Banning burqas? What are your thoughts?

Jennifer - posted on 08/04/2011 ( 37 moms have responded )

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I just saw were Spain is trying to follow France and Italy and bann Muslim women from wearing burqas. My first thought was why? If it is 'public safety' shouldn't they also ban large bags and backpacks? If it is for womens rights, well, that makes no sense! Like it or not, some women do choose this life for themselves. I don't like it, but why should I, or anyone else get to tell another woman she can't believe that way! Maybe I'm sensitive due to the many Muslim familys I've met, some who are very traditional. Maybe it's my American up bringing, freedom of religion. Or maybe it's that I'm sick of these women being told what to wear and what not to wear!! Is this better than the taliban forcing them to wear it? I know there are Muslims who are nuts. I read the papers, get the news. But what about the wacked out "Christians", the crazy in Norway; protesting at funerals; burning the Koran; Timothy McVey; Neo-nazis; even Adolf Hitler!

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Mary - posted on 08/05/2011

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I don't think an outright ban of burqas is necessary, but I do think that those who chose to wear them need to understand that their religious and cultural practices do not deserve any more respect or protection than that of other citizens. The incident in Australia that Erin mentions is a good example; anyone pulled over for a traffic violation (or other offense) would be expected to remove any type of facial covering. Your religion does not exempt you from the laws of the society you chose to live in.

I think the burqas are hard for some of us to swallow, because there is that undercurrent of female subordination that does not sync with the rest of the modern world. Yes, the nuns used to wear some ridiculous habits, but they are a group whose members electively chose this lifestyle, and were ruled by other women. Funnily enough, many women who chose to become nuns did so because they found a future of a male-dominated marriage unappealing. As a nun, they were "free" to pursue further education, and become not just teachers or nurses, but the administrators of their own facilities. They actually enjoyed much more freedom, respect, and autonomy than they would have as a "normal" woman in society. Wearing that habit out and about actually gave them a level of respect, authority, deference from the general public that women otherwise did not receive. As the role of women in society changed, those habits (as well as their population) fell to the wayside. I went through 12 years of Catholic School in the states. I think only two of the nuns who taught me still wore any type of habit, and both of them were ancient.

Burqas, in comparison, do not have any similar positive connotations in modern society, since they are so closely associated with culture of female oppression. Unfortunately, that makes it much easier for society to justify these types of bans. I don't personally "get" this culture, but I do know that doing something as confrontational as an all-out ban is not the way to go.

Ez - posted on 08/06/2011

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I could support a legislation that required them to uncover their face in those same public spaces as people must remove helmets (as I said in my PP). And that is the line some advocates for this ban are taking here. But when I read things like a 'friend's status that said 'No Mosque going in at ___________, now that calls for a Celebration', it makes me suspect the push for the ban is based on more than the practicalities of identification, and more on bigotry.

Oh and just to clarify, the mosque being discussed was denied due to traffic congestion (which I happen to agree with in this particular location). But the people commenting on that status were not happy for those reasons :-/

Johnny - posted on 08/04/2011

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I'm not a fan of burqas or banning them. I must agree with the OP and what Becky said. I do not like anyone telling a woman what to wear. The government nor her husband. I will say that I see them more often now, and it only really gets under my skin when the woman's face is veiled. Somehow, the rest of it seems just like a fashion choice, but once you have to hide your face, it seems so demeaning. Especially since one of the reasons so often used to defend veiling is that if a man sees the woman's face he will not be able to control himself. That's just like the "you deserve to get raped if you dress like a slut". The world needs to stop telling women what to wear and start expecting men to control themselves.

But I digress, I am very much opposed to the banning of religious clothing or symbols, despite my personal misgivings about religion. It is your body and you have the right to decide what to put on it. As long as it is not endangering others, anything goes IMO.

Tina - posted on 08/07/2012

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Its complicated.



- I have been comfortable having ladies wear burqas however, I end up realising that these women I am standing up for, actually start commenting on my dressing .



- I have had instances when I have had burqa clad ladies commenting on my dressing openly and they sound so hostile and antagonised, I certainly feel they are washed in the brain.



- There is nothing wrong in wearing what you want, but then again , If I am taught to murder from childhood and am told its the right thing to do, I could almost swear thats exactly what I would do when I was older. What I mean is , burqa by choice at a later stage of life is fine. Being told from childhoood you have to wear a burqa , is nOT !



