Jack Straw from... Londonistan?
... Some Muslim women say that it is their choice to wear it; I don’t agree. Why would any woman living in a tolerant country freely choose to wear such a restrictive garment? What these women are really saying is that they adopt the veil because they believe that they should have less freedom than men, and that if they did not wear the veil men would not be accountable for their uncontrollable urges — so women must cover-up so as not to tempt men. What kind of a message does that send to women?Robert Spencer is at the helm for today's Vent:
Why would any woman
living in a tolerant country
freely choose to wear
such a restrictive garment?
But a lot of women are not free to choose. Girls as young as three or four are wearing the hijab to school — that is not a freely made choice. Girls under 16 should certainly not have to wear it to school. And behind the closed doors of some Muslim houses, women are told to wear the hijab and the veil. These are the girls that are hidden away, they are not allowed to go to universities, they have little choice in who they marry, in many cases they are kept down by the threat of violence.
So for women such as them it was absolutely right for Jack Straw to raise this issue. Nobody should feel threatened by his comments; after all, the debate about veils has been raging in the Islamic community for many years. To argue that non-Muslims have no right to discuss it merely reinforces the idea that Muslims are not part of a wider society. It also suggests, wrongly, that wearing the veil affects only Muslims. Non-Muslims have to deal with women wearing a veil, so why shouldn’t their feelings be taken into consideration? I would find it impossible to deal with any veiled woman because it goes so deeply against my own values and basic human instincts. How can you develop any kind of a social relationship with someone who has shut themselves away from the rest of the world?
How can you develop any kind
of a social relationship
with someone who has shut themselves
away from the rest of the world?
And if we can’t have a debate about the veil without a vocal minority of Muslims crying “Islamophobia”, how will we face other issues, such as domestic violence, forced marriages, sexual abuse and child abuse that are rife in the Muslim community?
Praise Jack Straw, and read Melanie Phillips' Londonistan.
Update: Unfree Under Islam
Muslim women across the world are caught in a terrible predicament. They aspire to live by their faith as best they can, but their faith robs them of their rights. Some women have found a way out of this dilemma in the principle of separation of organized religion and state affairs. They fight an uphill battle to achieve and hold on to their basic rights.