended from school because Muslim girl overheard him saying ”Taliban”
    -UK: Muslim children threaten to murder classmate who supported British troops
    – Kuwait bans use of DSLR cameras in public: looks like the Middle East is fixated on banning stuff; and this time, they’ve done something seemingly pointless !

  2. Andrea says:

    Let’s look at some laws in Dubai (a place considered ‘modern’):
    http://www.enduringwanderlust.com/dubai-to-ban-public-kisses-skimpy-clothes/
    http://www.dubai-livethedream.com/dos-and-donts.html
    http://thriftytraveling.com/going-to-dubai-better-know-the-law/
    http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2010/0405/In-Dubai-public-kissing-can-land-you-in-jail

    ”Dubai is in the process of passing a set of behavior guidelines that are aimed at expatriates and visitors to the Gulf city. The restrictions will include an end to dancing, kissing, or hugging in public. ”

    ”A significant portion of Dubai is filled with migrant workers, expats, and tourists. It’s not surprising that locals would fear an erosion of their culture.” (just like them, I’m worried about the erosion of MY culture, here in Europe)

    ”What you must remember is that sexual relations outside of marriage, should you be apprehended, are completely illegal and carry a prison sentence.”

    ”Despite its modern outlook, Dubai strictly follows Islamic laws which should be respected by all travelers. Islam is the official religion, therefore do not criticize or distribute material that speaks against it . Eating in public during the holy month of Ramadan is prohibited from sunrise ’till sunset and visitors should consume meals in the confines of their hotel or residence.”

    ”In conversations regarding politics and world affairs, avoid criticizing the ruling family of any of the seven Emirates or prominent business families. The United Arab Emirates does not have any formal relations with Israel, and the government publicly supports any cause that involves the Palestinian people or Palestinian statehood.” (evidently)

    ”While petty crime is hardly reported or mentioned in the news, keep an eye on your wallet or purse when in crowded areas like Naser Square or Deira in general. If withdrawing large amounts of cash from ATM’s or banking institutions, either conceal the notes or ask the institution’s security to escort you to your vehicle. Cases have occurred where people have been robbed of large amounts of cash when in crowded places just because they were not careful.”

    ”Three years ago, an unmarried Indian couple was sentenced to one year in prison just for hugging and kissing in the back seat of a taxi.”

    ”Public kissing is an extreme sport in Dubai; a British couple faces a month in jail after a child witnessed them smooching in a restaurant late last year.”

    – So if we don’t respect their primitive laws, we go to prison…but here, they’re allowed to do whatever they want, their religion being an excuse ?

  3. Andrea says:

    In other (more positive news), Sarkozy was saying a week ago in an interview:

    ‘Si on ne maîtrise pas les flux migratoires, on organise le ‘collapse’ de notre systeme d’intégration, qui est déja en panne’ = If we do not control imigration, we will organize the ‘collapse’ of our entire system of integration, which is already in trouble.

    ‘Nous ne voulons pas, sur le territoire de la République, de femmes enfermées derriere une prison, fut-elle de textile. C’est les valeurs de la France, un pays laique’ = We do not want on our territory women trapped behind a prison, even a textile one . These are our values here in France, a secular country !

    ”Mais en France il n’y a pas de minaret, il n’y a pas de muezzin qui fait l’appel a la priere. J’entends nos compatriotes qui me disent ‘on veut rester en France, la France que l’on aime’. = But luckily in France there is no minaret, there is no muezzin making the call to prayer. I hear my compatriots who say that they want to stay in France, the France that they know and love !

    ”Les étrangers doivent respecter les lois des pays d’accueil et respecter son identité nationale. Nous voulons que les étrangers qui viennent en France respectent nos valeurs et nos coutumes.” = Foreigners must respect the laws of the host country and respect its national identity. We want foreigners coming to France to respect our values and our customs.

    You heard him, Muslims…take it, or LEAVE IT !

  4. Andrea says:

    U.S. report on religious tolerance – Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today released a report on the state of religious freedom around the world:

    ”Several European countries have placed harsh restrictions on religious expression, Clinton said, without elaborating as she unveiled the State Department’s report on international religious freedom for the last year.
    Her assistant secretary for human rights, Michael Posner, cited France’s ban on wearing the niqab and other face coverings in public places and a Swiss motion passed last year that bans building new minarets.
    Both measures have been criticized as intolerant moves stigmatizing Europe’s growing Muslim population.
    Posner acknowledged “growing sensitivity and tension in Europe” over Islam.”