- If you are used to something all your life, life without it feels incomplete. Try putting a ring on your finger and keep it on 24 /7 for six months and then try removing it.. your finger would feel really weird.



I AM recently becoming ANTI Burqa because of these rational reasons . And the ungrateful burqa ladies are not helping their own cause by commenting on my dressing sense from time to time. ! I am no saint after all !



And PLEASE DO NOT MAKE THSIS SYNONYMOUS to EUropeans having invaded america, then india etc .

So they have to wear saris etc....



That is not the correct example! Those people conquered in the quest of greed !



When he speak of Religious dressing or religion itself, it enters another realm of topics ...



I am sure what I say makes a lot of sense and a lot of women will agree with me! If not openly , then discreetly.



Currently I am ANTI Burqa just for hte simple reason that I KNOW the same women I stand up for will NEVER stand up for me and my dressing if and when tables turn and I am in the minority!

Charlie - posted on 08/06/2011

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Does that mean the anglo saxons that invaded Australia , America , India ect ect should have all donned a pelt or head dress or wore a sari ?

Shouldnt we adopt the native peoples clothing if we are going to discriminate and enforce ....Im just not understanding the idea that when a person moves to a country they must wear the uniform.

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[deleted account]

Hi Tina - you raise some interesting points. BTW What country are you from?

This is such a tricky question. If I stick up for somebody's rights when that person doesn't stick up for mine does that make me a) and idiot, or b) on the moral highground?

I personally would like to be on the moral highground (as I perceive it).

Teresa - posted on 08/07/2011

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I feel like it is their country and if they want to ban anything, it is their right to do so. They obviously see burqas as a threat in some way to their public safety so more power to them.

[deleted account]

Hi Jen - sorry I was being flippant - my mum isn't a Muslim, she is a Christian who thinks everybody else is completely wrong and Christianity are the one key to the truth.

The funny thing was when I read Ayaan Hirsi I was reminded of the sort of things my mother says all the time about Islam.

Caitlin - posted on 08/06/2011

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For the purposes of identification , they should be required to remove it 100% of the time. IN places where covering the head (banks and polling stations) is forbidden for those reasons, they should suck it up, sorry call me intolerant, but in their country they aren't even allowed to drive, so if they want to come over here and drive, learn to respect our rules.

I had a laughing fit about 2 years ago, becauyse I saw a woman in a hijab waling downtown, but what I found funny wasn't that, it was that everything else she was wearing was skintight/spandex type clothing, and showed EVERY curve on her body. That's not all that uncommon. AT my university I see 20 something year olds wearing hijabs in skinny jeans and tight tops all the time. I think the religious purpose of these garments is being ridiculously skewed and is previously mentioned, ISN'T actually required in the Qu'ran. Modesty is what is important, and that doesn't mean covering yourself head to toe. It kind of makes me want to borrow one to walk around and visit government offices, just because i'm the "shit disturber" type of person.

We've had a lot fo discussion about banning it here as well (Quebec) because people are a bunch of intolerent douchebags (I think Quebec is one of the most racist places in north america ATM). I'm torn on the issue. I can see how it is a persons right to wear what they want, as long as it complies with general rules of course. You should be required to identify yourself to any law official or voting official if it is demed appropriate. This should be required to be done in a private location to respect their ideas of modesty, but if you get pulled over on the side of the highway, I can pretty much guarentee that nobody is slowing down to take a look at the woman uncovering her face for the officer (though I could see some issues with the safety of wearing one while driving - but that is a different debate altogether). IN a voting station, there should be a private area where the person can go to do this for the officials, so as to not inconvenience anybody (a few years ago there was a case of a woman being asked to do this which made them close down and empty the polling station in the middle of winter - forcing everyone else to stand outside in the freezing cold so the woman could do this because it was in a school gym and there was nowhere private).

I believe that when you move to a country, you should take up it's customs and be required to follow the same rules as anybody else. That doesn't mean banning or shunning your religion, but nonetheless you need to respect the society you live in as well as you own culture and learn to function together.

[deleted account]

"but because she had lived as a Muslim for all her childhood, it gives it more credibility (than my mum, I mean).

Anyway, her message is that the West shouldn't indugle Islam and we should basically tell Muslims who've come over to the West that they need to give up their old ways and join the local culture/religion."

hmmmm

Does this mean that people who abandon their childhood religion are more credible in their views of it than believers?

