‘[Those] who have engaged in [certain extreme] forms of political violence … have themselves strongly communicated their disassociation from [any particular political] community through their actions. And if they are prepared to carry out such acts of serious political violence then they have no grounds for complaints if the community chooses to banish them. They have already, in effect, self-excluded.’

As the Supreme Court today rejects without comment ISIS propagandist Hoda Muthana’s appeal of the decision to declare her not an American citizen, we do well to recall Christian Barry and Luara Ferracioli’s comment about self-exclusion.

And listen. It’s just Muthana’s bad luck that the political and judicial establishment of this country has its hands full, at the moment, with January 6 domestic terrorists. We can’t get rid of those assholes. Apparently we can rid ourselves of Muthana.


Here are my Muthana posts.


It is time for Muthana to do what she should have done long ago: Look for alternative citizenship. She has claims on Yemen through her parents. And slavery is still quite popular in Yemen, so as an ISIS slaveholder, Muthana would feel right at home. Through her son, she has claims on Tunisia. Several countries offer citizenship for a price, and they may be willing to take a chance on her. Letting her innocent son grow up in the squalid prisoner camp they now inhabit is pretty vile behavior; even if she cannot accompany him to, say, Tunisia (his father was Tunisian), she should, for his sake, allow him to go.

Through her philosophically committed, extreme, and persistent violence against the US and other democracies, Hoda Muthana has certainly destroyed her own life. No one can be surprised if a person this depraved decides to go ahead and ruin her child’s life too. But it would be nice if she decided not to.

Why does Gawker publish pieces like this?

This angry pointless diatribe about wearing a hijab does absolutely nothing to push the discussion along. But that’s because you have to acknowledge there’s a discussion to be had. You have to be willing to move away from neurasthenic victimology/finger-pointing and actually debate. You can’t debate when you snivel, and when you mischaracterize your opponent.

You can’t write, for instance, that a doctor described the hijab as an “instrument of oppression” when in fact he wrote that for adult women it is a perfectly acceptable personal choice. The doctor wrote that in several countries in the world the enforced hijab is an instrument of oppression – an obvious truth – and that since three year old girls have no choice at all in the matter it is objectionable when their parents make them wear it, as some do in Canada and various European countries. (Do some parents in the US do this to their children? Probably.)

The fact that you’re pissed off and exhausted because the world makes wearing hijabs and burkinis difficult and unpleasant is not an argument, and people will understandably read it and shrug. When you complain of Trudeau’s “very tepid” response to Quebec’s Bill 21, it only raises a question in your reader’s mind: Why? Why has Trudeau been tepid? Oh, because he’s a racist. He’s part of “an already intolerant country” which includes a “province even less tolerant.”

Well, babe, if Canada is an intolerant country I’d invite you to find a country more tolerant. Go ahead! Find a country more tolerant than a country that routinely lands on the top of World’s Most Tolerant Countries lists.

No, your problem is that you won’t ask even basic questions about escalating worldwide restrictions on various forms of covering. Until you calm down and start thinking rather than reacting you and your cause will really suffer.

A Fantastic Opinion Piece by a Political Science Doctoral Student at McGill…

… shushes the holier than thou hysteria in Canada by reminding the opponents of Quebec’s secularity bill that if they want to defend hijabis there are better and worse ways to do this.

Ben Woodfinden points out that the likeliest prospect for Bill 21’s demise lies in gradual changes in the government:

Bill 21 enjoys widespread support in Quebec, especially among francophones. But it is not universally supported in the province and there has been plenty of opposition to it since it was proposed. Both the Quebec Liberals and Québec solidaire oppose the law. Combined they got more votes than the governing Coalition Avenir Québec in the past provincial election.

