Hello everyone! This is Lilipop here. I wanted to talk about banning the niqab and burka because a college in Birmingham (read more here) did just that and it seems to have kicked off a national debate and most recently the far right party UKIP making a policy vowing to “ban the burka”.
Straight off there are the recurring problems that seem to happen when any marginalised group’s rights are “debated”. I am seeing and awful lot of white male politians opinions but not a whole lot of Muslim women’s opinions even though they are the only people this is really going to affect! Sigh, sigh, sigh. This reminds me so much of when abortion is “debated” by white male politians; your opinions do not really matter unless you are a member of the group who’s rights are being restricted. Of course it would be massively hypocritical of me to say that and not have the opinion of a muslim women here and also my opinion doesn’t really matter so my friend Anisha very kindly wrote a bit for this blog about what she thinks of the “burka ban debate”:
Recently in the headlines there has been a consistent reappearance of political matter concerning the possible ban of the burqa.
The burqa commonly referred to as ‘chadri’ in countries located in Central Asia is a symbolic garment within the Muslim culture; it acts as a facially concealing garment allowing a less fabricated/ sheer section around the eyes to allow sight for the female.
Alongside the burqa there is the niqab in which the ‘veil’ us attached onto one side transforming the head scarf into a niqab, this is the okay commonly worn version of the ‘veil’ in London, which political leaders are
mistakenly confusing for burqas which are fully fabricated garments with a sheer fabric located in the position of the eyes.
Never the less back I my opening statement, there has been a constant appearance of the burqa and the niqab in the news regarding the ban of the Islamic based garment.
As a Muslim teenager who has grown up my whole life in London I would like to say I completely disagree with the ban of the burqa/ niqab it is unnecessary, disrespectful and without a doubt degrading to the people of the Islamic community. I am in a state of disbelief with the MP’s and hope they take into account the possible effects this ban could have on the Islamic community alongside the people of Britain who are supporting Muslims through this terribly distressing period of time.
2 hours later after the decision of the Muslim ‘veil’ ban being reversed:
After hearing the news I have decided to write up on this morally degrading issue which I was previously frantically ranting about.
Following the news of UKIP reversing the ban I am thrilled with the fact that they have had a change of mind set and have decided to completely scrap the ridiculous ban 3 years after proposing the total ban of ‘covering faces in both public places and buildings ‘.
I wish to believe that future MP’s will not make any drastic bans related to the publics religions and beliefs, such as the disgusting ban on burqas / niqabs.
-Anisha Namuli, 15.
Here is a list of other piece by Muslim women on the “burka ban”:
I also just wanted to point out some very disturbing arguments that are being made for banning the burka and niqab which I have seen a few white non-muslim women who call themselves feminists using. One of these arguments is that the burka and niqab is a symbol of female oppression and that many women are forced to wear them, this is despite the many women speaking out against the banning saying they want to wear them. This is a huge and ignorant case of taking agency away from Muslim women. These people are ignoring the voices of the Muslim women, the people who will be effected by the ban, and instead imposing upon them their own theories on what these women are experiencing. They are ignoring lived experience! They are also refusing to acknowledge the fact that Muslim women, and here’s a crazy idea, MAY ACTUALLY BE ABLE TO MAKE THEIR OWN DESISIONS *gasp*. Another argument that is so so so so so WRONG is that people “want to be able to see their beautiful faces” and so should not be able to wear burka’s or niqabs OH MY JAM LIKE SERIOUSLY! I have heard this from women as well as men. I wonder if they realise they are saying that they think their perceived right to see and essentially turn women into objects is more important than these women’s right to wear whatever the fuck they want. This is usually called the Male Gaze I think and it is hugely sexist as it is basically dehumanising the women on the receiving end of the Gaze. It is also quite ironic as one of the points of wearing a hijab, burka or niqab is to control what other people can see and stop people judging and objectifying women based on their appearance.
I am, of course, talking from a position of privilege here so please, please point out to me the things I have said wrong in this. If you have anything else to add or another link to pieces by Muslim women feel free to share.