Monday, June 27 2016

Is the burqa a "cultural practice"?

 Priya Shetty in The Guardian’s Comment is Free writes on the Home Affairs select committee report on forced marriages arguing that women are often as culpable in the perpetuation of oppressive cultural practices, like forced marriages, as men who enforce codes of “honour” in minority communities.

Shetty is of course right to argue that female members of a family can be complicit in the emotional blackmail, kidnapping and forced marriage of young adults as criminal cases have shown.

Shetty concludes her article thus:

“Where the French are decidedly more forthright about which cultural practices they will tolerate – several women have already been arrested for wearing a burqa after it was banned recently – in multicultural Britain, we tiptoe gingerly around controversial cultural practices for fear of stymying a plurality of expression or being tarnished as racists. But British society now needs to take a deep breath and engage with these issues head-on: ancient cultural practices can never trump human rights.”

The paragraph repeats a false dichotomy with a “multiculturalism of fiction” masquerading as a “multiculturalism of fact, “as Gary Younge put it. And while no-one would deny that honour killings and female genital mutilation are horrific crimes deserving of the force of law to stamp them out, is it proper to designate the wearing of the face-veil (niqab or burqa) with practices that are neither Islamic nor defensible by recourse to Islamic teachings? Furthermore, is it appropriate to refer to the choice exercised by Muslim women to wear the burqa as “controversial cultural practices” which we “tiptoe gingerly around… for fear of stymying a plurality of expression or being tarnished as racists”?

No one observing the rancorous debate that has descended upon women who wear the face-veil could sensibly consider it an example of our “tip-toeing gingerly around” for fear of anything.

Perhaps the more disturbing dimension to the sentiments expressed by Shetty is the presumption that women wearing the face veil are engaging in a cultural practice rather than understand it as the articulation of their right to freedom of religion; a human right after all.

Last Updated on Thursday, 19 May 2011 11:16


0 #4 BurkhaJush 2011-05-22 13:34
Burkha was never part of culture except of Arabic culture. Non mulsilms think that Burkha is a fundamentalist approach by Muslims and being used to fear/supress other religious communities!
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0 #3 Missed the point of the articleIram 2011-05-20 18:34
She might have touched upon the burqa but that was NOT the point of her article AT ALL