[deleted account]

I think it's religious discrimination. I don't like the concept of the burqa and had many arguments with an iman when I was contemplating Islam way back in 98. That being said, if it is indeed a woman's CHOICE to wear , then I don't see a problem with it. Too often though it's not. That's the problem with religous texts. The Qu'ran does not say to cover the face, only dress modestly and gives some specifics like having shirts go past the knee for both men and women, covering one's head (like certain Jewish sects.) And they shouldn't be allowed to cover their faces for licences, etc.

But overall, I think this a case of religious discrimination because I don't see them banning traditional nun habits.

[deleted account]

Hey has anybody read the books by Ayaan Hirsi Ali? I've just finished the one called "Nomad" where she really really gets stuck into Islam's treatment of women. Phew. It's been very thought provoking for me. In some places she sounded like my mum on steroids (ie "everything in the west is fantastic, Islam is the pits") but because she had lived as a Muslim for all her childhood, it gives it more credibility (than my mum, I mean).



Anyway, her message is that the West shouldn't indugle Islam and we should basically tell Muslims who've come over to the West that they need to give up their old ways and join the local culture/religion.



This is the opposite of the multiculturalism that I've always held dear, but reading the book has certainly opened some cracks in my thinking.

Jodi - posted on 08/06/2011

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@ Kate, yes, the hijab is more the modest dress I am talking about that is in keeping with the requirements of the Muslim religion. The burqa is a more extreme version of full dress including face covering.

Jodi - posted on 08/06/2011

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No you are right, it shouldn't matter, but I was just pointing out the religion vs. cultural issue :)

Although, can I just say, there are any number of fashion choices we SHOULD ban!!!

Becky - posted on 08/06/2011

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Whether it is cultural or religious really shouldn't make a difference though. I can see how freedom of religion wouldn't apply, but no one is telling an East Indian woman that she can't wear her sari or a Nigerian woman that she can't wear her traditional clothing. I do understand and agree with the facial recognition aspect though. There are some places and circumstances where no one should be allowed to have their face fully covered, regardless of the reason. So I do think that in those situations they should be required to lift or remove the veil. But not outright banned from wearing them. If a woman wants to sit on the beach in 100 degree weather wearing a full burqua, well, I think she's insane and must be dying from the heat under it, but that is her choice! Just like it's my choice to sit on the beach in a bathing suit and not apply sunscreen until I am already so sunburnt that my back will itch for a month afterwards! Although, her choice is based on her beliefs and culture and mine is just based on idiocy! lol

Jodi - posted on 08/06/2011

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LOL, I get what you mean Emma :



Especially not that blue singlet and Stubbies.......

Stifler's - posted on 08/06/2011

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We can't just go around demanding that people wear singlets shorts and thongs because they're in Australia is what I mean.

Kate CP - posted on 08/05/2011

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Ah, okay. I'm thinking of more of a hajib than a burqa. I think some countries have banned those, though...

Jennifer - posted on 08/05/2011

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Hmmmm, I can see where a burqa could be considered culture and not religion, but I see Arabs in traditional dress, but not the full face covering unless they are Muslim. I THINK that the full, head to toe covering is only for certain Muslim sects, although all Arabs have the extreme modest cultural base.

Jodi - posted on 08/05/2011

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Kate, I only say it because I have heard that the Muslim faith does not require the full burqa, it only requires that women dress modestly and cover their hair. I am assuming we are talking full burqa's here? In which case, it is not a religious requirement, simply a cultural choice to wear the FULL burqa.

From my understanding the yarmulke is worn because of a requirement to cover the hair.

Anyway, that's just my very brief understanding of it :) I am entirely open to being incorrect :P

Kate CP - posted on 08/05/2011

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Jodi: I feel you on the religious symbols thing with the cross and all. But how is a yarmulke a religious symbol and a burqa isn't? (Being curious here, not smart assed). ;)

Jodi - posted on 08/05/2011

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The burqa is a cultural tradition, not a religious one. So it isn't about freedom of religion. It also isn't the same as a cross or a yarmulke which ARE religious symbols.

Stifler's - posted on 08/05/2011

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People in Aus/USA/UK can wear whatever they want these days. You can't tell "Muslims" what they can and can't wear. There is that thing called freedom of religion.

