Archive for Niqab

UK: Ian Brazier Arrested for “Ripping Veil” Off a Muslim Woman’s Face

Posted in Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , on May 11, 2012 by loonwatch

What kind of man rips a veil off a woman’s face (via. Islamophobia-Watch):

Man arrested for attack on Muslim woman in Solihull

A Shirley man has been summoned to appear at Solihull Magistrates Court after he allegedly ripped a veil from a Muslim woman’s face in Touchwood.

Police reported that Ian Brazier, 26, had grabbed the victim, also 26, by her head and removed her face covering as she walked past the Disney store, on March 3. It’s alleged that he then threw the veil to the floor and left the shopping centre. A Solihull Police spokesman said the woman had not been physically harmed but was left severely shaken by the incident.

Officers tracked down Brazier following a CCTV image appeal. He will now appear at Solihull Magistrates on June 13.

Chief Inspector Kevin Doyle, from Solihull Police Station, said previously: “Reports of crimes like this are exceptionally rare both in Solihull and the wider West Midlands. We are treating this incident as a hate crime as we believe the woman was deliberately targeted because of her faith symbolised by her attire.”

Solihull News, 9 May 2012

Via ENGAGE

SpencerWatch: Bank Robbing: Hard to Kick the “Habit”

Posted in Loon Blogs, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , on April 11, 2012 by loonwatch

 

Bank Robbing: Hard to Kick the “Habit”

Robert Spencer writes in a blog titled, “Philadelphia: Police hunt niqab-wearing bank robbers”:

Here is still more reason why Western countries should take off the multiculturalist straitjacket and ban the burqa and niqab.

Spencer is unable to make legitimate criticisms about Islam or Muslims because underlying all of his half-baked arguments is a weak, fact-less, and hate-mongering core.

In this instance, in order for Spencer to attempt to make his point he succumbs to a baseless ridicule-centered argument by calling the niqab and/or burqa a “multiculturalist straightjacket”.

If one were to go along with Spencer’s logic of why the burqa and niqab should be banned, then he would paradoxically also be an advocate for banning the “habit,” i.e. the traditional catholic garb for nuns.

Just as the burqa/niqab has been used by criminals during bank robberies so has the habit:

The two suspects were both dressed in black sweat pants and sweatshirts and wore nuns’ habits and identical ghoulish rubber masks, with small slits for eyes.

No one calls for the banning of the habit. No one ridicules that religious garb as a symbol of oppression because that would be illogical.

Of course, when Spencer wants to make an anti-Islam/Muslim point he won’t allow common sense or logic to get in the way. This is just another instance of silly Spencer.

Niqab: ‘What if my daughter is afraid of her?’

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 24, 2012 by loonwatch
Niqabi
Women who wear the niqab usually remove it when no men are present, as was the case at the daycare. Photograph by: PHIL NOBLE REUTERS, Freelance

A woman in Canada admits she once held stereotypical views of modest clothing, largely because her impressions of Muslim women were shaped almost exclusively by the media.  A 2010 Time Magazine article found widespread prejudice against Muslims, though 62% of Americans polled didn’t personally know a single Muslim.

Jenn Hardy’s positive experience with a daycare run by Muslim woman who wears a face veil dramatically transformed her views.

‘What if my daughter is afraid of her?’

I used to glare at niqab-wearing women on the street, but then I opened my heart and mind – to a wonderful daycare provider

By Jenn Hardy, Freelance – Montreal Gazette

Not too long ago, if I saw a woman walking down the street with her face covered by a niqab, I would feel it was my duty to glare. As a non-religious feminist, I had decided that a woman who covers her face is oppressed – that she is uneducated, and that her husband is making her cover up because he’s crazy and/or jealous.

OK, I’m exaggerating a little, but you get the point.

And yet until two months ago, I didn’t even really know a single Muslim. I went to high school in an Ottawa suburb, where I was baptized a Catholic so that I could qualify for schooling in the Catholic school system, which was considered better than the more open public system.

We had one year of religious education that gave us a glimpse of world religions. But I’m pretty sure my education about Islam came mainly from CNN, or Fox. I went to university in a small town in Ontario. I didn’t meet any Muslims there, either.

My real education about Islam came very recently, courtesy of a Montreal daycare.

Last December, I was seeking daycare for my daughter. At only 10 months old, she was still very dependent on her parents, and we wanted to find a place that would nurture her – rock her to sleep if need be, warm up my expressed breast milk and even be open to using our cloth diapers.

I punched our address into the magarderie.ca database, and the first one that came up was a 30-second walk from where we would be moving in a matter of weeks. The daycare provider, Sophie, had outlined her views on discipline, praise, healthy foods and the child-centred approach of Montessori. She was someone I felt I could get along with.

I phoned her and we talked for an hour, laughing and chatting and eventually deciding on a time to meet. She shared a great many of the values that my partner and I do. She was also highly educated, trained as a civil engineer.

Before we said goodbye, she added, “Oh, just so you know, I’m Muslim.”

I said I didn’t care, because I didn’t.

She assured me that her daycare didn’t teach religion. Cool.

But then she told me that when she’s in public, she covers her face.

She said the last time she didn’t warn a family over the phone that she wears the niqab, they walked into the meeting and then walked straight out.

I said I didn’t care, but when we got off the phone, I realized I did care. The first thing I thought was, “What if my daughter is afraid of her?”

My family drove over to meet Sophie, her husband and son.

She came to the door, dressed in black from head to toe.

It was the first time I had been in the same room as a woman wearing the niqab.

I felt nervous. But my daughter didn’t flinch.

The daycare was cozy; most of the toys were made of natural materials. There were lots of books, a reading corner and a birdwatching area. Books on Montessori activities lined the shelves. Nothing was battery-operated; there was no television.

It was perfect.

We spoke for a bit, all together in the room before Sophie’s husband put a hand on my fiancé’s back and they went downstairs to see the other half of the daycare. Once the guys left, Sophie took off the niqab.

I could feel my heart and my mind open at that very moment.

My daughter has been going to this daycare for more than two months now, and we are very happy with the care she is given.

When they are inside with the children, the daycare providers (the majority of whom are Muslim) are mostly dressed in plain clothes – jeans and a sweater, long hair pulled back in a loose ponytail. These women do not cover their faces in the presence of children, women or close family.

