Posted by: nazli | November 28, 2006

Burkahs, Happiness, The Pope & I

The Dutch Interior Minister Rita Verdonk, has proposed banning the burkha. Verdonk is a hardliner who has introduced a series of anti-immigration measures. She has been quoted as saying the ‘time for cosy tea-drinking’ with Muslim groups was over. Verdonk’s proposal followed a request from right-wing MP Geert Wilders, who claimed the burkha was a threat to security.

Ok – let’s get to the point – the time for sugar-coating anti-Islam is over. In my opinion, this measure by the right-wing Dutch party is indeed anti-Islamic. HOWEVER a burkha is not inherently Islamic – it is inherently a cultural imposition – a cruel one. I even understand the fear of some European countries against this type of culture dominating their liberal way of life. But they must not be patronizing and mask their anti-Islamic leanings in the name of “security”.

As a woman – no as a human – my face is a part of my physical identity. It is not a matter of beauty at all – because that is subjective. But the expression of my eyes when I smile, when I laugh, when I see the world around me through a 3 dimensional periphery – these are all a part of my identity and my connection to the world.


It is a violation of human rights to force a
woman to cover herself from head to toe in a shapeless dark cloth! This inhumanity is propogated by fathers, brothers, husbands, imams, politicians, and by other women, who paint the burkha as a necessity for pious Islamic behaviour. One might argue that some women choose to wear the burkha. Ok – but most of these women who “choose” to cover themselves completely have not been brought up with the freedom to think otherwise. A woman must be allowed her the birthright to celebrate her physical womanhood by dressing in elegant, beautiful outfits and lighting the world with her smiles. And yes, I know there is poverty and war in the world – but wearing a burkha will not stop that.

The Pope is taking a stance on Islam – even though he already has a lot on his plate – what with those child molesting priests.


There was a recent study that connects the genuine smiles in year book pictures to enduring happiness.
Those who had genuine (Duchenne) smiles were seen to have led happier lives, while those with fake (Pan American) smiles were found to have led less fulfilled lives. So I would say keep smiling, keep smiling, keep smiling!! Show off your dazzling smile – at a stranger, at the one you love – if just to say “I am so glad that you are alive!”

As for the burkha – denying a handful of women the right to wear the burkha will NOT make the world safer. In fact being anti-Islamic is as much a secuirty threat as it is anti-human. Same applies to anti-Semitism and anti-Christianity. And forcing women to wear the burkha is no ticket to heaven.

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