Australian Islamist Monitor

Islam Under Scrutiny

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Burkas and brainwashing

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Nada IbrahimThe world we live in are very strange. Having enjoyed some half a century of ‘freedom’ in the west, some of the media seem to be forgetting what it is. They even seem  confused when presented with Islamic sleight of hand  tricksto explain certain restrictive customs as ‘freedom’ – such as wearing the burka or other head gear by Muslims. They don’t now whether to think of Islamic customs within the frame of western freedom, or whether to see them in the light of a unique framework of Islamic restriction.

A recent example of this media paralysis is found in the claim by Griffith University PhD student Nada Ibrahim, who  says that ‘wearing the Muslim veil is not oppressive or enslaving, but a sign of identity, choice and respect.’ This comment has been made in haste after Nicolas Sarkozy made his blunt announcement that  the burqa is "not a sign of religion", but a sign of "enslavement ... and subservience". This is certainly not what one expects to hear from Sarkozy lately but he did say it loud and clear and several international news sites carry the story. The Associated Press report says:
In the first presidential address to parliament in 136 years, Sarkozy faced critics who fear the burqa issue could stigmatize France's Muslims and said he supported banning the garment from being worn in public."In our country, we cannot accept that women be prisoners behind a screen, cut off from all social life, deprived of all identity," Sarkozy said to extended applause at the Chateau of Versailles, southwest of Paris. "The burqa is not a religious sign, it's a sign of subservience, a sign of debasement — I want to say it solemnly," he said. "It will not be welcome on the territory of the French Republic."
Sarkozy blasts burqa

But Nada Ibrahim is adamant that Sarkozy’s comments, like those of others in the west pertaining to the burka, are evidence of  ignorant fear and asserts with aplomb that in wearing the veil she has , ‘not to satisfy any male influence, but because she believes it is a commandment from God.’. The Australian ABC, not knowing any better, and always having a knee jerk reaction to Islamic braying, has immediately come to her aid in publicising her views that it is a sign of  freedom to hide  one's face. She continues:
"It is actually an obligation that is put in the Koran," she said. "If you go into a chapter called 'the light', God particularly tells us Muslims to cover ourselves, so it's a commandment from God." (source)
Nada makes a plethora of assertions, which are all repetitive, saying the same thing  over and over, as Muslims tend to do to confuse the stridency of an assertion with true perception of the issues. Wearing the burka and other head gear is not Veiled Snotenslavement for Nada  because – it’s just NOT because the Qu'ran says so. While insisting that she has a brain and that she thinks about these things and that many western women do not understand  how ‘free Muslim women are,, she too makes the mistake of confounding a strong opinion, with having an ability to think. Nada Ibrahim would do well to use her critical questioning faculties a bit more and ask herself what the social and political effect this head cover has in a country where it is NOT the custom, nor the marker of identity for the majority of women.. In a country where women do NOT wear such headgear, what s the consequent attitude of burka clad  women to their non-burka clad peers? Isn’t it rather an insult and a judgement? And does Nada care? It is only fair to ask for an answer. Is the same respect given to the non-burka clad women as to the burka clad women? For you see women in the west, are more interested in the ideas and the free interchange of ideas, and what Nada Ibrahim is saying, is that that is not as important as ritual headgear as a marker of identity. She cannot see the profound coercion propelling her to speak of ‘identity’ and ‘choice’ and even ‘freedom’ while in reality not understanding how thinking western women see those very things. There is no room for cognitive dissonance in her way of thinking, no critical questioning of the force of ritual, nor any understanding of the true freedom of thought which has flourished in the west, which uses reason and logic to advance an argument.

She would do well to ask herself, if other believers in God do not believe that there is any divine commandment to wear headgear, then there is a very different interpretation of revelation here. For they cannot all be correct. Either one has to wear the headgear or not. And another question – what about the veracity of the Qu'ran itself? Many testimonies on the Faith Freedom site show how Muslims left Islam after studying the Qu’ran deeply. Egyptian priest  Father Zacaria Boutrios addresses the many contradictions in the book and describe how imams are leaving Islam in droves for Christianty, after having examined the matter very carefully. Such is the love of freedom and discussion with Fr Zacaria Boutros that a price has been put on his head.

Many leave Islam because they see the contradictions and realise that this could not be a work of the Creator of the world whose universe is a reflection of order and greatness and not a mass of contradictions. Could Nada discus these issues with an ex-Muslim?  That would be a test of her insistence that she is ‘free’. Also what is the fate of women in the next world? Investigating that question alone has led many women to leave Islam.


And a final question – what about the different kinds of headgear? Nada Ibrahim apparently does NOT wear a burka but wears a scarf. So why does she defend the wearing of the burka as a direct divine commandment and then not do it herself? Should she not cover herself from head to toe and not reveal her face at university to anyone at all? The reality is, that thinking women in the west know that the wearing of the headgear in Islam is a remnant of seventh century life that carries with it a political message that is indeed about enslavement. Sarkozy was right for once. Let us hope he can carry through some resolve not to allow the wearing of the burka in France, and let us hope that such a practice is seen for what it is – an insult to the women not wearing it, and an insult to those who do. And incidentally, as a final note it is interesting that Nada Ibrahim, the opinionated and well travelled student is doing a Ph.D.  on a topic that reveals much about the problems in Islamic society.

Nada was born in Kenya, raised in various countries around the world, including Egypt, India and Fiji, completed her undergraduate studies in Malaysia, and has lived in Australia for the last 20 years. She has a Masters of Education in guidance and counselling, and is currently researching her PhD on intimate partner violence in Muslim communities. (source)
Interesting choice of topic. Over 1400 years of wearing headgear has not created Islamic societies free of ‘intimate partner violence’, so it seems.
Last Updated on Saturday, 27 June 2009 02:53  

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History - Violent Jihad

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History - Imperialism

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