Johnson is at it again!
Already the backlash has begun and there has been an increase in the reports of attacks against Muslim women.
Before I go any further:
- Burka – body covering. It covers the body from neck to foot.
- Niqab – face covering. Covers the face only (or a part of it, depending on where in the world you are as different countries have different traditions).
- Hijaab – Head scarf.
The Nonreligious Point of View
Had someone, say Rowan Atkinson (and I wish to God he did), said something like this then the reaction would have been laughter, a few giggles and the whole thing would have been taken in the spirit in which it was meant. And there lies the problem… ‘the spirit in which it was meant’!
Despite the obvious comparisons, Johnson is no clown. He is actually a very crude operator who has been proven to ‘play both sides’. He is in a highly responsible position, in which people listen and believe – without question. The backlash has already demonstrated this. To say that ‘he needs to be more considered’ in his approach and ‘pick his words more carefully’ are pointless platitudes – he is a crude operator and is fully aware of what he is saying. I can’t comment on the ‘whys and wherefores’ as only he knows the answer and he is refusing to say anything more.
The Religious Point of View
As far as I have studied the Koran, Hadith, and Sunnat I can see no command either directly or eluded to that requires women to cover their faces in any way. The order is quite clear:
And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and guard their private parts and not expose their adornment except that which [necessarily] appears thereof and to wrap [a portion of] their headcovers over their chests and not expose their adornment except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers, their brothers’ sons, their sisters’ sons, their women, that which their right hands possess, or those male attendants having no physical desire, or children who are not yet aware of the private aspects of women. And let them not stamp their feet to make known what they conceal of their adornment. And turn to God in repentance, all of you, O believers, that you might succeed.
Chapter 24, verse 31.
It’s quite clear. The word ‘niqab’ is not mentioned in the Quran, and the description given does not describe covering the face.
The Bigoted Point of View
Why have the burka, niqab and hijab become a symbol of oppression? When was the last time that anyone meaningfully surveyed all women that wear the burka, niqab and or hijab? Really! Where are the stats? To believe that a Muslim woman who wears these items is oppressed is just bigoted. I want to use the term ‘racist’ too but I’m not too sure that is correct? The reason I want to use it is that I have never heard of a Nun, Orthodox Jew, Coptic Christian, Amish, Catholic, Sikh, Hindu or Sabian being described as oppressed. This word ‘oppressed’ seems only to be reserved for Muslim women. I don’t know why, and I am pretty certain (almost 100%) that those who claim Muslim women to be oppressed don’t know why either. So instead of ‘racist’ may I use the term ‘selectively bigoted’? Perhaps not – so let’s just say ‘selective’.
My Point of View
I have never been hurt or insulted in any way by a woman wearing any of the aforementioned articles of clothing. As a matter of fact, I happily state with certainty that 99% of people who claim Muslim women to be oppressed haven’t been either.