I’ll tell you why I hate the hijab, or niqab, or burka.

I hate it because it reminds me of the Ku Klux Klan, of the balaclavas worn by the IRA, of any movement or organisation that decides to conceal itself from outsiders – in short, anyone with something to hide.

Alright, I know the burka is worn by women, which makes it worse because here the secrecy is reversed; to depersonalise the woman, to rob her of any visible character or personality; to subjugate and demean, in other words.  Neither are the gender boundaries so strictly observed they cannot be adjusted for the convenience of terrorists, who are happy to use them as a disguise.

Let’s be perfectly clear on this.  The burka, or a version of it, first appeared in the old country of Persia around the end of the tenth century, and slowly spread throughout Islam under the auspices of a strict religious sect, but it has no foundation anywhere in the Quran.  The holy book only requires that dress should be modest, and reveal no more of the body than is necessary.  Therefore by implication are we to conclude that Moslems feel the only necessary part of the female body is the eye?  This aligns with the same primitive thinking that believes in GM, and insists the word of three women is needed to have the same value as that of one man.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson had the temerity to suggest that women so dressed looked ‘ridiculous’, likening the garb to a letterbox, or that worn by a bank robber.  He was not suggesting the burka should be banned, but commenting upon recent legislation in Denmark, where it is now outlawed.   The squeals of outrage have reverberated around Westminster and the gutter press ever since.

For the record, the Burka is prohibited by law, completely or partially, in an increasing number of countries in Africa, and many now in Europe too.  France, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Austria, Holland have all prohibited the garment to varying degrees.  Frau Murkel has suggested a ban in Germany.  Again, in UK it is not banned.  I believe it should be.

Although I regard myself as a fairly liberated free thinker for one of my ripened years, I worry about Islam.  This transcends race, and for that matter all the millions of broader-minded Moslems who manage to reconcile the belligerent teachings of their holy book with the realities of modern life.  But there is a hardened thread of fundamentalism at the religion’s heart which has no interest in integration and sees the ‘infidel’ as an enemy.  Its adherents are implacable and intolerant.  They do not believe in our freedoms, and they would hurt us if they could.

So I appeal to moderate Moslems who want to mingle with and enjoy western society to try and understand how – and I hate this word – intimidating the burka seems to those who do not share your faith.  I would rarely advocate restriction upon any freedom, least of all dress, but this form of dress symbolises restriction of freedom for women.   I know my opinion is widely shared.

The burka has no place on the streets of Britain.

7 Comments

  1. With you all the way, Frederick. It is what it reminds us of, the secrecy and the discrimination, the fundamentalist aspect of it. I don’t object to the robes that still allow the face to be shown – after all, Catholic nuns wore that kind of garb for centuries.
    There is talk about banning the full-face burkha here in Australia as well, and some of the objections refer to the ability for it to be used as a disguise to commit violent acts. The full-face motorcycle helmet must not, by law, be worn when entering public buildings for that very reason, and it seems to me there is no difference to the full-face burkha.

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  2. We know that extreme acts of terrorism in Africa have been perpetrated by extremists using the burqa as a disguise, and there have been many deaths and injuries as a result. In the UK so far, no; but I see no reason it should not happen.

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  3. Duality….if some are defending the right to wear the burkha and others are defending their right to say ‘not on our streets’ then where is the line? Fear begets fear; so if the garment is fostering fear, then yes, let’s have a debate. As writers, we are very careful in our choice of words. I understand your hesitation in using the word ‘intimidating’, but we do need to look at anything that makes us fearful and ask ‘why?’. Hugs for you, Fred, always.xX

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    1. I think my principal issue with the niqab (or its variations) is the disrespect it shows to women, and my concern where Islam is concerned – or the most orthodox core of it – is its disparaging and quite hateful attitude to anyone who does not espouse its doctrine.
      I see very essential freedoms being eroded – quote from a spokesman for the Moslem Council for Great Britain (forgive me if I have rearranged their title somewhat). “Mr. Johnson has to learn that words have a price.” Well, no sir, they do not. In a free society free speech is precious, If there is any lesson to be learned, it is ‘When in Rome…’
      Hugs galore, Jane. Let’s dust off the banners!

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      1. Free speech and spirit, absolutely. My Mum and Dad suggested I watch the Marigold Hotel series, where Mr Johnson Snr. is joy, as are the others involved. It has a loving spirit and freedom about it, I shy away from reality telly, but this is a delight. Back to what we are discussing, yes, freedom Fred in all ways, for all genders. Spiritful hugs flowing right back to you, my lovely. xXx

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    1. ‘tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to bring down over themselves part of their outer garments. That is more suitable that they will be known and not be abused’

      I think my first response to that is I do not ‘tell’ or order my female partner to do anything. We are equals and she is as free as I to make her own decisions. ‘Bring down part of their garments’ is very unspecific, isn’t it? It doesn’t use the word, at least by this translation, hibab, nor does it suggest covering the face. Rather, it says ‘that they will be known’. The face veil is a disguise.

      Maybe all religions get into difficulties when they try to rigidly adhere to texts that were set out 13 or 14 hundred years ago. The fifty per cent of the population which is female is no longer ‘owned’ by the fifty per cent that is male. And whereas those implied freedoms include the liberty to wear eccentric clothing, it must be accepted that certain traits exhibit estrangement and an unwillingness to integrate. This is Britain, we do things differently here.

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