Stories about burqa

Banning the niqab in Britain: How very Taliban of you

A recent ban on the niqab, introduced at the Birmingham metropolitan college, has sparked huge controversy among the communities in Birmingham and across the United Kingdom. Over 9,000 students across the UK signed a petition against this decision made by the college administration. While a large number of political activists have condemned the decision, College Principal, Dame Christine Braddock DBE, described the ban as promoting robust equality, diversity and inclusiveness. She further stated that she is committed to ensure that students are provided with a safe and welcoming learning environment whilst studying there — a truly ‘British way of life’. I ...

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What do Pakistan and India share? No respect for women

They call us independent, free nations. Pakistan and India, after 60 odd years of being ruled by the white man, has been unable to break free of one acute problem: The white woman. Whether it is by selling our lovely brown women fairness creams and coloured lenses or by introducing at least one beautiful American/British girl into the storyline of your favourite drama/movie, the focus on the white woman is taking a slightly grotesque turn. The line between fascination and obsession is smudged as I go through the account of a CNN report where a female student from the University of Chicago talks about being groped, ...

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Muslim women are empowered and confident

 Do you have to wear a burqa when you are at home? It was a legitimate question, coming from peers, sometimes professors and occasionally even friends while I was in college in the United States. It wasn’t the innocence of the question itself, but rather the oppressive perception that followed which encouraged me to use my lens in order to express the complexity of being a woman in a country like Pakistan. I wanted to say no, that while some women were painted black head-to-toe, some draped a casual chaddar (shawl) on their heads, some roamed in jeans, while others went to underground ...

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To wear or not to wear a niqab

It is no surprise that both our top blogs this week have talked about the face veil. In the first one, our blogger wrote about a social experiment she conducted by wearing a niqab for a day. The other blog talked about the controversy surrounding a picture of a veiled woman holding up a bra. Here are some of the reactions to these pieces: “’Female figure is a source of evil and therefore should be kept strictly hidden. All girl children be taught to be ashamed of their own bodies. Any reference to female anatomy meets with a response of disgust, ...

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My blood runs thick and green

The problem starts as soon as I open my mouth. My ‘r’s roll out like a googlie, my ‘t’s sit heavy on the boundary and my ‘a’s are massive leg bys. I have to say two sentences and everyone’s on to me. Where is that lovely accent from? Oh, Pakistan! We wouldn’t have guessed. Where did you learn to speak English? Did you wear a burqa back in Pakistan? How many wives does your husband have? When you are trying to learn a new language, the first thing you want to know are the swear words– how to say sh–t in French, ...

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The paradox of the female suicide bomber

The Taliban’s claims of the presence of female suicide bombers in their ranks remain paradoxical. In the past, they have asserted that they do not target women (hence they denied involvement in Benazir Bhutto’s assassination) nor use women as tools in war. However, both these claims seem to be false. Using female bombers The Tehrik-i-Taliban Swat chapter has been involved in the rampant killing of women. One of their well known victims was the former member of Swat district council Bakht Zeba. She vehemently criticised the Taliban for preventing girls from attending school. As a result the Taliban unleashed their wrath. They dragged ...

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Burqa, bombs and intolerance

A look through the timeline of bomb blasts and terrorist attacks indicate that a majority of attacks in Pakistan are carried out by young men – some wearing vests, others using cars laden with explosives. I believe this spells out a legitimate case to ban young men, vests and cars from public places. After all, in a country like ours which is always on high alert for terrorist attacks, we can’t allow such security risks to roam about freely, can we? If you find my logic ludicrous, you might want to take a look at the recent debate on banning ...

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“Using a bazooka to kill a fly”: anti-Islam measures in Europe

When an assignment deadline is just round the corner, a reposeful Saturday morning transforms into a feverish study routine. On one such morning, I was heading towards the bus stop to catch the 9:00 am double-decker to my university, when the eerie sound of a vuvuzela stopped me dead in my tracks. A large group of English Defence League ‘hooligans’ were marching forth in my direction and it was not the annoying vuvuzelas which scared the hell out of me, it was the repugnant message on their placards, which read “All Muslims are terrorists.” As a Muslim, I could only ...

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Muslims banned the burqa before France

France’s ban on the niqab caused uproar among Muslims who felt that they were being targeted. More recently Shiv Sena’s idiotic demand to ban the burqa in India- after someone wearing a burqa stole a child from a hospital- attracted considerable attention from the media. Unfortunately, when steps that go against this religious freedom happen in Muslim majority states like Turkey and Kosovo, we remain silent hypocrites. While there was some talk about Turkey’s headscarf ban a few years back, I am surprised that I had never even heard of a year-old ban on headscarves in Kosovo. Perhaps this is because ...

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Burqa, babes and breast cancer

When I saw the video  of two women (one of them Muslim) walking around Paris veiled faces and bare legs, I couldn’t figure out what the purpose was. Yes, they want to bring attention to the burqa ban, but what is their stance on it? Regardless of whether I am for the ban or not my only thought was: well, they look silly, and the video certainly wouldn’t change my take on the matter. If their intention is to support freedom of dress, I suppose they are making a statement (along with creating a great photo op for everyone on ...

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