My daughter isn’t afraid of any of the women who take care of her, whether they have their faces covered or not. On the contrary, she reaches out to them for a hug every morning. To my daughter, the women who work at the daycare are simply the women who hold her when she’s sad, wipe blueberries off her face, clean her snotty nose and change her cloth diapers.

My daughter isn’t growing up with the same ideas about Muslim women that I did.

I’m glad she’s learning something in daycare.

So am I.

JENN HARDY is a freelance journalist and blogger who challenges mainstream parenting at mamanaturale.ca.

Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/What+daughter+afraid/6190977/story.html#ixzz1nJoVJAJs

Daily Mail Trumps Up Non-Existent Muslim Backlash to Unprovocative Photo

Posted in Loon People, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 4, 2012 by loonwatch
An-Sofie_DeWinter_Burka_Bikini
An-Sofie DeWinter Being Used by Her Father Filip DeWinter

This story comes to us via. Bob Pitt at Islamophobia-Watch who writes:

“You can see why the Mail is so keen on this story. It offers the opportunity to scaremonger about a (so far non-existent) “Muslim backlash” while at the same time publishing a picture of a woman in a bikini.”

Belgian politician risks Muslim backlash after using teenage daughter dressed in burka and bikini for campaign against Islam

by Rick Dewsbury (DailyMail)

A Belgian politician has risked causing uproar among Muslims after starting a ‘Women Against Islamization’ campaign featuring his 19-year-old daughter wearing a burka and a bikini.

Filip Dewinter, leader of the far-right Vlaams Belang party, uses a shot of his daughter An-Sofie Dewinter in the dark blue bikini for the political campaign.

The glamorous teenager dons a burka that covers her head and face, while the rest of the Muslim garment is draped over her back.

The provocative image is likely to inflame tensions among Islamic groups and nationalists in the racially-divided country.

The poster shows the words ‘Freedom or Islam?’ written on a red bar across Ms Dewinter’s breasts.

Further down the poster a black panel with the words ‘You choose!’ is seen covering the teenager’s crotch.

The extremist Vlaams Belang party claims that it wants to convince women to take a stand against Islam.

Ms Dewinter told the Belgian press she does not feel used by the party.

She said: ‘I’ve suggested (the poster) myself, I have learned to live with it but I have had everything up to death threats made at me.’

She said that she ‘ wanted to make this statement.’

She added: ‘What is the greatest contrast with a niqab? Nude.

‘The campaign fits in perfectly with how I feel about the whole issue . As women, we must choose: freedom or Islam.’

The teenager claimed that she had been threatened by Muslim groups

She added: ‘Death threats and criticism no longer scare me off.’

Her father, the party’s leader, said: ‘Women are always the first victims of Islam. We want to make clear that they have a choice.’

The potentially incendiary poster comes after The Islamic fundamentalist group Shariah4Belgium was slammed for its aggressive stance.

The group opened the country’s first Sharia court, a putting it on a collision course with the country’s nationalists.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2095862/Belgian-Vlaams-Belang-risks-Muslim-backlash-picture-daughter-burka-bikini.html#ixzz1lS7hIxh8

Dutch Parliament Closer to Banning Veil

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , on January 27, 2012 by loonwatch
Verhagen and Wilders shake hands

(via. Islamophobia-Watch)

Dutch government moves step closer to banning veil

The Dutch Cabinet moved a step closer Friday to banning the burqa, making good on an election promise that is largely symbolic but has broad public support.

Deputy Prime Minister Maxime Verhagen said the Cabinet agreed on plans to ban the head-to-toe Islamic gown along with other forms of face-covering clothing including ski masks. The legislation must still be approved by both houses of the Dutch Parliament, a process that could take months. “We are confident we have a majority,” Interior Minister Liesbeth Spies said.

Once seen as one of the world’s most tolerant nations, the Netherlands has turned increasingly conservative in recent years and is pushing immigrants more to fully assimilate into mainstream Dutch society. Anti-Islam lawmaker Geert Wilders welcomed the decision in a tweet as “fantastic news.”

Like neighboring Belgium, the Dutch government cited security concerns as a reason for the ban and framed it as a move to safeguard public order and allow all people to “fully participate in society”. “People must be able to look one another in the eye,” Verhagen said.

The Dutch decision came despite criticism of the ban from independent advisory panel the Council of State, which reportedly suggested it could amount to an attack on freedom of religion. Verhagen denied ignoring the advice and said ministers took it into account when laying out the reasons underpinning the legislation. The government is confident that by citing public order concerns, the legislation will not breach the European Convention on Human Rights.

Leyla Cakir, head of Muslim women’s organization Al Nisa, said she was surprised and shocked by the decision. “You are taking away women’s right of self-determination, and it is all based on fear,” she said.

But in a statement announcing the decision, the government said it was helping women. “Having to wear a burqa or niqab in public goes against equality of men and women,” the government said. “With this legislation, the Cabinet is removing a barrier to these women participating in society.”

Associated Press, 27 January 2012

See also “Ministers vote for Dutch ‘burqa ban’”, RNW, 27 January 2012

A ban on the veil was part of the deal the VVD and CDA made with Wilders in September 2010, in exchange for his party’s support for their coalition government. However, it would be unfair to accuse Maxime Verhagen of adopting this policy out of mere political expendency. He has a record of Islamophobia going back some years.

Veils: Who are We to Judge?

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , on January 18, 2012 by loonwatch

Niqab

Veils: who are we to judge?

by Anne Kingston (Macleans)

No item of female apparel summons more attention, animosity, debate or censure in Western society than the veil covering Muslim women. That’s saying something in a culture inured to the sight of sweatpants with “Juicy” on the backside, Abercrombie & Fitch’s padded “push-up” swimsuit tops for eight-year-old girls, and women teetering on skyscraper porno heels as hobbling as the “chopines” worn by 16th-century Venetian prostitutes.

