25 October 2006

A bit of verbal about veils

I am now thoroughly bored with the debate about veils which it seems will never end. If one more damn person asks me what I think about the niqab and hijab I don’t know what I will do but it won’t be pretty or mature.

Before I make a brief, and final, statement I would like to make the following clear:

1. If I were in charge I would ban ALL Religions, even the pretend ones, making it illegal to overtly practise ANY Religion outside your own home. Street preaching would be akin to manslaughter in the eye of my law. Faith would be a private matter.

2. When people start to go on and on about things, any things, I go through four distinct phases. The not really listening because it’s become boring phase, the finding it all quite amusing phase, the this is totally oblivious are you all stupid please be quiet phase and then the holy shit are we still going on about this it’s making me quite angry now phase.

3. I am fundamentally opposed to most Religions on the grounds that they are nearly all inherently homophobic, and none of them seem to find this blatant bigotry unacceptable. Or, in that case of some, ironic.

4. I am fundamentally opposed to most Religions on the grounds that very stupid people are able to use them as an excuse for getting their kicks by killing people, invading countries and generally behaving in ways that would shame the killer chimps of the Mahale Mountains. If a child can’t play with a toy responsibly then a good parent takes away that toy until such a time as said child’s behaviour improves. Same principle should apply.

5. Having said that, although I don’t believe in a God, I believe in believing in one. Or four. Even more if you like.

6. Although I am minded to belive that Religion has very little to do with faith anymore. If it ever did. It has plenty to do with money and power, but not too much to do with faith. Or perhaps that should be Faith.

Anyway, here is that brief, and final, statement:

I am not a huge fan of that black niqab and hijab ensemble you’re wearing. This is because only 7% of communication is verbal.

I’m not concerned that wearing it might be an infringement of your rights as a woman. I’m not worried about what statement about Muslims you are making to the non-Muslim population of Britain.

I just find it very hard to relate to you because, by burying it under swathes of cloth, you are denying me the 93% of communication which I, as a human being, rely on to form any response to our interaction. And I consider learning one of those responses – be that language skills in a classroom or something about you over a latte in a cafe. So, I’m not really bothering to engage 100%, just the 7% which covers being polite in the post office or the supermarket.

Maybe this is sheer laziness on my part. Maybe it’s just that with so many fascinating things in the world and only so many hours in the day, unravelling the thoughts and feelings you’re choosing to hide behind that veil, that you’re choosing to only express 7% of, are simply lower down on my list. And that’s not a reflection on you personally, because that would require some of that other 93%, it's a relfection on me.


Don’t start me on Freedom of Speech. Really. Or Merely the Freedom to Insult People as it’s called nowadays.


Ossian said...

I agree with you.

When I've heard the veiled people defend their choice (which is generally a new choice, just started recently here) it's all "me, me, me, me, me". "It's what I want".

Then they tell you it's like talking on the phone. It's not: if I'm talking to them, they're on the phone but I'm not--it's unequal.

A woman came into a doctor's waiting room where I was recently, wearing the full black ensemble. We had to wait for hours, literally (NHS!) but after a while she got fed up and took off the veil. Go figure.

Being in a waiting room anywhere in the NHS is like being in a scene from the arrivals or departures lounge at Riyadh, anyway.

lifeintunnels said...

Well said. I wonder if we will now see a rise in veil-wearing? It's a useful way to assert your difference. I used to be a goth for similar reasons, so for a young, vaguely frustrated and militant Muslim woman who wants to be noticed, a veil would perform a similar function to backcombed hair.

Anonymous said...

That new cartoon of yours is the spit of you. Exactly in your likeness. Will you being doing mugs, T-shirts?

Froosh Bamboo said...

Ossian - I avoid the telephone. Hate it. So that's not going to persuade me anyway.

LinT - I thought the point of being a goth was so boys could wear eye liner?

Anon - yes. Lookeelikee indeed. No merchandising. Can you imagine?

Carol said...

I realised recently I only know two people who have studied the Bible in sufficient depth to argue about it intelligently.

Both are gay

Neither are Christians any longer.

I especially agree with Point 3 and had pretty much rejected all organised religion on those grounds. However these days, having read a bit more I'm willing to make an exception for Buddhists

.....and Pagans


oh yeah and Universal Unitarians

That's it though.

Cripps said...

so what do you think about the niqab and hijab then?

Carol said...


Personally I think we spoiled you with that Scissor Sisters CD thing.


Peter said...

It's not a woman's choice to wear the stupid scary thing. It's male oppression and dominance, so that no other men can look at their "property". Iran has possibly the most ghastly laws in the world. We don't, repeat do not, want them here in our country. In any manner or form. Sorry. I feel very strongly about this.

People try to compare the Sikh turban. But (a) this is worn only by men, and (b) Sikh women get to wear lovely pretty clothes, and seem to walk in the streets like human beings.

Jennifer said...

Oh man, that's how I've felt and just haven't been able to articulate it as well as you.

lifeintunnels said...

Well said, Peter. There is a fine line between tolerating imported customs (e.g. allowing freedom of worship, special diets etc.) and lacking the courage to challenge oppressive practises because you're afraid of treading on toes. However wrong those toes might be.

Froosh Bamboo said...

I completely agree as well, Peter. My negative response to the veils is personal not political. I don't think there is any point attempting to engage politically, or intellectually, with the arguments at the moment. The media, and the government, have done well to see to that.

Lawrence of Willesden said...

Can I buy a niqab with Froosh Bamboo on it please. I think it might make the news. We haven't had a riot for a while.

Froosh Bamboo said...

Lawrence - there's no option to make a niqab, you'll just have to cut up a t-shirt. I'm sure they won't mind if it's white.