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Thursday, October 26, 2006


University Professor: Muslim Veil Issue is Western Intolerance

-By Warner Todd Huston

In another example of Western societal immolation, the University of Toronto is allowing a professor to teach his class that westerners who stand against the use of the veil by Muslim women living in western societies are but intolerant, bigots standing against Islam. He is claiming that being against the use of the veil is merely a western "fear" that is grounded solely in ignorance.

Westerners face up to their fear of the veil

As European politicians these days denounce the Muslim veil as inappropriate, University of Toronto Islamic legal scholar Anver Emon gives his students an exercise to show why the veil ignites fear in Western society.

He asks them to imagine a woman standing on a fashionable downtown Toronto street corner wearing a burka, the Afghan garment that covers a woman from head to toe. Or wearing a niqab, the more common face-veil. "Who is she?" he asks them. "Who is the woman?"

Invariably, Prof. Emon says, his students -- whether they're 10th-graders in the high-school workshops he conducts or his law students at U of T -- describe the woman as an uneducated immigrant under her husband's control. In other words, as an "other" and an "outsider."

When he tells them she could just as well be a Toronto-born lawyer, "suddenly the reason for the veil is not clear to them," he said. "Thus, to what degree is our response to the veil based on our assumptions of who is the woman?"

That was a pretty smooth obfuscation of what the purpose of the veil is on the part of professor Emon. You have to hand it to him for his ability to lie convincingly, at least.

Islamic apologists are the only sources for this story, naturally. No western theory is offered and this leaves unchallenged the position that westerners are merely bigoted against these innocent Muslims because westerners are so hateful of any other culture. It is simply the only option to explain being against the veil left us in the story.

Islamic scholars say the hostility rests with Western difficulty in embracing cultural difference. They say it stems from ignorance of historic reasons for the veil in Islamic society as well as ignorance of women's religious head-coverings in Western Christian culture.

But, just what do many westerners have against the usage of the veil? Is it just intolerance against other cultures? Or is there a good reason to stand against the use of the veil, the hijab, niqab, or the burka?

To answer that, one must understand the level of oppression faced by women in Islamic cultures. The veil is but a method of control, a method to remove freedom and liberty from Muslim women. The various coverings forced upon women is part and parcel to a system of forcing them into a subservient, hidden role, a role as second-class citizens to Muslim males who have no such restrictions.

Ostensibly, these coverings are supposed to guard a woman’s “chastity” or “modesty”. But, what it really does is eliminate the women’s ability to even address their chastity and modesty in their own minds as the veil serves to mask any need for introspection as much as it hides the woman away from the view of others. Worse, the veil teaches women that they should be ashamed of themselves, that they must remain unseen, unheard. Such coverings teaches women to be ashamed of their sexual feelings, even though such feelings were given to us by God, our maker. Additionally, it shows them that they should be faceless, shadowy entities without an identity or individuality.

In fact, sex itself is an imagined evil by Islam, especially the feminine half. Don’t take my word for it. The "Grand Mufti" of Australia, Sydney-based Sheik Taj Din al-Hilali, recently blamed Australia’s women and their supposedly suggestive dress as the cause of a notorious gang rape perpetrated by a gang of Muslims there.

The sheik then said: "If she was in her room, in her home, in her hijab, no problem would have occurred."

He said women were "weapons" used by "Satan" to control men.

"It is said in the state of zina (adultery), the responsibility falls 90 per cent of the time on the woman. Why? Because she possesses the weapon of enticement (igraa)."

Of course, the veil is but one aspect of how women are oppressed by Islam. Along with coverings with the supposed purpose of guarding a woman’s "modesty", women are not allowed freedom of movement, freedom to travel, to hold jobs, or to educate themselves. These along with so many other restrictions, the purpose of which is to keep Muslim women in subservient roles, forms the basis of how Muslim women are treated by the religion and men.

Such oppressive notions are entirely against the western ideals of liberty and freedom, the ideals upon which we have built our entire ideology. The west has evolved away from such restrictive ways of treating our women and there is no reason to allow a minority to violate those principles under the precept of freedom of religion. It is a violation of our very base ideals to allow a religious minority to oppress their women so in western societies.

Of course, freedom of religion is also a bedrock western principle, but freedom of religion cannot supersede basic liberties for all citizens. After all, we could not allow slavery merely because it might be a religious tenet. And, forcing women to wear restrictive coverings is just as immoral as forcing them to endure female circumcisions, beatings, or other oppressive cultural "traditions".

The last point in the report tried to use history to soften western resistance to the veil.

Barry Levy, dean of the faculty of religious studies at McGill University and a scholar on Christian, Jewish and Islamic relations, says the veil's origin lies far deeper in history than Islam. Both Jewish and Arab women in medieval times were veiled. Christian nuns until recently exposed only their faces and many orders still retain the head scarves and, until a few decades ago, no Christian lay woman would have turned up in church without a hat.

The fact that it happened that women were not allowed certain liberties in the past, even in western nations, is no reason to allow it to continue now. In America, for instance, we had a time when women were not allowed to own property and this was true in many western nations. If we were to return to such an unfair restriction the past implementation of it would not make a re-implementation any more legitimate.

Of course, the question becomes one of choice, too. What if Muslim women chose to wear a burka or hajib in the west? What if many women want to restrict themselves to this practice? In fact, many Muslims say that their women do, indeed, want to observe the tradition without being stopped. However, this claim rings hollow when one discovers that enforcement of this dress code in most Muslim countries is usually done by roving gangs of toughs that beat people in the streets if it is thought they are violating this code. If adhering to such a dress code was so voluntary, Muslim cultures would have no need of these violent, roving gangs of terror inducing hooligans to enforce the rules.

Still, allowing such a dress code should be observed in private lives even in the west – though it should be heavily discouraged by our own culture. In public service, however, the state has an obligation to observe western cultural and ideological precepts, so restrictions on the veil for teachers, government workers, etc. should be enforced. After all, a distaste of the Muslim veil in the west is no mere religious bigotry as the veil is an assault on our very principles of equality, freedom, and liberty. It's just that simple. Oppressing females should not be tolerated.

Sadly, in the name of being politically correct, many leftists are willing to support this creation of second-class citizenship for Muslim women, something they’d never support for a second for their own.

In the end, what we end up with in this story is just another example of western self-hatred, another example of westerners allowing their advanced culture to be attacked and destroyed by backward thinking minorities.

Next thing you know, liberals will be turning their faces to look away allowing barbaric Sharia laws to be implemented in a western nation.

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