Governments are racing to restrict the veil in its various declensions: hijab, chador, abaya, niqab, burka. France and Belgium banned face-and-body concealing burkas and niqabs last year; similar legislation is in the works in other European countries, echoing campaigns to rid cityscapes of minarets. Last June, Muslim women were singled out by FIFA, the world soccer body, which banned players from wearing Islamic headdresses on the grounds they could cause a “choking injury.” The Canadian federal government drew its first line in the sand last month when Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced a ban on face veils during the swearing-in of the citizenship oath. Quebec’s Bill 94, which would deny essential public services to women in niqabs in the name of “public security, communication and identification,” is wending through the legislature.

So what’s really going on here? Why are women many see as subjugated the ones being censured? Part of what’s driving this is the visceral response a veiled face summons in the West: it’s a mystery and a threat. Unless you’re a surgeon, a goalie, a bride or a belly dancer, masking one’s face is anti-social, a prelude to robbing a bank or attending a Ku Klux Klan meeting. Faces confer identity, legally and socially. Covering them can signal Darth Vader menace. It’s dehumanizing.

A covered or veiled woman summons more complex associations, given that female emancipation in the West focused on bodily autonomy and was mirrored in fashion trends—beginning with Coco Chanel, who believed women should share the same liberties as men and replaced restrictive corsets and long skirts with jersey dresses, knits and pants. Instructing a woman to cover up to preserve sexual modesty and prevent lustful thoughts is viewed as archaic and misogynistic—harking back to the Victorians hiding curvy table legs or the kind of dystopian theocracy depicted in Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. The “liberated” woman eschews modesty; any instructive to preserve it is code for oppression, as seen in global “SlutWalks” protesting “victim-blaming” after a Toronto police officer suggested women could avoid sexual assault if they stopped dressing “like sluts.”

Western women may be shackled by clothing and customs—six-inch stilettos, Brazilian waxing, cosmetic surgery, the imperative to be thin—but that’s seen to be their choice, their self-expression within a culture that often conflates female empowerment with female sexuality. A veiled Muslim woman is therefore even more freighted, thought to represent a second-class citizen deprived of identity and isolated from public life, a trapped victim of “gender apartheid,” as witnessed by the horrific acid attack on Afghani schoolgirls who abjured the offensive burka.

Yet we didn’t always see it that way. In the 1990s, the niqab, the veil that leaves only eyes exposed, was exotic, a marketing ploy: Loblaw put a photograph of a woman wearing one on the box for its “Memories of Marrakech” couscous. The “otherness” of a veiled Muslim could occasionally inflame bigotry, as seen in 1994 when female high school students in Montreal were expelled for wearing the hijab; the head scarf worn to preserve modesty was deemed an “ostentatious symbol.” But the burka was off the political radar, with the exception of feminist groups that protested the repression of women in fundamentalist Islamic nations, particularly Afghanistan, where Taliban rule in 1994 torched advances made by women.

Then came 9/11, and the burka was hijacked as a handy accessory for the emerging “war on terror.” The week after the twin towers fell, The Economist sent out a “free trial offer” mailer recycling a February 2000 cover of a woman in a niqab below the line: “Can Islam and Democracy Mix?” The image was sultry, destined to boost subscriptions, even if linking a veiled woman with all of Islam was below the magazine’s usual intellectual rigour. Not all Muslim women wear face-covering veils; many Muslims oppose the practice. The Quran, an enlightened text regarding gender equality, enforces no dress code; “hijab,” or cover, refers to the curtain that separates man and the world from God, not to clothing. Men and women are only called to “lower their gaze and guard their modesty.” Nor are Muslim nations in sync on veiling, which has come to represent an oppression-meter of sorts—from Afghanistan, where women faced a mandatory burka law punishable by death, to Tunisia and Turkey, where burkas are banned in schools and government buildings.

Turkish-born sociologist Necla Kelek dismisses the idea that the burka has anything to do with religion or religious freedoms, but rather represents an ideology whereby “women in public don’t have the right to be human.” France’s Fadéla Amara views the garment as a form of religious obscurantism, “a kind of tomb for women.” In her 2004 book, The Trouble with Islam, Irshad Manji rejects any notion of “spiritual submission” to the veil, calling adherence “closer to cultural capitulation”: “To cover my face because ‘that’s what I’m supposed to do’ is nothing short of brand victory for desert Arabs, whose style has become the most trusted symbol of how to package yourself as a Muslim woman.”

Yet as a symbol, the “desert Arab” packaging of women offered powerful visual shorthand for the indeterminate “war on terror.” It was harnessed to garner support for the invasion of Afghanistan, where the road to female freedom was measured in media reports in terms of women’s access to lipstick and beauty salons. Then the burka was tied to Islamic terrorism itself, linking the “war on terror” with a “war on Islam”: video footage that appeared to show one of the failed July 2005 London bombers wearing a niqab implanted fear that the garment posed a national security threat. That risk migrated to Muslim immigrants’ seeming unwillingness to conform to European and American mores. Even global cultural juggernaut Disney, whose 1992 Aladdin came under fire for promoting racist Arabic stereotypes, joined the hijab jihad last year, telling more than one Magic Kingdom employee that they were “not part of the Disney look.”

We can only await the Disneyfication of the burka, which has acquired near magical powers in its ability to turn right-wing politicians into situational feminists. French President Nicolas Sarkozy called the garment “a debasement” of women that rendered them “prisoners behind a screen, cut off from all social contact, deprived of all identity,” ignoring the fact that his ban would closet these women in their homes. As British writer Myriam Francois-Cerrah, a Muslim, puts it: “[Governments] have a funny idea of liberation: criminalizing women in order to free them.”

Sheema Khan, author of Of Hockey and Hijab: Reflections of a Canadian Muslim Woman, likens the paranoia over female veiling to another trumped-up distraction: “These new WMDs (women in Muslim dress) seem to evoke the same fear as those other WMDs (weapons of mass destruction),” she writes. Khan, who wears the hijab, sees a cultural disconnect over the female body and its display: “Muslim women value their bodies, they simply don’t believe in flashing skin.”

In their covering and attempt to disappear from the public sphere, veiled women have acquired paradoxical power in a society that pays attention to women for what they’re not wearing: as the most visible of visible minorities, they’re a measure of multiculturalism’s limits. And as a graphic reminder of the world’s fastest-growing religion, they test how much religious observation and cultural defiance we’re willing to accommodate—and accept.

