‘One Law for All’ : here is their latest newsletter

It is interesting that the open letter to Mr. Hamilton should have hit my mailbox so close to the time I got the newsletter for One Law for All, as they both discuss the burqa/nikab and the social attitudes this promotes. 

Personally, I regard both the burqa/nikab and the hijab (and all its variations) as a symbol of supremacism, in much the way the KKK hood is. 

Why? 

Under Sharia, slave women are not permitted to wear them:  it is thus, in no uncertain terms, worn to demonstrate that the wearer is a member of a higher social class than the woman who does not wear one.  And, since it is literally showing off that you are not a slave but others are/ought to be treated as one, the KKK hood comparison is painfully accurate.

As for gender segregation (which the newsletter addresses):  regular readers of my blog may be aware that I regard it as an incarnation of evil and advocate against it in every way, shape and form (including 100% of all sports).

But let me stop rambling and bring you One Law for All’s latest newsletter:

Unveiled: A Publication of Fitnah – Movement for Women’s Liberation
December 2013, Volume 1, Issue 3. Editor: Maryam Namazie. Design: Kiran Opal.

The publication is available here: fitnah.org/fitnah_publication_english/publication_english.html

PDF Version available for download here: fitnah.org/fitnah_publication_english/unveiled_3.pdf

URGENT ACTION: REJECT SEX SEGREGATION
IT’S 2013. LET’S NOT TIME TRAVEL
Universities UK (UUK) guidance to universities on external speakers endorses gender apartheid by saying that segregation of the sexes at universities is not discriminatory as long as “both men and women are being treated equally, as they are both being segregated in the same way!” Any form of segregation, whether by race, sex or otherwise is discriminatory. Separate is never equal and segregation is never applied to those who are considered equal. Join us on International Human Rights Day to unequivocally reject gender apartheid. It’s 2013. Let’s not time travel.
DATE: Tuesday 10 December 2013; TIME: 5:00-6:30pm; AT: Universities UK, Woburn House, 20 Tavistock Square, London WC1H 9HQ.

WE SHOULD NOT ABANDON SECULARISM
Maryam Namazie’s Interview with Pragna Patel and Gita Sahgal
Pragna Patel responds: “…If we don’t defend secular values and instead embrace religious ones then we will be guilty of developing counter resistance strategies against racism and imperialism that hides other forms of oppression. Religion cannot be embraced as a framework for articulating disaffection and alienation or to address questions of equality and rights since its very foundation is based on recognising some rights but not others. We see this most clearly played out in the clash between the right to manifest religion and the right to be free from religion. Women who want to be free from religious impositions that deny them their autonomy and sexual freedom are constantly excluded. But we need to alert to the ways in which this exclusion is actually articulated. Often demands for the right to manifest religion may seem on the surface to be progressive but in fact hide a highly reactionary agenda. A good example of this is the recent capitulation by Universities UK (UUK), a representative body of universities in the UK, to demands for gender segregation in universities… It would appear that UUK is ignorant of the history and struggles against racial discrimination based on the flawed logic of ‘separate but equal.’ Such logic legitimised racial apartheid in South Africa and now legitimises gender apartheid. There is a disturbing failure to recognise that this stance will allow the right to manifest religion (a qualified right) to trump the right to be free from gender discrimination and subjugation (an absolute right).”

NEWS FLASH: NOVEMBER 2013
“Afghanistan: Twelve years after the fall of the Taliban, Afghanistan’s government is considering bringing back stoning as a punishment for sex outside marriage. The sentence for married adulterers, along with flogging for unmarried offenders, appears in a draft revision of the country’s penal code being drawn up by the ministry of justice. It is the latest in a string of encroachments on hard-won rights for women, after parliament quietly cut the number of seats set aside for women on provincial councils, and drew up a criminal code whose provisions will make it almost impossible to convict anyone for domestic violence.
“Iran: A document adopted by the Supreme Revolutionary Cultural Council with president Rouhani’s signature has been forwarded to the education and health ministries to “reduce the unnecessary mixing of males and females.” The section on gender segregation included the expansion of the culture of chastity and the veil…”

ARTS CORNER: BURKA AVENGER
“The Burka Avenger is a mild mannered unveiled teacher who becomes the burka avenger when her school is threatened with being shut down by Islamists, armed with pens and books…”

