BAN THE BURKA
FROM OUR LOCAL NEWSPAPER - dark lettering is mine - Keith Hunt
The Calgary Sun FRIDAY, JUNE 22. 2018
I am joining my colleague Tarek Fatah in appealing to Ontario premier-elect Doug Ford to ban the burka, the oppressive face covering. In fact, I would like to extend this suggestion to premiers of other provinces.
Fundamentalist insistence on the veil is more political than religious. There is nothing in the Qur'an that expressly prescribes wearing even the hijab, let alone the niqab or other forms of face veiling.
Of course, Fatah is citing the burka as a security threat. This alone is compelling enough reason to ban it.
There is no denying that the garment has been used to commit heinous crimes, not only in Canada but also overseas.
But I want the burka banned also because I care about Canadian Muslims. I care about their image as a diaspora community. If they continue to promote or allow the face veil, the image they project is one of backwardness and misogyny.
Muslims should be the first to seek a ban on this, oppressive garment that has no basis in Islam and that portrays them in such negative light. That the garment is inherently misogynistic is undeniable. It is rooted in the conviction that women are a source of evil if they are left unshielded from the male gaze.
It is rooted in the notion that women must be secluded from the public because if they are not, they will be a source of "fitnah" or mischief in society.
The burka is rooted in the idea of the woman being just another of the man's chattles — "my woman, my wife" — who cannot be seen or heard by others.
But this is hardly what the prophet of Islam had intended. It is merely a con-temporary fundamentalist narrative within Islam that has put this oppressive spin women's clothing.
The Islamist narrative only targets women. The fundamentalists insist women must cover up, must be invisible and anonymous. By ignoring the historical and cultural context, they cherry-pick oral dictates to suit their agenda. They ignore the fact that the Qur'an only has very general prescriptions about modesty, and thy apply to both men and women.
While they quote any retrogressive interpretation that happens to advance their agenda, they never consider the historical background.
Veiling came into being only when Muslim women experienced harassment.
This shows that there is no intrinsic requirement for Muslim women to cover up at all, and no attendant demand for male ownership. Insofar as the prophet said anything at all about women and veiling, its purpose was more to protect them in a society where men simply never considered the consent of women.
Canada of course has a free and open society where woman's rights are respected, where if they choose to reveal their skin, it is not deemed a sexual invitation. This is a society where the range of sexual crimes, all the way from rape to sexual harassment, are strongly punished by law.
It is now time the fundamentalists, the Islamists, the mullahs and the rabid clergy come to acknowledge Islam’s more benign and women-friendly traditions.
Meanwhile, politicians can help those of us who understand the nefarious agenda of the Islamists to provide all the political and legal machinery to marginalize their aims.
BAN THE BURKA.