‘I’ve seen what happens when the public space is infringed upon by the religious. My medical career took me to Saudi Arabia, aged 31, where I was mandated by law to wear the hijab, covering all of my hair and neck. And with it the abbayah, a cloak covering my entire body from my neck to my ankles. For those two years, I became intimately acquainted with the cumbersome nature of forced veiling and its impracticality — even seeing it imposed upon my unconscious female patients.’

‘Quick! Hypertonic saline!’

‘Fuck that. Get this chick an abbayah.’

When a woman who covers her mouth (and everything else) with a thick black cloth…

… lectures the rest of us on the importance of open communication, the only thing to do is laugh.

Another Islamophobic Islamic Country Bans the Burqa.

Talk about self-loathing. It’s not just imperialist Europeans who ban it; Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria… and Egypt’s been trying to ban them for years.

UD in fact predicts Egypt will be the next place the full face and body veil will fall. Meanwhile, welcome, Tunisia, to the developed world.

A new spin on the veil issue: You have to be crazy.

A New York Times writer brings our cool calm collected American sensibilities to those hot-headed French.

… [T]he veil … especially exercised France since 1989, when three children were barred from attending middle school after refusing to take off their hijabs, setting off months of anguished, often hysterical public debate.

It was the first of countless “veil affairs,” and in this century successive French governments passed two laws: one from 2004 that forbids the veil (as well as the skullcap and large crosses) in schools, and another in 2010 banning full-face coverings such as the niqab in all public spaces. And the freakouts keep coming, most recently during a heat wave in France this week. After a group of women defied the city’s ban on the hooded “burkini” bathing suit at a community pool, a government minister for equality said the burkini sends “a political message that says, ‘Cover yourself up.’”

Really, those silly over-emotional French (and Austrians, Danes, Belgians, Latvians, Bulgarians, Spanish, Italians, Swiss, Dutch, Moroccans, Sri Lankans, etc., etc., etc.). have so much to learn from us.

The anti-burqistas.

‘They [have] this sense that they [are] being watched and on stage and carrying the torch for equality and cultural change for girls and women.”

US soccer.

Banning the Niqab in Canada

[L]et’s examine why we should want a ban on niqabs. Canada is indeed an open and inclusive society. That quality is maintained and cultivated by the steady and full interactions between its citizens. The more we know each other, the greater our capacity for acceptance. The next time you pass someone on the sidewalk, in the park, even looking toward them from your car, notice how automatic it is to look toward their face, make eye contact and exchange acknowledgement.

This is how we “know” the “other” in our society. This is how our common humanity is transmitted. It’s called familiarity. Family. The visual exchange is absolutely powerful in sensitizing and personalizing all of us to each other’s rights and shared humanity.

The niqab prevents that from happening. It portrays anonymity and evokes uncertainty. It is an act of hiding, isn’t it? Consider for a minute whether there would be any argument at all if there was instead the religious interpretation that men should be wearing niqabs and not women. How many Canadians would be clamouring against a niqab ban in that case? I suspect that no country in the world would allow men to wear niqabs, regardless of religious claims. 

This brings the issue back to the gender of niqab wearers. Does anyone believe that it was women who decided to implement the stipulation that they should only be seen by male relatives, that they should be cloaked to all other eyes on the street? Or was it dictated by a patriarchal society that saw women as being subordinate to their husbands’ preferences? In various Muslim countries today, a woman cannot travel outside of the country without permission from a husband or father. Who originated that custom?

Natatorial Vigilance is the Price of Liberty.

Don’t make fun of the noble Grenoblers putting up serious resistance against local women who defy the law and wear burkinis to their city pools. I keep telling you and telling you that France, like Quebec, is a secular place – really truly actually legally and empirically secular. Doesn’t mean you can’t do religion there – means you can’t, in specific public settings, carry your kirpan, wear your burqa, demand sex segregation, etc. Remember the French opera company that stopped its performance until a woman in the front row, in a burqa, left? Mes petites, listen up: The French really mean it.

So they’ve closed the pool rather than allow the women to parade their religious sensibilities there. They’ve fined the women too.

A large and growing number of townspeople pledge to go naked at the pool if there’s a recurrence of the problem, and this seems to UD a sound idea.

‘Are politics regressing to premodern forms? Did they never really progress beyond them? It is possible to read too much into these rallies and rituals. But when a man is legally murdered by having bricks thrown at his head, in a country as recently advanced as Brunei, I think we will have our answer.’

