Excellent example of a non-story.

[T]he woman paid the fine, removed her full-face cover and walked away.

Which is the way burqa bans are working all over Europe. Wear a burqa, remove the burqa, pay a fine for having worn the burqa. This woman didn’t know about the ban. Now she knows about it. End of story.

Wanna make something of it? Wanna spend your personal fortune paying the fines of all the women who wear burqas so they can continue to wear burqas? No problem. Go ahead.

Wanna trash your incredibly hard-won freedoms by wearing burqas in street demonstrations, in some twisted gesture of affiliation with erased women? Okay.

Meanwhile countries across the world are issuing calm directives to their citizens not to wear the burqa in most European countries. People are calmly removing the burqa. Civil existence, often called upon to defend itself, defends itself. Life goes on.

I’ll believe it when I see it.

Now that a major Israeli tech company has boycotted El Al — “We don’t do business with companies that discriminate.” — the airline has released a statement that they will do things differently. They won’t hold up their flights for hours as they negotiate with ultra orthodox men who refuse to sit next to women. In fact, “from now on, a passenger who refuses to sit next to another passenger will be immediately removed from the flight.”

To which UD says, take a look at Israel’s national education mandate. The same ultra orthodox refuse to follow it, and Israel lets them refuse to follow it, but the country still refers to its national education mandate. So El Al can make all the announcements it wants, but they’re as scared of the ultra orthodox as everyone else in Israel, and will in practice continue to give in to their disgusting behavior on their planes.


Why? Put yourself on the plane, okay? Twenty ultra orthodox men – in collective protest against one of their group having been seated next to a woman – are standing in the middle aisle and refusing to sit down. A couple of them have wrapped cellophane all over their bodies because the plane will be flying over cemeteries.

Everyone else on the plane, as it sits forever on the tarmac, is creeped out and angry.

“Okay, new policy!” says a steward. “The guy refusing to sit next to a woman will now be immediately removed from the flight.”

Screaming ensues from the men in the aisle, who continue to refuse to move.

What’s El Al’s policy on passengers who refuse to sit down? Do you think they’re going to make all of these guys get off the plane?


The problem in Israel, and on its planes, is that the ultra orthodox can be violent. Hardliners among them are pretty routinely violent. I don’t think El Al wants pitched battles on its planes. I don’t think it wants the interiors of its planes trashed.

There will be more and more boycotts until – you knew this was coming – El Al lays on ultra orthodox only planes.


We have followed the El Al situation on this blog for a long time. Just put El Al Israel in my search engine.

As the national witch hunt finds its …

witches, Mia Farrow, alluding to her most famous film, comes up with the very best meme of all.


— Mia Farrow (@MiaFarrow) August 21, 2018


‘What could be more dehumanising than the niqab and the burqa?’

Polly Toynbee:

[A Muslim spokesman] accused [Boris] Johnson of “dehumanising Muslim women.” That was a step too far. What could be more dehumanising than the niqab and the burqa? Hiding a woman dehumanises her completely, turning a person into an anonymous thing.

On visits to Afghanistan I have been shocked to see how contemptuously women in burqas are treated in the street, often shoved aside by men as obstacles in the way. The burqa doesn’t give women more respect, but less.

… Religions have always branded their identities by restrictions on women. Christianity, Judaism, Islam and others all set out with extreme rules proclaiming a disgust of unclean women’s bodies, with ritualised baths, head-shaving, denying abortion and contraception, arranged marriages, purdah, churching of new mothers, and barring women from priesthoods. Inside extreme cults and sects, abuse of women is almost inevitable.


Yasmin Alibhai-Brown:

I do not think hijabs and niqabs should hereafter be proscribed or inadmissible subjects in conversations. Some reactionary Muslim organisations are using Borisgate to expand and strengthen their influence. They say outlandish stuff and are not challenged.

[S]carves, cloaks and masks symbolise the negation of the female form, female inferiority and menace, and most troublingly, a wilful distancing from other humans in the public space.

… [We Muslims need to] abandon regressive customs and integrate for the greater good and our survival. With the hard right marching again across Europe, Muslims face an existential threat. This is no time for cultural and religious obstinacy.


Maladroitly, offensively, Boris Johnson has opened a door. Honest people are now speaking honestly about the appalling burqa.


In Britain we want bad boy Boris
To wash his mouth out with Lavoris.
His latest mazurka,
“Hommage a la Burqa,”
Has given the whole country tsuris.

“[H]is words are getting far more attention than they deserve.”

A British/Iranian woman writes the most sensible of the millions of words already written about Boris Johnson having compared women in burqas to letter boxes and bank robbers. UD made the same point she’s making – about the greater wisdom of ignoring his words – in this post.

