Leave Women Free To Dress As They Please

The Danish parliament has voted to ban the wearing in public of the Niqab and Burqa (the Islamic veil which covers a Muslim woman’s face), while the wearing of a head scarf remains legal. Denmark joins a growing list of European countries, including France and Belgium to have introduced such a ban. The Danish Director of Amnesty International is quoted in The Independent as follows:

“All women should be free to dress as they please and to wear clothing that expresses their identity or beliefs,” she said. “This ban will have a particularly negative impact on Muslim women who choose to wear the niqab or burqa.

“Whilst some specific restrictions on the wearing of full-face veils for the purposes of public safety may be legitimate, this blanket ban is neither necessary nor proportionate and violates the rights to freedom of expression and religion …”. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/denmark-burqa-ban-europe-muslim-women-face-veil-niqab-islam-a8377586.html.

As a believer in individual liberty, I share the concerns voiced by Amnesty International. Imagine the furore which would be generated where it to be suggested that the wearing of short dresses and skirts be prohibited. Defenders of individual liberty would (quite rightly) be up in arms at this proposed affront to personal freedom. Yet it is considered acceptable by many who would term themselves “liberals” to ban the wearing of the full face Islamic veil. I have, personally been in the company of people who proclaim themselves to be “liberal” (with a small l) who do, nonetheless support such a ban on the (to me) illogical grounds that the wearing of a covering which hides the face is incompatible with a liberal, western society. John Stuart Mill would be turning in his grave at the misconstrual of liberal values by those who term themselves “liberals”, yet support the banning of the Islamic face covering.

There are, of course circumstances in which it is legitimate to insist that the veil be removed, for example in a court of law or in other circumstances where genuine security concerns/the need to verify a person’s identity exist. This is, however not a reason to criminalise law abiding individuals for choosing to cover their faces.

Leaving aside the issue of personal liberty for a moment, the matter of police resources raises it’s head. Surely the police have better things to do than arrest women who freely choose to wear the Islamic veil? The little matter of catching muggers, fraudsters and rapists springs to mind! Yet resources are being wasted in persecuting individuals who choose to cover their faces. The world is going mad and I thank heavens that there is (currently) no proposal here in the UK to ban the Burqa or the Niqab. Liberals (in all the main parties) are, thankfully, on the whole opposed to such legislation.

A colleague chooses to wear the head scarf (which will not be banned) while other Muslims of my acquaintance choose to cover neither their faces nor their heads. Both Muslims who choose to cover (and those who do not) have a right to make that choice, likewise the lady who chooses to wear a revealing dress and stillettos has an equal right to dress as she pleases. I really don’t understand this desire to interfere with the liberty of the individual (unless their actions directly threaten the wellbeing of others) which (in the case of the Islamic veil) they do not).

Kevin

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24 thoughts on “Leave Women Free To Dress As They Please

  1. blindzanygirl

    This is interesting Kevin. What we choose to wear is what we choose to wear. Clothes are just clothes. Or are they not? Clothes speak. Do they. So we go for freedom of speech. Then what about clothing? Sorry, my head is all over on this one. Thinking of all the implications of everything. Of course, it is sometimes suggested that a woman who wore liw cut dresses or a short skirt or whatever was to blame for her own rape. The man could not help himself. And yes, I HAVE met men like that who say they cannot control themselves because of how women dress. Personally I have no problem at all with Muslim women dressing however they want. In my mother’s street they all dress with the full body and face civered, with only the eyes showing. They are lovely people, and could not do enough to help my mother. Jydgementalism is a terrible thing. Lol that is my head doing its thinking. Good post Jevin

    Reply
    1. drewdog2060drewdog2060 Post author

      Many thanks for your comment. I am sorry you have come across men who claim they are not responsible for their own actions when they see a lady in a short dress. We are all responsible for our own actions and we can not blame other people. That is interesting as regards your mother. People are just that, people and there are good people of all religions (and none). Best – Kevin

      Reply
      1. blindzanygirl

        I agree with you totally Kevin. Many women though, have come across this attitude from SOME men. By no means all. It does not oersonally troyble me becayse I jyst think what udiots these men are. But I do feel for my sustres who have suffered that way. And yes, there are good and bad in alk relugions – in fact, in all walks of lufe therare bith goid and bad. But it us si sad in my opinion that thise Myslim wimen are blamed fir wearung what they want ti wear. The Muslims up my mums street are lovely. The only problem my mum has is that she doesnt know who is who lol.

