Monday, October 19, 2015

Wearing a burqa is not a personal choice

Whenever there is discussion about the burqa, all such discussion is immediately shut down with people putting their fingers in their ears and shouting "choice" and "religious freedom" and refusing to hear anything else.

However, the fact is that a Muslim woman wearing a burqa is not a personal choice. It may oftentimes (especially in the west) be masqueraded as a personal choice, but in practice it's not.

In Islamic religion and culture, the burqa is a symbol of submission to Islam and Allah, and a sign of purity and modesty. Moreover, not wearing a burqa is in many Islamic cultures a sign that the woman is a prostitute, or at the very least not chaste.

In the most totalitarian Islamic countries a woman not wearing a burqa in public leads to punishment. Even in more liberal Islamic countries it's usually taken as a sign of the woman not being chaste, in other words a "slut", if not outright a prostitute. In many of these countries women who do not wear the burqa are treated like "sluts". Even in the very best cases the attitudes are disrespectful and very sexist. In the worst case scenarios we are talking about brutal rape.

In the west many Islamic communities will outright shun, shame and even punish behind doors any Muslim woman who does not wear the burqa. They are considered sinful and shameful, and essentially sluts.

Women in these Islamic cultures are heavily indoctrinated and shamed into wearing the burqa. They are essentially brainwashed into believing in the virtues of wearing it. They are taught, directly or indirectly, that not wearing it in public is extremely shameful and sinful, and may even lead to punishment, shunning, abuse, or even rape. They are taught from childhood that wearing the Burqa is the will of Allah, and not doing so is a crime against him.

Such women living in the west have learned to defend their burqa. You will basically never find such a woman who will tell you directly that she's wearing the burqa because she has to. She will always tell that she's wearing it because she wants to. But that means nothing. She has been indoctrinated and intimidated into wearing it at all times. It is in no way a persona choice. There is no choice in her community. Either she wears it, or she will be shunned, shamed and even abused.

Wearing a burqa is in no way more acceptable in our modern society than, for example, forcing black people to sit on the back of the bus.

Even if you were to ask such black people if it's their choice to sit on the back of the bus, separated from the white people, and they would answer in the affirmative, it would still make no difference. Such segregation is unacceptable. If they are forced to sit in the back of the bus, sitting in the front leading to punishment, what they say has absolutely no bearing on the morality of the situation. They may say "this is my personal choice" all they want, but that doesn't make any difference: The rule is wrong, and has no place in our society.

In the same way wearing the burqa has no place in our society due to the real reason why they do it. It is not personal choice. It's peer pressure, intimidation and indoctrination, and the punishment imposed by their community for not doing so is completely unjustifiable, even in the best case scenarios.

If a burqa-wearing woman comes to me and tells me that it's her choice, then my answer is rather simple: Ok, if it's just your choice, then try not wearing for a month. After all, if it's just your choice, then there shouldn't be any problem.

She won't. Because she can't.


  1. Yes, if you put the question and answer in a strategic way to get a useful result for your setup theme. But what if she answers its my belief and regarding my belief i have no such choice. Because she choosed to believe. Regarding belief there is no logical or scientific critisicm (for its rituels and moral values ofcourse if it has flaws in its theory there is a room for critisicm) it is an area that you just leave it with the person and his/her choices as long as it doesnt jeopardise others' rights. Indoctrination happens in every religion it is not just specific to Islam and muslims. Even countries with secularism indoctrinate pupils at schools regarding their values not based on science. As for your comparing it with black people's situation in which they were deprived of even having basic human rights burqa or wearing customs of a religion say Islam in this case do not deprive them or more truly it is not the reason if they are deprived of any rights which they deserve because of being human like all of us. In iran (i am not from there) there are doctors science woman lawyers from women with clothing their generation after generation influenced and produced religion beliefs which has some base in their holy book the source of their religion.Same holds for turkey indonesia singapur. Your comparing them with what happened to black race is a false comparion in basics. If a black refuses to sit on the front side of the bus because of any religion based thought he/she would be respected for being in accordance with what he/she choosed to believe.

    1. If a black person gets punished (either by law or by his community) for sitting on the front of the bus, then it makes zero difference whether it's his "choice" to sit in the back or not. This is a completely unjustified and unacceptable situation.

      In the same way if a woman gets punished for not wearing a burqa, it likewise makes zero difference whether it's her "choice" to wear the burqa or not. This a completely unjustified and unacceptable situation.

      The burqa is not just a fashion accessory. It has a symbolic meaning. It's a symbol of subjugation and submission. Western women would never accept dress codes with the intent of subjugation and submission. So why is it ok for Muslims to impose this form of subjugation onto their women? Why can't their women have the choice to wear whatever they like without punishment, shunning and reproach?