    Well lady C., tensions between Europeans and the Islamic primitves are a normal thing … you’re probably not aware of all their actions, which violate the European Union’s Constitution, they don’t respect the values and traditions of their adoptive country etc…but you’re only interested in kissing Muslims ass, and not getting your facts straight !

    But there’s a user who left a very inspiring comment:
    ”Absolutely pathetic ! Muslims have left their pathetic home countries and infiltrated western Europe in alarming numbers. They bring with them a dangerous devotion to a religion that openly commands its followers to kill anyone that criticizes their religion. THAT is NOT freedom of religion so why should they be allowed to spread their social disease to countries whose vast majority of citizens don’t want them there ? ! Great job, Hillary. I’m a moderate American that voted for Barack Obama because I believed that our country needed to go in a new direction and because we seriously needed to improve our relationships with our global allies. This is not the way to do this. Islam is dangerous and we need to join our European allies in their struggle to keep this menace in check. Truly embarrassing, Hillary.”

    THIS IS THE REAL TRUTH, THE REAL FACE OF ISLAM !

  5. Andrea says:

    Plastic pig banned from UK toy set for fear of offending Jews, Muslims –
    ”Toy shop bosses removed a plastic pig from a children’s toy farm set because they feared it would upset Muslim and Jewish parents. A mother who complained to toy store Early Learning Centre (ELC) when she found the pig missing was told it had been removed for ‘religious reasons’, British newspaper The Sun reported.”

    > Trying to drag the Jews into it is a lot of rubbish. Jews have their own dietary laws for themselves but they don’t try to tell others what to do.

  6. Andrea says:

    Another very inspiring speech: http://www.saveyourrights.com/democrat/im-tired-by-robert-a-hall/

    ”I’m 63. Except for one semester in college when jobs were scarce and a six-month period when I was between jobs, but job-hunting every day, I’ve worked, hard, since I was 18. (…)
    Given the economy, there’s no retirement in sight, and I’m tired. Very tired.

    I’m also tired of being told that Islam is a “Religion of Peace”, when every day I can read dozens of stories of Muslim men killing their sisters, wives and daughters for their family “honour”; of Muslims rioting over some slight offence; of Muslims murdering Christian and Jews because they aren’t “believers”; of Muslims burning schools for girls; of Muslims stoning teenage rape victims to death for “adultery”; of Muslims mutilating the genitals of little girls; all in the name of Allah, because the Qur’an and Sharia law tells them to.

    I’m tired of being told that out of “tolerance for other cultures” we must let Saudi Arabia use our oil money to fund mosques and mandrassa Islamic schools to preach hate in America and Canada, while no American nor Canadian group is allowed to fund a church, synagogue or religious school in Saudi Arabia to teach love and tolerance.

    In thirty years, if the Leftists get their way, the United States will have the religious freedom and women’s rights of Saudi Arabia, the economy of Zimbabwe, the freedom of the press of China, the crime and violence of Mexico, the tolerance for Gay people of Iran, and the freedom of speech of Venezuela. Won’t multiculturalism be beautiful ?
    (……)

    Yes, I’m damn tired. But I’m also glad to be 63. Because, mostly, I’m not going to have to see the world these people are making. I’m just sorry for my granddaughter !”

    WONDERFUL MESSAGE, SIR ! ! !

  7. Andrea says:

    And another beautiful article, showing the reality of the Muslim community:

    ”Attempts to “reach out” to Muslims have been an abject failure; A new international poll shows the folly of Washington’s strategy of winning Muslim “hearts and minds.” Despite all our help, Muslims still hate us !

    Titled “The Great Divide: How Westerners and Muslims View Each Other,” the new Pew study reveals that Muslim countries generally view Westerners as violent and immoral. Large majorities of even British Muslims think Westerners are “selfish” and “arrogant”.

