Not a yellow polka dot bikini …

.

.

.

.

.

.

.Above: “Stop the oppression of women in the Islamic World”

International Society for Human Rights (ISHR)

A few months ago I wrote a letter to CBC host Matt Galloway regarding his interview of Farzana Hassan, communications director for the Muslim Canadian Congress.My letter addressed a slightly naive remark made by Matt Galloway during the interview, claiming that wearing a burka should simply be considered “a free personal choice”.  Below are a few extracts from that letter offering a perspective on the burka controversy. In its urgency, the debate against the burka, niqab and other full-body coverings imposed by Islamic Orthodoxy is specifically about denouncing women’s freedom of choice being repressed, not only in traditional orthodox Muslim countries, but also in the heart of moderate Muslim societies or even within non-Muslim nations.

Dear Mr. Galloway; wearing a burka is not like choosing a yellow polka dot bikini for an afternoon at the beach! In many patriarchal Islamic societies, girls and women are victimized, mistreated and persecuted.  They are often locked away with very few rights and extremely limited freedom.  No right to study, to drive, to work  – that means outside or the house of course!  No rights to own property or money, be independent, entertain social relationships and even to leave the home without being accompanied by a male chaperone.  They are literally incarcerated in their own homes for lifelong sentences.  And when they leave their homes, generally under supervision, they are forced to wear the niqab or the burka, which becomes a physical extension of the patriarchal or matrimonial domination. Claiming that women wear the burka by choice is not only absurd, it is offensive to the many Muslim women who have had the courage to stand up for freedom and denounce this coercive custom. In many Islamic societies, full-body covering is imposed from an early age and young girls are taught that submission to male authority and wearing the burka are keys to being a good Muslim wife.  If despite this unrelenting brainwashing they express some desire of freedom and try to escape the matrimonial jail, they are often doused with acid, beaten, stoned and killed.  In the Muslim world one does not contest male authority or bring shame onto the family.  These are offenses punishable by death.  (Examples abound throughout the world and even very recently in Canada).  Under these circumstances, would Muslim women have any liberty to speak out freely or dare express their personal opinion about their state of oppression and about the burka they are forced to wear?

Hearing Farzana Hassan, an enlightened, educated and moderate Muslim willing to take personal risks in denouncing the tyranny of the burka in the name of her oppressed sisters should be admired and applauded.  I wish Matt Galloway had understood better the importance of such action.  In this day and age it is extremely courageous – and dangerous – for a Muslim woman to speak out and take on such battle against obscurantism and religious repression.

.
.

“The burqa has absolutely no place in Canada,” said Farzana Hassan. “In Canada we recognize the equality of men and women. We want to recognize gender equality as an absolute. The burqa marginalizes women.”

Honour killing in Europe (Fox News,May 2008)
The brutal “honor killing” of a 16-year-old Afghan immigrant by her brother has sparked a renewed debate in Germany over whether Islamic families can adapt to the social ways of the Western world.
The girl, Morsal Obeidi, was ambushed in the parking lot of a Hamburg McDonald’s restaurant by her 23-year-old brother Ahmad, who stabbed the girl 20 times, Spiegel Online reported. Ahmed reportedly told police that he killed his sister because she had become too comfortable with Western life with her uncovered hair, makeup and short skirts.

Honour killing in America (Fox News, January 2008)
Fifty-year-old Yaser Abdel Said became the focus of a massive manhunt after he killed his teenage daughters Sarah and Amina — for dating boys against his will. (Below)

.
.

Honour killing in Afganistan (Steady Habits, July 2008)

Honor killing in Afganistan:
These unfortunate women were accused of prostituting themselves to U.S. military and American contractors and were dispatched by the Taliban.
 The women, dressed in blue burqas, were shot and killed just outside Ghazni city in central Afghanistan, said Sayed Ismal, a spokesman for Ghazni’s governor. He called the two “innocent local people“. (Below)












Canada should expect rise in honour killings, expert says (National Post June 17, 2010)

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Aqsa Parvez (above) is the latest of about 12 young women in Canada to have fallen victim to an honour killing since 2002.

“We cannot say there’s a huge number of cases, but now the cases are increasing, and very soon we’ll have a problem in Canada,” said Amin Muhammad, a professor of psychiatry.

After rejecting the strict cultural traditions of her family (she no longer wished to wear the hijab) and an arranged marriage, 16-year-old Aqsa Parvez died in an apotheosis of anger, strangled by her father and older brother in her bedroom.

“Honour killing is a premeditated murder based on a cultural mindset that people bring with them. It is a wrong notion of perceived notion of dishonour to the family,” Dr. Muhammad said.

The United Nations estimates that 5,000 women and girls are slain in honour killings each year, most at the hands of family.

For additional details about the case, please read the following article from the National Post published on June 16, 2010.
Father, son strangled teenager

Advertisements

About Michel Botman

Michel Botman was born in Belgium, where visual arts have always flirted with the limits of reality. In the eighties, Michel Botman started exploring the first tools to manipulate images though computers. For about 15 years, Michel Botman worked throughout Europe in the emerging field of Computer Applications for the Graphic Arts. Extensive experience in Digital Imaging allowed Michel to move into the field of computerized systems for Diagnostic Imaging. As VP Sales & Marketing for eSys Medical and later with Eclipsys, Michel Botman always remained dedicated to the creativity and innovation that are at the heart of his career. At the present time, Michel Botman is refocusing his life towards graphic arts. “I studied photography in Europe, but never had time to practice it enough. Life took me on other paths towards computer technologies and running a business. I enjoyed it very much, but I also love art. I always keep my eyes open for exciting opportunities and people that touch my heart.” Michel Botman lives in Toronto with his wife Lindy and son Noah. Above Gravatar pictures are of Michel Botman, his wife Lindy Amato and his son Noah Botman.
This entry was posted in Islam, Society and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Not a yellow polka dot bikini …

  1. Hi, I liked the article, but please write items as integrated…

  2. Some genuinely fantastic blog posts on this site, regards for contribution. “My salad days, When I was green in judgment.” by William Shakespeare.

  3. You got a very excellent website, Gladiola I detected it through yahoo.

  4. I was studying some of your blog posts on this website and I conceive this internet site is really instructive! Continue putting up.

  5. I like what you guys are up too. Such intelligent work and reporting! Keep up the excellent works guys I’ve incorporated you guys to my blogroll. I think it’ll improve the value of my web site :).

  6. Hello there, I discovered your blog by the use of Google while looking for a comparable subject, your site got here up, it appears great. I have bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s