2010 August 01 Sunday
Muslim Feminist Supports Burqa Ban

Yes, I am aware that "Muslim Feminist" is a contradiction in terms. Ryan Brown of Salon interviews an Egyptian-born Muslim woman who supports a burqa ban in France. Note you can't be sure she really is still a Muslim because if she's not she'd be afraid to say so.

Ahead of parliament's vote on Tuesday, we went to Mona Eltahawy, an Egyptian-born journalist who calls herself "a liberal, a Muslim and a feminist," to better understand the argument for a ban.

Why do you support a ban on the burqa in France?

I support banning the burqa because I believe it equates piety with the disappearance of women. The closer you are to God, the less I see of you -- and I find that idea extremely dangerous. It comes from an ideology that basically wants to hide women away. What really strikes me is that a lot of people say that they support a woman's right to choose to wear a burqa because it's her natural right. But I often tell them that what they're doing is supporting an ideology that does not believe in a woman's right to do anything. We're talking about women who cannot travel alone, cannot drive, cannot even go into a hospital without a man with them. And yet there is basically one right that we are fighting for these women to have, and that is the right to cover their faces. To tell you the truth, I'm really outraged that people get into these huge fights and say that as a feminist you must support a women's right to do this, because it's basically the only kind of "right" that this ideology wants to give women. Otherwise they get nothing.

Eltahawy is upset that it is the Right rather than the Left that is pushing hardest to ban the burqa. She distrusts the Right's motives and think they do not really care about the rights of women.

I look at Islam in countries where Muslims are a majority and it is clear that Islam does not accept religious freedom. In some Muslim countries (e.g. Saudi Arabia) houses of worship for other religions isn't allowed at all. In other Muslim countries (e.g. Egypt) considerable regulatory obstacles to the construction of churches and other discrimination against Christians make their second class position clear. Muslims want equality for themselves in countries where they are a minority but superior position for themselves where they are a majority. So their arguments for religious freedom are mendacious. Islam is not compatible with Western values. We should not pretend it is.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2010 August 01 11:27 AM  Civilizations Clash Of


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