The decision to kill gays as a matter of state policy, however abortive and hedged, is not one that lends itself to charitable interpretation from those who consider themselves broadly liberal. And indeed I find all these hedges as risible as they are sincere. They sound like cognitive dissonance: loyalty to a religion and to a sovereign, mixing uncomfortably with a cosmopolitan moral sense that says killing gays means killing gays, and is abhorrent under any circumstance…

But the Sultanate of Brunei is, by the standard of, say, Saudi Arabia (let alone the Islamic State), liberal.

********************

Excellent writing by Graeme Wood, in which, with a nod toward “the King’s touch,” he invokes the weird premodern/postmodern mix of many countries.

‘Amani Ben Ammar, 34, an accountant who emigrated from Tunisia to Montreal six years ago and comes from a Muslim family, said she supported the bill because it was imperative that those representing the state in positions of authority appeared to be neutral. “How can a judge wearing a Muslim head scarf be deemed neutral in a case involving a homosexual?” she asked, referring to Islamic views condemning homosexuality. “Diversity is important in society, but the state needs to avoid conflicts between professional duties and religion… I left my country because of the pressure of Islamization and do not expect to find that in Quebec,” she added.’

One hears far too little from women like Amani Ben Ammar, but they are the reason large majorities of Europeans and Canadians favor burqa bans and other public sector secularism legislation. Good on the New York Times for adding her voice to a trend whose coverage typically features only a morally outraged reporter, plus international elites screaming Islamophobia. Such coverage leaves unspoken the reason why 60-80% of many countries’ citizens, when asked whether they support burqa bans, say yes.

12 Angry Men and Women

‘[B]eing pissed off at the local college is not a valid legal doctrine for taking millions of dollars.’

An AAUP blogger demeans the Ohio jury in just the way the administration of Oberlin College has consistently done: The jurors are vindictive village idiots, unable to understand concepts like harm, defamation, and the rule of law, able to use the legal system only to stick it to the elitists down the block. For those who want to get rid of embarrassingly inexpert juries altogether, the lopsided outcome of the Oberlin trial ($44 million in damages and penalties to the college), in the Gibson Bakery case, is the icing on the cake.

Yet although this clearly was an angry jury, that doesn’t mean their verdict was dumb. The jury knows that Oberlin won’t in the end pay out that much money; they know that an appeal is thunderingly obvious. Appalled by the … well, let’s use the language of the AAUP blogger — a man who is sympathetic to Oberlin…

… Oberlin students behaved disgracefully, only to be exceeded by the incredibly stupid and repulsive actions and comments by Oberlin administrators. Protesters demanded a boycott over a case where the Oberlin students were clearly guilty (and later pleaded guilty) and there was no evidence of racial discrimination. They made accusations of past racism, but never presented any convincing evidence publicly. Oberlin’s administrators were even worse. They hurt Gibson’s business by refusing to stand up on their behalf and by boycotting the bakery for a time. They tried to intimidate Gibson’s into dropping charges against the Oberlin students by threatening to continue their boycott, and even asked the bakery to call the college rather than the police when students shoplifted in the future. And Oberlin’s administrators sent each other very dumb messages that alienated the judge and jury so much that the actual legal regulations about defamation [were overlooked].

Appalled by this behavior, which I suspect was felt as a personal attack on their community’s economy and reputation, the jury decided to communicate as forcefully as possible its unacceptable nature — perhaps with an eye to Oberlin eventually gaining some compassion and rationality along the way. As Bill Maher put it in lamenting Oberlin’s actions, “How do we get mainstream liberals to stand up to that faction?” One way is to jolt them awake with outrageous court awards; once awake, mainstream liberals might ask themselves why Oberlin has as a vice president and dean of students an angry factionalist, a woman way, way out of the liberal mainstream. That happened because no one’s watching. Now people are watching.

‘Until there are convictions for FGM practitioners [under the U.K.’s child abuse laws], I won’t see any progress.’

The Queen bestows OBEs on two anti female genital mutilation activists, which is great. The more publicity the better. But as one of them points out, you’ve got to start putting people in jail.

Here in the States we’re still working on putting No-Clits Nagarwala in the slammer. UD thinks that eventually this will happen. In the meantime, it’s nice to realize that her life and vocation are ruined, so she can’t cut up any more children.

The belle indifférence of burqa enthusiasts is really getting out of hand.

It doesn’t seem to bother them that, even as their defense of full veiling is going down the tubes all over the burqa-banning world, their arguments remain the lazy, unelaborated claims – with broad-brush insults and fear-mongering thrown in – that everyone has heard and dismissed. Behold Zahra Jamal in Foreign Policy.

