PDA

View Full Version : Belgium Bans Niqab, Burqa


jrrtoken
04-30-2010, 08:07 PM
Source (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/belgium-passes-europes-first-ban-on-wearing-burka-in-public-1959626.html)

The first European ban on the wearing of the Islamic burka in public is poised to come into force in Belgium. A parliamentary vote on a Bill which bans face coverings has raised fears among Muslim groups and human rights campaigners that other countries could follow suit. France is already considering similar legislation.

Thoughts on the matter? Indeed, while nowhere in the Qur'an is the hijab, niqab, the burqa, or any other costume explicitly mentioned, it does emphasize the concept of modest dress for both males and females. This inherently leaves the strictness of dress to regional culture, which is why we see such a wide spectrum of Muslim dress. Furthermore, the fact that many Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians wore veils from the time of Muhammad to even the present, this prohibition in Belgium seems to focus on Islam alone, in an almost insidious way, to boot.

While I do believe that the more conservative forms of dress can be, and has been, used to stifle the rights and freedoms of Muslim women, I wholeheartedly affirm that it is the woman's right, and her right alone, to wear what she desires, either in an Islamic perspective or not. No authority, neither family nor government, can tell her otherwise.

Totenkopf
04-30-2010, 08:13 PM
I think that in her home, she can wear whatever she wants (or her husband permits, perhaps). However, where do you stand on things like getting her ID (driver's license, passport, etc...) in that manner of dress?

Roller123
05-01-2010, 02:47 AM
Uhm, isnt a muslim woman forced to wear that thing, regardless of whether she wants or not. I was in Turkey and saw those women bathing fully dressed in black with face cover, it was like +30C. Cant believe they liked it.

Quanon
05-01-2010, 04:51 AM
The least of our worries now at the moment, we are yet again without a government. >_>
Election time awaits! Bunch of wankers... *sigh*

I'll honestly say we do have lot of rather conservative parties, who like to use the word Islamphobic. It's quite cruel and over the top.


Though ofcourse in at certain neighbourhoods in Brussels and Antwerp, there's a ton of crime mostly involving "foreigners".

mur'phon
05-01-2010, 06:14 AM
Question for those thinking banning it will help women: if their family force them to wear it if they want to go outside the house, what makes you think they'll be allowed outside the house at all if it's banned?

JediAthos
05-01-2010, 09:10 AM
I'm on the fence on this one...I think I understand what the Belgian parliament's point is, but at the same time these garments are a part of their culture.

I'm not sure I like a total ban. I could understand not allowing them to get their ID picture taken wearing such things as half the point of having a photo on the ID is to make sure the person carrying it is who they say they are. So having an ID picture where the person's face is covered is kinda pointless.

I understand too about the family forcing them to wear the garments. I don't like it, but that it their culture and who am I to say they can't live as they choose? I don't see how a ban serves any purpose in reference to this unless the Belgians think they can somehow change the culture with the ban. If that is what they think I wish them luck, and I wouldn't support such a goal either.

Totenkopf
05-01-2010, 09:30 AM
Flip side of all this is do some of you people that think it's unreasonable to "ban a burqa" in a western country think it's ok for westerners to force their cultural norms on the saudis or other muslim countries? Should those govts be forced to allow western women to go around like they would, more or less, in their own countries? Frankly, I see it in a similiar vein to JA above. As far as ID is concerned, they have to conform like the "natives" and bare their heads. As for the rest of the time, I don't really care that much. As long as no one's committing crimes, it doesn't really matter.

Quanon
05-02-2010, 03:31 PM
Mmm, one of the pain points is people working at public offices. Like the city hall or at the train station. As an employer you should be "neutrale", not wearing hats, neckalages whatever you got that shows your religion. You have to put that off while at work.

Mostly this isn't overly strict, but there has been some trouble in certain cities and schools. I guess thats one of the reasons this ban got voted. I'm not to happy about this. Another bad thing for Belgium, these last few years... have not been good.

Ping
05-02-2010, 04:17 PM
I'm kind of like JediAthos, on the fence. I believe someone should have the freedom of choice, but I also realize it's been used to stifle the freedom of women in some Muslim countries. Then there's also the difficulties when they go to get their IDs...

Arcesious
05-02-2010, 04:21 PM
So what are they going to do to enforce it? If someone wants to where a Niqab or Burka and does, are the police going to throw them in jail if they refuse to remove the clothing item? I doubt anyone who actively wears such clothing items is going to take this law seriously. I think that this is more of a political statement than an enforcible law.

mur'phon
05-02-2010, 06:12 PM
The law is perfectly enforcable, horribly counter productive from an integration standpoint, but easy enough to enforce. As for ID, have an opt-in system for fingerprint regristration for those unwilling to bare their heads, no need to push them into isolation.

