This obsession with the Islamic “veil” gets more absurd by the day. I had no intention of posting more about it so soon, but now a Tunisian woman has been fined in Italy for wearing a full veil — niqab — as she walked to the mosque. Belgium passed a no-niqab law last week, and France is about to do the same even though fewer than 2,000 Frenchwomen wear the damn thing . And my brother let loose on the phone from England last night, shouting at me that every leading French feminist was against the niqab, that it was all part of France’s concern for separation of church and state, and that besides it was essential for security to be able to see people’s faces.
My brother the political cynic arguing for natonal security by lecturing me on feminism? What kind of brave new world is this?
My feminist credentials are impeccable — infinitely better than those of all the male European politicians busy yammering on about women’s dignity, let alone my brother’s. And I’ve been at it long enough to know when my feminism is being manipulated.
Of course I’m not “for” the veil. I hate the idea of it. But for European governments to legislate against it? How exactly is this different from the Taliban legislating for it?
Good minds are being driven over the edge by the veil. Just try reading this op-ed piece, a convoluted argument which appears to be that the essence of civil society is being able to see the whites of someone’s eyes. Not so long ago, soldiers were ordered not to shoot until they could see those same whites of the eyes…
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.
I cannot believe that we are living in the 21st century. With laws like banning the niqab, I am beginning to think that these western democracies that promote the ideas of freedom and liberty are a fraud because they they apply the rules selectively.
There is no sincere commitment to these lofty principles. It seems that everything we are told by political parties and leaders in the west is nothing but a lie. They decide when to apply the rules and when to relax them even discard them.
Consider the economic crisis recently, we have been led to believe that government intervention in the free market is taboo, it should never be entertained – communism right. Then when all else fails guess who intervenes – the government.
May be we will never really be free and the freedom we once thought we had finally won for civilisation was actually a con. It is phony. As long as you are prepared to conform you are free.
Hypocrites, that is what I say. I conclude that we are probably hard wired to be hypocrites. Let us blame it on evolution.
Zunaid — I can’t remember right now who said that democracy is not perfect, just the least harmful of all the systems of government we’ve so far invented. We know it can never be taken for granted. The same with freedom and liberty. When we begin to take them for granted, we begin to lose them. Hypocrisy, as you say, is human, as is complacency. So if we are to be free citizens, we need to be part of the “they,” to actively stand up against both hypocrisy and complacency. We need to be capable of protest, capable of outrage, capable of calling government to account. Thanks for being part of that.
[…] being said, I did stumble upon this blog by author, Lesley Hazleton. She articulates how we are hiding our hatred behind the veil, and articulates the core issues […]
Dear Ms. Hazelton,
I was fascinated by your talk on Islam and listened to it repeatedly in an attempt to grasp its depth. It seems that you study the subject meticulously. I too am an avid reader of religious scriptures and am unable to finish a hot cup of tea when I start reading the Quran. Somehow, I start to read and forget about the tea, untill much later. I would like to know if there is a way for me to send you some reading material which is sure to fascinate you, as well.