Jason Kenney described a covered face as “un-Canadian” when announcing the new citizenship ruling: “Allowing a group to hide their faces while they are becoming members of our community is counter to Canada’s commitment to openness, equality and social cohesion,” he said. The minister admitted he found it “frankly, bizarre” that women had been allowed to veil their faces. Some 81 per cent of Canadians agreed with the veto, according to a Forum Research poll, which raises questions as to whether we’ll see similar rulings in other public spaces; Muslim women’s right to veil their faces while giving testimony is currently being challenged.

Canadian political scientist and Middle East scholar Katherine Bullock predicted that Muslim women would become “the visible link between Western power politics and an anti-veil discourse in the West,” in her 2002 book, Rethinking Muslim Women and the Veil. The University of Toronto professor, a convert to Islam since 1994, wears the hijab. She was prescient: Sarkozy’s targeting of the Muslim minority is viewed by many as a pander to voters on the extreme right.

Bullock challenges the common view that the veil is oppressive and degrading. While she acknowledges the horrific violation of women’s rights in Islamic states, she writes that these must be addressed by the courts, and that a woman’s right to wear the veil should be separate from other human rights issues. That argument is a hard sell in the West, where high-profile murders of Muslim girls and women are associated with their rejection of the veil in “honour killings,” the odious term that segregates extreme domestic violence: Aqsa Parvez, the 16-year-old Mississauga, Ont., girl who was murdered in 2007 by her father and brother for refusing to wear the veil, and the ongoing Shafia trial in Kingston, Ont., in which a husband, wife and son are accused of murdering three teenage girls and a first wife. At that trial an expert prosecution witness overtly raised the connection when speaking of Muslim mores: “A woman’s body is considered to be the repository of family honour,” he said.

That any woman would willingly wear an “ambulatory prison,” as Christine St-Pierre, Quebec’s minister for the status of women, has called the niqab, is a mystery in a culture focused on the exposed female body and the distorted “body image” resulting from artificial Photoshopped standards. Amid “Does this burka make me look fat?” jokes, female Western journalists took the garments out for test drives, reporting back that they were confining, isolating and even elicited hostility, which is predictable. Veiled Muslim women have become doubly dehumanized in the West—by the veil itself and incendiary responses to what it’s seen to represent—which makes them vulnerable to the kind of violent Islamophobic attacks seen in France.

Yet the defiance expressed by hijab and burka wearers confounds the stereotype that they are submissive and lack will. Disney’s hijab ban has been successfully challenged. Last September, Hind Ahmas and Najate Nait Ali made headlines when they were fined for disobeying the French burka ban.

Inscrutable and complex, the veil is a code that can’t readily be cracked. Many women are veiled against their will, it is true, yet many others choose it. The idea that the veil could represent an assertion of identity, defined by daily connection and devotion to God, is alien for many in a secular culture. Liberal ideas of equality and liberty, which distinguish want from need, trump other ways of looking at the topic, says Middle Eastern historian Christina Michelmore, a professor at Chatham College in Pittsburgh, Pa.: “A lot of women want to wear it because they have to,” she told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in 2001. “It was a commandment, and I would obey,” Bullock writes. That’s a mindset alien in the West, Michelmore observes: “For many Americans, cultural restraints on individual behaviour automatically look like oppression. I think that’s a very American look at the world. For lots of cultures, communal standards aren’t seen as inhibiting individual freedoms.”

Women wear the veil as a rejection of Western values, Michelmore notes: “They see it as part of their identity, as separate from this globalized McDonald’s world.” Many of the veil’s most vocal proponents, ironically, are Western women who’ve converted to Islam, among them Tony Blair’s sister-in-law, Lauren Booth, German broadcaster Kristiane Backer, author of the 2009 book From MTV To Mecca, and Yvonne Ridley, of Islam Channel TV. Ridley extols the veil as offering freedom from Western sexism—the male gaze that renders a woman “invisible” after a certain age and undue judgment of women based on their appearance: “What is more liberating: being judged on the length of your skirt and the size of your surgically enhanced breasts, or being judged on your character and intelligence?” she asks. Yet to frame the debate as an either-or duality between two cultures is to ignore the continuity that exists. There’s synchronicity in the burka being stigmatized at the same time female display in the West has geared into cartoonish, hyper-sexualization—the mainstreaming of the stripper aesthetic, the creepy Toddlers and Tiaras commodification of girls, and billboards like Estée Lauder’s: “Beautiful gives her daughter something to look forward to.” A new study from the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism reveals women are increasingly under-represented and overly sexualized in top movies: they’re far more likely to be seen in “sexy” clothing (25.8 per cent, compared to men at 4.7 per cent) and to be partially naked (23.6 per cent compared to 7.4 per cent). Yet the barbaric repression of women in fundamentalist Islamic nations—stoning for adultery, being denied the vote and access to education—renders complaints about continuing gender inequities in the West trivial by comparison, when, in fact, they are all extremes on a vast continuum.

Legislating what women wear under the guise of freedom is a worrisome portent, one Human Rights Watch calls a “lose-lose situation”: “[Burka bans] violate the rights of those who choose to wear the veil and do nothing to help those who are compelled to do so,” Judith Sunderland, a senior researcher with the group, said last April.

Art allows an exploration of the ambiguities that politics cannot. Canadian photographer Lana Slezic captured a fearful complexity in her famous portrait of Lt.-Col. Malali Kakar, Afghanistan’s most senior female police officer, who was murdered by the Taliban in 2008. Taken in profile, the image shows Kakar shrouded in a half burka, holding a handgun, her fingernails painted bright red. The image of the Afghan police officer working to emancipate Afghan women wearing a symbol of oppression upends the assumption that an unseen woman can’t yield power. Last week, Michelle Risinger, an NGO worker, blogged on GenderAcrossBorders.com about a successful uprising in Kabul by women disguised by their burkas; it forced her to redefine the garment “from a symbol of repression to a means of protection, and even the sustainment of women’s empowerment activities.”

Parisian guerrilla artist “Princess Hijab” explores the power of the veil in her work, using a black marker to “hijabize” and “niqabize” billboards to subvert consumer imagery and push cultural boundaries. “The niqab is very powerful, not just religiously,” the artist told Al Jazeera in 2010: “It has been used in fairy tales, it’s part of the collective memory, a symbol of religious observance, mourning and death.” The veil doesn’t belong to a single religious or ethnic group, she points out: “It’s an empowering piece of clothing but it also can be frightening.”

