The burqa debate: “Just so you do not have thoughts…” – by Shazia Nawaz

Related articles: The burqa debate: “To ban or not to ban?” – by Imaan Hazir Mazari

The burqa debate: “Burqa got a befitting French kiss” – by Marvi Sirmed

We all know that burqa does not have its roots in religion. Religion only asks women to dress modestly. Where did the burqa or veil come from then? Why do so many women in the world cover their faces?

Burqa is a mobile jail invented by men to hide the women they love. If love was involved, I would accept it. That makes the jail a little more acceptable in a twisted kind of way.

But then what kind of man will keep a person he loves in a jail?

So then, Burqa is more a jail to keep in the women they “own”.

Brain washing starts very early. At a very young age, you are told that you have to hide yourself from men. It is ‘piety’ to hide your face. You are also taught to fear men. From a very young age, you are told that men are dangerous and should not be trusted. Only your father and brother are the ones you can trust. As someone put it very eloquently the other day, ‘In Pakistan, women are told that men are wolves and women are sheep.’ and due to this teaching , most men do indeed start acting like wolves and women as sheep.

Our men say that women should cover up, so we would not have ‘thoughts’ about them. Thoughts of harming women and thoughts of raping them. So, they want to put me in a mobile jail just so their mind would stay clean?! What a twisted logic!

But then does it really stop their ‘thoughts’? In the real world, they do not care if you are in a burqa, they will harass you. Covering my face never protected me from street harassment.

In a smaller city in Pakistan, always either my father or brother had to accompany us on the streets, or in spite of all the layers of clothes on us, men would yell taunts, follow, and even try to rub against us when were passing by. Due to this very reason, women can not leave houses alone, and always have to have a male of the house with them. Men have to protect their women from each other in Pakistan and in all muslim countries.

When we moved to a bigger city, Lahore, and got rid of the big chador, sexual harassment, believe it or not, was less. Men around us there were used to women who walked around with out covering their heads and faces. Men were more educated and their own sisters and mothers had more freedom too.

Coming to USA and experiencing the behavior of their men on the streets was an amazing experience. I can walk around wearing whatever I want. No one dares to harass me. That told me that it is not the burqa that keeps the dangerous men away, it is the mindset of a society and it is the implementation of the laws that keep women safe in any country.

My first experience of the cool breeze touching my skin on a beautiful beach in Hawaii was wonderful . Men rob women of their basic right of enjoying the nice weather by putting them in a tent called burqa. It is dark in there and it is hot in there. Just because you do not have ‘thoughts’ about me, I should be suffocated?!

Doctors consider ‘thoughts’ a God made healthy phenomenon. Acting on your thoughts without other person’s consent would put you in a jail for 10-20 years in any civilized country.

It is difficult to understand for a man of an oppressed society that in a free world men indeed learn to control their ‘thoughts’ and do not blame women for it. When it comes to France Burqa ban, the argument that ‘women should be allowed to wear whatever they want to wear and that is freedom’ does not work. Every society has to have a dress code and limitation to freedom. Your freedom ends where it starts taking mine away. Nudist frequently demand their right to walk naked on the streets. They can not be allowed to walk around completely naked just to protect the other members of the society.

The same way, a person covered from head to toe is a security risk. You do not know what is inside. It has become a dangerous world. You can not let your kids play in a park where people are sitting completely covered from head to toe.

Also, what right do muslims have to ask France to not ban Niqab when a western woman can not walk around freely in a muslim country wearing shorts?

You expect them to respect your culture when they come to your country, you should respect their culture too when you move to theirs.


France, burqa ban and women

Here is a video (interview with an Indian guy) I made a few days ago on the same topic.

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20 responses to “The burqa debate: “Just so you do not have thoughts…” – by Shazia Nawaz”

  1. “The same way, a person covered from head to toe is a security risk.”

    Some say, a person with a beard is a security risk. Should we ban beards?

  2. ‎”We have revealed to you the Book in truth. Whoever decides to be guided by it does so to his own credit. Whoever goes astray, does so to his own discredit. O Muhammad, you cannot do more than to convey and warn.”
    Al-Zumar (The Crowds) – Chapter 39: Verse 41

  3. hae listen up. give me time and dates. my email address is up
    Interview me!!!!! I will tell you what it is.Getting an indian mouron from the street who by the way is an ethiest to begin with wont know a squat about Islam.
    Show some balls come interview me and have the courage to post it.