    Above all, foreign Muslims hate American foreign policy, which in a disturbingly large share of their minds justifies terrorism. Fully 57% of Jordanians think it’s OK to attack civilians in Jihad. A simple majority of Egyptians agree.
    Even so-called moderate leaders are against us. “Yes, Muslims are against the West”, responded Adnan Abu Odeh, 73, former political adviser to Jordan’s King Hussein. “Why ? Western foreign policies, especially on two issues: the Palestinian issue and now Iraq. “These are the issues people talk about day and night. And which the news focuses on day and night. And they come to the eyes and ears of the Muslims who have been surveyed, daily in the bloodiest way – it’s killing, women screaming and yelling, and soldiers frowning. So what they hate is American foreign policy”.

    Muslims also blame us for their lack of prosperity. Nearly half of Turks, among the better educated of Mideast Muslims, say Western policies rob them of wealth. This Jordanian pharmacist is typical of respondents: “There is no prosperity because the United States has seized all our products, all our oil and all our wealth. All of it goes to the United States and the West”, Hassan Omar Abdel Rahman said. “It is not about the internal politics. Look at Saddam, you see what happened to him – did he come out with anything ?” Agreed Mohsen Hamed Hassan, a Cairo doctor: “I believe the American foreign policy is responsible for the greedy image. They support dictatorships because they want their oil”.

    A majority of Americans more accurately blame Muslim government corruption and a lack of education for chronic Muslim poverty.

    America has gone trillions in debt and sacrificed thousands of its sons and daughters saving Muslims from tyrants and terrorists in Kosovo, Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan. And this is the thanks we get ?”

    Islam is a social disease…and people like the owner of this blog only help make the process of Islamization grow FASTER !

  8. Andrea says:

    A very objective and non-biased analysis of Islam, unlike Nick Nakorn’s lying, full of bullshit article:
    http://skepticlawyer.com.au/2010/11/11/the-higher-criticism/

    ”1. The Qur’an and Hadiths have never been subjected to what we now know as ‘The Higher Criticism’ (textual analysis designed to establish authorship and date), so when you read well-meaning Islamic websites assuring you that the Qur’an and the Hadiths were handed down orally, then written out hundreds of years after Muhammad?s death with a high degree of accuracy, you are being sold the theological equivalent of the notion that it is possible to pick Tattslotto numbers in advance.

    2. When Muslims tell you that the pagan civilisation that preceded Islam in Arabia was revoltingly sexist and that Islam represented an advance for women, then you need to avail yourself of a pantechnicon of salt. No research has been done into the pagan civilisation that predated Islam; we only have Muslims’ say-so about it. The reason no research has been conducted into the earlier civilisation is because it is located in Saudi Arabia. It is incredibly difficult to research early Islam, let alone pre-Islamic paganism, thanks to the destructive tendencies of the Saudi government. I am no fan of Islam or Muhammad and think that humanity would have been vastly better off without him or his religion, but news that the Saudi government routinely destroys ancient monuments (including property that once belonged to Muhammad’s family) makes my ‘English Heritage’ heart break: how are we to learn about the past without access to historical or archaeological records ?

    3. When Muslims make excuses for Muhammad because he married a six year old and bonked her at nine, understand that they are making excuses, and that when modern people criticise him, we are not only criticising him from a position of liberal modernity. The nearest great civilisation (Byzantium) established the age of consent for slaves, concubines and non-citizen girls at 12. Sure, this ruling goes back to the Roman Empire’s pagan period, when the status of women was considerably higher, but the fact that the Christian Emperors preserved it (while dispensing with the pagans’ liberal divorce laws, dowry laws and property rights for women) suggests they still took it seriously. In other words, what Muhammad did to Ai’sha would have squicked a Byzantine Greek and double-squicked a pagan Roman. The latter would almost certainly have used the P word.”

    It represents the reality of Islam very accurately !

  9. Pingback: 2010 in review | Nagara

  10. Meera Ghani says:

    Excellent article. I agree with you not on religious ground as I am a muslim but for reasons similar to the ones you stated. I oppose the ban for the same reasons I would oppose someone forcing me to wear the burqa. Both are coercion.

    I wrote a piece recently on a blog, interesting to see how similar our arguments were. I wish I had come across you piece sooner.

    Here’s my piece: http://pakteahouse.net/2011/04/16/why-i-oppose-burqah-ban/

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