Does the burqa make women non-persons?
That’s part of the fiction the west has made up and spread through the entirety of social media. I knew this older Jewish lady when I was working at the Staples call center. She married an Arab man. She chose to wear the veil and made it clear to him that it is by choice, which he respected, and understood that she would take it off and not wear it, by choice, whenever she chose. There was nothing involving her being a non-person. We discussed it at length. She understood the western thinking that such garments subverted women. Having been born and raised in Israel she had first-hand experience with such garments in her culture. She states that there are some who do take treatment of women to extremes, but the hijab, burqa, veil and all other clothing of that kind are not religiously meant to be used in that way. They’re only clothes.
The stuff you hear is mostly bunk, handpicked and molded by western minds to fit the overall narrative we have of brown people. There is no support that the veil or burqa make women non-persons. Reasonable evidence is required for this western view to be accurate. What I mean by reasonable evidence is nothing from the press, that source cannot be trusted because there are far too many left and right-leaning reporters, editors and news agencies. I’m talking about written literature, like the Quran, or other sources of that ilk. Every time I have had this particular debate with people, that evidence could never be presented.
I looked for the evidence myself because I would not be an effective illustrator of popular western myths about anything if I did not. There are no references in the Quran regarding the Burqa. However, there are seven occurrences in the Quran regarding the hijab and all seven of them are completely unrelated to women. The only references regarding “modesty” are:
“For women: Cover your chest (24:31); Lengthen your garments (33:59) and for both sexes; The BEST garment is righteousness and modest conduct (7:26).”
That many Middle East nations make it a law for women to wear such garments, violently punishable if they do not, is a result of religious scholars adding their own personal preferences into the national mix of oppression. Go figure that those nations are controlled entirely by men. Of the nations that have a more lax view on the burqa/hijab/veil, like Turkey, it is mostly left up to the individual families to decide how that will play out. In those nations, even the lax view is still oppressive… again, leaving it up to abusive men to lay down the law in the household.
Where the confusion comes, as I said, is the religious scholars using the prophet Muhammad as a source for their oppressive ideas rather than the Quran. Yet, even the writings of the great prophet himself stated that the Quran is a higher law than himself.
“Do not write down anything I say except the Quran. Whoever has written something other than Quran let him destroy it.” (Ahmed Ibn Hanbal, Vol. 1, page 171 also Sahih Muslim, Book 42, Number 7147).
Arab men cover their faces too. It’s called a shemagh, I have three of them and one I use in paintball. Men often cover their faces with them, making them look like a classic terrorist. Is that degrading to men or is it simply a way to keep from breathing desert sand? These garments that cover faces are intended as protection from natural elements, just like the balaclava, the scarf, and the hoodie. When I was in the Calgary Highlanders I wore something similar while driving around the sandy roads of Dundurn military base. I had to or I’d be constantly chewing on grit.
Culturally, I do concede that the garments in question have been and are used to subvert women. But is it really because of religious reasons, or is it – as is common in the west – merely men doing the subverting? As stated the burqa/hijab/veil perform a function in a desert climate. That they have been transformed into what they are commonly seen as today is not the fault of the garment, but the fault of the men. If you could see past the burqa/hijab/veil, you may likely see a black eye or other damage due to abusive husbands. In North America, we had women afraid to leave their homes, because their husbands demanded they do not show the bruises he caused the night before. And when she did leave and was questioned on the shiner she had, it was simply her own clumsiness. Somehow, an excuse does the same job as a burqa.
Will banning the burqa/hijab/veil stop those men from abusing their women? Will a banning somehow raise women to an equal level with men? Well, no… it won’t. In the west, many women do not wear the burqa/hijab/veil, and they are still not equal to men. All a ban on the burqa will do is force the men to demand that their women do not go outside so that everyone can see how he treats her.
The bigger issue is clouded by this whole debate. Women are equals, but many aren’t treated as such by their men. We still have shelters for battered wives, laws that punish men that abuse, but only if the women come forward, and if the judge is sympathetic. Otherwise, she is given the choices of leaving him or staying with him. She usually stays because she has hope he will change, and that hope lasts until the moment she gets her last beating… you know, the one that kills her.
The burqa/hijab/veil do not make women non-persons… men do. Until this fundamental mode of thought is discussed like it should be, and not swept under a burqa, women will still be degraded, will still be beaten, and will still be considered non-people by those who do beat them. Again, if you want equality for women, then equalize them. If you want women to be respected, then respect them.