      2. drewdog2060drewdog2060 Post author

        Thanks. Do the ladies in your mum’s street tend to be middle-aged or elderly? I ask as it is my impression that few young muslim women are wearing the full veil, indeed some young Muslim women wear the head scarf or no covering at all.

      3. blindzanygirl

        It is strange because some of the ones who used to wear western smart clothes took suddenly to wearing the black things with only slits for the eyes. Anlady opposite to my mum is a teacher in an ordinary school so I don’t know what happened. In our town a lot have done that. There are two mosquesnhere, so I don’t know how they differ. I think it is any age group that wears it. But my mum who is 92 is known by them all right up the street and they revere her. When she was ill they took her a huge hamper of fruit, and asked her if there was anything she wanted. It was the Immam from over the road who did that. Then, one time they were having a party for the daughter kind of like an engagement party in the back garden, and my mum was invited “so you can see what we do, and what we are like.’ My mum was not well enough to go though. Onenof them calked Carla, had a stroke, and other priblems, and my mum saud to her, “She will pray for you,” pointing to me. Carla was thrilked even though we are not Muslim. We are all one. I have other lovely stories to tell, about my beautiful lady Pakustani doctor who is Muslim who treated me when I had cancer. She came to my home and was beautiful. I have never known a bad Muslim.

      1. blindzanygirl

        Thankyou Kevin. I am not unaware however that there CAN be problems, and that some terrible things are happening. I am only speaking from my own personal experience, i don’t normally get invokved in such a duscussion lol. I steer clear of relugion as it can be a minefild. But we started with dress lol

  2. tidalscribe

    It’s wrong to ban, who hasn’t worn a scarf round their face on a bittely cold day? But the face is how we read people, even dogs and humans read each other’s faces. If we don’t speak the same language we can still communicate, a smile is reassuring. I once worked in a little Kuwait Airways business class lounge, the educated Muslim ladies were incensed at the whole idea ‘How can a mother not let her child see her smile?’ But it had it’s amusing side. Picture several ladies swathed in black, with difficulty we take their order for coffee, tea or sandwiches. While we are making their refreshments a husband’s friend comes in, now the lady can no longer sit with her husband and moves to another sofa. We are faced with a room full of ladies who all look exactly the same and keep moving around. How on earth to work out who wanted what. If we managed to get the sandwiches to the right lady she then had the difficulty of trying to eat, inserting food under swathes of black material and trying to find her mouth to sip her chai.

    Reply
    1. drewdog2060drewdog2060 Post author

      Many thanks for your very interesting comments. You make some fascinating points. How did you manage in the end to determine who had ordered what? It sounds as though you have lived an interesting life. Best – Kevin

      Reply
  3. floridaborne

    If a person moves to a country she/he is supposed to assimilate. Men who rape and kill need to be accountable according to the laws of the country they moved to. No Sharia law. No Burqa’s, Abayas or any other covering. If that isn’t to the liking of those who have moved to a country, they should return to a place where they can be free to practice their beliefs.

    Reply
    1. drewdog2060drewdog2060 Post author

      Thank you for your comment. I respectfully disagree. Of course everyone should abide by laws which (rightly) prohibit rape, theft etc. However the mark of a liberal society (with a small l) is that it permits people to live their life according to their own values provided that, by so doing they are not harming other people. A person feeling uncomfortable because they dislike the sight of a veiled woman is not a valid reason for prohibiting the wearing of a veil. One of the things which makes liberal democracies superior to Saudi Arabia is that we permit women to dress as they please and participate fully in society. Certainly someone moving to Saudi Arabia for work would be wise to abide by the kingdom’s laws to avoid arrest, however abiding by strictures with which one disagrees out of necessity does not make said laws right or moral. Best – Kevin

      Reply
      1. floridaborne

        Why is a woman dressed like that? The answer to that question is chilling. We have a set of laws in this country, and indoctrinating women at an early age to accept FGM, and a life of pain and subjugation is the antithesis of those laws. It is part of a cultural indoctrination to hide a human under a veil and robes.

        I used to be a feminist, when the movement began. We were supposed to be fighting for equality, the right of a woman to have the same opportunities as a man or to be valued for her contributions as a household manager, not the “right” to wear the badges of our subjugation. I can’t imagine how feminism lost their way.

