IN today’s column Burkini represents religious fundamentalism writ large, I analyse the debate over the burkini ban:
WHEN the Syrian city of Manbij was liberated from Islamic State, women burned their burkas, lit up cigarettes, laughed out aloud and embraced the female soldiers who had rescued them. That is what freedom looks like. Freedom isn’t a woman encased in head to toe polyester under a burning sun because her religion deems the bikini immodest. The burkini is religious fundamentalism writ large on women’s bodies. We should not ban it, but there are no grounds to celebrate it as a symbol of multiculturalism.
… Journalist and Muslim woman Hala Arafa defines the burkini as a manifestation of fundamentalist Islam: “The fashion worn in the 21st century reflects the progress of (women’s rights) … The clothes worn by Muslim fundamentalist women are based on seventh century beliefs. They say that a woman’s honour is directly tied to her clothes and a man is not responsible for his actions if he is tempted by a woman. This is an ideology that absolves men from any responsibility of committing the crime of rape and blames the victim … To say the burkini ban stifles cultural diversity is to focus on the superficial garment, not the rape ideology it promotes.”
The idea that women provoke rape by dressing immodestly has a long and cross-cultural history. However, it has been reintroduced to the 21st century West by Islamist ideology. And the bikini-wearing woman is a favourite hate target of Islamists.
… The misplaced notion that Islamic dress codes represent female modesty has inspired misogyny on a scale that shocks Western sensibilities. And Islamist women count among the worst enforcers of sharia law. The all female Al-Khansaa Brigade of Islamic State whip and beat women for not wearing the burka. Under Islamic State rule, female doctors and teachers were killed for refusing to wear the burka and women have been buried alive for protesting the Islamic dress code.
The burkini is a symbol of surrender to archaic sexual mores that divide moral from immoral women by dress code. If you want to cover up on an Australian beach, try board shorts and a rash vest. The burkini is a redundant religious symbol completely at odds with freethinking Western women. We shouldn’t ban it but nor should it be held aloft as a symbol of triumphant multiculturalism. It is a throwback to a dark age that our mothers and grandmothers fought so that we could be free. If you want an honour code to live by, honour them.
Read the full column Burkini represents religious fundamentalism writ large