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Old 10-15-2005, 07:43 PM   #1
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Holland to ban the burka

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article...3334_1,00.html

Well well well. The PC pendulum swinging back?

"Mrs Verdonk gave warning that the “time of cosy tea-drinking” with Muslim groups had passed and that natives and immigrants should have the courage to be critical of each other. She recently cancelled a meeting with Muslim leaders who refused to shake her hand because she was a woman. "
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Old 10-15-2005, 09:51 PM   #2
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The one thing I always wonder at when reading things like this is what it would feel like to the specific women it will affect. I imagine that years of wearing a burka become second nature and natural. Would they feel rather exposed or even 'naked' without one? But I guess no one gives a shit about how shamed this could make them feel.

I've got mixed views on all this. I dont think either side has it completely right as it's not a straight forward issue.
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Old 10-15-2005, 10:24 PM   #3
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I support the right of anyone to wear whatever he/she wants, but I can't for the life of me see how any self respecting woman would wear a burka. And I have utter contempt for men who either encourage or require their wives to wear one.
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Old 10-16-2005, 12:32 AM   #4
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That is precisely where my opinions jump back and forth. Like most of us.
I'll hold all men in contempt who feel they can tell any woman what to do, be it wearing a burka, not working, working in a certain job, ironing his shirts - any of it. With these women, while probably most or all are forced to wear it, who am I to argue that if they are actually most comfortable in one, while hating the belief which leads to it? It's like me hating the glass ceiling idea. I do hate it. I hate non equal wages still being an issue in this country. But I know I couldn't handle one of those jobs which women have to fight hard to get. I fit here where I am, but hate it for all who dont fit as they should be able to go further if they so desire and are able - of course.

But then I swing right back and think 'fuck that. This is a culture who wont shake hands with a woman. What respect do I owe you in return?' That would be none, mate. I'm not muslim and therefore wont kowtow to a belief which insults me.

Then again, we need tolerance, dont we.

But then again, it has to come from both sides. And it clearly lacks from both sides when one says to take the burka off and the other is saying 'I'm not listening to you anyway, because you're a woman'.

And so on.
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Old 10-16-2005, 01:22 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by Angela Harlem
That is precisely where my opinions jump back and forth. Like most of us.
I'll hold all men in contempt who feel they can tell any woman what to do, be it wearing a burka, not working, working in a certain job, ironing his shirts - any of it. With these women, while probably most or all are forced to wear it, who am I to argue that if they are actually most comfortable in one, while hating the belief which leads to it? It's like me hating the glass ceiling idea. I do hate it. I hate non equal wages still being an issue in this country. But I know I couldn't handle one of those jobs which women have to fight hard to get. I fit here where I am, but hate it for all who dont fit as they should be able to go further if they so desire and are able - of course.

But then I swing right back and think 'fuck that. This is a culture who wont shake hands with a woman. What respect do I owe you in return?' That would be none, mate. I'm not muslim and therefore wont kowtow to a belief which insults me.

Then again, we need tolerance, dont we.

But then again, it has to come from both sides. And it clearly lacks from both sides when one says to take the burka off and the other is saying 'I'm not listening to you anyway, because you're a woman'.

And so on.
Yep. Exactly.

I was pleased that Verdonk canceled a meeting with the group who refused to shake her hand because she was a woman. If they won't even do that, they sure as hell aren't going to listen to anything she has to say, so meeting with them is a waste of time. Plus it's rude as all hell.
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Old 10-16-2005, 01:28 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by indra


Yep. Exactly.

I was pleased that Verdonk canceled a meeting with the group who refused to shake her hand because she was a woman. If they won't even do that, they sure as hell aren't going to listen to anything she has to say, so meeting with them is a waste of time. Plus it's rude as all hell.
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Old 10-16-2005, 02:05 AM   #7
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Verdonk may be murdered for this
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Old 10-16-2005, 02:23 AM   #8
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I think you guys are blowing this handshake thing out of proportion, or maybe you don't know the details of the story. Verdonk was meeting with a group of Moroccan imams (several of whom spoke little Dutch, so communication was strained) and ONE of them refused to shake her hand, explaining through a translator that while he meant no disrespect, it was against his religious beliefs for him to touch a woman outside his mahram (family circle). She replied that in Dutch custom, it is respectful and proper for men and women to shake hands, but he again declined. And that was pretty much the end of it...except that the media got a photo of it and turned it into the big story of the day.