Exiled Iranian artist and filmmaker Shirin Neshat, known for her “Women of Allah” series, similarly creates haunting, powerful images of veiled women, some with guns, their bodies superimposed with Farsi poetry. “Western culture generally tends to mystify women behind a veil,” Neshat told hEyOkA magazine: “It seems ironic but true that the more a female body is covered, the more desirable it becomes. Therefore much of the credit goes to the phenomena behind Islamic culture that by controlling female sexuality, it ironically heightens the notions of temptation, desire and eroticism.”

That would explain the bizarre spectre of the increasing sexual fetishization of the burka in the West. In 2003, rapper Lil’ Kim appeared in a half-burka, naked below, on a magazine cover. In 2009, Mattel endorsed a “Burka Barbie.” The pneumatic plastic doll, once banned in Iran as a threat to “morality,” was outfitted in lime-green and Day-Glo orange “burkas” and auctioned off at Sotheby’s for Save the Children. A few months ago, Kim Kardashian, of sex tape infamy, pranced around in a burka in Dubai. Paparazzi swarmed. It was defiant, outrageous, more shocking than nudity. And anyone who sees it as cultural progress hasn’t been paying attention.

GTA Woman has Niqab Pulled Off in Assault

Posted in Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , on November 26, 2011 by loonwatch

How much do you want to bet that the woman who attacked Inas Kadri is a reader of AtlasShrugs or JihadWatch?

GTA woman has niqab pulled off in assault

(CBC News)

A Muslim woman from Mississauga, Ont., who had her niqab pulled from her face at a local mall, says her young children no longer feel secure with only her nearby.

Inas Kadri, whose assault at Sheridan Centre in Mississauga was caught on a security camera, spoke to CBC News on Tuesday as she awaits the sentencing of the woman who attacked her.

Kadri was shopping with her three-year-old son and two-year-old daughter when she was approached by two women. One of the women began swearing at her, about her religion and her veil, telling her, “Leave our country. Go back to your country,” Kadri said.

The woman can be seen in the video grabbing Kadri’s veil and pulling her off-camera. The attacker walked away while Kadri ran for help.

“Being attacked for no reason — for no reason — that’s something difficult,” she said.

Kadri’s victim impact statement reads, in part, that, “My kids don’t feel secure with me alone, and always prefer to have someone bigger in size than me to feel safe.”

The accused, Rosemarie Creswell, pleaded guilty after the video was played in court.

When CBC News spoke to Creswell on the phone, she admitted to pulling off the veil but insisted it was all just a misunderstanding, before hanging up mid-interview.

Kadri believes the attack was motivated by hate, which could bring a stiffer sentence.

York University law professor Faisal Kutty, who is Muslim, will watch for the judge’s sentencing Friday with interest.

“As Canadians in a multicultural, liberal, democratic society, I think we need to send a clear message and I hope the judge does so,” he said.

Kadri said she won’t stop wearing her face veil no matter what anyone else says or does.

“Not my father, not my husband, not no one at all,” she said. ” It’s me, and it’s my choice.”

Muslim Woman Assaulted in an Alleged Hate Crime in New York, Civil Rights Violation Lawyer Investigates

Posted in Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , on July 18, 2011 by loonwatch

(via. Islamophobia-Today)

Muslim Woman Assaulted in an Alleged Hate Crime in New York, Civil Rights Violation Lawyer Investigates

By: The Perecman Firm

New York civil rights lawyer David Perecman comments on allegations of an possible attack on a burka-wearing woman in Harlem. New York City police are investigating whether the attack was a hate crime.

Aissatou Diallo claims that two women, one back and one white, attacked her as she was walking in Harlem. She said she was called a “f–king terrorist” and punched after she asked one of the women to stop taking pictures of her. The pair allegedly then ran off only to return and throw Diallo to the floor, pull off her burka and curse at her.

Both women who allegedly attacked Diallo have been arrested on assault charges. NYPD hate crime detectives are investigating whether the crime was a bias attack.

In New York, civil rights violation lawyers understand that being charged with a hate crime can increase the severity of an assault or battery charge.

“Being charged for a hate crime can make a rotten situation even worse for someone arrested in New York,” civil rights violation lawyer Perecman said.

New York civil rights violation lawyer Perecman is the founder of The Perecman Firm, one of New York’s civil rights violation law firms.

Original post: Muslim Woman Assaulted in an Alleged Hate Crime in New York, Civil Rights Violation Lawyer Investigates

Tango in Paris with a Niqabi

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , on May 9, 2011 by loonwatch

A very interesting clip from a group called Red Rag Productions in which a Niqabi dances tango with her partner. It probably is a shocking clip for many to see as they consider Niqabis disenfranchised and inexpressive:

Probably not what you would expect on your morning commute to work!

Red Rag Productions describes itself as,

an independent film production company based in London. Red Rag is dedicated to making high quality documentaries and films on a range of controversial and contemporary issues, in particular those affecting minorities in European societies.

They are currently working on a documentary on the lives of 4 Muslim women in three different European cities and the tensions involved with “a Europe often reluctant to come to terms with women who are asserting their Muslim identities.” Check out there website: Red Rag Productions.

Jeanne Ruby: Retired English Teacher Fined for Attack on Niqabi

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 5, 2010 by loonwatch

France has chose over the past year or so to focus extensively on the face-veil and Islam related issues under the cover of integrating the “Muslim immigrant” population.

However such moves have led to an increasing stigmatization of the the Muslim minority and invariably to a wider chasm in society in which bigotry is openly professed and accepted. One such case is the attack on a tourist from the Emirates who was wearing a Niqab in a clothing store by a French retiree named Jeanne Ruby.

AlJazeera Report:

She was eventually given a suspended sentence and charged 1,000 Euros. Essentially a slap on the hand.

From Molly Norris, who we support and is one the Anti-Loons of the year:

 

French Lower House of Parliament Vote to Ban Face Veil

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 13, 2010 by loonwatch

The latest development in the face veil ban legislation in France.