Bill 21 passed in the National Assembly with a vote of 73-35, with the Parti Québécois joining the [Coalition Avenir Quebec] to support the legislation. If current polls are to be believed, the CAQ is on track to win a big majority next year, and the storied Parti Québécois is on the verge of electoral oblivion. This matters because the PQ doesn’t think Bill 21 goes far enough and wants to expand it further. The CAQ will likely win again, but it will not govern forever, and a successor government is the most likely way Bill 21 will ever be changed. Given that the law has to be renewed every five years because of the use of the notwithstanding clause, the debate over Bill 21 in Quebec is not a dead one regardless of the outcome of the legal challenge.

Woodfinden doubts any legal challenge will work; further, he points out that all the rageful disdain from non-Quebec Canada about that province’s passage of the bill

… play[s] right into the hands of those in Quebec who would seek to turn this into a debate not so much about Bill 21 but about a divide between English and French Canada. As André Pratte wrote in these pages , “All this noise now allows the distinct society’s nationalists to claim that the province is again subject to ‘Québec bashing’ … Bill 21 will become even more entrenched into Québécois identity.”

In short, if you want the (very limited) restrictions on the hijab in Quebec to disappear, cool it. Let the political process play out.

‘[D]isparaging Quebec’s laïcité, the separation of church and state, is Canada’s new national sport.’

Lise Ravary, in the Montreal Gazette, weighing in on the hijab thing, reminds us that there are important differences between French and English Canada.

In 2016, a developer wanted to build up to 80 homes on the South Shore of Montreal intended specifically for Muslims. He had even specified that women should dress modestly when outside their home. Pressure from all sides, even the local imam, quickly put an end to that. A separate religious neighbourhood would be heretical to Quebecers.

But in English Canada, it seems, most people don’t … have a problem when public schools close their cafeterias for prayers, with the sexes segregated and girls relegated to the back of the room. I can’t understand why such nonsense is tolerated.

Recall what happened in a British university a few years ago when an Islamic student group set up separate seating areas (women in back, and keep quiet) at an on-campus event. People always seem shocked when it turns out that – as in this latest case in Quebec – the public realm of secular egalitarian cultures actually matters to secular egalitarian people.

“Man, what’s WRONG with your country? Over here, women HAVE to wear it.”

Bastion of women’s rights, Iran, rushes to the defense of hijab-wearers in Quebec.

The optics really aren’t great when the first foreign power to come to the defense of protesters against Quebec’s secularity law are authoritarian mullahs.

Unfortunately, however, the rest of the world has so far responded to some public workplace restrictions on the hijab with a deafening silence.

Now that representatives of federal Canada have begun to recover from the shock and awe of a school in Quebec obeying the law…

…it’s time to hear from the law-abiding citizens of Quebec. Here’s one.

It would be safe to conclude that a statement of identity for many Muslim women who promote the hijab is perhaps more important than following religious dicta. One can, for example, easily argue that many of these women don’t believe the hijab to be a religious requirement. They could easily remove the piece of cloth while at work but choose not to. One must ask why... Why the restrictive, chauvinistic, and patriarchal garb has assumed this much importance for these individuals is a puzzlement.

Indeed, nuns, priests and even monks are perfectly able to remove their religious garb; why not non-clerical women? What makes these women more rigid in their refusals (in Quebec, they are asked only to remove it while in the public-facing act of public positions) than clericals?

The hijab is undoubtedly a garb rooted in patriarchy. It should be discouraged rather than enabled, touted, and promoted wherever possible. Bill 21 seeks to do precisely that…

Touted reminds us of the recent hijab-promoting ad campaign in Europe that came to grief. Western democracies are willing to tolerate the hijab, but – in Quebec, and in Europe – not in all settings, and not in all forms of its presentation.

“Now is the moment to be very clear and say if this case gets to the federal level, then the federal government should support the three million Quebecers who are opposed to this law…”

The New Democratic Party leader in Canada is refreshingly honest about his view of federal/provincial powers. By an impressive 65% majority, Quebec’s citizens favor a recently enacted secularism bill which enforces religious neutrality on some categories of public employees for the daily duration of their public duties. As in: For the hours during which you are teaching, or presiding over a courtroom, you must remove your hijab or other form of religious garb.