Shappi Khorsandi writes:

Every part of the burqa/letterbox furore is about political warfare. Johnson knew exactly how to rattle the left and it’s working. Now we are calling Rowan Atkinson a “racist”…

The comedian is now denounced as racist because he pointed out that Johnson was attempting to be funny. And, yes, attempting to be offensive. Atkinson: “All jokes about religion cause offence, so it’s pointless apologising for them.” And remember: All of this was in the context of Johnson agreeing with people on the left that there should be no burqa ban.

As the denunciations and investigations and apology-demands escalate, sensible and humane people, like Khorsandi, will direct us to what we should be thinking about:

Today, in Iran, women are risking their liberty by publicly taking off their hijabs in protests against the forced covering. Shaparak Shajarizadeh was handed a two-year sentence for protesting in Iran against the hijab. She was released on bail in April and has now apparently left the country as exile is preferable to living in a country where speaking your mind leads to arrest.

I wish those who are now calling Rowan Atkinson a “racist” left and right on social media would show more solidarity and generate more publicity for women like Shaparak.

Let the ridiculous Boris Johnson dustup have the effect of directing our attention where it belongs: To the millions of women in countries all over the world suffocating under the veil.


In other words: These are the words that deserve our attention — written by the late great Christopher Hitchens.

[W]e have no assurance that Muslim women put on the burqa or don the veil as a matter of their own choice. A huge amount of evidence goes the other way. Mothers, wives, and daughters have been threatened with acid in the face, or honor-killing, or vicious beating, if they do not adopt the humiliating outer clothing that is mandated by their menfolk. This is why, in many Muslim societies, such as Tunisia and Turkey, the shrouded look is illegal in government buildings, schools, and universities. Why should Europeans and Americans, seeking perhaps to accommodate Muslim immigrants, adopt the standard only of the most backward and primitive Muslim states? The burqa and the veil, surely, are the most aggressive sign of a refusal to integrate or accommodate.

Boris’s No Apologies Tour

As UD always says, when it comes to the burqa, don’t go there.

If you’re one of the few remaining countries in Europe that don’t ban it – if you’re England – and you don’t want it to be banned (“you” here is your political establishment), do not make an issue of it. Because making an issue of the burqa will immediately uncover the fact that significant majorities in your country would like it banned.

Making an issue of it will encourage citizens to look at neighboring countries, where orderly and effective bans have been implemented.

If you keep it quiet, if you don’t talk about it, the burqa will be an irritant; it will be intimidating; it will be an upsetting sign of the erasure of women within a culture that thinks of itself as liberal and egalitarian… it will be many things, but it will not be front and center, because there are other things to think about.

If on the other hand you allow the provocative language of Boris Johnson, who wrote a recent opinion piece saying juvenile things about burqas, to provoke you, then you’ve fallen into a very bad trap. Your loud and insistent offense-taking will accomplish one thing: It will move efforts to ban the burqa in your country forward.


The irony of course is that along with his juvenile remarks Johnson came out against a burqa ban; but rather than quietly count him among their (childish) allies, the anti-banners have reviled him as an enemy of all right-thinking people and demanded an apology, a shunning, a banishment, blah blah.

And see what happens when you do that? When you make a big deal of the burqa? When you hurl ridicule of it out of polite society?

The Burka Looks Ridiculous,
and Those Who Defend it Do
Muslim Women Like Me No Favours

headlines a Telegraph article in which Suad Farah responds to Johnson not with rage and condemnation, but with gratitude for his having brought the burqa to commentary-central:

[T]he growth of young women wearing it in the UK is concerning, and it’s something we all need to talk about.

Oh right – even though all anti-banners begin all of their articles by noting the absurdly, vanishingly, small number of women who wear the burqa, their numbers are actually growing, aren’t they… I forgot about that…

This naive notion that, if we just leave the burqa alone, a natural evolution toward democratic values will occur among burqa-wearers, reminds UD of poor David Ben-Gurion’s confident prediction “that the ultra-Orthodox community of Israel would slowly disappear…, melding into the assertively modern Zionist project. The opposite … has happened.”


[T]he temperature around this issue is rising and if anything the debate has to go far deeper. There are plenty of people who are very angry about these issues and that could have been mitigated if there had been more public debate.


The burqa is an obvious symbolic and real burden on free societies, and if you let the burden sit quietly and simply bother you occasionally, you can ignore it for a long time. If, on the other hand, you let provocateurs like Boris Johnson force you into language that suggests you’re fine with erased women on your streets, I promise you all hell’s gonna break loose, and you’re going to find yourself with a ban before you know it.

The more honest route, since burqa bans, UD believes, are the wave of the future all over Europe (and all over Canada), the route that doesn’t exhibit bad faith, is simply to state what you quite legitimately believe and act on it: The woman-erasing burqa is a bridge too far for any self-respecting democracy. Ban it.