French MPs vote to ban Islamic full veil in public

France’s lower house of parliament has overwhelmingly approved a bill that would ban wearing the Islamic full veil in public.

There were 335 votes for the bill and only one against in the 557-seat National Assembly.

It must now be ratified by the Senate in September to become law.

The ban has strong public support but critics point out that only a tiny minority of French Muslims wear the full veil.

Many of the opposition Socialists, who originally wanted the ban limited only to public buildings, abstained from voting after coming under pressure from feminist supporters of the bill.

President Nicolas Sarkozy has backed the ban as part of a wider debate on French identity but critics say the government is pandering to far-right voters.

After the vote, Justice Minister Michele Alliot-Marie said it was a victory for democracy and for French values.

“Values of freedom against all the oppressions which try to humiliate individuals; values of equality between men and women, against those who push for inequality and injustice.”

The vote is being closely watched in other countries, the BBC’s Christian Fraser reports from the French capital Paris.

Spain and Belgium are debating similar legislation, and with such large-scale immigration in the past 20 or 30 years, identity has become a popular theme across Europe, our correspondent says.

‘Open-faced democracy’

The bill would make it illegal to wear garments such as the niqab or burka, which incorporate a full-face veil, anywhere in public.

It envisages fines of 150 euros (£119) for women who break the law and 30,000 euros and a one-year jail term for men who force their wives to wear the burka.

The niqab and burka are widely seen in France as threats to women’s rights and the secular nature of the state.

“Democracy thrives when it is open-faced,” Ms Alliot-Marie told the National Assembly when she presented the bill last week.

She stressed the bill, which makes no reference to Islam or veils, was not aimed at “stigmatising or singling out a religion”.

Berengere Poletti, an MP from Mr Sarkozy’s centre-right UMP party, said women in full veils wore “a sign of alienation on their faces” and had to be “liberated”.

Andre Gerin of the Communist opposition compared the veil to “a walking coffin, a muzzle”.

‘Fear of foreigners’

The bill is also seen as a touchstone for the Sarkozy administration’s policy of integration. It is grappling with disaffected immigrant communities as it seeks to prevent a repeat of the mass unrest of 2005 on run-down French housing estates.

PATH TO VEIL BAN

But critics point to government studies showing that many women do not fit the stereotype of marginalised, oppressed women.

There are estimated to be only about 2,000 women wearing the full veil in France though the bill is opposed by many of France’s five million Muslims.

Mohammed Moussaoui, the head of the French Council of the Muslim Faith, a government advisory body, has supported taking steps to discourage women from wearing the full veil but has said a legal ban would stigmatise a vulnerable group.

Jean Glavany, a Socialist MP, said he opposed the ban on the grounds that it was “nothing more than the fear of those who are different, who come from abroad, who aren’t like us, who don’t share our values”.

The Council of State, France’s highest administrative body, warned in March that the law could be found unconstitutional.

If the bill passes the Senate in September, it will be sent immediately to France’s Constitutional Council watchdog for a ruling.

Another challenge is possible at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, where decisions are binding.

In another development, a French businessman, Rachid Nekkaz, said he would set up a 1m-euro fund to help women pay fines imposed under the new law.

A ban in the street would violate constitutional principles, he argued.

 

Belgian School Fires Teacher for Wearing Veil

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , on June 9, 2010 by loonwatch

Belgium beat France to the face veil ban, looks like the fall out is already being felt.

Belgian School Sacks Teacher for Wearing Veil (via Islamophobia-Watch)

A Belgian high school on Tuesday sacked a Muslim maths teacher after she insisted she would continue to wear the burqa while taking classes.

At the start of the academic year authorities at the school in Charleroi, south of Brussels, told the Turkish-born teacher to remove her full-face Islamic veil, which she had been wearing during class for two and a half years. The teacher refused and took her case to court.

In the first instance the Charleroi tribunal backed the school board, citing the religious “neutrality” of the schools serving Belgium’s francophone community. However, in March the appeals court ruled that the school in question came under the jurisdiction of Charleroi, which had not issued rules on the banning of religious insignia. The Muslim teacher therefore returned to school, but the municipality soon afterwards introduced its own ban on the wearing of “all religious or philosophical symbols”.

On Tuesday officials at the school, after auditioning the teacher in presence of the mayor, decided to sack her for her continued refusal to leave her burqa at home, according to a statement issued by the town hall.

AFP, 8 June 2010

 

Spain: Lerida Bans the Face Veil

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , on June 1, 2010 by loonwatch

I can foresee the day when every country in Europe imposes a ban on the face veil.

Lerida Bans Face Veil (via. Islamophobia-Watch)

The town council voted to prohibit the “use of the veil and other clothes and accessories which cover the face and prevent identification in buildings and installations of the town hall.”

The vote, by 23 to one with two abstentions, is the first of its kind in Spain, a country where Islamic veils and the body-covering burqas are little in evidence despite a large Muslim population.

The move is aimed at promoting “respect for the dignity of women and values of equality and tolerance,” the town hall said in a statement.

The Islamic veil has sparked intense debate in many European countries, with Belgian deputies last month backing a draft law banning the garment in all public places, including on the streets, in a first for Europe.

France’s cabinet has also approved a draft law to ban the full-face veil from public spaces, opening the way for the text to go before parliament in July.

The issue is a relatively new one for Spain, an overwhelmingly Roman Catholic country which has seen the number of immigrants living within its borders soar from around half a million in 1996 to 5.6 million last year, out of a total population of 46 million people.

Moroccans make up one of the largest immigrant communities.

 

USA Today: Niqab ban is a bad move

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , on May 28, 2010 by loonwatch

Here is a nice article from USA Today:

Our view on religious attire: Europe’s moves to ban veils hand ammo to extremists

.
From the realm of truly terrible ideas comes this: Parts of Europe suddenly seem enthralled with banning the burqa and niqab, Islamic attire that hides the face.

French President Nicholas Sarkozy has pushed the idea for months. He wants to create a new crime, “inciting to hide the face” in public, punishable by a fine of $185. Next door in Belgium, similar legislation has passed one house of Parliament. Bans are under discussion, with uncertain outcome, in Switzerland and the Netherlands as well. In another measure of growing European angst about Islam, Switzerland has banned the construction of minarets, the prayer towers on mosques.