As Boucar Diouf notes:

“How would an immigrant of Palestinian origin, contesting a conviction, feel in front of a judge wearing a kippah? Inversely, how would a young driver wearing a kippah feel faced with a policewoman wearing a hijab who just gave him a ticket?”

A minority of Quebecers disagree with this approach, and the NDP guy thinks federal Canada should just go ahead and align itself with them. Screw the strong majority of people in that province who think some secular workplace rules are reasonable.

What do you think are the chances federal Canada will prevail? For background, recall what’s going on elsewhere.


Justin Trudeau will not intervene; and asked whether “he thinks Bill 21 fosters ‘hatred’ and ‘discrimination’ against minorities, Mr. Trudeau answered straightforwardly: “No.”

“You know that, in Quebec, Bill 21 is extremely popular. What do you make of that?”

If you’re going to be a professional specializing in inclusion, you need to know something about exclusion, yes?

Fatemeh Anvari, a third-grade teacher removed from the classroom for refusing to take off her hijab while teaching, was asked to respond (see my headline) to the fact that 65% of Quebecois support Bill 21 – which says that no religious symbols may be worn by people during the time in which they are engaged in high-profile public positions (teacher, judge).

Her answer? No answer. She totally whiffed it (“I can’t speak for those who agree with it.”). Her new job at the same school involves finding strategies of inclusion for students; yet she is not even able to take on her opponents. She says nothing about the very significant – overwhelming majority – challenge of her fellow citizens who clearly do not believe in all forms of inclusion.


Her interviewer might have mentioned that “In Quebec, among the most vocal supporters of Bill 21 are Muslim women.” Mixes it up a bit, doesn’t it?

Her interviewer might have quoted Boucar Diouf:

“How would an immigrant of Palestinian origin, contesting a conviction, feel in front of a judge wearing a kippah? Inversely, how would a young driver wearing a kippah feel faced with a policewoman wearing a hijab who just gave him a ticket?”

As with the mention of majority support, this is what’s known as a challenge – most appropriate, given the big ol’ controversy at play here.

As UD has so often pointed out, in a world of escalating niqab/burqa/hijab restrictions, your worst possible move is failing to engage, dismissing huge chunks of populations as bigoted, etc., etc. Engage. Try to figure out why reasonable people might want some restrictions on religious garb. If you’re not willing to go there, to try to change minds, you’re going to see more and more of these legal moves across the world.

What did you do in the war against democracy, Daddy?

MARGARET BRENNAN: Senator Cruz told the attorney general you should be prosecuted. 

DR. FAUCI: Yeah. I have to laugh at that. I should be prosecuted? What happened on Jan. 6, senator?

‘Following the heated exchange, the amendment passed its preliminary reading 49-33.’

The ultraorthodox lads are in there swinging. But score one for the godless harlots.

MK Yulia Malinovsky’s amendment to increase fines for ripping up images of women on the streets of Israel seems to have riled another MK, who passionately defended the vandals. He also took offense at Malinovsky’s description of ultraorthodox motive and behavior:

“What interests them is to build a Taliban state. First of all, they vandalize and exclude women from the public sphere… Whoever does this is degrading himself, hurts women and equality for women. Then it slides into segregation between men and women. … The extremist organization that took over Afghanistan banned women from riding bicycles. It forbade displaying figures of women in the public space. They decide what a woman should look like and at what length her sleeves should be… “

Rather than owning his fanaticism, her opponent shrieked and sputtered… though since the amendment passed, I guess it didn’t work. Let’s see what he said.

“She said Taliban and you did not respond? A Knesset member is standing here calling us the Taliban, and that’s okay? There is a party in the Knesset whose sole purpose is not to allow the ultra-Orthodox to live here… What a disgrace that such an antisemite comes up [to speak] here! Taliban?! This is an antisemitic party. You’re antisemitic. Disgrace. Are we Taliban?”

I wonder why no one responded.


UD is inclined to look on the bright side of this particular interaction. Malinovsky’s opponent acknowledged her existence in the chamber. He did not rip her face off. Good boy. Getting there.

