Burqa law ban in Catalonia

In 2010 a ban against women wearing burqas in public buildings was approved by the city of Lleida in Catalonia. Women who would disobey such ban would incur in a fine between €300 and €600. The ban was adopted by several other localities in the area on the basis of public space control and public safety.

Later in 2013, all bans against the use of burqas and niqab in the region of Catalonia were annulled by theSpanish Supreme Court claiming that local authorities do not have the juridical right to legislate about fundamental rights.

Following the Strasbourg Court recent conclusions that the use of burqa or niqab in public buildings is not against the European Convention of Human Rights, the Catalonian Government announced that they will begin to prepare a new set of laws to regulate the use of integral veils and burqas in these spaces. The new conclusion of the European Court opens according to the Catalonia Government a new perspective that concerns the women’s right of dignity.

Madonna wears traditional Muslim niqab veil because it’s been ‘that kind of day’

June 25, 2014

Madonna’s having a bad day, so decides to wear a niqab. While most people would maybe don a pair of tracksuit bottoms or a baggy T-shirt, the singer chose to wear a traditional Islamic headscarf to get her through what she describes as “that kind of day”. She shared the picture on Instagram, along with the perhaps ill-advised words: “#unapologeticbitch” – as if to pre-empt any possible backlash, which would of course be likely. Not that she cares; she’s “unapologetic”.

Both the burqa and the niqab refer to the principle of modesty, and for some are a statement of religious and cultural identity. Madonna, if her statement is anything to go by, seems to treat it like a lazy day onesie. She has dabbled in Muslim veil-wearing before – in July last year she shared an Instagram picture of herself wearing a chain mail mask, with the caption: “The Revolution of Love is on… Inshallah [Arabic for ‘God willing’].”

Veil, Women and Islam: who decides appropriate public dress?

January 21, 2014

 

Veil, Women and Islam: who decides appropriate public dress?
Veil, Women and Islam: who decides appropriate public dress?

“What dress is most appropriate for a Muslim woman in public?”

Researchers at the Population Studies Center at the University of Michigan asked the same question to both men and women of various age groups and different religious faiths in seven countries with a Muslim majority. The real focus of the research was post- revolution Tunisia, but scholars also decided to investigate responses in Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Pakistan. Each respondent was shown images of women. The left most image showed a women who was totally covered (burqa ), decreasing the pieces of cloth covering the woman from image to image until the last drawing, which depicted the subject as completely uncovered.

The findings concluded that on average the hijab (veil that covers the hair, forehead, ears and neck) was considered the most appropriate. You could say this is a compromise between the two extreme images. Another important aspect that the research shows is the partial open-ness to different styles of dress in Saudi Arabia as opposed to a greater closure in “post-spring” Egypt.

The research also included a question that went beyond mere aesthetics. Respondents were also asked: “Should the woman decide what to wear?

And this confirms the above trend:  in Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Turkey, and Tunisia, 50% of respondents where in favor of the free choice of women, as opposed to 22% and 14% in Pakistan and Egypt, respectively.

I must say that by scrolling through the research data, I returned several times to the word used in the original question: appropriate.

What do the researchers mean by this term? Appropriate for whom? For others or for the woman? Who can decide when attire is appropriate or not?

Beyond the specific object of this analysis, veil or no veil, I am always convinced that there is only one parameter to decide how a woman should dress: personal choice. Do not take me for naive, I am aware of the incendiary debates that surround these issues, especially in our cities. In my opinion, the most appropriate clothing is what makes a woman feel free and proud to express herself regardless of expectations or fashions of the moment.

The external influences on not only clothing but also on the image of a woman’s own body, is not unique to Muslim women, but rather something that applies to all women in the world. Let me give you another example. Last year a global campaign was launched called “Dark is beautiful” with the aim to emphasize the beauty of dark skin in societies like the West where fair skin is favored. The pressures of fair skin often prompt many black women to resort to toxic products that promise to lighten skin. We must reverse this situation.

Corriere della sera: http://lacittanuova.milano.corriere.it/2014/01/21/velo-donne-islam-qual-e-labbigliamento-giusto-in-pubblico-e-chi-lo-decide/

Original report: http://mevs.org/files/tmp/Tunisia_FinalReport.pdf

 

Diesel Burqa Ad: Islamophobic Or Empowering?

(RNS) Islamophobic or empowering? Those are among the reactions to a new Diesel jeans ad featuring a heavily tattooed, topless white woman wearing a redesigned, denim burqa.

The slogan next to her: “I Am Not What I Appear To Be.”

Racist and condescending are among the criticisms that have been leveled at the ad, created by Nicola Formichetti, former stylist to Lady Gaga, who made waves last month with her song “Burqa.” But others, including a female Muslim marketing consultant who advised Diesel, said the idea was to make people question assumptions and stereotypes.

“This was to challenge that idea that when you see a woman in a burqa, or niqab or even hijab, that you assume certain things about her,” said Ameena Meer, an observant Muslim and founder and principal of Take-Out Media, the consulting firm that advised Diesel.

Not everyone sees it that way. Sana Saeed, senior editor at the Islamic legal news website Islawmix, tweeted that she has dreaded the day when capitalism would consume the veil.

And Shruti Parekh, a New York City videographer and member of the South Asian Women’s Creative Collective, wrote that the ad is “rife with Islamophobia and attacks on the Muslim world.”

While Muslim women in the West who wear burqas must suffer through negative connotations and open hostility, Parekh wrote, the white model in Diesel’s ad doesn’t.

Madonna: Has the Queen of Pop Sensationalism gone too far by wearing a chainmail niqab?

