Is The Burqa A Sign Of Enslavement?
In the first presidential appearance before Parliament since Charles Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, President Nicolas Sarkozy recently addressed French lawmakers, and one of his primary topics was the burqa: garments that envelope women and mask their faces which are mandated by various orthodox branches of Islam.
"The issue of the burqa is not a religious issue, it is a question of freedom and of women’s dignity," Mr. Sarkozy stated while addressing the French Senate and National Assembly. "The burqa is not a religious sign, it is a sign of the subjugation, of the submission of women. I want to say solemnly that it will not be welcome on our territory."
This speech understandably drew praise from enlightened and emancipated women everywhere, and it makes perfect sense that it should be so. After all, we're in the 21st century! Humanity has evolved well past the 7th century stigmas where women were property of men and needed to be kept away from lecherous predatory males under lock and key.
If anyone should be the Poster Child for the removal of the burqa (and other female clothing) it seems that President Sarkozy has impeccable credentials. Just do a Google image search for "carla bruni nude" and you too can check out what the Prez has the privilege of witnessing in the privacy of his bedroom. I don't know how comfortable I would be in marrying a woman (no matter how hot as Mrs. Prez undoubtedly is) who has had her wares spread out over the internet and is the subject of a countless number of masturbatory fantasies by zit faced wankers all over the world, but that's probably because I'm just an old prude.
Since Mrs. President is not likely to be wearing the burqa anytime soon, let's take a moment to analyze whether Sarkozy's statements of the burqa signifying "enslavement" are accurate.
The Holy Qur'an includes several passages dealing with the extent of female clothing.
Surah An Nur: 31
And say to the believing women that they cast down their looks and guard their private parts and do not display their ornaments except what appears thereof, and let them wear their head-coverings over their bosoms, and not display their ornaments except to their husbands or their fathers, or the fathers of their husbands, or their sons, or the sons of their husbands, or their brothers, or their brothers' sons, or their sisters' sons, or their women, or those whom their right hands possess, or the male servants not having need (of women), or the children who have not attained knowledge of what is hidden of women; and let them not strike their feet so that what they hide of their ornaments may be known; and turn to Allah all of you, O believers! so that you may be successful.
Surah al-Ahzab: 59
Those who harass believing men and believing women undeservedly, bear (on themselves) a calumny and a grievous sin. O Prophet! Enjoin your wives, your daughters, and the wives of true believers that they should cast their outer garments over their persons (when abroad) That is most convenient, that they may be distinguished and not be harassed. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.
I have had the privilege of knowing many Islamic families in my long life. In a few of them the burqa was used, but in most it was restricted to some form of hijab (a form of dress designed to cover, hide, screen, conceal, and shelter the female form) which was not as extreme as the burqa. These women, regardless of dress, were unanimous in their opinion of hijab: It is necessary, and gladly accepted.
To many Western readers this may seem like some form of evil Islamic male plot to brainwash poor stupid women into subjugation. However, the Islamic women I spoke to were all intelligent and educated. They were not enslaved, subjugated, or submissive. Heck, most of them were fiercely assertive matriarchs! Why did they accept hijab or even burqa?
Because they see it as central to the values which enshrine the nuclear family.
And they're right.
The nuclear family is central to Islam and I believe that the religion's single greatest modern accomplishment is in ensuring that the traditional family structure remains strong and stable in these chaotic times. Although I respect Islam but am not a Muslim, if I was the father of a teenage girl who was about to go out one evening in a miniskirt that showed off her butt cheeks and a halter top that left nothing to the imagination, I'd tie her up and hold off Family Services until they called in SWAT snipers and shot me. Although I have been a lifelong admirer of the female form, I'd draw the line at my daughter.
Therefore, can I in all honesty state that I disagree with the Islamic families who realize the dangers of the world and take steps, males and females in agreement and unison, to protect their precious family members from lechery and harm? Absolutely not.
Neither President Sarkozy nor any other head of state has the right to tell me what to think and how to dress. As long as the government states the obvious, such as "you have to take off your veil when you take your drivers license photograph", I have no complaints. But for Sarkozy to tell Muslim women to remove the items of dress that they believe not only are an integral part of their theology, but also act to assist her in walking and dressing in a way which does not draw unwanted public sexual attention to her by strangers, is just plain bald-faced governmental intrusion into the family.
I no more accept that imposition on my Islamic brothers and sisters as I would accept Sarkozy untying my half naked daughter to go parade her in a night club alongside his nude model wife.
My daughter would not be a whore, Mr. Sarkozy. You're free to have the female members of your family show off their tiny tatas to the world, but just stay the hell out of my house, and the houses of Muslims everywhere, whether they be in France or not.
Hijab is not a measure of enslavement. It is a measure of respect.