The article financeguy posted mentions that only a handful of Dutch Muslim women in fact wear burkas; I would imagine that the number of Dutch Muslim men who'd object to a woman's handshake is similarly small. In any case, the imam's rejection didn't stem from arbitrary chauvinism; there is indeed a precedent for interpreting certain Koranic injunctions governing relations between and women to mandate just that--no touching-- although this *is* a minority view. A similar belief (traceable to similar laws) is held by some ultra-Orthodox Jews as well, and here again, it is intended as an expression of modesty, not of contempt for women.

Of course this still leaves open important and legitimate debates about how much adaptation and assimilation one should expect (and be expected) to undergo when joining a new society and community. But that's no excuse for jumping to conclusions about the motives of the unassimilated.

Anyway, back to Ms. Verdonk--while I personally think safety reasons are perfectly reasonable grounds for at least considering banning burkas, it is a little hard to take that reasonableness seriously when she then turns around and makes snotty comments like the one about "the time of cosy tea-drinking" being over.
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Old 10-16-2005, 02:47 AM   #9
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This decision makes me sad.

First, let's think about the intentions behind it. I agree with the Muslims in the article who say that it is a "distraction" to the real problem of terrorism. I also agree with the person who said, "Let us focus our energy on what we have in common. This is not a big problem." Is it logical that the burqa is the only sort of clothing that conceals identity?? Uh, what about trenchcoats, caftans, and other flowing garments? Furthermore, the target group is only Muslim women; now how does that solve the "problem"?

Secondly, as someone who lives in a mostly Muslim country, I think we ought to afford Muslim women with more credit, intelligence and pride than is currently being done in this thread.

Quote:
I imagine that years of wearing a burka become second nature and natural. Would they feel rather exposed or even 'naked' without one? But I guess no one gives a shit about how shamed this could make them feel.
Correct, Angie. I've always appreciated your willingness to see both sides. Yes, the burqa is like a second skin to these women who've worn it for years, these women who are my friends and colleagues (so I am not just speculating). Yes, they would feel exposed or naked and ashamed without it. And yes, people from other cultures mostly don't give a shit. "When in Rome, do as the Romans do" and all that.

Quote:
I support the right of anyone to wear whatever he/she wants, but I can't for the life of me see how any self respecting woman would wear a burka.
Sigh. I find this comment offensive and remarkably bigoted.

Being covered is not that oppressive, just as being exposed a bit more is not that empowering. You do have the choice to walk out of your house naked, or, okay, wearing a bikini, but some women would find that experience humiliating instead of empowering.

Allow me to quote my Muslim lady friend:

"If you come from a culture that hails nudity as self-empowering you will never understand the power behind the hijab. Being in control of your body also means deciding who gets to see what, if anything at all."

Back to the idea of a second skin. Why do women (including your sweet self?) still wear brassieres? It started out as being more for the men's liking than for the women. Underwires poke out of the fabric after a while and jab at your skin, leaving red marks. A good bra costs a bomb, compared to a panty or briefs. Why wear it then? Because women have come to like it, feel empowered by it, and these days bras are designed for women by women, to be looked at by women etc.

Quote:
With these women, while probably most or all are forced to wear it, who am I to argue that if they are actually most comfortable in one, while hating the belief which leads to it?
How insightful. Yet, I believe that women wear the hijab mostly because Allah commands it. If I asked any woman in the street here about Islam oppressing them, especially by imposing the hijab law on them, I wholeheartedly believe that the response would be that Islam is a religion that values women and men equally, and that they wear the hijab because it delights their god.


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Old 10-16-2005, 02:49 AM   #10
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^ and what yolland said.
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Old 10-16-2005, 03:45 AM   #11
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Originally posted by foray
Is it logical that the burqa is the only sort of clothing that conceals identity?? Uh, what about trenchcoats, caftans, and other flowing garments?
While I feel conflicted about banning burkas, to be fair trenchcoats, caftans and other similar garments do not conceal the person's -face-, as burka does. And face is the most important aspect when identifying someone. If I understood the article correctly, it's not about banning Muslim clothing in general and expecting Muslim women to go out of their houses in bikinis; simply the clothing that conceals the face.

Regarding bras: I can't account for other women, but I neither particularly like the bras nor feel "empowered" by them nor wear them to show off before other women (what would be the occasion anyway?). I'd just much rather go on with my daily activities without being constantly conscious of bouncing sensations at my chest.
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Old 10-16-2005, 04:00 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by yolland
I think you guys are blowing this handshake thing out of proportion, or maybe you don't know the details of the story. Verdonk was meeting with a group of Moroccan imams (several of whom spoke little Dutch, so communication was strained) and ONE of them refused to shake her hand, explaining through a translator that while he meant no disrespect, it was against his religious beliefs for him to touch a woman outside his mahram (family circle). She replied that in Dutch custom, it is respectful and proper for men and women to shake hands, but he again declined. And that was pretty much the end of it...except that the media got a photo of it and turned it into the big story of the day.

