What, you thought I’d swung around Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, of an afternoon? Or perhaps sashayed back to the year 700? No, this photo was taken in Wan Chai two days ago.
That was only a few minutes after I had sat across the aisle from three of the same thing on the MTR. Not the same one, of course, because although it’s impossible to separate one black bag from another, I noticed that this one’s children were completely different from those on the MTR.
This follows hot on the heels of an argument raging in a Norwegian chatroom about four high school students who are not allowed to go to school in this awful disguise. The Norwegian Labour Party Youth are of course up in arms: It’s discriminatory! It’s fear of the other, the unknown! It’s stigmatising!
I don’t know about you, but if I ran a school or was a student of one, I would really like to know who the other students actually were. Imagine going up to one black bin-liner inviting her to a wild party of only women and a cup of tea, and discovering that you have invited someone completely different whom you don’t even like!
I say “going up to”, but who am I kidding? Does this kind of costume, designed to eradicate the woman’s identity and self, invite to social contact? Me, I feel a distinct chill go through me whenever I encounter one of these crow-like beings. The last thing I want is to initiate any kind of conversation. I thought women were supposed to be non-threatening; the softer, more approachable sex. What the above disguise screams out to me is: Danger. Do not approach.
While Muslims all over the non-occupied world are crying about how they are marginalised and, yes, stigmatised, as well as made to feel not included, do they really think that any modern society will welcome anyone dressed like this with open arms? This costume is made exactly for the purpose of separating Muslims from other people. It’s a political statement and it’s designed to frighten and to make a sharp division between the disguised, non-identity ones and the others. Make no mistake, it is exactly the Muslims who want to make us into the others. After all, more than 60% of the koran is all about how Muslims must treat infidels. (Badly.) Also, if they are so damned pious and slavishly following every word that illiterate desert warrior Muhammed uttered, how come the men accompanying these tent-wearing women are more often than not dressed in singlets, shorts and baseball caps?
The Norwegian debate is ostensibly all about how people should have the right to wear what they want. Yes, if those people are Muslims! For anyone else, different rules apply. I wonder what the Labour Party Youth would say if some students insisted on turning up at school in full Ku Klux Klan gear? In balaclavas?
There are hundreds if not thousands of documentaries on YouTube showing women swathed in black bandages boasting about how “free” they feel, how “nobody is forcing them to wear niqabs or burkas” and how it is “their own choice”. Really? Maybe they think so. But in the Islamic world and under sharia law where women are worth only half of men in every respect and where, if a woman is raped, she is the one who gets punished, isn’t it possible that “choosing” to wear this awful garb is the only autonomy any woman can claim?
In a world where men and women are brutally segregated and the only way a woman can do anything in public together with men is if she takes on the costume and violent attitude of Islam, celebrating her son’s blowing himself up in the name of Allah, isn’t is possible that her “choice” to wrap herself in the medieval shroud is the only way to get some respect and enjoy some kind of togetherness with men not in her own family?
Before and during the Cultural revolution in China, Chinese women also “chose” to crop their hair and walk around in ill-fitting uniforms day and night, going against their own biology. (Yes, it is part of the nature of females to want to look good.)
It was a way to gain acceptance from their peers and also a safeguard against being hauled into some school or police station and have their hair forcefully cut off. Who wouldn’t choose the sexless soldier look?
At the root of Islam lies a deep fear of and hatred towards women. In fact, according to the strictest hadiths of Islam, a woman’s entire body is a sexual organ, a walking vagina in fact. Dirty and sinful and so enticing to men that they can’t (and are not expected to be able to) control themselves if they see an elbow, the female body must be covered up.
Look at the photo above. What do you think it does to that little boy’s psychology and to his view on women to be shown that his own mother is so awful that she must be hidden away even when she is out in public? How confused can’t he be when he sees other women walking freely around, uncovered, while his own mother whom he should love and respect, is made to look like a non-person? How schizophrenic-making, how demeaning. In essence, Islam is a terrible prison for both the sexes.
And really, if you think that ah, it’s just cultural; they are different from us – do you really think a Muslim women is so different from you biologically that she doesn’t (although the ideology of Islam and her pride won’t allow her to admit it) feel extremely uncomfortable under the black and awful shroud? Hot and bothered, unable to move freely, unable to absorb any vitamin D from sunshine, and unrecognisable?
This shroud belongs firmly in the desert culture of Arabia 1400 years ago. It should stay there.