Monday, July 19, 2010

Those Islamophobes in Damascus

The recent vote to ban the burqa in France has awakened predictable outrage from the human rights industry in Western countries. Similar initiatives have met stiff resistance in the United States and Britain on the grounds of religious freedom.

Strangely enough, Muslim authorities aren’t so finicky about religious freedom in their countries, even when the religion in question is Islam. First it was Egyptian universities banning the veil, and now Syria. According to The Daily Mail:

Syria has banned the face-covering Islamic veil from the country’s universities.

The NiqabThe Education Ministry’s ban comes as similar moves in Europe — and calls for one in England — spark cries of discrimination against Muslims.

An official told local media: ‘Our students are our children and we will not abandon them to extreme ideas and practices.’

Syria is not a Muslim country. An official at the ministry says the ban affects public and private universities and aims to protect Syria’s secular identity.

Sunday’s ban does not affect the headscarf, which many Syrian women wear.


The secular, authoritarian government has recently tried to curry favour by rallying to the cry of moderate Islam at home.

But it remains wary of Islamic fundamentalism, which is a threat to its power — especially in education.

Last month, hundreds of primary school teachers who wear the niqab were moved to administrative jobs, local media reported.

The AP adds:
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“We have given directives to all universities to ban niqab-wearing women from registering,” the [Syrian] government official told The Associated Press on Monday.

The niqab “contradicts university ethics,” he added.

He also confirmed that hundreds of primary school teachers who were wearing the niqab at government-run schools were transferred last month to administrative jobs.

Syria is the latest country to weigh in on the niqab, perhaps the most visible hallmark of strict, conservative Islam. European countries including France, Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands are considering similar bans on the grounds that the veils are degrading to women. Opponents say such bans violate freedom of religion and will stigmatize all Muslims.

British civil-liberties advocates maintain that wearing a burqa is harmless, and allowing it respects the rights of women. Nicolas Sarkozy does not agree:

[French] President Nicolas Sarkozy has said that the burka ‘is not welcome’ in his country. He claims that it is ‘oppressive’ to women and reduces them to ‘servitude’.

He said: ‘The burka is not a sign of religion, it is a sign of subservience.’

Hat tips: Insubria and Gaia.


Anonymous said...

What people often forget is that The Middle East used to be heavily Christian (including Syria) and Jewish prior to Islamic conquests.

Some people say that “Muslims just want to be left alone to do their thing in their own countries”.

What they often forget is that such a mindset leads to complacency on your part, and an expanded definition of “own countries” on theirs (this is not an advocacy for starting “interesting times”, but rather for a change in mindset and immigration etc policies).

The West’s strategy vis-à-vis Islam has been “feed the alligator someone else, so that he’s full”, but as events in the 90s-2000s have shown, this just leads to a stronger adversary who is more not less resentful. Reference the old saying: “if you want to make someone your enemy, do them a favor”.

Michael Servetus said...

I do not trust the governing liberals to distinguish( ie discriminate) between Islam and Christianity or cultural conservative. Therefore i am wary of celebrating this move and of jumping on the bandwagon of liberal fascism simply because it bans a burqa, presumably in order to keep the liberal party going. For as we have learned and are continually learning, the show must go on at all costs.

. said...

Perhaps people are not protesting in Syria because such protests would result in unpleasant consequences, and they would protest if Syria had an democratically elected government as do the nations of the EU that wouldn't torture and imprison them in response.

urah2222 said...

As Most who read and post here know, the Syrian Regime are by and large members of a minority group, known as the "alewites" - considered by the Sunni Majority of Syria to be about as, if not less Muslim than the Ba'Hai.
The Assads continue in powerdue to their continuing control of the Syrian Military and willingness to use it against fellow Syrians - SEE: HAMA! In Short, a Terror Regime.
Were they to lose control over the Military, they would be gone in a "New York Minute!" Problem is that their successor government would probably be the IKHWAN - a/k/a Muslim Brotherhood.Some choice! Wish they BOTH could lose. -S-

In Hoc Signo Vinces† said...

In hoc signo vinces

This is a neoliberal ploy bannig the burqa in the West is like handing the enemy a invisible cloak making islams conquest of the West less visible to the apolitical man on the street.

In the neoliberal mode of law making the wording of these laws will probably outlaw christian symbolism in the West and leave islam unscathed.