Taslima Nasrin has joined us on Freethoughtblogs!

Can things get any better?

If you haven’t visited her blog yet, please do.

Her post today is called ‘Let’s Burn the Burqa’. Oh, yes please.

And while we are at it can we ban it too?

Oh and before the post-modernist left and defenders of multi-culturalism and religion over women’s lives and rights start crying outrage and totalitarianism and the right to choose or what have you let me just say this: far from being liberating, the burqa is a strait-jacket for women; a mobile prison. And no more a real choice than the chastity belt or foot-binding (where women’s feet broken to keep them from wandering away from their male ‘guardians’)…

But I have a lot more to say on this of course. Here’s a debate I had with a burqa-clad woman on Newstalk Ireland.




  1. I recognize that I’m taking up a lot of space but I just have to say that the picture shown is quite appropriate for this topic! Man, really how do Sharia, Islamic men tell their wives from filled garbage bags, curtains, piles of clothes, etc? The answer is, I guess they don’t which is why they treat them the way they do?
    As a rightist with concerns about Sharia, Islam believing immigrants, I would be more willing to allow the Sharia Islamics to bring in so many more of their own fellow believers per month if just the men agreed to dress like their women when they would demonstrate! Hey, any men who are so believing as to be willing to veil themselves like that should be entitled to more of their company! Also, perhaps just the layer of clothing might slow them down and make it harder for them to do harm to others as lightly clad folk or nudist folk could run faster, easier and get away from them! The police, etc could definitely move quicker at least!
    You know, Maryam as much as you may hate me as a rightist admirer of Gert Wilders and Marine Le Pen, I’m really glad you freed yourself from the Sharia Islamic ideology even if you are a Marxist! You are way more interesting as a free woman who puts a veil around her back and appears in her natural state than a woman dressed like a cloth shower curtain! Thanks for allowing me to stay on this blog as I do find much of what you say thought provoking if nothing else! Cheers, everybody!

  2. As a rightist, I would love to ban the burqa! I would love to ban a lot of things just like you would like to ban all faith based schools but out of tolerance for everybody, democratic societies can’t do blanket banning of practices/institutions like that! My problem with stepping on one group’s even stupid traditions is that it opens up the state to step on everybody’s traditions based on administrative perceptions!
    I personally think that individual businesses should be able to make restrictions though and if they feel that the burqa is bad for their business, they should be able to ban it within their area! The public areas are paid for by everybody and everybody regardless of their religious beliefs must be free to use them!
    Freedom of religion as long as it is consensual to the individual involved and doesn’t encourage illegal acts toward others is paramount! At the same time, a democratic nation has a right to decide if the Sharia which is a system of law that encourages illegal behavior against others is to be allowed/encouraged by noncitizens entering their countries voluntarily! We democratic societies are required to tolerate individual stupidity and aberrations in their citizens to a great degree until an individual or group directly steps on the well-being/freedom of other citizens!
    Nudity and top free are controversial but the standard should be always equal to both sexes regarding public areas maintained by local taxpayers. Public recreation areas in an ideal world would be open to all but due to community feelings at least the degree of tolerance for nudity should be based on community standards of the taxpayers in a given area! The percentage of park areas open to nude recreation should at least reflect the degree of openness to nudity of the general population of a given local area decided by referendum!
    In a public area, you can ban practices like smoking for public health. I have a problem with the state telling a restaurant, a tavern, a bar, a private business of any kind really what their customers can do in an owner’s local jurisdiction! Now, they can require increased ventilation or increased insurance costs for the owner allowing smoking as well as signage on the door so those entering the business know what to expect! Private property and freedom of religion like speech must stay sacred to a democratic society which is something hardcore leftists don’t seem to want to understand! Leftists create a higher social good ideal that ends up opening up a Pandora’s box of state involvement in peoples’ lives that violate their freedoms until you become a Marxist society and a Pol Pot comes and says you belong to a class of people that need to disappear for the higher good!
    In my opinion, National Socialists were a degree of leftists who masked themselves with nationalist symbols of racial identity but not much different from their Eastern European cousins with the hammer and sickle for a symbol! Stalin saw this very clearly but two nasty snakes in a cage can’t stand to not attack each other for too long!
    Democratic socialists who think of themselves as Marxists because they love the theories of its classless equality and have an axe to grind with spiritual orgs because any organized group can get nasty and some are intellectually stupid never see where the control will end! Individual rights making up the society’s rights get compromised once we go down the road of violating any group’s rights that must be equal freedom to practice for all!
    I do detest the Sharia as I’ve studied it and believe it is a form of masogynist, nasty barbarity designed to destroy a democratic society! However, I recognize that we Westerners can’t be fighting the one third of humanity who have bought into it so just say it needs to be isolated and not allowed new host areas to easily spread within! Western nations have national interests so we must deal with these folks from the standpoint of national security and economic interest which should be subordinated to the national interest of our shared regional, global interest as democratic nations.