Adam Gopnik, in 2015, on Canada and the Veil.

“[A] majority of Canadians [want the niqab banned.]

[O]ne survey has as much as eighty per cent of the population [in favor]…

[Stephen Harper’s] statement that the niqab is ‘not how we do things here’ is not wholly fatuous. Liberal societies are not neutral arrangements of civic services supplied to all. They aren’t just public-service condominiums that pick up trash and direct traffic. They have values. Indeed, their ability to supply those services—their prosperity, the reason everyone wants to come to liberal societies and not to theocracies—is because of those values.

Liberal societies have rules. Those rules, and the values they embody, have been a long and torturous time evolving. One of those values is the value of the agency and autonomy of the individual and, with it, the value—incredibly hard won, over a very long time—of woman’s emancipation, and so with it the belief that you cannot, either literally or symbolically, mask individuals. Women’s right to full autonomy is not optional in our society, and those who regard it as optional are not those who can expect to participate in it as citizens. If you wish to join our group, which will give you maximum freedom for every kind of self-expression and religious practice, you have to respect that the open engagement of one citizen with another—and, in turn, one face with another—is a core value that lets all the other values you enjoy flourish. The face may only be a symbol of our confidence in openness, but our symbols are the things to which we confide our values. As Barbara Kay, a distinguished Canadian journalist with whom I agree on few other issues, writes eloquently, ‘The only societies that mandate the niqab as a social norm are those in which women are considered sexual chattel with virtually no rights. Willed indifference to the niqab is more than tolerance; it is an endorsement of gender-rights relativism in our national home—equality for our women, inferior status for theirs.'”

‘It’s clear that there’s a real need for cultural sensitivity awareness and training among educators in the US, where, despite claims of tolerance and multiculturalism, prejudicial views of Muslims still prevail.’

As in Europe (see my various posts below about the ill-fated, taxpayer-funded love the hijab campaign), so perhaps in not too long a time in America, we must prepare for training in the proper attitude toward women who cover themselves and their children.

Actually, America seems to be tolerating burqas (we’re one of fewer and fewer countries where they haven’t been outlawed) and hijabs quite well – incidents of intolerance/violence appear to be rare. We don’t have laws that permit some employers under some circumstances to keep their employees from wearing a hijab; we don’t have laws that ban hijabs in the public sector. You’ll see such laws in parts of Europe and Canada. Stories about European schools banning the hijab are rampant. Several Muslim countries have significant legal restrictions on burqas, niqabs, and hijabs.

Our need for training derives from two false perceptions:

  1. Covered women are oppressed.
  2. Covered women need “white saviors” to liberate them from their veils/oppression.

Hafsa Lodi explains that “Women who follow traditional guidelines of hijab keep their bodies and hair covered while in the presence of men who aren’t close kin, usually from the age of puberty.”

Is a pubescent girl a woman? The average age of puberty for girls is eleven. Is an eleven year old a woman? Some girls begin puberty at eight. Is an eight year old a woman? Do I feel comfortable concluding that parents who put their eight year old in face and body coverings are oppressive? You bet I do.

Lodi writes: “As a Muslim woman who doesn’t cover her hair, I have a tremendous amount of respect and admiration for young women who have the courage to commit to wearing the hijab. It takes guts and an impressively strong conviction of faith to cover your hair in a [looks-based] society.” Here is a person who admires the courage of ten-year-olds who wear the hijab because their parents mandate it. I think we must also conclude that she respects and admires parents who can look at their ten year old child (not their boy, of course; their girl) and swathe her, morning, noon, and night in clothes that tightly cover her head and body. Respects and admires parents who “deprive [their daughter] of her childhood.” We are to take moral instruction from this person.


Do I think it’s twisted that some people think girls from eight to twelve years old (though to be sure plenty of parents put their five and six year old girls under hijabs) are such sexual threats to men that they have to be covered? Do I think that the understanding of herself such a child will adopt over time is twisted? Yes, and yes. Do I think that this form of upbringing is in any way preparing this girl for life in a liberal democracy? No.

