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Happy New Niqab!

By ATWadmin On January 5th, 2007

Jonz has highlighted an interesting Indy article.

As Channel 4 controversially celebrated women covering their faces and critics are dismissed as Islamophobics, Joan Smith talks to a group of women who fear the consequences of the veil’s acceptance..

For many observers, it was the moment when demands for public acceptance of the niqab went too far.  Channel 4’s Christmas message was delivered by a veiled woman, a Muslim convert, who criticised the Leader of the House, Jack Straw. It might have been dismissed as a stunt, the kind of provocation Channel 4 is known for. But the spectacle of a woman attacking an elected politician under, literally, a veil of anonymity brought into sharp focus the reasons why its growing popularity in this country makes so many people uneasy.

That includes many Muslims… A few days ago .., I met some of them: smart, articulate, beautifully dressed women from very different backgrounds. They all feel strongly that the voices of moderate, rational Islam are not being heard. Most outspoken of all is the Iranian writer Shusha Guppy, who tells me how she feels when she sees covered women in London: "Its theatre its saying look at me!".

Dr Khadiga Safwat is a distinguished Sudanese academic and former director of the Middle Eastern and African Research Centre in Wales. When she speaks about the growing popularity of the veil, she immediately puts it into a political context. "I suspect political Islam of being behind all this. It’s a political statement, a reaction to globalisation," she tells me. Indeed….

Al Qaeda agree.

"AL-QAEDA’S deputy leader said yesterday that any Muslim woman who wears the veil in Western countries is a supporter in what he described as a fight between Islam and "Zionist Crusaders".

1) All the women believe the veil debate demonstrates the fondness of the media for highlighting extreme views.  And 2) in my opinion, women who are forced aside (and forgotten it would seem) i believe that if you as a Briton born in this country parrot the joy of the niqab in 2007 after Al Qs little message – you are making it clear you are taking a side.

11 Responses to “Happy New Niqab!”

  1. Alison

    I will disagree with one part of your article, the last part. Al Queda do not own the niqab and just because they say a Muslim woman is ‘taking sides’ with them if she wears one doesn’t make it so, any more than the BNP issuing a message saying that anyone displaying the cross of St George or the Union flag must be a BNP supporter.

  2. The flag is a national symbol. The niqab isnt even islamic. So you cannot really draw a parallel. However the Nazi symbol wasnt devised by the Germans was it. Yet if i proudly wore one down the street today I could justifiably be labelled a nazi and if i had done so in 1930s Germany well it gives it even more relevance.

  3. Alison

    By what authority can Al Queda , an unelected terrorist group claim that any Muslim woman wearing a Niqab must be siding with them in the ‘war on the west’ – none whatsoever. Just becasue Al Queda says something doesn’t make it gospel. If Al Queda also issued a statement saying that any Muslim woman not wearing the Niqab must be an enemy of all Muslims would that also be true ?

    You make many valid and excellent arguments against the garment Alison which I would agree with , but the statement from Al Queda is a nonsense. They didn’t invent it, they don’t own it and by no stretch of the imagination can they claim that any woman in the world wearing one must be a supporter of theirs.

  4. Likewise the swastika – the Nazis cannot lay claim to that either – so what was the issue with Prince Harry then? Or in countries where this symbol is illegal. And if i wear one walking down the road would people be justified in being horrified? Since Al Q have stated what the woman in the post also states eg its politocal then many women must already be very aware of this so why is it such a stretch to see that point? I personally see their statement as very positive in this debate and welcome it!

  5. Having been labeled a religious nut (I paraphrase) in your abortion thread I know my street cred at ATW is tenuous at best but I hope you will hear me out.

    I agree with you Alison tat the veil is a political statement, one which overshadows the individual woman under the veil.

    Clothes are a language…a language which never shuts up…In the West today the Naqib is a highly charged vocabulary word, signifying, among other things – that Islam has made inroads in the West.

  6. Notme – It most certainly was not MY abortion thread! Blimey it was about birth rates not abortion, it was depressing to see it get hijacked. That subject tends to get overly emotive neither your nor my street cred is affected i hope?

    I agree with you it is a statement – as the woman says ‘theatre’ – and it has a very clear message today and most especially in the UK as opposed to Saudi Arabia for example.

  7. Alison: Sorry for my mistatement. Your original post addressed the validity of the current alarm/hysteria around falling birth rates; we commentators just morphed it into a discussion on abortion. I think its a good thing to discuss abortion sometimes- it’s a really important issue for people and the anonymity of the web makes possible open discussions which otherwise might be avoided. By the way, I don’t think there is any black/white solution or answer. And as a libertarian, I don’t think the State ever is the answer.

    The fact that the Naqib -worn in the West – is now an icon, a symbol like the swastika or like long hair in the 60’s – is a very interesting realization.

  8. Alison
    The swastika in 20th century Europe was Nazi, pure and simple, whatever its historical roots.

    The niqab (much as I despise it and all it stands for) in 21st century Europe is not Al Quaeda, whether or not those murderous scum approve of it.

  9. Peter: it might not be al queda but the naqib – when worn in the West – is becoming a political symbol or icon – not unlike the Shemagh, that black/ white or red/white Palestinian scarf that popped up in the anti-war demonstrations this summer and are a sign of solidarity with the Palestinians.

  10. Notme

    I agree that the niqab is a sign of muslim non-integration with western society. As such I despise it. But it doesn’t necessarily signify support for Al Quaeda, any more than a CND badge in the 1980s meant you were definitely a communist.

  11. Peter: does a BBC press badge mean that you’re pro-Palestinian and against Israel? 😉

    Anyway, I correct myself – it’s "niqab" not "naqib"