Sunday, July 02, 2006

Now that I'm done laughing... have a look at this:

Below are two comments on a post from Ann Althouse's blog.

Sloanasaurus said...

I don't have a problem with the religious garb either - as long as they do it in their own country. However, if you are a muslim woman and you live in the United States, you need to get rid of the Halloween costume. I saw a woman in a burka the other day in Minneapolis - how absurd and ridiculous. She should be arrested at a mximum and ridiculed at a minimum. The whole thing is distracting, and in this country it is viewed as oppression and not as religious. If you want to move and live in the United States, then you need to assimilate.

Sorry, am I reading this right? Is Sloanasaurus really suggesting that Muslim women (who, by the way, are clearly under no obligation by the government or society to wear the burka in Minneapolis, and so are most probably doing so by their own choice) should be arrested on sight just because she chooses to don an extra length of fabric?

Careful, there, Sloanasaurus, you're getting dangerously close to the oppression that people claim that Muslim women are put through in Muslim countries... only, over there, they're not arrested for being seen in public.

Here is the eloquent response that I found quite amusing:

Simon said...

Yes. She should know better; this is America. As we all know, the sine qua non of America is that people should be ridiculed and even arrested for the free exercise of their religious views and sartorial

It really is quite good once you understand it.

The following is an extract from an article I found, written by a woman whose sister converted to Islam (obviously to the former's displeasure).

Muslim women claim to wear the headscarf, or other more voluminous covering, out of modesty. I suspect that, in fact, the veil is attractive to women because it subtly appeals to their vanity. Islam tells women that, no matter how plain, old or ill-favoured she is, the sight of her uncovered hair will be so stimulating, that any man who sees it will lose control of his passions. Thus, beneath her modest covering, a Muslim woman can imagine herself the most desirable creature possible. Women who operate freely in society, conversing with men on a daily basis, are, in the end, forced to form a just assessment of their desirability. Unless she is particularly young and pretty, a woman will be made well aware of most men's indifference to her charms. She will find, in the long run, that likeable men will like her as much for her character, skills and wit, as for her beauty. It is when woman's sexuality is not shrouded that it ceases to be an object of mystery and passion to men, and women have the greatest chance of being treated as more than sexual objects.

(The highlighting is mine)

  • I am not so shallow as to have to pretend to be a supermodel underneath my headscarf. Neither are other Muslim women. Unless you imagine that our intellects/levels of sophistication are so underdeveloped that we haven't the capability of accepting who we are and have to "make believe" by throwing on a cloth to hide our true selves.
  • Islam disciplines a person in order to eradicate vanity. We consider all beauty a gift from God, and so nothing that we should pride ourselves on. I'm sure all of us didn't create ourselves, so why praise ourselves for our looks?
  • "Islam tells women that, no matter how plain, old or ill-favoured she is, the sight of her uncovered hair will be so stimulating, that any man who sees it will lose control of his passions." Quasi-pornographic billboards and magazines actually make it happen, and degrade women in doing so. I feel sad that women treat themselves as circus attractions. Islam does not tell women anything of the sort. It merely protects their dignity.
  • Dignity, integrity, and modesty are dear to any practising Muslim woman. The form in which she expresses it is the hijab.
  • I don't consider any woman "undesirable" because of her looks. Islam teaches people to marry first and foremost for piety, and then consider other assets. It teaches that however pretty/handsome, a woman/man without a good character will not be as good a spouse.
  • "She will find, in the long run, that likeable men will like her as much for her character, skills and wit, as for her beauty." Well, yeah. The hijab means to let the woman's character shine through. The thing is, you get people not taking those who aren't so attractive seriously, or holding them in such high esteem. The hijab is a preventative measure. I dare anyone to take a survey and prove to me that the hijab was less effective in achieving the above than no hijab.
  • So she's trying to say that... when it's not covered... it has the least effect on the beholder. Does this explain the significant problem of anorexia that we face today?

Another very, very important point. People actually insist that we're oppressed. No matter what women say... It seems laughable, doesn't it? But it happens. And to top it, the actual women who they suppose are oppressed are abused because of what they wear. I don't see how this works.

The moral of this post:

I know that ridicule may be a shield, but it is not a weapon(Dorothy Parker)


Charlotte said...

Well, my dear, this was rather insightful into your mind. Mwahaha, I am a mind reader! Anyways, you should write a book on the psychology of religion. Or a lengthy essay at the very least.

And btw "be arresting on sight". Should that be "be ARRESTED on sight?

Oh, and I think that Sloanasaurus should be arrested AND ridiculed at minimum. And what kinda dumb name is that?

Hehe, apart from, your font is a leeeeete small for my poor dead eyes. *sniffle*

Yeah, it's 40 degrees out there, and I have a friggin cold.

Anonymous said...

You are very eloquent and insightful; you make very good points. I agree with a lot of what you say, but I would like to vouch for those with less strong and unfair opinions as sloanasaurus (if everyone assimilated it would be a very boring world). I agree that here in North America, wearing a hijab is a choice and I have heard a few Muslim women give very good reasons for why they choose to where one. I think it is the burqa that provokes more opinions. I wonder how a Muslim woman who has come to North America that still wears a burqa can really accept our culture? Why not dress modestly, wear a head scarf? What must this woman be thinking of other women walking down the street in jeans and a t-shirt? The word burqa itself means “barrier” and I must admit that that to me suggests some kind of oppression. I guess I am just wondering what you think.
Keep up the excellent writing.


Anonymous said...

You've got a real point there, Saira. People should patiently examine their opinions before spouting them luxuriantly across the blogosphere.

After all, how is it any less oppressive or authoritarian to force a women to remove her headscarf than it is to foce her to wear it?