from the quill of Antisthenes the Younger
People, whose information horizons stretch a bit further than those of the Labor/Green ABC, are aware of a current criminal case (threatening a witness) in the United Kingdom, involving a niqab clad accused. Even if not, the following article by Ms Bindel gives a gist of it.
Ms Julie Bindel describes herself as a feminist, but I think it should be proto-feminist, because for the current crop of feminists she seem to be too inteligent. Perhaps she can not bring herself to admit what a force for evil has feminism became. In any case, a few more articles like this one and she would be excomunicated from the world wide coven.
“Judge Peter Murphy has expressed the hope that Parliament or a higher court would soon ‘provide a definitive answer’ on the veil saga, saying: ‘The niqab has become the elephant in the court room’.
For the past week, our court system has been tying itself in knots to accommodate a young Muslim defendant who wishes to wear the full face veil or niqab in court.
Finally, on Monday, the judge in the case ruled that while she must take off her veil to give evidence, she will otherwise be allowed to wear it during the rest of the trial.
Judge Peter Murphy then expressed the hope that Parliament or a higher court would soon ‘provide a definitive answer’, adding: ‘The niqab has become the elephant in the court room.’
But what he and every pundit and newspaper commentator who has weighed in on the subject has missed is the real elephant in the room: why should this woman wear a veil at all, in any circumstances?
As a feminist, I find it depressing that so few other campaigners have been willing to speak out on this issue. Indeed, I would go so far as to say that the silence of the British sisterhood is shaming.
Self-styled feminist politicians and lobbyists are only too delighted to talk about employment issues such as ‘glass ceilings’, maternity leave and the work/life balance. But they fall shamefully quiet when it comes to something as important as the right of women not to be bullied by extremists into anonymised submission and treated as sexless chattels.
So far, the debate about the niqab has tended to revolve around the logistics of security and the rule of law. For example, there has been endless discussion about whether Muslim witnesses should have to show their faces in court and whether face coverings can lead to cases of identity fraud.
But many of these arguments are an irrelevance, a distraction from the real issue. After all, despite the earnest talk about the need for judges and juries to see the faces of those in the dock, this is not a major problem.
For courts often allow vulnerable witnesses to give evidence from behind screens or by video links.
Equally, there would rightly be outrage if a blind person were barred from serving on a jury.
While I would be opposed to legislation to ban the niqab, as I do not think that it is the job of the State to dictate what we can wear, I am deeply aggravated by the casual acceptance — even embrace — of the niqab as an increasingly normal part of British society.
Its presence should be challenged as a threat to the freedom of women, not celebrated as a harmless aspect of multi-culturalism.
For this is not about a simple article of clothing. It is about a symbol of the relentless subjugation and control of women.
Now I accept that the great majority of Muslim men and women in Britain are highly decent people who eschew extremism. But the niqab is a clear, physical representation of a patriarchal culture of a fundamentalist minority that treats women as second-class citizens.
The very impulse to dictate what women should wear and how they should appear is based on the ruthless stereotyping of an entire gender. It is an outlook that shows not the slightest respect for women as individuals
What is so immoral about the veil is that it sends a pernicious message that women are such dangerously alluring or sluttish creatures that they cannot be trusted in masculine company unless they are fully covered.
Such an attitude could hardly be more insulting to women for it treats them entirely as exotic sex objects.
But it is also demeaning towards men, because it implies they are so weak-willed, so crazed by testosterone that they will become uncontrollable at the mere sight of an inch of female flesh.
In the early days of feminism, there used to be a sneer directed at radical feminists such as myself and others who wrote and campaigned against inequality and misogyny.
Our opponents argued that our criticism of men’s violence and abuse of women meant that we thought ‘all men are rapists’. But few feminists think anything of the sort. A minority of Islamic hardliners, however, really do think that.
What is so immoral about the veil is that it sends a pernicious message that women are such dangerously alluring or sluttish creatures that they cannot be trusted in masculine company unless they are fully covered
The truth is the notion that women should cover themselves with a veil has been determined and is perpetuated by this group of superstitious patriarchs who use religious dogma as a means of policing and controlling women’s bodies.
The very impulse to dictate what women should wear and how they should appear is based on the ruthless stereotyping of an entire gender. It is an outlook that shows not the slightest respect for women as individuals.
In response to such arguments, it is often said that women wear the niqab out of their own choice.
But how much genuine freedom of choice do those women have when fundamentalists elevate misogyny into a religious principle?
The problem is that some Muslim women are under constant authoritarian pressures from families, peers and so-called ‘community’ leaders. During the summer, when I was regularly in Regent’s Park in London, I would often see a Muslim couple out in the sun: he in shorts and singlet; she in full black heavy robes and the full veil.
The tragedy is that the more we allow the niqab to be accepted by our society, the more that some Muslim girls will be put under pressure to cover themselves
Was it really her choice to dress like that on a hot day?
But the niqab has nothing whatsoever to do with freedom or choice. The drive for its acceptance comes from male hardliners who have no concept of liberty and who use women as a means of extending their power.
Cleverly, they exploit the fashionable western language of ‘anti-discrimination’ to achieve this end. Anyone who calls for a ban on the burka or the niqab can often find themselves conveniently branded culturally ‘insensitive’ or ‘racist’.
I believe the goal of such men is cultural totalitarianism, not the freedom for people to express their faith through the way they dress.
Veiled women have become a sort of human shield in the advancement of the Muslim fundamentalist agenda.
More troubling still is the way insidious political correctness means that otherwise sensible people are reluctant to speak out.
It is this that partly explains the abject cowardice of our authorities in refusing to stand up against even the most blatant forms of illiberalism, as shown by the failure to tackle Muslim gangs in the north of England who groom vulnerable young girls for sex, or the casual tolerance of the growing number of Sharia courts across the country.
In all its medieval barbarity and misogyny, Sharia should have absolutely no place in our justice system, which is meant to be based on the idea that we are all equal before the law.
The tragedy is that the more we allow the niqab to be accepted by our society, the more that some Muslim girls will be put under pressure to cover themselves.
The debate about the niqab and whether it should be worn in court has been the wrong one. We have failed to tackle the real issue.
Why have so many of my fellow feminists not mounted a robust attack on the niqab and its iniquities?
Where is the siren cry of outrage about women having to cover their faces, hair and bodies?
If we do not support those Muslim women who would be free of the veil, who will?
I have spoken to many formerly Muslim feminists who are completely opposed to the niqab and rightly see it as a barrier to their seeking fulfilment in jobs, relationships and education.
Theirs are the voices we should respect, rather than caving in to the intimidation of a small number of zealots.”