.
But France, home to a third of Europe’s Muslims, is the epicenter of the debate, and the current proposal is the second round in a longer fight. France banned Muslim head scarves in schools and government offices in 2004. The new plan goes further, applying not just to public facilities or security checkpoints (which would make sense) but to all public places.

Sarkozy and others justify this on the grounds that face-covering veils are a symbol of the oppression of women, an expression of radicalism and, most important, an offense to France’s rigidly secular state. There is some truth to all of this. For reasons deeply rooted in French history, France officially treats religion as something to be practiced in private but muffled in public, and the nation is obsessive about protecting a homogenous culture. The concept is so alien to freewheeling U.S. ways that Americans might be tempted to see the entire debate as just another French anomaly, akin to its worries about the cultural impact of Disney or McDonald’s.

But religion isn’t a Big Mac, and the spreading bans are a marker of desperation as Europe struggles to deal with its large and estranged Muslim communities. The continent is home to more than five times as many Muslims as the United States, and its nations lack America’s knack for assimilating immigrants. Muslims live mostly among themselves as an economic underclass. Many of the young are underemployed, restless and resentful. Zacarius Moussaoui, the 9/11 conspirator, sprang from such roots. So did Mohammed Bouyeri, the Dutch Muslim who murdered filmmakerTheo van Gogh.

Surely, banning any peaceful Muslim religious practice is a needless affront that hands ammunition to radical mullahs who recruit others for similar missions by claiming that there is a Western “war on Islam.”

It is not as if the streets of Paris are teeming with burqa-clad women. The French Interior Ministry estimates that only 1,900 women in the entire country (population: 65 million) wear veils that fully hide the face. In Belgium, it’s a few hundred.

This is a threat?

As for Sarkozy’s claim that the burqas and niqabs oppress women, he is partly right. Men sometimes force them on their wives and daughters. Burqas, particularly, are controversial even in the Muslim world. But there are also plenty of women who wear them by choice.

There’s little the U.S. can do about any of this, even by persuasion. The cultural gap is too vast, and France has no First Amendment guaranteeing individual freedom. All the same, common sense suggests that telling women what they can wear is not only unjust. It seems certain to backfire.

 

CNN: Woman fined for face-covering veil

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 6, 2010 by loonwatch
The Italians banned niqab because it scared some children.  Will they ban this guy too?An Italian mayor banned niqab because it frightened some elementary school children. Will they ban this guy too?

My comments appear in brackets:

Woman fined for face-covering veil

By the CNN Wire Staff
May 4, 2010 — Updated 1456 GMT (2256 HKT)

Rome, Italy (CNN) — A woman in Italy has been fined €500 ($653) for wearing a veil that covered a large part of her face, in violation of a local ordinance, an official in Novara, Italy, said Tuesday…

The city has an ordinance preventing people from wearing clothes that cover the face and full body. The fine marked the first time the ordinance was enforced, Frazinelli said…

Under a 1975 national anti-terrorism law [wtf!?], Italy prohibits the covering of one’s face in public places.

In January of this year, Novara Mayor Massimo Giordano and the city council passed an ordinance prohibiting the wearing of clothes that fully hide the face of either men or women. The ordinance does not specifically name traditional Muslim garments such as the niqab or the burqa — which completely covers the face and body — nor does it mention Islam.

The ordinance applies only to the city of Novara, which has a population of about 100,000, out of which 8 percent are immigrants. [This is the crux of the issue: them damn immigrants!  Xenophobic inspired legislation, just like in Arizona.] Franzinelli said he estimates that about 4,000 to 5,000 Muslims live in Novara, and that most female Muslims either wear a veil, which covers the hair, or no head covering.

It is rare, he said, to see a woman wearing a niqab or burqa [yet we were still forced to pass this xenophobic legislation].

The mayor was prompted to push the ordinance after he saw children become frightened when a woman wearing a burqa went to their elementary school, Franzinelli said. [This is a great lesson to teach children.]

Giordano said of the ordinance, “It is the only way to favor integration.” [You meanassimilation.]

Belgium’s chamber of deputies last week passed a measure banning face coverings for women, which must still be approved by the senate and king before becoming law.

France is also mulling legislation that would ban face and head coverings for women.

 

Reuters: European push to ban burqas appalls Afghan women

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 2, 2010 by loonwatch

niqab

(hat tip: MuslimMatters.org)

(Reuters) – A firm believer in women’s rights, the only thing Afghan lawmaker Shinkai Karokhail finds as appalling as being forced to wear a burqa is a law banning it.

Karokhail is one of many Afghan women who see a double standard in efforts by some European nations to outlaw face veils and burqas — a move they say restricts a Muslim woman’s choice in countries that otherwise make a fuss about personal rights.

“Democratic countries should not become dictatorships and Muslim women should not be deprived from all kinds of opportunities. It should be their choice,” said Karokhail.

“Otherwise, what is the difference between forcing women to wear a burqa and forcing them not to? It is discrimination.”

France, which has the largest Muslim population in Europe, as well as Italy and Belgium are considering proposals to ban all-enveloping burqas and face veils called niqabs. Many in the West see them as a symbol of the subjugation of women.

In France, government and opposition lawmakers call burqas an affront to the country’s secular traditions, though an advisory board has said a banning them may be unlawful.

In deeply conservative Afghanistan, the Taliban made wearing a burqa mandatory for all women during their five-year rule that ended with the U.S-led invasion in 2001. It is still widely worn in the Muslim country, especially in rural areas and the south.

Shukriya Ahmadi, a 35-year-old Afghan government employee, has ditched the burqa since the days of being forced to wear it during Taliban rule. Still, she has only scorn for Western governments seeking to outlaw them.

“This shows they use democracy, freedom of religion and human rights issues only when it suits their purposes,” Ahmadi said.

PUNISH THE MEN

She suspects burqa legislation will only help a resurgent Taliban in Afghanistan gain support from outraged Muslims and win recruits for their insurgency campaign against the Afghan government and U.S.-led NATO forces.

University student Farida, 20, is another Afghan woman who says the move smacks of a double standard.

“I have never worn a burqa and do not like it,” she said. “But why would the West, which calls itself a supporter of democracy take such a decision? I am perplexed and sad.”

