January 09, 2004


Fatima Shah defends the burqa, while she's still free to speak her mind:

The fact is that most women who wear the burqa in the West do so because they want to. I know, because I wear it. My father didn't force me; my mother doesn't wear it; and my husband didn't order me to do it, because I'm not married yet.

But after sheís married ...

Posted by Tim Blair at January 9, 2004 01:17 AM

You failed to mention your BROTHERS darling, whose job is to ride shotgun, and all their habibs.....

Posted by: jafa at January 9, 2004 at 01:52 AM

She wears it because she's ugly. End of story.

Posted by: Lewis at January 9, 2004 at 02:16 AM

Along Lewis' line, maybe paper bags aren't available.

Posted by: stevo at January 9, 2004 at 02:22 AM

A mind is a terrible thing to waste.

Posted by: perfect sense at January 9, 2004 at 02:35 AM

I've always considered women who wear the burqa and all that other garb are like German Baptist or Mennonite or Amish women who wear prayer caps and ugly dresses. It's a matter of choice in keeping with one's religious beliefs. The difference with Muslims is that not only do some of them want to wear that stuff, they think (and sometimes demand) that all other women wear it too.

Posted by: Rebecca at January 9, 2004 at 04:01 AM

Le Monde ran a great cartoon the other day. The woman in the veil was saying:

"I wear the veil by choice - to deprive my father of the pleasure of forcing me to."

Posted by: Scott Burgess at January 9, 2004 at 05:43 AM

A single choice world.

Posted by: d at January 9, 2004 at 07:53 AM

So the beatings and rape, they're all optional?

Posted by: donnyc at January 9, 2004 at 08:10 AM

Tim hates Arabs, lefties, greenies; loves Jews, Israel, guns, cars, America.

Yawn, yawn, yawn.

Posted by: Glue at January 9, 2004 at 08:56 AM

The best Islamic solution i heard was that "suseptable" I-Slamic males should wear blinkers like horses do rather than force women to cover up; suggest that to one of the followers of the fifth columnists of islam and see the response...

Posted by: Rob Read at January 9, 2004 at 09:12 AM

A teacher wouldn't get far wearing a burqa at a school for the deaf.

Posted by: ilibcc at January 9, 2004 at 09:58 AM

The sad thing is, burqas may actually encourage crimes against women. By reducing the women who wear them to shapeless, faceless, anonymous blobs of cloth, it allows criminals to commit crimes against them without feeling any empathy for them at all. They do not look at the victims of their crimes, and see their mothers, or sisters, or daughters; they just see an object, to be used and discarded.

Of course, there is the fact that many Muslims are completely without conscience in the first place...

Posted by: Tatterdemalian at January 9, 2004 at 10:49 AM

Glue - What about the Lunch, and expensive wine, and the oil - it's all about the oooooooiilll.

If you are going to troll, at least be consistent and get it right. You numpty.

Posted by: Razor at January 9, 2004 at 11:35 AM

This commentary is all about me, me, me -- my rights, my rights, my rights!

What about the poor children, especially little girls, who are exposed to this bizarre, cultish behavior? Most children are terrified by their teachers anyway -- imagine how they would feel about confronting a shapeless black bag that looks like the bogey man every single day of their lives? Never to see their teacher smile when they perform well or frown when they misbehave?

And imagine being a parent trying to teach her young daughter to be proud of her femaleness and then have her being confronted by this bizarre attempt to erase all traces of femaleness from public view?

I would rather die than have my young daughter taught by a freak in a black bag, thank you very much. Those Muslim women who wish to avial themselves of the privilege are free to get teaching jobs in Riyadh or Kabul. No need to contaminate Western children with your sick, neurotic view of womanhood.

Posted by: Susan at January 9, 2004 at 11:36 AM

No,donnyc, they are obligatory.

Posted by: d at January 9, 2004 at 11:49 AM

Susan, the Sisters of Charity taught me in all black head to foot, except they showed their faces which was unfortunate in Sister Eugenie's case.

Posted by: ilibcc at January 9, 2004 at 12:05 PM

As a die-hard Tory I have to admit that I find two good things about Fatima Shah's article; and they are her disdain for feminism and her support of tradition. However, tradition she supports is a silly one that is not part of Australian culture. These people have to learn that when they come here they have to adapt to our ways, we don't have to pander to their whacky ideas on how to dress.

As Susan pointed out above, children need to see the faces of their teachers. In court it is right that a jusdge and the barristers wear wigs and gowns so as not look quite human, but in the classroom the idea is ridiculous. Our children deserve better than Fatimah Shah.

Posted by: Toryhere at January 9, 2004 at 01:56 PM

I can understand why she's not married yet.

And unless she gives up her freedom to choose, she won't ever, will she?

Posted by: Harry Eagar at January 9, 2004 at 01:57 PM

As Shah points out, it is not as if there are teachers actually wearing it anyway, so isnít a pointless thing to discuss. Which, I guess, is why you idiots are discussing it. Whatís next on Blairís list of inane and pointless discussion topics? Publicly-funded clinics carrying out FGM in suburban Sydney? The proliferation of burqa-clad policewomen in South West Sydney?

Posted by: No Point at January 9, 2004 at 03:34 PM

If anyone needs a burqua, Margo does.
The sooner she gets bagged up, the sooner my mental scars begin healing.....

Posted by: Johnny Wishbone at January 9, 2004 at 09:14 PM

I'd like to put a bag over Tim Blair's head. Really tight.

Posted by: PP at January 10, 2004 at 12:45 AM

Whatís next on Blairís list of inane and pointless discussion topics? Publicly-funded clinics carrying out FGM in suburban Sydney?

Yeah, nothing is more inane and pointless than trying to put a stop to the use of your tax money to mutilate young girls.

Posted by: R. C. Dean at January 10, 2004 at 01:41 AM

What a great example of the intolerance that exists.

Oh and I don't mean Fatimas article.

Posted by: is at January 10, 2004 at 06:54 AM

If any of youse want to debate go to www.islamicsydney.com/forums.

We'll take youse all on!

Posted by: Habib at January 10, 2004 at 10:30 PM