Again: can those who say the face covering garments stiffle the freedom of women answer the question I asked earlier in the thread.

Darth Avlectus
05-02-2010, 07:06 PM
This law probably means well w.r.t. women being forced into wearing their garb and head pieces, but it is precisely these cases where there is extremism of the type where they would not be let out the door of their homes short of force.

Moslem women should be able to choose to wear whatever they want (obviously discrepancy erring on the side of universal decency--which doesn't look to be a problem here), and it isn't always a matter of being forced to wear a burka or niqab in countries where there's a bit more freedom than Moslem countries.

This law will run into some friction where it is of the woman's choice: I can picture this group of Moslem women protesting and refusing to leave the house on their own accord b/c they're offended.

Also kind of on the fence myself, as are apparently so many others here.
As it has related to ID and such, sorry, there is ultimately no way around it for these people. Accommodations can only be made to a point.

@ murph: Curious regarding opt in fingerprint: Is that already a common security practice that wouldn't be too terribly expensive or difficult to integrate as an in-case-per-case option? Could I carry a fingerprint verification device with me to verify the prints on the card? Caveat: Also I would think in certain situations this might not be feasible; i.e. certain terrible/disfiguring accidents or autopsy cases for death.

Arcesious
05-02-2010, 09:33 PM
I can understand why concealing clothing like this would be banned by claim of security reasons, but I think the underlying reason for this is really a political statement about women's rights. (And I'm all for treating people as equals.) However it is unfortunately counter-productive to women's rights in an ironic way.

EX: If I want to wear a big scarf over my face in public because I believe in the scarf god, as is tradition for males who believe in the scarf, its my right. I don't think its sexist towards me because its part of my beliefs.

If I wanted to wear a long trenchcoat that could conceal a number of weapons, should it be illegal to wear long trenchcoats in public? (Same issue, generally)

Perhaps some Muslim women may not openly admit that they view the tradition wearing of such modest clothing as sexist, but I'd bet that most of them probably think of its as part of their tradition (whether or not its in the Quran, it is their interpretation of what their religion wants of them), and don't have any issue with it.

Lord of Hunger
05-03-2010, 12:47 AM
This is a very difficult issue, but one point to consider is that freedom is not freedom when imposed. Furthermore, this can only be seen by Muslims as a war on their culture. Maybe it is sexist, but it is part of their culture identity. Does the West have the right to trample all over that?

Sabretooth
05-03-2010, 02:11 AM
So what are they going to do to enforce it? If someone wants to where a Niqab or Burka and does, are the police going to throw them in jail if they refuse to remove the clothing item?

This would be a hilarious converse of the law in Saudi Arabia.

Web Rider
05-03-2010, 02:42 PM
This is a very difficult issue, but one point to consider is that freedom is not freedom when imposed.

That's not entirely true. If a person or people don't know freedom, then sometimes forcing people out of their ruts is necessary. I don't like saying it's "their culture" because you can't be sure of that. It may be the culture they come from, the culture they are surrounded by, the culture they were forced into. But you can't say that it's theirs in that THEY want it to be that way. Just because I'm an American does not mean I approve of all aspects of American culture, just as being Japanese, Muslim, German or British mean you want to take part in a specific aspect or any aspect of a culture.

Lord of Hunger
05-03-2010, 03:43 PM
That's not entirely true. If a person or people don't know freedom, then sometimes forcing people out of their ruts is necessary. I don't like saying it's "their culture" because you can't be sure of that. It may be the culture they come from, the culture they are surrounded by, the culture they were forced into. But you can't say that it's theirs in that THEY want it to be that way. Just because I'm an American does not mean I approve of all aspects of American culture, just as being Japanese, Muslim, German or British mean you want to take part in a specific aspect or any aspect of a culture.
So you are saying with absolute certainty that you know better than the Prophets of Islam and the holy men who share their teachings, that the will of Allah is a "rut"? Yeah, the Islamic community will definitely welcome you with open arms. You aren't even speaking the same cultural language to them. Hell, they probably consider our culture to be in a rut and we're the ones who need to be forced around.

What we think of as women's rights may be what they consider sexualization of women. After all, the proclaimed role of the burqa is a tradition of modesty to my understanding. In Western Culture, we take deliberate care to design extremely revealing clothing for women and invent countless different forms of makeup and perfumes. Our teen celebrities aren't particularly modest and reserved themselves.

FYI, let me clarify that I am only arguing the opposition. This does not reflect my view 100%, I'm just trying to see this from the other side.