Even one of Afghanistan’s most outspoken and controversial women, former lawmaker Malalai Joya, is a staunch opponent of efforts to ban burqas or tight headscarves called hijabs.

She dislikes burqas, but wears it anyways as a cloak of protection from warlords she has been critical of in the past.

“As much as I am against imposing the hijab on women, I am also against its total ban. It should be regarded a personal matter of every human being and it should be up to women if they prefer to wear it or not,” she told Reuters by email.

“It is against the very basic element of democracy to restrict a human being from wearing the clothes of his/her choice. These governments better punish those men who force women to wear hijab, but if any woman wears it out of her own wish, there should be no ban on it.”

source

 

Belgium’s Lower House Bans Burka

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 29, 2010 by loonwatch

woman-in-face-veil-file-pic

Around 30 women wear the Burqa in all of Belgium.

Belgian lawmakers pass burka ban

The law would ban any clothing that obscures the identity of the wearer in places like parks and on the street. No-one voted against it.

The law now goes to the Senate, which is also expected to approve it. It would then become law by June or July.

The ban would be the first move of its kind in Europe.

Only around 30 women wear this kind of veil in Belgium, out of a Muslim population of around half a million.

The BBC’s Dominic Hughes in Brussels says MPs backed the legislation on the grounds of security, to allow police to identify people.

Other MPs said that the full face veil was a symbol of the oppression of women, our correspondent says.

The ban would be imposed in all buildings or grounds that are “meant for public use or to provide services”, including streets, parks and sports grounds.

Exceptions could be made for certain festivals.

Those who break the law could face a fine of 15-25 euros (£13-£27) or a seven-day jail sentence.

The Muslim Executive of Britain has criticised the move, saying it would lead to women who do wear the full veil to be trapped in their homes.

 

Belgian Committee Votes to Ban Face Veil

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , on April 5, 2010 by loonwatch
BelgiumBelgium

Belgium is home to about half a million Muslims, around a dozen or so who wear the face veil, but feels threatened enough to move to ban the veil.

Belgian Committee Votes to Ban Face Veil (via. Islamophobia-Watch)

A Belgian parliamentary committee has voted to ban face-covering Islamic veils from being worn in public.

The home affairs committee voted unanimously to endorse the move, which must be approved by parliament for it to become law. Such a vote could be held within weeks, correspondents say, meaning that Belgium could become the first European country to implement a ban.

The BBC’s Dominic Hughes reports from Brussels that there are about 500,000 Muslims in Belgium, and the Belgian Muslim Council says only a couple of dozen wear full-face veils.

Several districts of Belgium have already banned the burka in public places under old local laws originally designed to stop people masking their faces completely at carnival time.

The wording of the draft law approved by the parliamentary committee says the ban would apply to areas accessible to the public – which would include people walking in the street or using public transport – and would be enforced by fines or even prison.

Denis Ducarme, from the Belgian centre-right Reformist Movement that proposed the bill, said he was “proud that Belgium would be the first country in Europe which dares to legislate on this sensitive matter”. A colleague, Corinne De Parmentier, said: “We have to free women of this burden.”

BBC News, 31 March 2010

See “Europe’s Paranoia on Veil”, MCB press release, 31 March 2010

 

Quebec Predictably Follows France’s Lead

Posted in Feature, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 17, 2010 by loonwatch

niqab

The Niqab issue has hit North American shores. Is it a result of the divisive dialogue and law slated for spring in France that will effectively ban the face veil? This seems likely as Quebec, the French speaking Canadian province seems to be headed in the same direction.

The veil is a hot topic of debate even amongst Muslims but one point that both sides of the debate, those who do and don’t find the face veil to be an obstacle can agree upon is that it is not the job of the government to legislate what women can and cannot wear. It seems to be the height of intrusiveness for a government to inject itself into the wardrobes of women. Western nations who pride themselves on being democracies and valuing freedom should know better then to do that.

Quebec Body Rules Against Right to Wear Niqab

A woman wearing the niqab cannot demand to be served by another woman when dealing with the Quebec Health Insurance Board, Quebec’s human-rights commission has ruled.

Concluding that religious beliefs cannot stand in the way of gender equality, the commission found that when a woman wearing the Islamic face covering is required to identify herself and proceed with the photo session needed to produce a health insurance card, the Health Insurance Board has no obligation to accommodate her request to be served by a woman.

“Since freedom of religion was not significantly undermined, there is no obligation to grant an accommodation,” the order states.

The health board had previously agreed to such requests. But last fall critics argued that the health board was acceding to religious fundamentalism.

The decision was greeted with approval in Quebec’s National Assembly yesterday by MNAs of all political stripes.

Immigration Minister Yolande James suggested the ruling will form the basis of new guidelines on religious accommodation for public services, following on the action taken last week to bar a woman from attending a free French language class for immigrants unless she agreed to take off her niqab.

Globe and Mail, 17 March 2010

Not the best video from the Young Turks but interesting nonetheless. I particularly agree with the guy about how speaking with a face veil is not an obstacle in understanding or learning.

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/user/TheYoungTurks#p/u/9/_1D_0CLBZVY 350 300]

In the end this is about free choice, a choice that does not effect anyone else, a choice that does not hinder a woman from going about the normal activities of daily life. Next we are going to be hearing about grocery stores not allowing people in who wear the face veil.

 

UK: Jack Straw Rejects the Veil Ban

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , on February 10, 2010 by loonwatch
Jack StrawJack Straw

Jack Straw you might remember asked a Muslim woman to remove her veil. (via Islamophobia-Watch)

Jack Straw Rejects the Veil Ban

Banning women from wearing the burka on the streets of Britain would be a waste of police time, Justice Secretary Jack Straw said today.

He told MPs he did not think police should be instructed to remove the garments from women who wore them for “religious or cultural reasons”. Mr Straw, who has in the past raised concerns about Muslim women wearing the veil, said he would “strongly recommend against a change in the law”.

At Commons question time he said: “All of us may have views about the wearing of the burka, but I do not believe that this is a matter which should be the subject of the criminal law in which we were expecting the police to remove these items of apparel from women who choose for religious or cultural reasons to wear them. That should have no part of the system of law in the United Kingdom.”

Asian Image, 9 February 2010