I am so exhausted of the whole burqa ban debate that I am about to put one on myself!
But in all seriousness, I am so tired of this issue to the point that it has become personally offensive for me to even respond to it. I have written and spoken extensively on it in the past, but the fact is that people still do not understand what this issue is really about or what we are really debating here.
This issue is not about wardrobe, but about the larger issue of Muslim integration in Europe, about the fear of societies becoming Islamasized, and about preserving secular identity. So why can’t Europe get over the burqa?
Because the burqa is too tangible and visible of a symbol. It is simply too easy of a target. It is also too convenient for European politicians to hide behind the agenda of liberating Muslim women, and pretend that they are formulating policy based on Muslim women’s rights.
What still baffles me is that if these European politicians really want to get at the root of the pr0blem, why not ban the extremist Islamic groups in Europe that preach violence and hate? It is so ironic that on one hand you have some men telling women that they have to wear the burqa, and on the other hand you have male lawmakers saying you have to take it off!
Make no mistake, the burqa ban has nothing to do with protecting women’s rights. As I stated in a recent interview, I think it’s a handout to far-right political parties at the cost of marginalizing a group that is already marginalized: Muslim communities in Europe.
I think European politicians are insulting Muslim women around the world by acting like they are formulating policy to liberate them. Believe me, European politicians are not going to be delivering liberation for Muslim women.
The burqa is a symbol that is repeatedly targeted, but we are not talking about the real issues, about our real fears. What we really need to be talking about is the fear these societies have about becoming Islamasized.
Although I started this post writing about how exhausted I am from writing on this issue, I have just written on it again! Voila! There you have it. But I think these points need stipulating because a lot of what is being written on the burqa ban is misguided and confused itself.
That being said, I did stumble upon this blog by author, Lesley Hazelton. She articulates how we are hiding our hatred behind the veil:
Do niqab-wearing women choose it or are they being coerced? Nobody really knows, though we do know that banning it takes away all element of choice. But then despite all the high-falutin’ talk about women’s dignity, that’s not really the issue. The real issue is fear of Islamic extremism, and the veil as a convenient symbol of presumed extremism. And women are just pawns in this game, being used by liberal secular authorities no less than by conservative Muslim ones.
Towards the end of her post, Hazelton states that she has been a feminist for far too long to know when her “feminism is being manipulated.”
For anyone who considers themselves a feminist or an advocate for women’s rights, let me echo Hazelton by making it clear that in this case our feminism is definitely being manipulated.
*This post of mine was also published on The Huffington Post.