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.

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