The article financeguy posted mentions that only a handful of Dutch Muslim women in fact wear burkas; I would imagine that the number of Dutch Muslim men who'd object to a woman's handshake is similarly small. In any case, the imam's rejection didn't stem from arbitrary chauvinism; there is indeed a precedent for interpreting certain Koranic injunctions governing relations between and women to mandate just that--no touching-- although this *is* a minority view. A similar belief (traceable to similar laws) is held by some ultra-Orthodox Jews as well, and here again, it is intended as an expression of modesty, not of contempt for women.

Of course this still leaves open important and legitimate debates about how much adaptation and assimilation one should expect (and be expected) to undergo when joining a new society and community. But that's no excuse for jumping to conclusions about the motives of the unassimilated.

Anyway, back to Ms. Verdonk--while I personally think safety reasons are perfectly reasonable grounds for at least considering banning burkas, it is a little hard to take that reasonableness seriously when she then turns around and makes snotty comments like the one about "the time of cosy tea-drinking" being over.
Great post.
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Old 10-16-2005, 04:27 AM   #13
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Originally posted by foray
Secondly, as someone who lives in a mostly Muslim country, I think we ought to afford Muslim women with more credit, intelligence and pride than is currently being done in this thread.
I agree.

Has anyone ever thought of the fact that apparently there are women who want to wear the Burka. Not because the man tells them to do so or because they have to, but because they feel good with it, protected, proud maybe?

In my opinion, it is naive to think that banning the burkas serves the women´s rights. To say it blunt, this view seems to be spread amongst very opened, free, "liberal" Western women.

I have not found any Muslim woman who supports that ban. What´s even worse, I have not found any woman in our society who defends the Muslim´s women´s right to wear a burka.

Most of them seem to think "Oh, what a shame, that does not ring right to me, uh, if I always had to go around in a burka because of subordination to male rules, oh how would I feel? Poor Muslim women, well, we´re gonnya do a jolly thing and help them out of their misery".

This seems to be the agenda.

But did you realize how much this agenda is built up on one´s own view, one´s own culture? Don´t you realize how much this is about being self-centered (doesn´t ring right to me, if I always had to..").

I am all for more rights for everyone, but in that case, we are missing an important point. The point about having respect for another culture. If you have respect, you don´t mingle in and say,
"here, this is what you should wear or not wear, I will tell you that you are not free without a burka". What does wearing a burka or not wearing one have to do with personal, inner freedom?

The women who want to wear it, should have the right to wear it. The women who don´t want to, should have the right not to wear it.

If Muslim women have to wear it in Muslim countries and they do not like it, they will have to fight for new laws in their respective countries.

To ban it because we pretend that our society is so opened and free, means restricting and dominating another culture.
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Old 10-16-2005, 06:01 AM   #14
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Its my religious belief to

RUN NAKED IN CITY CENTRE

..talk sense please... or go where u came from
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Old 10-16-2005, 10:00 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by Saracene
While I feel conflicted about banning burkas, to be fair trenchcoats, caftans and other similar garments do not conceal the person's -face-, as burka does. And face is the most important aspect when identifying someone.
I have trouble identifying people wearing sunglasses.

Quote:
If I understood the article correctly, it's not about banning Muslim clothing in general and expecting Muslim women to go out of their houses in bikinis; simply the clothing that conceals the face.

Regarding bras: I can't account for other women, but I neither particularly like the bras nor feel "empowered" by them nor wear them to show off before other women (what would be the occasion anyway?). I'd just much rather go on with my daily activities without being constantly conscious of bouncing sensations at my chest.
It would be preposterous of me to insist on the right for Muslim women to wear next to nothing. Especially with Acrobatman's unhelpful comment, this is a literal reading of what I wrote.

However, if a certain culture views even an exposed ankle or face as being less than modest, then another culture that views this as normal obviously can't understand where all this is coming from.

Foray-For-Dummies: The example of brassieres was presented in order to highlight the fact that it has its origins in male chauvinism, and yet emancipated women still wear them. Some of them, like Saracene, may not feel particularly empowered about those twin cups that hoist twin lumps of flesh. Similarly, Muslim woman think nothing of wearing the burqa that is supposedly "oppressing" them. Some do give it a thought and choose to wear it as a religious expression, obedience to their god, etc. Again, as Angie mentioned, this is not a simple issue. With multi-Islamic societies and their varied interpretations of the Quran, and the various Islamic states that permit different things -- it's hard to say what it means to (quoting the article) "emancipate Muslim women". But let us not be hasty to point out as "oppressive" things that are so foreign to us: in this case, the burqa.

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