New York Moves a Step Closer to Securing a Growing Minority of Unemployable Anti-Democratic Religious Fanatics.

If you like what the haredim have done to Israel, you’ll love the latest piece of education legislation out of New York.

A yeshiva advocacy group had sued to stop New York State from implementing the so-called “Felder amendment,” an 11th hour deal to appease a state senator who was holding up the budget…

Critics are focusing their ire at Brooklyn state senator Simcha Felder, who threw the state budget negotiations into chaos and held up passage until he got an amendment to lower the bar on the amount of secular education required for yeshiva students.

… Young Advocates For Fair Education [has] has waged an intense battle to make sure that yeshivas give their students instruction in English, math and other state-mandated subjects.

It’s that old “mandate” again, ain’t it? We’ve got mandates; Israel’s got mandates. But how can they be mandates when the ultraorthodox aren’t mandated to mandate them?

The vast majority of my friends in chasidic yeshiva … still have never even heard the words algebra, atom, or biology… I have heard of no graduates from my chasidic school who have enrolled in college. In fact, the vast majority of chasidic yeshiva graduates do not even obtain a high school diploma…


And think of the goodies civil society gets in return: Permanent profound welfare dependency. Large numbers of unemployables. A significant minority that thinks the laws of liberal democracies don’t apply to them. Indeed, that barely recognizes the state except as a source of funds.

Your tax dollars at work.


… Her campaign against the mandatory hijab started accidentally. In 2014, Alinejad posted a picture of herself on Facebook with the wind blowing through her hair in London… She received comments from women in Iran telling her how envious they were of her freedom. In response, Alinejad posted still more images of herself to Facebook, similarly unveiled. The difference was that these snapshots had been stealthily captured years earlier, inside Iran, hiking with friends or driving her car. In her posts, Alinejad called for other women to take similar pictures.

She was soon deluged with images, and a campaign was born. Alinejad called it My Stealthy Freedom. Today, My Stealthy Freedom’s Facebook page has more than a million followers, and Alinejad’s personal Instagram account boasts similar numbers. Posts have been accompanied by a changing array of hashtags, the most popular of which has been #WhiteWednesdays, which began last year as a call for women to send pictures or videos of themselves holding up or waving a white veil in public on that day of the week. These days, the videos flood in constantly.

“A requirement that spectators have their faces uncovered is not to force anyone to act immodestly,” [the judge] said. “First, the exposure of one’s face in a courtroom cannot reasonably be viewed as an immodest act: subjective views to the contrary cannot rule the day, or the management of a courtroom. Second, if someone feels strongly that it would be improper for them to uncover their face in court, they can choose not to attend.”

Gradually, in large ways and small, the institutions of liberal democracies affirm themselves.

Hey, no shit, it’s hell under a burqa.

In a statement [issued on her first day as a Canadian citizen], [Ensaf] Haidar [said] that she wanted to use her first day … to raise awareness about the plight of women forced to abide by Sharia, or traditional Islamic law.

“As a Canadian who was born in Saudi Arabia under laws of Sharia where human rights are non-existent, I realised the power [misogynist] men [have] over powerless women with no rights.

As a refugee in Quebec and Canada I have noticed the fast growth of Islamist groups loyal to the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and Saudi clergy imposing the Burqa and enforcing Niqab on girls and women as political flags to mark jihadi territory.

Nowhere in Islam is a woman required to cover her face. This is medievalist misogyny that treats women as animals and property of men and shamed into attire that befits slavery, not humanity.

It is for this reason that on the first day as a Canadian I have raised the issue of banning the Burqa and Niqab in Ontario as I feel Premier Ford is a man who will listen to my plea and end the war by deception being waged by Islamists against Canadian values.”

Haider’s husband, a dissident against the appalling Saudi regime, remains in prison there.

Shocker! Most socially progressive country in the …

world, mandating assimilation to Danish values. A real blow to cultural relativism, that.

“[S]exual violence and human trafficking for domestic work, forced labour, forced marriage and sexual slavery…. acid attacks, female genital mutilation, child marriage and physical abuse.”

Whew! Long list. At least the world’s largest democracy hasn’t forgotten to keep its women terrified and enslaved.


With today’s Dutch burqa ban, Europe collectively asserts a vision of civic life, personal freedom, and gender equality which our country will want to examine as it faces its own eventual reckoning with the burqa. Most European countries now have partial or full bans, and of course many other countries, in other regions, also ban it.

As UD predicted, bans are now coming so fast and furious that organizations opposed to them aren’t even bothering to issue their boilerplate about religion or personal choice or extremely peculiar philosophies of liberation or whatever the hell they think they are dealing with. Instead one ban after another flies by without complaint, and as they do girls and women smothered by cruel ideologies begin to have a fighting chance to get out from under.

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