EDITORIAL: SECULARISM AS A UNIVERSAL RIGHT
Maryam Namazie
“…There are strong secular movements in so-called Muslim-majority countries like Iran, Pakistan, Algeria and Mali, despite the great risks involved. Karima Bennoune has brought to light many such groups and individuals in her recently published book, the title of which is based on a Pakistani play where the devotional singer who is beaten and intimidated for singing deemed ‘un-Islamic’ retorts: ‘Your fatwas do not apply here.’ The uprisings and revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa, such as the mass protests against Islamists for the assassination of Socialist leader Chokri Belaid in Tunisia; the vast secular protests in Turkey against Islamisation; the Harlem Shake in front of Muslim Brotherhood headquarter in Egypt and the largest demonstration in contemporary history against the Muslim Brotherhood – 33 million people – are all evidence of that. Post-secularism (leaving people at the mercy of ‘their own culture’) and the systematic and theorised failure to defend secularism and people’s, particularly women’s, civil rights in many countries and communities, only aids and abets the religious-Right to the detriment of us all – believers and non. As British philosopher AC Grayling has said: secularism is a fundamental right. Today, given the influence of the religious-Right, it is also a precondition for women’s rights and equality and for rights and freedoms in the society at large. It must be actively defended, promoted, and articulated”…

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: UNDECIDED ABOUT LEGISLATING DRESS
Marieme Helie Lucas Responds for Fitnah
“…Women wearing the burqa in Europe today are instrumentalised by the Muslim extreme-right, whether or not they realise it. They display their ‘difference’ and ‘identity,’ which is exactly what the traditional far-right needs in order to fulfil its xenophobic agenda. Both the traditional xenophobic extreme-right and the Muslim extreme-right want a violent confrontation and need it in order to recruit fresh troops. This is not a reason for shying away from addressing the proliferation of burqas everywhere, but it should be an incentive to not isolate the ‘flag’ from the broader issue of the growing far-rights in Europe, including the Muslim far-right…”

Also See Maryam Namazie’s interview with Channel 4Thought.tv on banning the niqab:
www.4thought.tv/themes/should-britain-ban-the-veil/1484?autoplay=true

Fitnah Unveiled number 2 on the burqa and veil: fitnah.org/fitnah_publication_english/unveiled_2.pdf

Fitnah Unveiled number 1 on the rise of fitnah: fitnah.org/fitnah_publication_english/unveiled1.pdf

Contact Unveiled Editor:
Maryam Namazie: +44 (0) 7719166731
BM Box 1919, London WC1N 3XX, UK
Email: fitnah.movement@gmail.com
Blog: fitnahmovement.blogspot.co.uk
Web: www.fitnah.org

Tarek Fatah discusses the Burka

I have a fundamental problem with giving the government – any government – the right to regulate clothing.  From public nudity to the burqa – I am not owned by anyone else and therefore, I do not accept anyone else’s authority to dictate what I do or do not wear.

Having said this, I do agree with Mr. Fatah on just about all the important points:  private businesses must retain the right to assert dress codes on their property, even if it is open to the public.  In other words, ‘No shoes, No shirt, No face – No service’ must be at the discretion of the private business or individual (this would include taxis and private transportation firms as well as real property).

In addition, I also agree with Mr. Fatah that the government has the right – I would assert the responsibility – to ensure that people in publicly owned spaces, buildings and receiving publicly operated services (like, say, public transport) reveal their faces for ready identification, much as the Quebec government has asserted.

Perhaps some people think that this is ‘splitting hairs’, that ‘banning the burqa’ and ‘demanding facial visibility while on public property’ are the same thing.

I would beg to disagree:  they may have the same effect in the sense that a person who wishes to partake in our society must show their face to do so.  However, they are very different things because they are rooted in different principles.  (And, contrary to popular belief, that does mean something.)

The banning of a particular piece or style of clothing sets up the precedent that the government has the right to tell us how to dress.  I don’t happen to think it does.  If my neighbour decides to start walking their dog in the buff, that is their own business – I might snigger or gossip, but I certainly do not have the right to demand they ‘cover up’, so I cannot delegate that right to my elected members of parliament:  hence, the government does not have the right to tell us what to wear.

(Yes, I know, as shown in the above link, the Ontario courts of appeal have just recently upheld laws against public nudity:  and I disagree with their belief they have the jurisdiction to rule on this subject.)

Because if we give the government the power to rule over what we may or may not wear, the chador is not far off….just wait for the demographics to change a little bit.  No – we’d be much safer clearly setting the precedent that governments have no jurisdiction whatsoever over what we wear and how we wear it when we are on our own time, as private citizens.

However…

Governments do have a responsibility to deliver citizen and resident services safely and effectively.  This cannot be done if the citizens receiving/delivering the services are not readily identifiable.  Therefore, I recognize the governments’ right to demand that faces be visible for the purposes of receiving/delivering public services (and driving, voting, and so on).

