Burqa ban: The virtuous left should side with the wicked conservatives

Conservative senator Cory Bernardi has reiterated his call to ban Islamic face veils in places like airports, banks, and so on. Bernardi’s argument rests on security arguments: face-covering helmets are explicitly banned in the same places. Obscuring garments like hoodies are looked on with suspicion. Under some circumstances (protests, for example) face masks are also explicitly banned in some jurisdictions.

Leftists reacted with predictable “outrage” to Bernardi’s suggestion.

Despite their professed commitment to ending oppression of women, the left have elected to throw their lot in with the most female-oppressive culture on earth. While this article in Green-Left Weekly tries hard to circle the square in regards to Islamic veiling, it’s worth reading. Quote:

Left and feminist positions are being challenged. The dilemma is whether to defend the right for Muslim women to choose to dress as they like (for whatever reason) or to impose the Western perspective that, due to its oppressive nature, such dress should be suppressed. End of quote.

That argument doesn’t quite contradict itself, but it does seem awfully hard to square: if the dress and the society are oppressive, how do Muslim women have a choice? Quote:

In societies where wearing the burqa is common, the advantages are obvious. In communities or suburbs where public places are dominated by men, where it is not safe to walk alone in public…for fear of male harassment or abuse, the burqa brings relief…That feeling of being under threat or siege can be so permeating that many women in their own houses feel the need to wear light clothing when showering in a bathroom, even with a locked door and closed or no windows. End of quote.

But, now we get to the central contradiction of the left’s enthusiasm for covering up women. Quote:

Seemingly benign, protective condescension (and deniable misogyny) towards women, particularly young women. Females from pre-puberty to middle-age are “free to choose” to wear the burqa or risk being ridiculed and abused in public. End of quote.

It’s hardly “free choice”, if the choice is between wearing a tent or being beaten, acid-attacked, arrested, or even killed.

But the point is that there is no social pressure to cover up women in Australian society. The pressure, as the author admits, comes entirely from the Islamic community and family members. Quote:

Only a small minority community pressure (including immediate family members), while potentially still severe, is possible. End of quote.

What is also true is that conspicuous Islamic dress is a middle-finger to the (Western) host society, “fashion as fuck-you”, as Brendan O’Neill puts it. Which actually strengthens the argument of opponents. Many countries ban extremist regalia, such as Nazi uniforms. The question is whether one sees fundamentalist Islam as similarly extremist. Quote:

In this context, the burqa can be a form of social protest to express alienation from a Muslim- and Arab-phobic society. The burqa wearer could be a (young?) rebel. End of quote.

Unusually for a writer for a far-left publication, there is a final concession that societies like Australia indeed have the right to ban certain forms of dress. Quote:

In the West, as elsewhere, society draws a line across freedom of choice: circumcision permitted, clitorectomy and infibulations not; on many beaches females are permitted to go topless, in the shopping centre not; minor masochist injuries permitted, serious injuries a police matter; wearing a motorbike helmet while riding is required, in the bank it is not permitted.

The concern that a group of people in burqas could include children being trafficked, kidnapped persons, drugged persons, people carrying weapons, illicit or stolen goods, applies in Western countries no less than in Asia and Northern Africa.

There is nothing extraordinary about countries in Europe deciding the burqa and chador are unacceptable in public spaces. The French and the Syrians will make their own decisions about banning or limiting the burqa, and that is their business.

It doesn’t seem to be a problem in Australia — more of a novelty. But a threshold could be reached whereupon there is potential for the harmful social consequences to become more manifest and deserving of review.

Every society draws the line somewhere.

The burqa may be an issue launched and loved by racists, but that doesn’t constitute grounds for the left to jump to its defence as an automatic response. End of quote.

Leftists rightly reject the argument that, because the Nazis espoused environmentalism, environmentalists are therefore Nazis. They need to make the same distinction when it comes to Islamic face-veils. Feminists need to lose the idiocy of “Intersectionality”, and remember that they oppose the oppression of women. All women.


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Who is Lushington D. Brady?

Well, a pseudonym. Obviously.

But the name Lushington Dalrymple Brady has been chosen carefully. Not only for the sum of its overall mien of seedy gentility, reminiscent perhaps of a slightly disreputable gentlemen of letters, but also for its parts, each of which borrows from the name of a Vandemonian of more-or-less fame (or notoriety) who represents some admirable quality which will hopefully animate the persona of Lushington D. Brady.

To read my previous articles click on my name in blue.

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