2017-04-28, modified 2017-04-30
A summary of my opinion of the Islamist veil and its various versions: hijab, tchador, niqab, burqa, burkini, etc.
Sommaire en français Un résumé de mon opinion au sujet du voile islamiste dans toutes ses variantes : hijab, tchador, niqab, burqa, burkini, etc.
- The Islamist veil is not a mere article of clothing. Rather, it is an advertisement for fundamentalist Islam, an indicator of affinity with political Islam, a flag of totalitarian Islamofascism.
- The Islamist veil is not an article of Muslim clothing. Rather, it is an article of clothing imposed by Muslim fanatics, i.e. Islamists, and worn by women who are either controlled by those fanatics or, in the less frequent case of a women who wears it volontary, objectively allied with them. Secular and modern Muslim women do not wear it. It is an article of radical, fundamentalist, extremist Muslim clothing. That is of course especially true of the full veil such as the niqab.
- Most women who wear the Islamist veil are forced by family or community to do so, and the punishment for disobedience can be severe. Those who wear it willingly, without being forced to do so, are displaying solidarity with religious extremism, whether or not they are fully aware of the implications of their choice. Of course it is not always easy to tell whether the veil is worn willingly or not, but some women, especially in the West, are quite open about their choosing to wear this flag of political Islam.
- The Islamist veil is very different from many other religious symbols, not at all comparable to the Christian crucifix or the veil worn by Christian nuns. The crucifix is not imposed (with severe penalties for disobedience). The nun’s habit is imposed only on an elite in which participation is limited to those who must pass strict standards to be admitted.
- Women in non-Muslim countries who wear the Islamist veil by choice display a cruel contempt for women suffering under the veil in Muslim-majority countries where it is imposed. This is especially true for the non-Muslim western woman who foolishly adopts the hijab for a day as an expression of “solidarity” with Muslim women whereas objectively she is showing solidarity with the oppressors of those women, that is, with the Islamists who impose the veil on them.
- One may be of the opinion that Salem Ben Ammar exaggerates when he declares that the Occidental Muslim woman is the worst enemy of the Oriental Muslim woman. However if by “Occidental Muslim woman” we mean one who wears the veil willingly, I would agree with Ben Ammar. I would say that those who wear the Islamist veil willingly are religious fanatics or at least objectively allied with religious fanatics.
- The Islamist veil is a marker of segregration, keeping Muslims separate from other “inferior” people. It also sends the message that religious affiliation (for Muslims) is more important than other attributes.
- The Islamist veil sends the message that the woman wearing it is pure and that other women who do not wear it are impure. That is especially true for Muslim and ex-Muslim women: no veil means she is a slut and/or an apostate. From the point of view of fundamentalist Muslim men, veiled women are “good” women to be respected and possibly married, while unveiled women are sluts to be abused.
- The Islamist veil is an expression of rape culture. See the previous point.
- The Islamist veil is a tool for proselytism, propaganda and conquest.
- It is only reasonable to ban religious symbols worn by individuals working in an official capacity, such as public servants while on duty. To allow such symbols would be to grant privileges to religion: i.e. to discriminate in favour of religious believers to the detriment of non-believers; and to assign greater importance to religious beliefs than to political opinions. The Islamist veil must of course be banned for this reason (for civil servants on duty) along with other, less invasive symbols, those which are not so heavily laden with implications. However we must not forget that the Islamist veil is more than just a religious symbol: it is also a sort of ambulatory prison which debases and demeans women. The extreme versions of the Islamist veil, those such as the niqab and burqa which obscure the face, are even more demeaning.
- The Islamist veil is a contemptible flag-rag. To interpret it otherwise, to adopt an attitude of complacency with respect to its propagation, to minimize its significance, to treat it like a mere article of clothing or, even worse, consider it to be some kind of badge of personal freedom or even feminism as some false progressives stupidly do, is counterproductive and dangerous. Such a foolish attitude by some who call themselves liberal or leftist has two consequences: (1) it indicates to members of the general public who are legitimately anxious about Islamism that they have been abandoned by “progressives” who should be the most assiduous critics of religious extremism and, as a consequence, (2) it emboldens and strengthens the political right.
Women in non-Muslim countries who wear the Islamist veil by choice display a cruel contempt for women suffering under the veil in Muslim-majority countries where it is imposed.
The Islamist veil sends the message that the woman wearing it is pure and that other women who do not wear it are impure.
“There is a certain bad faith in the illusion that one can wear the veil today and say that it is a strictly personal choice. It is a denial of responsibility, given that so many women do not have the freedom to make such a sovereign choice …”
Delphine Horvilleur, quoted by Christian Rioux.
“When a woman adopts the veil, she is submitting to a humiliating, discriminatory practice which evokes the physical impurity (menstruation), symbolic impurity (Eve the temptress) and social impurity (devoid of nobility) of women. All of Islam rests on that pillar: misogyny, hierarchy, domination and the dichotomy between halal (permissible) and haram (forbidden).”
“Western women who wear the veil contribute to the subservience of women elsewhere in the world for whom wearing the veil is an obligation.”
Mona Eltahawy, author of “Headscarves and Hymens, Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution”
Next blog: Notes on the Regressive Left, Part I