|Do you have a moral standing to criticise securely from?|
Yes, this is an old piece of news, but a very relevant issue and something that hasn't really been cropping up lately. It's something that needs greater discussion in my opinion.
It is not necessarily the refusal or the bans that have prompted me to write this article. It is more the failure to understand the culture involved with the face veil. Labels such as 'Muslim veil' place the blame on the entirety of Muslim culture. One may as well say Christians are homophobic. Furthermore, the constant referral to a burqa or burka is incorrect. The comedian Omid Dajili pointed this out on the BBC's One Show. The hosts named the veil a burqa, but it's a niqab; a face covering. The burqa is a complete covering of the body, including the eyes.
|If you can't beat them...no pun intended.|
As for the comments on that Daily Mail piece; admittedly I'm unsurprised that they're there, considering it's the Daily Mail after all. I'm not going to use them as a barometer for British opinion for obvious reasons, but there is the inevitable fact that some show the aforementioned lack of knowledge of the average citizen.
|Can you accept penalisation of those who are already|
'Her religion' encompasses a vast array of interpretations, just like Christianity, Judaism or Hinduism. In her interpretation, it may not be possible to remove her veil. I'm not foolish enough to say upvotes on the comments section of a newspaper's website are a valid indication of widespread British opinion, but it makes you think.
While there is a possibility that it may be her husband's or society's requirement that some Muslim women, perhaps the one in question, wear the niqab, that's a whole other argument that I'm not going to discuss in this post. Let's try to stay focused on cultural clash and ignorance.
For every ignorant or hateful comment on something as simple as religious clothing though, there is one pointing out the everyday-ness of such dress, the hugely tolerant nature of the UK, the acceptability of such dress sense (minus the connotations of control) and so on. I hope that the UK can provide an example to the rest of the world that while some of us as citizens may not like something, we are a culture that is used to change, to flexing around influxes of new peoples.
"(Potentially) suppressed women are suppressed by a society that fears and pities them, asking questions about why they wear the niqab while vilifying them for doing so."
Equally one cannot skip around the argument forever. Can I be absolutely sure that in 100% of cases the burqa is used voluntarily? No. But why should something like this jeopardise a person's right to find out how their child is doing at school? Think about that; the UK media bombards those who wear the veil with questions about anonymity and suppression, in turn doing nothing more than amplifying those two demons. (Potentially) suppressed women are thus suppressed by a society that fears and pities them, asking questions about why they wear the niqab while vilifying them for doing so.
Indeed, we as a Western culture have very little moral standing to criticise the possible oppression of women in such a manner. In a society that hates imperfection, and constantly assails us with impossible high standards that we are visually expected to meet, where every visual medium - even the most recent - has a grim history of objectified and stereotyped women, can we comfortably criticise? Sharia Muslims may use the niqab, but Californians have Photoshop.
NB; I do not condone forcing any human being into any action. I understand there are hardline Muslims, as with any religion, but the focus of this blog post is on cultural clash.
I was at Silverstone this weekend, apologies for the late post.