    1. Why dived ideas as rightist or leftists?
      If we consider one society or a country, as a whole them there are good ideas and bad ideas. If we make another step and consider the world as a whole is the same just better.

      Of course if you start thinking small, very small like my personal immediate interests, or the group interests like corporations, nations, and you continue thinking small like just the “economic interest” them the mess is installed and we have the world like it is (war, poverty, misery, hunger, …).
      Maybe you are going to put me in your leftists box, but war, poverty, misery, hunger, makes me fell bad. I don’t like to fell bad and ignorance is not my choice of living.
      I like and agree with your freedom ideas. I don’t want that a government ruling my life and the society were I live.
      I love this idea of deciding by referendum; it is really “power to the people”. I can tell you that the people are much more wise that the politicians want us to believe.

      1. Of course there is a left and right. The Left has always been the banner carrier of social justice – pro-immigrants rights, pro-the poor, pro health care, pro-women’s rights, gay rights and so on. The right has always been on the other side. There are still many on the Left today fighting for the 99% against the 1%. The problem in that the post-modernist left has become so supportive of Islamism and cultural relativism and the right seems to be opposed to it but for their own racist and anti-immigrant perspective that the lines seem to have blurred but they haven’t. There is a huge difference between a campaign I lead against Sharia than what someone on the right – such as Geert Wilders or the English Defence League – does against Sharia. My campaign is open to everyone that supports its aims but its aims are left-leaning ones – the right to equality; citizenship rights; secularism… The right is opposed to Sharia because it wants immigrants out – it blames immigrants for Islamism though they are the first victims of it and it often has no problem with religion in power as long as it is not Islam. It says it defend ‘free expression’ but wants the Koran banned. There is a real difference between these perspectives.

  3. I want to echo @Alasdair’s comment about whether banning is the right answer.
    I agree with you Maryam that the burqa is a prison and not a choice for women.
    But if it is banned I worry about how that will impact women’s lives because many cannot choose to not wear it. If a woman has a husband/father/brother at home who insists she wear it or face shame or abuse and then she is treated as a law breaker once she leaves the house. I worry that a ban on the burqa adds another difficult layer of shame for women already the victims of an impossibly controlling patriarchal system. I would rather bag up and ban the hateful, bullying men that insist on being modesty police.
    I have listened to some debates about women, modesty and islam in Australia and it was fairly obvious that the women on the stage could choose to wear whichever style of veil they were comfortable with and not suffer terrible repercussions. I didn’t feel like they were speaking for all the women who really cannot choose.
    Surely all women would love to throw off their burqas and veils but they need a safe environment for that.

    1. That is an argument for enforcing laws against abusive men and protecting victims of abuse, not tolerating a danger to public safety like the burqa.

