How can covering up women at one time oppress them, and at other times empower them? Why, when some women take their clothes off for money, are they objectifying themselves, and at other times simply performing? Why are some images of women objectification and others simply art? Essentially, how can the same action mean two different things? One thing must be understood: it’s not about nudity.
The recent Lose the Lads’ Mags campaign is spearheaded by two organisations which fight for gender equality (UK Feminista and Object), but some have argued that covering up lads’ mags in shops is actually a misogynistic action. However at the same time, there is a similar case made by Islamists that the hiding-away of lads’ mags should be done to preserve modesty. The hiding-away is being done for two very different reasons, and people need to realise this.
Authoritarian Islamists use gaffer tape on lads’ mags for the same reason they want to cover up real women’s bodies- but Lose the Lads’ Mags wants to do it to protect not only children but the female salespeople who must handle this material. The critique that the campaign is promoting a ‘weak, meek’ image of women suggests that he has failed to grasp the difference between a woman seeing another woman’s naked breasts, and a woman being forced to handle and sell sexist material. As Sophie Bennett, a spokesperson for the campaign, explains, ‘The issue for the thousands of people who have called on shops to lose the lads’ mags is absolutely not about nudity. It’s about sexism.’
The concealing of lads’ mags in shops in the UK is far removed from the ‘sticky handmade burqa’ that is used by Islamists to cover up such magazines as the author points out it’s not about the nudity.
Religious leaders from across the country gathered Saturday at Washington National Cathedral to call for a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, as well as more attention to poverty-related problems underlying gun violence in inner cities.
The meeting, part of a four-day “gun violence prevention sabbath,” was broadcast via a live Web stream to about 400 congregations around the United States, including some that held similar events locally, organizers said.
Several leaders said they had a unique perspective on the gun issue from years of burying shooting victims and comforting their families. Others said their political strength stemmed from their diverse backgrounds — Christians, Jews, Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus — that straddled party lines. Several compared religious leaders’ role in the gun debate to that in the civil rights movement.
Sometimes good intentions are just not enough: a new campaign by the German interior ministry, says Robert Misik, only contributes to the widespread paranoia about “the Muslims” – and thus encourages the very radicalism it wants to fight
The German interior ministry is currently on the hunt for missing persons. In fact, quite a lot has gone missing from the country’s security services: files about a gang of neo-Nazi killers which got lost and shredded, for example. But that’s not what the ministry is looking for: the “missing” it’s looking for are called Ahmed, Hassan, Fatima and Tim. Their friends can’t seem to talk to them any more – they’ve become strange.
All four of them – the three immigrants and the young German – have in common that, in fact, they don’t exist. They’ve emerged from the fantasy of some PR-types who’ve thought up a nice public relations campaign for the ministry’s “Radicalisation Advice Centre”. What they also have in common – at least according to the brief texts on the “missing” posters – is that they have all drifted into Islamist fundamentalism; they’ve been caught in the fangs of some radical preacher and their character has suffered a deep change, so that their former friends don’t recognise them any more.
It’s not just Muslim organisations and immigrants’ associations which are up in arms about the new campaign; many people working in the integration field are also shaking their heads in disbelief: the campaign, they say, encourages prejudice and paranoia. They want it stopped.
The fashion industry has always thrived on pushing the envelope — but the latest accessory gracing the runways and magazine editorials is the increasingly controversial burqa, or a traditional Islamic headdress.
Some, apparently, are concerned that presenting religious garments as “exotic” novelty items strips these of their intended purpose, or diminishes what some view as the oppression inherent in being forced to don such clothing. Then again, still others express joy that conservative Muslim women can also be seen as fashionable or elegant (while avoiding being simultaneously sexualized by the fashion industry).
Fox’s article, lists several instances of the conservative Muslim garb finding its way among the pages of fashion magazines like French Vogue – noting, of course, that France recently banned burqas (which covers the wearer’s body from head to foot) and niqabs (which is a veil that covers the wearer’s face), making headlines from European runways, and even parading across the set of Bill Maher’s show, then asks, “But is turning these conservative Islamic garments into a fashion statement a novel idea or simply tasteless?”
The Prosecutor’s Office in Moscow has warned magazine Russian Newsweek on the illegality and unacceptability of publishing stories instigating ethnic and religious hatred. “Issue 40 of September 29 – October 5, 2008 carried two stories entitled “He Who Comes with the Mosque” (a play on the phrase “He who comes to Russia with the sword will perish by the sword” and “Mosque Carriers,” in which Muslims and Christians are in opposition),” the prosecutor’s office said.
The articles in question contain captions satirizing the prophet Muhammad. Photos and inspiration were taken from the Danish newspaper ‘Jullands-Posten’ which caused worldwide protests and condemnation after publishing insulting material mocking the Prophet Muhammad.
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DUESSELDORF, Germany (Reuters) – A German court on Thursday convicted a businessman of insulting Islam by printing the word “Koran” on toilet paper and offering it to mosques. The 61-year-old man, identified only as Manfred van H., was given a one-year jail sentence, suspended for five years, and ordered to complete 300 hours of community service, a district court in the western German town of Luedinghausen ruled. The conviction comes after a Danish newspaper printed cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammad — sparking violent protests around the world from Muslims who saw the images as sacrilegious and an attack on their beliefs. Manfred van H. printed out sheets of toilet paper bearing the word “Koran” shortly after a group of Muslims carried out a series of bomb attacks in London in July 2005. He sent the paper to German television stations, magazines and some 15 mosques. Prosecutors said that in an accompanying letter Manfred van H. called Islam’s holy book a “cookbook for terrorists.” He also offered his toilet paper for sale on the Internet at a price of 4 euros ($4.76) per roll, saying the proceeds would go toward a “memorial to all the victims of Islamic terrorism.” The maximum sentence for insulting religious beliefs under the German criminal code is three years in prison.