 

The Queen of Pop is at it again. Madonna loves touting a gun or wearing fishnets and spandex at an age when most of us prefer to cover up. But her latest outfit is more controversial still. She has been pictured wearing a chainmail mask resembling a niqab – a face veil worn by Muslim women. The star posted a photo from her forthcoming photo-shoot with Harper’s Bazaar magazine on Instagram and Facebook, accompanied by the words: “The Revolution of Love is on…Inshallah [Arabic for ‘God willing’].”

 

It is unclear what message Madonna, who is well known for her humanitarian work with women in developing countries and as an exponent of the Kabbalah religion, meant to send via her new look. Some fans have interpreted the chainmail mask as a message of empowerment to women, but one Instagram user said: “You thing this message is empowering to women?…If this was a woman who really wanted to empower other females she could do this in many other ways…When did gagging women make them feel good?” Other fans have suggested that Madonna’s chainmail mask is a direct criticism of the oppression suffered by women in some Islamic countries.

 

Bill Paul Buttuls wrote on Facebook: “Are you saying the burqa is ‘trapping’ women?” while Ccim Le Bon commented: “Burqa covers even the eyes…and this is the NIQAB…the message is not clear…what do you mean queen?”

 

While the majority of fans posted positive comments about the outfit, and the odd joke about the Queen of Pop raiding Lady Gaga’s wardrobe, others found the photograph “disappointing” and “ reductive”.

 

Does Philadelphia Have a “Burqa Crisis?”

Daniel Pipes—profiled as “the country’s most controversial Middle East scholar“—is stirring debate again, taking to The Jewish Press to advocate a ban on wearing the niqab and burqa—clothing traditionally worn by Muslim women—in public spots. He says too many Philly crimes (including the recent kidnapping of a girl from her school) are taking place under, literally, the cover of Muslim garb.

It’s important to understand, though, that Pipes’ “crisis” looks a little less disturbing when looked at closely. He justifies a ban because, by his count, at least 14 robberies have been committed in Philadelphia using Muslim garb … since 2007. That’s less than three a year. If you need more perspective, consider this: The 14 robberies that Pipes counts adds up to maybe one really busy shift for the police department. In the 28-day period ending Feb. 17, there were 507 robbery reports to city police—if 14 of those robberies had been committed by burqa-wearing assailants, that wouldn’t even be 3 percent of the total. Trying to calculate what those 14 cases look like compared to six or more years of robberies? You couldn’t even see a number that small with the naked eye.

NY Times on France’s “Burqa Ban”

September 1, 2012

 

The French law banning the full-face veil from public spaces has been controversial from the start, with loud debates about the meaning of liberty, individual rights, the freedoms of religion and expression, and the nature of laïcité, or secularism, in the French republic.

While pushed by the center-right and former President Nicolas Sarkozy, the ban was not opposed by the Socialist Party, which largely abstained in parliamentary votes. And the current French president, François Hollande, has said he has no intention of discarding the law, which has been generally popular with the French.

To avoid charges of discrimination, the law was written without any reference to Islam or to women and was presented as a security measure, making it an offense to wear clothing “intended to hide the face’’ in any public place, including shops or the street. The police do not have the authority to remove full veils, only to fine or require citizenship lessons for those who violate the new law. A clause says that anyone who forces a woman to cover her face can be imprisoned for up to a year and fined up to 30,000 euros, or $37,000.

Update: Burqa Ban and Dual Nationality Clause Still Tabled in Netherlands

23 May 2012

 

Proposals to ban the burqa and dual nationality in the Netherlands remain in process in Dutch parliament, home affairs minister Liesbeth Spies states. With the government collapsed in May, Spies has commented that the legislation could be dropped, given that the sponsoring PVV (Freedom) Party no longer formed the supporting member of the minority coalition. However Spies now says that it is up to MPs to decide whether to drop the legislation, and that so far none have identified the issues as controversial.

Netherlands May Drop Planned Burqa Ban

2 May 2012

 

The Netherlands may drop the planned ban on the burqa and on dual nationality which are currently making their way through the national parliament. The change comes with the fall of the minority government, as those aspects of government policy influenced by the presence of the anti-Islam  PVV (Freedom Party)  enter into renegotiation. Notably, MPs have implored outgoing Interior Minister Liesbeth Spies (CDA) to eliminate the country’s planned burqa ban. Spies has responded that she “wouldn’t shed a tear” if the PVV-sponsored bill was scrapped, but will leave it up to parliament to decide. The proposed ban on dual nationality is now also under contention.

Spies had previously defended both policies, stating in regards to the burqa ban that “it is important that people in an open society meet each other in an open way.” This week, however, Volkskrant quotes her statement that, “now that the cabinet has fallen, there’s no longer any payoff”  to supporting PVV sponsored bills. Immigration Minister Gerd Leers has also said that he will no longer support PVV causes within Europe.

Update: Further Criticism of Planned ‘Burqa Ban’ in Netherlands

7 February 2012

The Dutch cabinet’s plans to introduce a ban on the burqa continues to draw criticism. The Dutch Council of State, the government’s highest advisory body, as announced that it does not see the need for the ban, and suggests the government is being led by “subjective feelings of insecurity”. The advisory body has said that it is not a government decision to regulate what women can wear, and that other laws are in p lace to ensure public safety without the ban. The government rejected earlier objections from the Council and it is unclear what impact the statement will have now. Ministers maintain that the ban is necessary to preserve public order and security.

Meanwhile, attention to reactions among Muslims in the country to the advancing ban remains scarce. Beyond the initial comments from the spokesperson for the Turkish organization IOT, as well as the head of the women’s organization Al Nisa, both of whom expressed concerns that the ban would cause women to become isolated in their homes, few Muslim voices have attained prominence in the mainstream media coverage.