I await my reeducation.

‘The European Commission, which partly funds the anti-discrimination work at the CoE, said it had “not validated” the visual elements of the campaign and has said it is looking into potentially recuperating some of the money it paid.’

Yes. People really don’t take kindly to finding out that their taxes are paying for campaigns aimed squarely at the liberal values they cherish most.

Plus, there’s a major… er… branding problem with the hijab. Our global associations with it are routinely, completely ick.

[T]he campaign was more interested in promoting sexist modesty codes than upholding human rights or opposing anti-Muslim bigotry… While the campaign would have been in poor taste at any point in time – given that the hijab continues to be enforced upon millions of Muslim women around the world – for it to have come out as the Taliban’s gory gender segregation is endangering Afghan women’s lives is truly repugnant. The hijab is not ‘freedom’ for the women in Afghanistan being killed and threatened for defying Islamic mandates. In Afghanistan, the Taliban are tearing off clothes and even targeting women who do Fighting bigotry against Muslims is no excuse to endorse the hijab, derailing the everyday struggle of millions of women pushing back against religions hegemony in the Muslim world. Those designing the next Council of Europe ad campaign would be best advised to acknowledge that any religious mandated code for women, embraced by autocratic regimes, does not signify freedom.not wear the ‘right’ kind of hijab…

The hijab continues to be enforced on women across the Muslim world, even when it isn’t codified in law.

[And of course on girls: “[Indonesian] schools in more than 20 provinces still make religious attire mandatory in their dress code.”

“Many public schools require girls and female teachers to wear the hijab that too often prompt bullying, intimidation, social pressures, and in some cases, forced resignation.”…]

[I]n Afghanistan or Iran, … many risk imprisonment to defy the hijab’s imposition. It is little surprise that Iranian feminists, such as the Belgian Member of Parliament Darya Safai found the Council of Europe’s campaign, and its misrepresentation of hijab as a symbol of feminism, especially repulsive...

Fighting bigotry against Muslims is no excuse to endorse the hijab, derailing the everyday struggle of millions of women pushing back against religions hegemony in the Muslim world. Those designing the next Council of Europe ad campaign would be best advised to acknowledge that any religious mandated code for women, embraced by autocratic regimes, does not signify freedom.


The reason the CoE launched a love the hijab campaign is that it knows millions of free, and struggling to be free, women hate it. Okay. But they had far better options than trying to make us love it. Here are two.

  1. Do not launch a campaign of any kind. Do not go there. As with the burqa, so with the hijab: You have millions of fellow citizens upset in a suppressed way by modesty code women. Since these citizens value tolerance, they are willing to seethe, firmly direct their female children out of eyesight of this reactionary garb, and leave it at that. If you make a big deal out of it, forcing their eyes upon a problem they’ve been able to avoid looking at directly, you’re simply going to make a shaky latency powerfully manifest. What they’ve been hiding from themselves – they really find the hijab pretty dreadful – you yourself will blast out into the open. Drop the idea and make do with the uncomfortable peace secular women have forged with the hijab.

2. If you decide to try again, deal honestly and forthrightly with the hijab’s significant unpopularity with your audience. Do not mindlessly, mendaciously celebrate it and excitedly invite free women to join in the hoedown. Acknowledge that in real terms the hijab is irredeemable. It is not beautiful. It is not joyous. It is for much of your audience an off-putting statement of self-abnegation.

Okay, NOW write your ad campaign. The only real card you have to play is religious liberty. Not that the hijab is beautiful, or diverse, or elating – but that it is a mark of religious fervency, and we are bound as liberals to tolerate religious fervency. Don’t sex it up, in other words. You make yourself ridiculous when you try to make one of the world’s most powerful icons of sexlessness sexy.


No support on this blog for Eric Zemmour, but this interaction illustrates the bad faith of some hijab wearers. If the Council of Europe wants to relaunch its misconceived “respect the hijab” campaign (see various posts below), it might start here.

