Tag Archives: burka

To Niqab Or Not To Niqab, That Is The Question!

Several hundred years ago, Prince Hamlet agonized over what he should do regarding his stepfather who he believed had killed his own father. Fast forward today, and the most critical question in Denmark is how to deal with the Muslim niqab veil or the burqa which covers the body. At a time when his nation has serious issues concerning its economic health, Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen is consumed with this momentous issue as to what a handful of Muslim women wear. “The government’s position is clear. The burqa and the niqab have no place in Danish society. They symbolize a view of women and humanity that we totally oppose and that we want to combat in Danish society.” These are powerful words and one would imagine he intends to deal with a problem that must be solved in order to save Danish society.

FACTS: Muslims represent about 1.9% of the inhabitants of Denmark and among Muslim women an estimated 100-200 women actually wear either of those garments. The figure is 0.15 percent of Muslim women in Denmark wear those garments. One would wonder if there are more serious issues the prime minister could become upset about like poverty or global warming.

QUESTION: Does the prime minister intend to fight for a ban on motorcycle helmets which cover the face?

Burka War Divides Danish Politics!

The burka wars continue to rage in Europe as “defenders of society” rise to declare their opposition to the horror of some women walking around clad from head to foot. Of course, walking through any modern city one encounters young people with hoods that virtually cover their faces or wearing tattoos all over their bodies. Naser Khader the integration spokesperson for the Conservative party in Denmark proclaimed in anger, “we do not want to see burkas in Denmark.” Khader is an immigrant from Syria who is involved with the Modern Muslim group. He insisted the “modern burka was instituted by the Taleban when it came to power. I see it as a symbol of the Taleban.”

Khader and his followers regard the burka as “un-Danish.” I wonder if wearing Michael Jordan tee shirts or American jeans are “real Danish.” Actually, although the Taleban is insignificant in Saudi Arabia many women wear versions of the burka. I suspect only a small percent of Danish Muslim women actually wear the full burka so can’t we all relax, enjoy life and allow them to wear what the heck they desire!! Personally, I am more offended by tattoos.

France May Ban Wearing Full Veil

France has long upheld the importance of separation of church and state in many aspects of society such as education. Five years ago, a law was passed which forbid children from wearing the Muslim headscarf or any other “conspicuous” religious symbol while in school. Luc Chatel, a government spokesperson, respond to requests from some MPs who wanted an inquiry into the “degrading” use of the burka and niqab in public, by saying, “If it were determined that wearing the burka is a submissive act, and that it is contrary to republican principles, naturally parliament would have to drawn the necessary conclusions.” There are no official figures as to how many Muslim women wear the full veil in France, but it probably is in the low thousands, at best.

The issue is not how many wear the full burka or why they wear it, but the rights of women to wear what they damn well please. Why is the government of France– or any government — getting into issues of what women wear? Men and women go around with ugly tattoos, but no one seems to care, boys and girls have rings in their noses or ears, but no one seems to care. A Muslim woman has the right to wear what she desires as do women who wear black at funerals. It is bad enough France interferes with the rights of young girls in school attire, but this is ridiculous.

I have taught Muslim women who wear the full veil and the class proceeded as usual.

Netherlands Bans Burkas In Schools

The Netherland Cabinet plans to introduce a ban on the face-covering burka in all schools in the nation. Not only students, but teachers, parents and any visitor to a school, including anyone delivering goods, will faill under the ban. Private Islamic schools will also have to comply. An estimated 100 women in the Netherlands wear the all-encompassing Islamic garment. Education Mnister Ronald Plasterk said it was important for communication in classrooms for teachers and students to be able to observe one another’s faces. However, Plasterk, for the present is allowing colleges and universities to make their own decisions regarding the wearing of a burka.

Earlier this year, the Dutch government announced it would not allow civil servants to wear a burka. Health Minister Ab Klink is considering whether the burka should be banned from medical facilities. As a teacher who taught in college classrooms in which some women wore the burka, there were some problems in communication, particularly since at age 78, my hearing is not first class and I depend on reading lips. But, when all was said and done, I made arrangements and there was some give and take on the part of Muslim women in functioning as part of a group. If there are only a 100 women it strikes this writer as much ado about nothing since there is no major issue in the Netherlands about burkas except that which exists in some male minds.