cartoon-about-burqaI don’t need to tell you what has happened in the past few days.

In Nairobi, Islamists have attacked innocent civilians out for a day shopping. They said they were there to kill non-Muslims “only” but of course as is always the case, they killed anyone and everyone they could, including Muslims.

In Nigeria, Boko Haram has killed at least 142 people in the past week, after setting up check points and gunning down travellers.

This Sunday, in Pakistan, 82 people were killed when Islamist suicide bombers attacked a church.

2 civilians were killed in a bomb attack in Afghanistan yesterday.

Several bomb attacks in Iraq, including targeting a funeral, killed 26 people today. 800 have been killed by terrorism in August alone. And the list goes on.

Islamists show no mercy. They kill indiscriminately because after all the idea behind terrorism is to instil fear by targeting civilians going about their daily lives – a mall, a funeral, a wedding…

But remember this. Whilst terrorism is a mainstay of Islamism and is often rightly and swiftly condemned, the Islamist war on women is usually excused as a “right” and a “choice”. Mere words and a formality when faced with a movement that always targets women first.

Like terrorism, the burka is the visible aspect of Islamism’s war on women. And it too should be condemned. No ifs and buts.



  1. Speaking as a liberal, secular humanist I am not sympathetic to the niqab or even the headscarf. It is one rule for men, another for women. I am particularly dismayed when I see a Muslim couple out & about on the hottest days of summer: he chilled, quite typically in a t-shirt, shorts & flip-flops – she sweltered in all-enveloping hijab. My proposal to Islam is to swap things about for the next 1400 years, so that the guys can experience the tighter strictures of the Islamic dress code, while the sisters can chill out. Here’s a lesson for the West too:

    All that aside I continue to demur from Maryam’s position. I feel that the strength of the liberal argument is diminished by a blanket proscription of the niqab. A society where a woman may choose to dress anywhere on the spectrum from boob tube to niqab is a society which respects agency and choice. I fear there is a real danger in coupling antipathy to Islamism with antipathy to a woman wearing a niqab: a woman who is simply going about her day-to-day business in the belief that she is expressing profound religiosity. To me as a smug atheist, she is misguided (as are all religious), but I respect her agency and I offer her the (necessarily symbolic) hand of friendship. A number of niqabis have been attacked by thug elements in our society. A firm stand in favour of personal choice is, I feel, essential to deter such atrocious behaviour. My own take on all of this is the fable of the North Wind and the Sun:

  2. Your blog is titled ‘Nothing is Sacred,’ Ms. Namazie. Indeed to you not even truth is sacred. That doesn’t bode well for your readers’ trust in your intellectual honesty.

    I’m not seeing you criticizing the purposeful and untruthful political connection in that cartoon made between Iranian clerics and burqa, which is not reflective of Iran’s contemporary reality.

    As an Iranian yourself you definitely know the practice of hidjab in each of Muslim countries differs with other Muslims countries and that in terms of political rights, such as dissent, there aren’t significant differences between men and women in Iran. What bites women bites men all the same. Is there a particular reason you cooperate with this slandering of Iranians?

    You most likely know as well this wide-reaching smear campaign has the ulterior motive of enslaving Iranians–man or woman, of any religious and political affiliation–to corporatist globalization which has a far worse human rights record than the Islamic Republic. Why do you cooperate, against the interests of your compatriots, with this smear campaign?

    Are you not aware what types of political and economical aims this campaign has? Are you a paid mouthpiece or a useful idiot?

    1. “Indeed to you not even truth is sacred.”

      “there aren’t significant differences between men and women in Iran.”

      “corporatist globalization which has a far worse human rights record than the Islamic Republic.”

      What utter rubbish, Nikto. Will you publish your sources for these ridiculous claims please? No, because you do not have any. Without evidence, I’m afraid these are merely whimsical prattlings of a closed mind, just like Islam.

      Maryam, a useful article in raising awareness, thank you.

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