Youve chosen to ignore her entire piece, just over the last few sentences
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0 #2 Forced MarriagesIftikhar Ahmad 2011-05-20 16:18
It is a misconception that forced marriage and honour killing are part of Muslim culture. Forced marriage, honour killing and genital mutilation are rare practices among migrant communities. Muslim migrants are worried about institutional racism, binge drinking, drug addiction, incivility, gun and knife crimes, high rate of abortions and teen age pregnancies. An average of 20 English girls under the age of 16 falls pregnant every day. Muslim parents do not want their children to be integrated into such barbarity. Muslim women feel torn between two cultures, thanks to the British education system with non-Muslim monolingual teachers. It makes their lives very confusing. The tragedy of forced marriage and honour killing could have been avoided if the poor girls were educated in a single sex state funded Muslim schools by female Muslim teachers. Educational attainment rises quite significantly if boys and girls are educated separately. The tragedies are an eye opener for all those Muslim parents who send their children to state schools where they are exposed to non-Muslim teachers who have no respect for Islamic faith and Muslim community and do not understand the needs and demands of the Muslim children. Muslim schools are crucial for Muslim children because western education makes a man/woman stupid. The hypocrisy of the Western society is clearly seen whereas an Australian Judge failed to jail nine males who admitted gang-raping a 10-year old aborigine girl in 2005, saying the victim probably agreed to have sex with them and a UNICEF Photo of the year shows, a bridegroom, 40, with his 11-year old bride in Afghanistan. In my opinion, a UNICEF photo of the year must show a nine year British girl having a baby and another photo showing a gang of teenage girls with anti-social behaviour and vomiting out side a pub, thanks to binge drinking.
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0 #1 DoctorFarouk 2011-05-19 09:48
Before I write anything else let me point out to you I am Asian and even a Muslim.What world are they preparing their children to live in.During Jesus,es time for obvious reasons everyone used to go around with beards and used to wrap a cloth around their body.Do you see modern day Christian's walking around like that.When a man has a scruffy ,what looks like an unhygienic, beard nobody employs him.Do you think a person like that will attract customers behind the counter at Dixons. So he cant support his family and lives on taxpayers handouts, when the real religion is to support your family and earn your money with respect help your fellow citizens. Where is the pride in that.Religion is not in your clothes or hair its in your respect good deeds and behaviour.Clothes are a man made item if they weren't invented they be wearing a tree bark around their head and in front of their face.A man can wear a suit and be a Muslim.A woman can wear anything respectable and people will respect her as long as she has respect for herself,she does not have to wear a veil.Nobody is looking at this women.We don't live in the middle ages women, don't get abducted.If you fell down on the street I am sure a woman in a mini dress is more likely to call help then one of your veiled women.Few months ago two black robbers robbed a bank wearing a veil,what respect are they bringing to Islam.They are asking people to accept something which are abnormal.Would it be nice if members of klu klan walking around the area with hoods on their face,children not knowing whats behind that mask.Because of the image created people don't see a person with a beard/veil as someone religious but as a terrorist.Allah gave us a face ,so people can see your body language.Its essential for communication.They are damaging their children and handicapping their women.I am sure other children tease after a veiled women has dropped off her children at school.All this outside show of religious piousness.I was lucky enough to go to Karachi ,it was full of corruption.You couldn't even get car repairs or plumbing done without the tradesman trying to con you.The muslim countries are probably the most corrupt.Are they going to blame America for that.Is it Uk ,s fault even with free further education they have adult men and women who cant even spell their name after being here for 50yrs.
I dont think its a conflict between religions its between medieval people and civilised people.As a teacher I see people coming from Somalia who you cant blame for only knowing 3 words of English.But this people have been here for 30/40yrs and they also know 3 words of English.Even a Masai tribesman when he moved to the capital Nairobi knew a few words of English within a few months and had a good dress sense.Is it so difficult for a person to leave their backwardness.Islam was the most progressive civilisation but this arent those type of Muslims.I am surprised how tolerant this British people are.If I was a border guard and saw a man with a scruffy beard with his wife wearing a veil so entrenched in their backward culture,I would never let them in because no one will employ them(no more factories in UK) and not only them but their children will also live off the taxpayer.
When a Muslim goes to Kuwait from Pakistan they make him work for £20 a week and in some Muslim countries cant even live in the city.All this pretence of one Muslim identity ,than why arent this people settling in Saudi etc.When things get better in Palestine are they going to move there.Are they going to give them free health care and benefits.If they want to bang their war drums what are they doing in the enemy camp.Are they going to go back to settle in the mountains of Pakistan.We got all religions in Britain ,you wouldn't even know.They work in the day and in the evening and weekend their pray.They don't bring religion to work or in everything.

Lets face it just like a lot of immigrants they came to this country because they didn't have two chappaties on their plate.Why pretend they conquered Britain.You have Islamic party/parliament of UK, have they taken over Britain as a colony?Is there a Christian party of Pakistan?See my point.Its not like they have made their country a great success,a model for everyone to follow.Isn't it time they changed their village type of Islam.So many Islamic organisations like they are trying to build a parallel country when the mainstream society provide them with handouts and services.Are there enough of their Pakistani business companies here to employ their children when they grow up.Are they going to work?I saw the Muslims of Egypt on TV even they look more educated and moving on with the world.
When I go to Smallheath and Bordesley I see this hypocrisy.When the black/white/brown taxpayers are going to work their are running up and down the mosque.Some person is slogging in a factory floor and paying taxes so this lot can claim benefits and women can wear veils.I have some veiled and Pakistani Muslims coming to college.While their intentions are good who is going to employ them unless they change their dress code.Again its the taxpayers money.
Seventy percent of the people in places like Smallheath/Bordesley or even Bradford are unemployed living off benefits where do this people get their pride from.Even when they work they will do it in the black and claim tax credits.No wonder now people are targeting them.
Even the other Asian are turning against them and after this more will.We didnt come here to live in a Muslim state and if they wanted to what are you doing here.I don't believe the Western permissive society is perfect but maybe this people need to move with the times.You they are unhappy why is Pakistan accepting 3 billion from USA.Thei government has invited them because they also see them as a threat
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