  4. While Hindus may not wear burkhas these days, until the late 1300s, Orthodox Hindu women did wear them. Subsequent Hindu – Muslim differences in India made North Indian Hindu women drop the burkha and cover their faces with the end of their sarees instead. In Rajasthan and parts of Gujarat in India this is called “Laj,” roughly translated as “respect,” with the implication that a woman who does not cover her face is somehow either disrespectful of customs that she ought to observe, or that she is unworthy of respect. The person whom you have interviewed has no conception of Indian social history or customs beyond some urban customs in current Indian enclaves. Women have been oppressed in their forced wearing of certain styles of dress in Hinduism every bit as much as in Islam. If you read the Manusmriti which ranks the castes, you would see that it accords women – irrespective of the caste that they belong to – lower than not just the castes that are discriminated against in Hinduism but also lower than animals. And, walking down a Delhi street, would subject a woman to as much harassment as you experienced in a small town in Pakistan, if not more. No, women are not safe from sexual harassment even in the capital of supposedly secular, Hindu India.

  5. @kashif
    Hope you are not the “facebook fan” of Molvi Shah Rukh Khan… you seem to be already fuming, read this:
    The other day I was talking to a “facebook fan” of Molvi Shah Rukh Khan (Err.. Dr. Zakir Naik) he told me the stats about women rape in United States as quoted in Molvi Shah Rukh Khan speech. He was very excited as he found the strongest argument in the favor of “islamic modesty”, In the words of molvi
    آپ کس کو چھیڑیں گے ، شارٹ سکرٹ والی کو یا نقاب والی کو

    The guy was excited to as he found the web site NOW (National Organization of Women) where some of those stats referred by Molvi were quoted.
    The guy said you see “every 60 second a women is raped in United Stats”.
    However soon he started fuming at me when I told him according to the definition of “rape” by NOW , Molvi Shah Rukh Khan rapes here wife probably every night and probably his father had raped 1000′s of time his mother in her life. Unfortunately neither his wife nor his mother were able to report theirs rapes to NOW. And they think that there are no “rapes” in Islamic Society.

  6. very well written… its the society’s mindset which needs to be changed rather than changing the way women dress !!
    Loved the article.

  7. Very well written Shazia. I completely agree and support you.
    @Pejamamistri, you are so right about definition of rape. These mullas don’t even recognize most rapes. The difference between societies is shown by how free their women are to do whatever they want.

  8. As a practicing muslim woman living in North America, I would like to point out a couple of things from you article.

    Firstly, it is implied in your article that woman are oppressed by observing the burqa in eastern countries. I have to agree with you on the fact that in third world countries such as Pakistan and India, this is quite common, perhaps because of the religious “hierarchy” and the general illiteracy in citizens. Though, living in the west, it is quite different. As you know, women here are free and they can not, or at least should not, be forced to do something against their will. Personally, most of the young adults I know were forced by family members not to observe burqa/hijab. Isn’t this the same concept as what you are trying to talk about? Why aren’t such topics mentioned in the media? Isn’t your goal to enforce gender equality?

    Furthermore, you mention that the burqa has no basis in Islam. There is no doubt that it is irrelevant to discuss how authentic the concept of the burqa is here. However, there are severals of opinions regarding this issue, all of them being authentic. I advise you to look in to them with extra caution and if you don’t agree with them, please be open with other opinions.

    In the end of the article you mentioned “Also, what right do muslims have to ask France to not ban Niqab when a western woman can not walk around freely in a muslim country wearing shorts? You expect them to respect your culture when they come to your country, you should respect their culture too when you move to theirs”. May I remind you that it is not illegal in countries such as India and Pakistan for women to wear shorts, however it is disliked in the culture. Shorts aren’t banned in these countries. Doesn’t the same story apply to a woman wearing niqab in London or in the states? Wouldn’t a niqabi be just as uncomfortable walking in Texas as a caucasian woman roaming around the bazaars of Pakistan in shorts and a tank top?

  9. In these article i found same you have not a little knowledge about rape. They do not know where a word can be use, just like fool

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