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Ban the burka

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This week there's been quite a lot of talk about the burka, or the niqab, or whatever you want to call it. I'm talking about the neurotic need that some women have to walk around everywhere in disguise. Ever since the French president said it was unwelcome in France there's been a debate going on here in Britain about whether this ugly mobile tarpaulin should be banned. Although I have to say that if we were a more honest society, and therefore a more healthy society, there would be no need to ban this ridiculous outfit because it would already have been ridiculed out of existence. Most Muslims know full well that the burka has nothing at all to do with their religion. There's nothing in the Koran about women dressing up like Darth Vadar. This is a manifestation of a primitive culture and a primitive mindset that deserves about as much respect and consideration as the beliefs of headhunters. And as for modesty, please, don't make me laugh. Modest people don't draw attention to themselves by dressing up in a mobile tent just to rub it in the face of a culture they despise but for some reason insist on living in. The burka will never be welcome here in Europe, or in the western world generally. It will always cause trouble, and that, I suspect, is why it's being worn. And there are plenty of good reasons to ban this horrible garment, but for me the best reason is the fact that it would offend Islamists which I think is always a good idea. If a small group of hysterical bearded fanatics are squealing about Islamophobia then you know that somebody is doing something right. Personally, I would ban it on public transport and in public buildings, and anywhere else that other people are expected to show their face as a matter of course. I also think that shops and banks should be allowed to refuse entry to anybody in disguise. And I think that those women who think it's a good idea to walk around in one of these ridiculous outfits should seriously consider seeing a doctor, not only for themselves, but for their babies, some of whom have been born with rickets because their mothers suffer from chronic Vitamin D deficiency through lack of sunlight. Personally, I've been criticised quite heavily in the past for my attitude to this dehumanising shroud, this cloak of death, this mantle of misery. People have said to me: "You say women should be free to live how they want to and to dress how they like, and yet you have ridiculed those women who choose to cover their face of their own free will. And this makes you a hypocrite, and a racist, and an Islamophobe, and a Jew, and a homosexual, and a filthy kuffar who'll burn in hell, inshallah." Or words to that effect. Well, quite apart from the obvious security threat posed by the burka, which we don't like to talk about too much out of respect for their religion, even though their religion is our biggest security threat - Sorry to all you peaceful Muslims, but we all know that is the unfortunate truth, at least right now. But quite apart from that whole issue, the burka is more than just an item of clothing, isn't it? It's a political statement of very determined separation - - so much for community cohesion - and it's also a powerful symbol of the status of women in the Muslim world, some of whom, even in this country, have no choice as to whether they are encased in these sartorial prisons. And that's why I believe that those women who deliberately try to legitimise this sinister garment in the free world to make some kind of cockeyed statement, I think those women are actively condoning and encouraging the oppression of other women on this planet for which I think they ought to be thoroughly ashamed of themselves. I think what they're doing is deeply immoral. I think they're traitors to their gender, and as a symbol of their religious or cultural identity, they might as well be wearing a yellow star. I also find it baffling as to why it is that the western feminist voice, usually so assertive and confident, is so muted when it comes to women in Islam. That couldn't have anything to do with cultural relativism looking attractively ethnic once you were all safely home and dry, could it, girls? Or maybe it just wasn't a very worthwhile cause after all. I don't know. What do you think? I would like to hear, because the silence so far from feminists has been deafening and shameful. Everybody thinks so. Everybody's wondering where the hell are all the feminists? People even write to me and ask me: "Where are the feminists?" As if I'm supposed to know. I'm just as puzzled as everybody else. But let me tell you what those shy retiring feminists could and should be saying if they were anywhere to be found. And that is that any western woman who makes allowances for or who accommodates the misogyny of Islam in her life is a fool to herself and a traitor to her daughters who will have to live with the consequences in a society where they feel less valued, less safe, and have fewer rights than they do now. And personally I don't want to be a party to anything like that, and that's why I think that the issue of women's rights should be a line in the sand that Islam is not allowed to cross at any price. The emancipation of women in Islam is one of the most important political issues on this planet, because it's the only thing that's likely to civilise this crackpot religion of peace. And I think that western governments who claim to stand for freedom and justice should be pursuing it vigorously and without compromise regardless of anybody's feelings or cultural sensitivities, especially within their own borders, and that means no sharia, and no burka. But let's not be too intolerant. That's the worst thing you can be as a modern European, of course, and I'm nothing if not a modern European. So I wouldn't want to ban the burka for absolutely everyone. Not at all. In fact I think it should be compulsory for all Islamist men, especially during the hot weather, and maybe then we'd find out just how popular this thing really is. Peace, especially to all the silent feminists. You know who you are, even if nobody else does.

Video Details

Duration: 6 minutes and 25 seconds
Country: United Kingdom
Language: English
Director: Pat Condell
Views: 19,643
Posted by: patcondell on Jun 28, 2009

Stop Islamist oppression of women. You can download an audio version of this video at

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