At an appearance in Drancy, Zemmour asked a woman in a hijab to remove it.

The woman in turn asked Zemmour to remove his tie, arguing that her hijab is a similarly personal clothing choice. She then proceeded to remove her hijab …

“Hijab is not what makes religion,” she added, “just as wearing a tie does not make you smarter”.

So let us examine this equivalence between a hijab and a tie. Not very convincing at first blush, is it?

It would be convincing if the symbolic value of a tie involved expressing your personal submission to Brooks Brothers. But a tie is devoid of powerful symbolic meaning, beyond maybe saying I’m corporate, or I’m bourgeois, or something. When I was a hippie, ties were worth something symbolically, but that’s gone now. Nor are our thoughts liable to wander, in spying a man in a tie, to countries in the world where men are jailed for not wearing ties; or countries where men risk their lives to be free from having to wear ties.

So, step one in the renewed campaign to increase respect for the hijab: Be honest. Don’t play us secular people for fools. The hijab is very very far from a personal clothing choice. Parents stick hijabs on ten-year-olds and keep sticking them on. Obviously for these millions of little girls it’s not at all a personal clothing choice, and ten-year-olds are perfectly capable of choosing their own clothing. It’s fully imposed on someone incapable of knowing very much about, much less assenting in an informed way to, the laws of Islam. Having from a very young age known no existence in the public realm without a hijab, our ten-year-old is highly unlikely ever to take it off. Doesn’t sound very much like the history of your typical tie-wearer.

And no one will mind – or even notice – if Zemmour ventures outside without a tie on. His family, and larger community, will not shun him. Of course there’s not necessarily community pressure to cover up. But there certainly might be.

Plenty of adult women wear the hijab by choice. Again, I would ask that they not trivialize it so as to make people who might be uncomfortable with it more comfortable. Be honest enough to acknowledge the potent message about modesty and submission to God you mean to carry into the liberal public realm when you wear it.

Yascha Mounk on What’s Next

The idea that critical race theory is an academic concept that is taught only at colleges or law schools might be technically accurate, but the reality on the ground is a good deal more complicated. Few middle or high schoolers are poring over academic articles written by Richard Delgado or Kimberlé Crenshaw. But across the nation, many teachers have, over the past years, begun to adopt a pedagogical program that owes its inspiration to ideas that are very fashionable on the academic left, and that go well beyond telling students about America’s copious historical sins.

In some elementary and middle schools, students are now being asked to place themselves on a scale of privilege based on such attributes as their skin color. History lessons in some high schools teach that racism is not just a persistent reality but the defining feature of America. And some school systems have even embraced ideas that spread pernicious prejudices about nonwhite people, as when a presentation to principals of New York City public schools denounced virtues such as “perfectionism” or the “worship of the written word” as elements of “white-supremacy culture.” …

For anybody who cares about making sure that Donald Trump does not become the 47th president of the United States, it is crucial that Democrats avoid repeating the mistakes that just put a Republican in Virginia’s governor’s mansion. It is impossible to win elections by telling voters that their concerns are imaginary. If Democrats keep doing so, they will keep losing.


And Brett Stephens:

[N]ote the way in which the controversy over critical race theory is treated by much of the left as either much ado about an obscure scholarly discipline or, alternatively, a beneficent and necessary set of teachings about the past and present of systemic racism in America.

But C.R.T. is neither obscure nor anodyne. It is … a “politically committed movement” that often explicitly rejects notions of merit, objectivity, colorblindness and neutrality of law, among other classically liberal concepts.

That’s no reason to ban teaching it or any other way of looking at the world. But it is dishonest to argue that it is anything less than ideologically radical, intensely racialized and deliberately polarizing. It is even more dishonest to suggest that it exists only in academic cloisters…

No wonder the debate over C.R.T.-influenced pedagogies in public schools — which liberals insist don’t even exist in the state’s public schools – although they clearly do – had such a galvanic effect on the Virginia race. It exposed the myth that the illiberal currents at play in the United States today are solely a Republican phenomenon. They are not.

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