Kate CP - posted on 08/05/2011

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Tammy, that doesn't make any sense. So because we're not in a Jewish country Jews shouldn't be allowed to wear a yarmulke? That Christians shouldn't be allowed to wear crosses? What if a cardinal is visiting the US or lives in the US? This IS NOT a Christian country but we expect cardinals and bishops to wear their robes. We expect priests to wear their robes and nuns to wear their habits. But this ISN'T a "Christian" country. So saying that Muslims can't wear a burqa or a hijab because it's not a "Muslim" country doesn't make sense.

Tammy - posted on 08/05/2011

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Whenever someone immigrates to another country, they can't expect their foreign dress to be accepted in their new country! I don't think that muslem wear should be banned, I just think that muslems should accept the fact that they aren't in a muslem country, thus they shouldn't dress like they are in one!

Jodi - posted on 08/05/2011

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I don't think it is about the fact that someone could hide a bomb or something in them, but more about facial recognition. I don't see why they need to be totally banned, but I can understand why they would need to ban them in certain places, and why they would need to be removed at times, but I can't see why they would need to be banned entirely.

Rosie - posted on 08/05/2011

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as much i despise what they symbolize i think if someone is choosing to wear one they should be allowed. like mary, i believe they should comply with laws stating they need to remove them to be identified. who wears a full burqa while driving anyway? wouldn't that be a little hazardous?

Elizabeth - posted on 08/05/2011

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I think we live in a screwed up world when we're more comfortable with a woman posing in Playboy than covering herself. I call B.S.

Ez - posted on 08/05/2011

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There's been calls for them to be banned here too recently after a woman refused to remove hers when she was pulled over by the police for a traffic violation (it was the full veil if I'm not mistaken). It was reported as a matter of the burqa impeding the police officer's ability to identify the woman.

If the identification issue was genuinely the reason people wanted to ban them, I could almost understand. Motorbike helmets are not permitted inside service stations, banks, shopping centres for this very reason. But there is an undercurrent of religious and racial intolerance that makes me uncomfortable.

I'm like some of the others. I despise the idea of the burqa, but will support a woman's choice to wear one.

Sara - posted on 08/05/2011

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I personally find burquas offensive with every fiber of my being...what they are intended for and what they symbolize. BUT, I also agree with Johnny and some others that it's not right to ban them.

Stifler's - posted on 08/04/2011

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If they ban burquas... theyré going to have to ban hats inside, sunglasses, motorbike helmets inside, outrageous make up, wigs, nun's habits... anything else that conceals your identity. However I don't like burquas etc. for the fact that they're oppressing to women under the guise of religion. But that is a whole other debate.

Lady Heather - posted on 08/04/2011

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There is one thing I really don't like about burqas (besides if they are forced on a woman of course) - they're like sunglasses. I'm always wondering if they are staring at me. It's not a huge problem unless they are sitting across from me on the bus. I am probably too self-conscious. hehe.

Mrs. - posted on 08/04/2011

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Seriously, they should ban habits for nuns too. You could carry a semi-automatic under one of those get ups.

It is straight out, IMO, sexist and racist to ban them.

Of course, if a country is passing laws like that, if I am wearing a burqa on the regular, I'd probably move on to someplace else. Come to Canada, I see them all the time and don't worry about anyone shooting me.

Mostly, I like to look at the footwear and nails...they tend to me pretty expensive and manicured looking. I always make up my mind about what the clothes and hair must look like under it by looking at those two things. Oh and by looking and their kids, that's where I can get a sense of their style from.

Lady Heather - posted on 08/04/2011

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If they can ban burqas, they can ban anything. As a pregnant woman in the summer who might like to indulge in the odd muumuu here and there (can also be used to hide bombs!), I do not approve.

Becky - posted on 08/04/2011

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The only way it is not discrimination to ban burquas is if any clothing or symbols that are in any way tied to any religion or culture are also banned. So, no turbans (you could hide a bomb in that too!), no saris, no traditional clothing from your culture whatsoever.
If a woman feels that she is being forced to wear a burqua and feels oppressed by that, there should be organizations set up to help her make the changes she wants to make. But if she chooses to wear it, if that is how she shows respect and feels comfortable, then no one should tell her she can't wear it.

Jane - posted on 08/04/2011

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I think it is silly. Yes, someone could hide something under all those clothes, but then folks can sneak all sorts of bombs in wearing much less than that. And if a woman wants to wear the burqa, that's her problem. I see much more objectionable clothing every day.

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