Date: 03 May 2010


The Belgian Lower House of Parliament’s vote banning women from wearing the burqa in public is a truly commendable step which deserves to be emulated. The vote was passed without any opposition. The lawmakers who voted to pass the Bill — which now goes to the Upper House or Senate for its approval — have said that their decision to support the legislation was in keeping with Belgian values and for security reasons. They have asserted that the burqa is a symbol of oppression and no less than a mobile prison, and that any man who forces a woman to cover herself from head to toe in so grotesque a manner is guilty of human rights violation of the highest order. There is considerable logic in this argument. For, the burqa is nothing but a manifestation of a perverse and primitive social order. It seeks to take away the identity of a woman or make it subservient to that of a man. The argument that the burqa is there to protect the modesty of women also holds no water. For, if that be the case, it can be questioned as to whether Islam believes that it is only necessary for women to be modest while men are free to indulge in licentious behaviour. What makes the Islamist argument even more ridiculous is the fact that the burqa has no theological validation just as there is no compulsion for Muslim men to sport a beard. Hence, the claim that wearing the burqa is fundamental to Islam is total bunkum. It is a practice that originated in the deserts of Arabia hundreds of years ago, possibly before the advent of Islam, and is rooted in tribal custom. Therefore, the Belgian lawmakers, as well as those in other European countries such as France who are considering a similar ban on this dark symbol of oppression, are totally justified in their stand. ////////////// There is also a larger point to be made here. The reason why we are witnessing European countries take a firm stand on issues such as the burqa is because European society has come to a point where the reluctance of its growing Muslim immigrant community to integrate with the mainstream and adopt local customs and traditions has become glaring. This was the driving force behind the Swiss legislation that banned the construction of new Islamic minarets in that country. The underlying factor here is that Islamic values as enunciated by fanatical mullahs are not just different from European secular values but also opposed to it. Thus, what we have is a clash of fundamental principles; a clash between modernity and medieval thinking. There is no reason to be ‘tolerant’ about an antediluvian worldview. The Left-liberal intelligentsia will no doubt cry foul and encourage Muslim fanatics to claim victimhood, but that will only underscore the need for such reform./////// 000000000