Her subtitle, in which she evokes the violence of virtually pan-European burqa bans now “crashing down” on these shores (Quebec may soon ban them), sets the hyperalarmist mood of a piece written in the aftermath of countless non-violent and orderly local, regional, and national full-veiling bans. What world is the author living in? And has it not occurred to her that, given present realities, she should make some effort to accommodate herself to ours?

The fundamental polemical quandary the serious burqa defender suffers is this: She seems doomed at once to assert the obviously “sordid” (Jamal’s word) nature of burqa opposition, and to note that huge left and right national majorities, as well as international courts, support bans. To put her position concisely: Everyone sucks.

From beginning to end, Jamal describes enormous populations desperately under the thumb of powerful white nationalists. Somehow these clever charismatic people are convincing mental and moral midgets like Angela Merkel to call for serious restrictions on the burqa.

“For centuries, many Western scholars, church elders, and political leaders justified colonial and imperial incursions with the call to save Muslim women from Muslim men, citing the veil as a symbol of oppression. In contrast, in European and Quebecois political and popular discourse over the past decade, hijabs and niqabs have come to symbolize terrorism, thus reconstituting Muslim women from cause to enemy, from subjugated victim to powerful terrorist. According to proponents, bans on religious coverings are meant to liberate Muslim women from oppression, emancipate them into secularism, and deter them from violence. Burqa bans thus simultaneously falsely frame veiled women as security threats and legalize Islamophobia.”

Can you detect an argument in here? There’s nothing ‘in contrast’ about rejecting the burqa as both an instrument of oppression and a security risk. There’s no religious warrant for it, all ISIS, Taliban, and al Qaeda women and girls must wear it, and it has been used to hide the identity of terrorists and ordinary criminals. In its extreme physical muzzling, it creates a population of women overwhelmingly unlikely to become assimilated into modern open European countries. So, nu?

Weirdly, most of the subsequent essay reviews the spectacular success of burqa bans in Europe, across the political spectrum. Surely this amazing massing of votes and judicial decisions against full-veiling demands a powerful counter-response, one that begins with an effort to understand the determination of millions of ordinary people to ban the burqa.

“Ultimately, veil bans are about the sordid view that human diversity is a threat, and—similar to the flurry of state abortion bans in the United States—women’s bodies must be disciplined and regulated by the state rather than by women themselves to safeguard the nation.”

Yeah, if you want to see the flourishing of human diversity at its various best, take a look at a community of burqa wearers… Veil bans are, among other things, a rejection of the sordid practice of trapping ten year old girls under cloth – of men disciplining and regulating the bodies of helpless children.

Jamal’s essay is so lazy that UD begins to think burqa-defense has degenerated into virtue signaling. The author knows perfectly well that the tidal wave (to use her metaphor) of burqa banning is unlikely to be stopped, even if you spit Islamophobia and white supremacy at everybody. In lieu of serious appraisals of the banning trend, and serious arguments against banning, burqa defenders are left with vacuous indignation.

Yet another endorsement of veiling as a feminist act.

It does no good to state the obvious to some people – quoting here from 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. Even in Iran there is only a requirement for the covering of hair, and I defy anybody to find any authority in the Quran for the concealment of the face.

Some people will still enjoin us to “listen to women’s voices,” as if annihilating yourself as a presence in the world by wearing a burqa or niqab is a page out of Our Bodies Ourselves. They will assure us that banning the burqa makes the state into an “active instrument of patriarchy” – as if the burqa itself is not, for millions of people, the globe’s most eloquent expression of the most repressive patriarchy imaginable.

At least this writer is honest enough to note the huge, and growing, number of full or partial burqa/niqab bans, especially across Europe; but she’s not honest enough to note the absence in those countries of significant social problems arising from the bans. Or to note the enormous majorities – including, in many cases, among Muslims – for the bans.

Nuclear Shutdown

Absolute kleptocracy corrupts absolutely; and if you’re not careful, seventy percent of your population is going to vote for a clown who, as his first act, dissolves your parliament.

The anti-hijab heroines of Tehran…

… are at it again, bless them. The latest protest took place at Tehran University, where students have had it all the way up to here with the morality police threatening them unless they veil.

It takes unbelievable guts to go up against the enforcement fuckers – you can certainly go to jail, and the enforcement fuckers are also more than willing to beat you up.

‘Course around here, in the free west, you’ve got women holding Everyone Wear a Hijab in Solidarity with Hijab-Wearers rallies, and UD‘s got nothing against that; but she wonders why the same people never seem to hit the streets in support of women – seriously endangered women – who don’t want to veil themselves.

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