In addition, governments have taken upon themselves the responsibility to deliver services without discrimination, especially without discrimination to disabled individuals.  Many people with hearing impairments partially or fully read lips in order to understand what is being said to them.  It is therefore essential that hearing disabled citizens, whether receiving or providing a government service, must be able to read the lips of all those around them – which is also a valid reason for accommodating the ‘uncovered face in public places’ policy.

So, rather than expanding government powers to cover clothing, we should use already existing laws made in order to have an inclusive society to achieve this end.

To me, there is a huge difference between the two approaches, because, after all, the means define the end!

Pat Condell: Haloween Burka

 

In defense of the burka

Please, don’t get me wrong:  I hate the burka.

In my never-humble-opinion,  wearing a burka (or niqab) is immoral.

So, I resent having to write in the defense of the burka!

…because, nothing, not even the burka or niqab, grant any government the power to legislate a citizen’s choices in clothing.

The government does not – and must not – have the right to tell me how to dress.  What to wear or what not to wear.  EVER!!!

‘Governments’ simply lack the authority to a law that determines how I choose to dress.

However…

This does not mean that governments do not have the right to enforce a dress code in public buildings/parks/vehicles etc.

As in, if you enter a public building – for whatever reason – the government which administers it has the right to demand that you wear shoes (that is a safety/liability issue – stepping on stuff can harm an unprotected foot), and so on.  In the same way, the government has the right to demand that every person entering a public building or park (anything administered by that level of government) must not cover their face.

Therefore, schools, libraries, public transit, hospitals, government offices – well, all the ‘public spaces’ – are areas where the government has the authority to pass a law that people must show their faces.  Fully.

That IS within the government’s jurisdiction to pass laws about.

And yes, governments SHOULD pass these laws!!!

Leaving all the ‘obvious’ reasons aside (many people have made these arguments very eloquently already), another very valid argument could be made that it is absolutely necessary that a person’s mouth be fully visible while in public buildings:  obscuring one’s mouth is discriminatory.

Our laws , our very constitutions, forbid discrimination on he grounds of disability.  Governments naturally hire people based on their skills, regardless of any potential disabilities – like, say, being hearing impaired….  Whether accessing or providing a government service, lipreading is an accepted means of communicating and much more common than most people realize.  Many of us even do it without realizing it!

Obscuring one’s lips behind a veil thus discriminates against people who are hearing impaired and rely fully or partially on lipreading to communicate.  This is an important issue:  a constitutional matter!  Perhaps this argument appears disproportional, but, please, take a moment to think about it.  It is a valid point.

And, for a society which prides itself on being inclusive and does not discriminate against people with physical disabilities, this is a big deal.

Of course, all private places of business also have the right to enforce dress codes for people who enter their premises.  That is fully accepted in our society, and must remain so.  It is best captured by the signs:  “No shoes, no shirt, no service.”

Perhaps the new ones will read:  “No shoes, no shirt, no face, no entry!”

And that would be good.

It not only ‘would be good’, in my never-humble-opinion, it is necessary.

It also seems to me that our existing laws already cover this issue (no pun intended).

Private places of commerce have the right to enforce dress codes.  They are free to ban ‘face coverings’ – and must remain free to do so.

Public places are also governed by rules which can be interpreted as forbidding ‘face coverings’:  on the grounds that covering one’s mouth discriminates against people who are hearing impaired.  This is not permitted in public places.  Therefore, no burka, no niqab.

We even have a law (at least in Ontario) which says that a driver’s face must be fully visible and recognizable from outside the vehicle:  that is why the front windows in a car are not permitted to have a dark tint.  Wearing a veil of any type which is not transparent and obscures a driver’s face, or any other thing which prevents the driver’s face to be fully visible from outside the vehicle is, therefore, already illegal!

No new law needed!

It is not a good idea to have more laws than absolutely necessary.  Passing multiple laws to govern one thing is misguided and dangerous.

To sum it up:

  • governments can, do and should have dress codes for people entering public buildings or accessing public services which demand that a person’s face be fully exposed
  • places of commerce can, do and should have dress codes of their choosing – even ones that forbid people entering their property from obscuring their faces.
  • traffic laws already exist that demand that while a person is exercising the privilege of driving, their face must be fully exposed and visible from outside the vehicle

Perhaps I’ve missed a few specific instances, I’ll grant that.  BUT – they would still be ‘specific instances’!  It is wrong to pass a blanket law which bans the burka.

Permitting the government the exercise any authority to legislate how people dress is as frightening as it is ludicrous!

Who’d enforce these laws?

The ‘Fashion Police’?