      2. drewdog2060drewdog2060 Post author

        Femal Genital Mutilation (FGM) is illegal in the UK and (as I understand it the USA also). Anyone found to have subjected a child to such a barbaric practice can (rightly) be prosecuted. While I (personally) do not approve of the idea of the full face veil, as a believer in individual liberty I accept the right of adults to choose to wear it. Obviously “indoctrination” is wrong. However, on reaching adulthood one must accept the right of mentally competent adults to make their own choices. I know of people who vote in a particular way because their parents voted that way. One could argue that they, also have been indoctrinated. Yet no one would (I believe) seriously contend that such people should be denied the right to vote merely because their parents may have influenced their voting behaviour. There are Muslim women who decide (against the wishes of their own families) to adopt the veil and those who refuse to do so. Consequently it is a highly complicated issue.

        More generally, I find the idea that one must accept the laws of a country in which one lives irrespective of their rightness. I am not advocating that people, willy nilly break laws. However, to take a concrete example, Apartheid in South Africe prohibited sexual relations between people of different races and many of the states in the USA also enforced such laws in the past. Such laws where wrong and to break them was a noble act for love ought not to be constrained by racial prejudice.

      3. floridaborne

        It is a very complicated issue, and one that deserves constructive debate.

        The tension in SA is terrible. People who helped to stop the oppression are now targets of those wanting to “punish” something. Instead of living in harmony with people who faced an uphill battle to help all people gain equality in SA, the pendulum has swung the other way and good people are in fear of their lives.

    2. drewdog2060drewdog2060 Post author

      I would add that laws prohibiting forced (as opposed to arranged marriage) should certainly be enforced. There was (here in the UK) a recent case where a Muslim mother was convicted of forcing her daughter to marry. The court rightly punished her. This is, however different from how individuals choose to act in matters which impact only (or primarily) on themselves, as is the case in matters of dress.

      Reply
      1. floridaborne

        I think of it this way: If I moved to the middle east and wanted to become a citizen, I’d have to adapt to their dress standards and religious practices. The US is tolerant of eligious practices that don’t try to get around our constitutional principles.

        Assimilation is not the same as a cultural lasagne. There are many Muslim people who dress modestly in our society and practice their faith without forming enclaves that practice Sharia law inside the country they moved to.

    3. drewdog2060drewdog2060 Post author

      If one moves to a state (for example one in the Middle East) then one would be wise (from the point of view of avoiding arrest) to adhere to dress codes etc, however whether it is right that one should be compelled to do so is a different matter. I don’t believe (as already stated) that the state should interfere in such matters and states which curtail religious freedom are violaters of human rights. Thankfully neither the USA or the UK fall into this category. I agree with you that South Africa faces many problems and in the back of many people’s minds (including mine) is the worry that that country could go the same way as Zimbabwe under Robert Mugabe with the forced seizure of white owned land and the vilence that goes with such actions. Let us hope that South Africa can avoid this and that good people (of all races) work together to build a prosperous and tolerant country.

      Reply
      1. drewdog2060drewdog2060 Post author

        On Sharia law, obviously its wrong (and wholly unacceptable) that stoning or the murder of gay people (as happens under Islamic Stat or ISIS) should take, however most Muslims detest ISIS and practices allowing discrimination are outlawed in western societies. There is (among some, but not all Muslims) the practice of arranged marriage. However this should be separated from forced marriage. I (personally) don’t particularly like the idea of arranged marriage. If, however both parties (men and women) are given a full say/involved by their parents in the decision, then arranged marriages can be happy ones. While at university I had a Muslim friend who had an arranged marriage. Both he and his wife where happy together. To be crystal clear, Muslim women should not feel pressured to marry anyone and (as I mentioned earlier) a UK court has recently convicted a Muslim lady of forcing her daughter into marriage and has/will be punished (rightly) for her actions.

      2. floridaborne

        Working together is optimal. I know of someone Who lived what happened in Zimbabwe. That country is now asking farmers to move back. If South Africa doesn’t learn from that, the backlash is going to be brutal. Farmers in Zimbabwe in 2000 were unprepared. Farmers in SA are preparing for a fight.

    1. drewdog2060drewdog2060 Post author

      I completely agree with you, Sue. If evidence exists that people are being forced to adopt Islamic dress then that is, of course equally as wrong as outlawing the wearing of such dress by those who (freely) choose to adopt it.

      Reply

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