Wednesday, 5 April 2017

"French court overturns burqini ban as struggle between secularism and religious liberty rages"

My letter that ran in the South China Morning Post last year, that I didn't get around to posting, but which remains as relevant as ever (just found it, while cleaning up my desktop).
Indeed, female Islamic sartorial matters are arguably worse, as there's been a fetishisation at least of the hijab: witness the fashion parades of veiled women, for example by Vogue Magazine in New York. And here.
This is not right.  Bottom line, it's a suppression of women's freedom, not a "freedom of choice" for them (whatever they may think: there were slaves who loved their chains).

It’s nonsense to say that wearing a “burqini” is a matter of “freedom of choice”.  (Tug of War Over Faith Played Out On Beaches, [print version of headline] August 28, 2016).  It reflects instead the wishes of elderly Islamic theocrats. When Khomeini overthrew the Shah in 1979 he demanded that Iranian women wear the hijab. Thousands of women took to the streets in protest. Their counter-revolution was quickly crushed. Khomenei’s regime described them as ‘Islamophobic’ for refusing to wear the hijab.
 The results have been dire for Muslim women. I travelled the Middle East in the seventies.  I rarely saw a veil-covered woman. I travelled there in the 2010s and rarely saw an uncovered one.
 Can we seriously think that’s because they want  “freedom of choice”? Of course not.  It reflects the growth of more assertive Islam. The burqini is just the next step from hijab, niqab and burqa. Burqini supporters trash the aspirations of Iranian women who fought their theocratic patriarchy, but were crushed by it.  They trash the aspirations of today’s secular Muslim women who object to religious coverings, but are mocked for it. Burqini wearers and their sartorial fellow travellers support a theocratic religiously mandated gender-based cover-up. And by deploying the nonsense term “Islamophobia” they echo the theocratic patriarchs. Where is the feminism, the liberalism, the toleration in that stance?