Hypocrisy

I know I said I probably wouldn't enter, but recent events have kindled some article-writing into me. though, this would have probably been longer, had the word limit not been so small. I feel like I'm in GCSE again: 'Write the history of the world, you have 500 words'. XD

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It has been a while since this issue has been rekindled by the media. Some countries have banned it, and now there are talks here in the UK regarding its banning. The burka has been targeted in the past and it was only inevitable that it would be targeted again. There are several reasons why some politicians feel the need to forward a ban on the face veil and, while some are more legitimate reasons than others, most appear to be mere excuses.

 

One of the most legitimate reasons to ban the face veil would be because it is a threat to security. Places like court-rooms, airports, government buildings and so-on come to mind when this point it put forth. Others put forth that students, teachers and doctors or nurses shouldn’t wear the burka either. With these things in mind, it seems at least considerable that people should not be masked. However, many women who do wear the burka would not protest in having to remove it at the airport or in a government building, or even on a bus if ID requires checking – given that it be another woman that checks them. In places like the court-room however, someone might suggest that the face should not be covered in order for the jury to assess facial expressions and such. This situation is similar in a classroom setting – in that the expressions cannot be read correctly if the face is covered.

However, having thought through this, it brings to mind an idea [and perhaps it’s trivial]: If the burka is to be banned as a whole because it restrains facial expressions in court, they why not also ban facial Botox, which also restricts expressions? In actual fact, this ban would be more beneficial for the young female population of Britain! Just because a face veil is undesirable in certain buildings or circumstances – does it legitimize banning it in its entirety?

 

Secondly, the burka has also been subject to banning because it “is not part of British culture”. Having stated this, one may question what exactly British culture is. There is nothing exclusive that Britain has or does that makes it part of its “culture”. Curry is one of Britain’s most loved dishes. Tea is something associated with Britain, but tea isn’t grown in Britain itself. Even British monarchs aren’t wholly British. British people aren’t even really British. Who were real native Britons? The Picts. And the Picts were slowly eradicated by generations of Romans, Anglo-Saxons and Jutes, Danes, Normans and so-on – the offspring of whom are now considered British. Honestly, Britain doesn’t have much of a culture. And if we are going to adhere to the idea that there are things that Britain is known for, that Britain is trademarked for, it’s this: colonialism, imperialism, dividing and enslaving nations and making it our own. The sun never set on Queen Victoria’s empire. These aren’t things we’ve outwardly stuck to, so why go at length to ban the burka because it’s not part of our so-called “culture”?

 

Thirdly, the burka has long been seen as a sign of oppression and a limitation in the freedom of women. Some feminists might see it and the religion that the burka is associated with [Islam] as degrading and oppressive. Quite frankly, when one study’s Islamic history, one will notice the very opposite: The first person to become a Muslim was a woman, Khadija binte Khuwaylid. The first Muslim martyr was a woman, Sumayyah binte Khayyat. One of the most celebrated scholars of Islam was a woman, Aisha binte Abu Bakr.

In pre-Islamic Arabia, women were oppressed in the real sense – fathers would bury their new-born daughters alive, a man could marry any woman of his choosing without her consent, inheritance wasn’t granted to the woman. They were so oppressed that when the decree of hijab, of covering came down, they tore their curtains and covered their heads. With anything they could find. And it wasn’t just in pre-Islamic Arabia.

Women since the beginning of history have been oppressed, even in some of the greatest civilizations to exist. In the Babylonian Era, the Greek civilization, the Roman civilization, the Ancient Egyptian civilization, etc. Women were regarded more as objects than as people. There were actually historical debates regarding this! The topic being whether a woman was actually human! That was oppression. In fact, a similar type of oppression is seen in modern time. It’s seen in the way celebrity and teen idols dress. It’s seen in pornography. It’s even seen in the work-place.

And yet, when a woman refuses to be an object of male pleasure and covers herself – because of religious teaching: This is somehow wrong? And if you ban such thing, wouldn’t that be oppression and a limitation to this precious ‘freedom’? Isn’t this hypocrisy?

 

Lastly, to end this short essay, one final question that all must ponder is: Does a woman’s face or her beauty define who she is? When a woman covers her face, she isn’t trying to hide away from society. She’s actually doing the complete opposite. She’s sending a message, she’s wearing a label – and some of us are just too blind or prejudiced or misinformed to see it. She is saying: “This is me. You want to know me? Then come speak to me.” That’s it. By seeing someone’s face, you don’t know who and what they are. To conclude, the burka should not be banned. It would only be seen as a huge sign of hypocrisy on the part of those bearing the banner of freedom.

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