Darth Avlectus
05-03-2010, 04:13 PM
I don't think he was spouting right wing rhetoric--that's my job. :p Could just be my P.O.V. though.

He was just merely highlighting an aspect that tends to get a blind eye turned to it when people start throwing the whole culture card and follow up with that "imperialists forcing democracy down the throats of people who don't want it" argument. It's easy to make a conditional statement argument like: "It's their culture, therefore, we should not interfere/we're definitely only causing harm trying to liberate them."

The scope of this law was intended for their women to have rights and freedoms in whatever society they currently preside because they might not otherwise have those in their home country under strict Moslem rule.

That's what I got from all this, anyways.

mur'phon
05-03-2010, 05:47 PM
GTA: wWhile I'd argue that the intention of the law is to score cheap political points, I'm curious about how this law is going to make women any more free.

True_Avery
05-03-2010, 05:58 PM
Its an odd extreme at both ends. As in, sure women should have the right to wear what they want but, for instance, we're not allowed to just walk around topless or completely naked at our leisure in most countries. That is an infraction on free expression and so on, but there are plenty of cultures that demand a certain level of modesty. In the United States, for example, men are often allowed to walk around without a shirt at the beach, some restaurants, social activities, and so on but women are not allowed the same leisure because breasts are seen as immodest.

On the opposite you have the burqa, which is entire body covering, often with a slit or fabric to cover the eyes and face. While it adheres to the "no nudity" modesty line of many cultures, it does so to an extreme that could be argued to go past the modesty line into something else. What that something else is I'm not entirely sure; oppressive, insulting, secretive... whatever.

The burqa is covering to the point of being... shady? Not sure what word or connotation to go for. It covers your face, body language, and anything you could be wearing or holding. You can't be identified by anything but height, which could cause issues for store cameras, security, police officers needing to ID someone... teachers needing to identify to hand a kid over? Pardon my comparison, but its like throwing a blanket over yourself and then going about your daily life. Sure, you have your finger prints but... yeah, try passing off a credit card ID to the guy ringing you up when he can't see a single part of you.

The Niqab also shares some of the same problems, but not nearly to the extent of the burqa. The Hijab, however... I really don't see a problem with since its essentially just a hair cover. There are plenty of fashion accessories that cover hair, so where exactly is that line drawn?

If public nudity is illegal then I have little issue with the burqa being gone. Essentially, both "overmodesty" and "undermodesty" are illegal. It is not so much an expression of "religious freedom" but merely an exaggerated cultural definition of modesty. Modesty has many forms, and in plenty of tribes female nudity is accepted but they are still expected to wear clothes when walking around London or New York just as its expected people can read your body language and face and you aren't, so to speak, in a plastic ball painted black. On that same note, I still don't understand why the niqab and hijab needed to be banned since they, really, aren't that bad. I find that many women look very beautiful in a hijab, personally.

However, that is not exactly why this law passed. It was clearly passed to aim directly at the Islamic community, and being used as some sort of freedom passing, chains of oppression move to save femininity or... something. Here is an idea: if you're going to ban the burqa for being against female freedom, then remove modesty laws banning women from being topless in public and, I dunno, have more than 1 nude beach in your entire country.

I don't like most of whats been passed for what reasons they described, but I do like the fact that use of violence or force to make someone wear the clothes is now illegal. Regardless of what original culture you came from you still have to abide by the law of the new land you chose to be apart of, and that includes domestic abuse (although it is sort of ironic that the husband isn't allowed to say what the woman can wear, but the country can). On the other hand, Murph made the point that, well, women will just not be allowed to leave the home now and, really, many of these women are not going to turn their husbands in for it. That is the unfortunate turn around of using these laws to fight for feminism (AKA, score political points) and not looking straight at the issue.

This law was not passed for women's freedom. It was passed because many European countries have a growing racism towards the influx of Islamic immigrants and, Justified or not, it ends up being quite... ironic?

Sabretooth
05-03-2010, 11:43 PM
Reading Avery's enlightening post on the topic, I have decided that all nations must impose their own uniforms for all citizenry to wear in public, when, in using public services, they are furthering a national duty for the common good of the people.

My proposed design:
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_xuKCVllHCh4/SChAzV0hUPI/AAAAAAAAFJc/OprU4wsM_hg/s400/suit.jpg

Totenkopf
05-04-2010, 12:00 AM
Reading Avery's enlightening post on the topic, I have decided that all nations must impose their own uniforms for all citizenry to wear in public, when, in using public services, they are furthering a national duty for the common good of the people.

My proposed design:
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_xuKCVllHCh4/SChAzV0hUPI/AAAAAAAAFJc/OprU4wsM_hg/s400/suit.jpg

I'm sure Mao approves.