    2. I know we are on the same page in a sense but I don’t agree with this argument against a ban, which I often hear. The logic is that banning something increases it, forces it underground, and punishes those it is trying to protect. In reality though bans are merely legal protections. They don’t end things. They just provide guidelines for what we tolerate in a society. So the law to wear helmets for safety does not mean that there are countless sikhs languishing in prisons or that sikhs can no longer ride bikes or motorcycles. Bans don’t end things either – we still have domestic violence for example even though it is criminalised. The truth is that most women will be able to leave their homes without a burqa and that’s a good thing because in general a majority will not transgress the laws. It’s like the ban on conspicuous religious symbols in schools. Most girls went to school without the veil in France. Also don’t forget the rise of the burqa is a relatively newer phenomenon and is directly linked to the contemporary Islamist movement, which makes it a symbol of Islamism. I am not concerned about security but I am about women’s rights. I think this form of veil (in particular)prevents women from receiving any sunlight and causes health problems but also depression. There was a study I saw about it sometime back but can’t find it now. It was in relation to Iran and the chador (which is the all-encompassing black veil.) It’s not about business, or security in my point of view but it’s a woman’s rights issue. This is not about the veil per se. I don’t agree on a ban against the veil other than in public institutions or of child veiling because I see it as a form of child abuse but I do think a burqa ban is necessary in order to safeguard women.

      1. I just want to add something in relation to the health risks involved in the wearing of the burka.

        Recent studies have suggested that our obsession with covering up in the sun with clothing, sunscreens, hats etc, has caused an alarming increase in Rickets.

        Children and women are mainly affected because of the ‘anti-sun’ lobby’s 30 year campagin against sun exposure.

        If sun-factor and a hat can cause Vitamin D deficiency, well it goes without saying that the burka is going to cause similar health risks for women.

        Here is a link to a Yahoo! search of ‘Sun protection causing Rickets’.


    3. Bans can be good or wrong.

      Banning burkas is wrong, banning Sharia is right.

      I don’t like the burka, it’s a prison for a woman, but she can walk around. If banned we put that woman in solitary prison.

      Banning Sharia is more than right, it is a necessity.

      We need to defend the secular values that are the core of our society “egalité, liberté, fraternité”.

      We have all the same rights; liberties and we are all brothers. Like brothers we care for each other and we defend the weaker from the stronger. So we should have laws and institutions that defend those women. Take care of those who want to get out of that oppressing cycle where they are trapped. And laws to condemn those men’s that had imposed Sharia law to their families. Like when we as a society began to defend de children and women against violence, exploration, …

      1. Not everything is about secularism. There is also children’s rights. It worries me that someone is only opposed to sharia out of a defence of secularism alone. Secularism is important but so are other rights, which are inter-related. Banning the burqa may not be an act of secularism (e.g. keeping it separate from the state, judicial system and educational system) but it is an important step in defending women’s rights. Just like banning FGM, banning the chastity belt, banning foot binding, things that may even be considered people’s choices but are detrimental to their lives. Has anyone opposing a ban actually seen a burqa – it makes me wonder…

  4. She makes some good points about it all. I just didn’t have anything to say. Nothing new at least. Love the pic you have with your post Maryam, better than my calling the burqa a gunnie sack. It is like the men in Islamic countries are telling women to wear a trash bag, but since plastic would kill the women faster, they have them wear a burlap sack or rather cotton.

  5. I don’t like the burka any more than the next progressive type, but I also think our western societies are strong enough that we shouldn’t feel threatened by items of clothing or have to go about banning them. It’s perfectly possible to disapprove of the burka without thinking that banning it is a sensible or reasonable solution in a liberal society.

    1. We as a society calls for various bans all the time. We ban smoking in public places because it is bad for public health; we also ban child labour or domestic violence and so on. There is nothing wrong with bans. the problem is that a lot of good people don’t see how bad the burqa is for women – for social health – for society at large and therefore they think it is about an item of clothing. I suppose female genital mutiliation is just another form of body art? I think the problem is that we don’t agree on the problem and that is what I hope to change. I want the hair on your neck to stand when you hear about Sharia or the burqa not because you hate women or Muslims or immigrants – but because you care enough for people that you don’t think they deserve to be treated in this way.

  6. Yes, I am very happy about this.

    It gives us the chance to read more of Taslima’s thoughts, whilst Free Thought Blogs gives her her voice back.

    😀 😀 😀

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