Burqa ban: What it means for the West

By M. Zajam, TwoCircles.net,

Thanks to France, Burqa is now a familiar word for every one although a majority of them may hold negative view about it. The French President, Mr. Sarkozy thundered in the parliament’s ceremonial Versailles home, “In our country we cannot accept that women be prisoners behind a screen, cut off from all social life, deprived of all identity,”. France's lower house of parliament passed a ban with 335 to 1, on any veils that cover the face - including the burqa. It is different matter that only few hundred women in France wear Burqa that cover their faces and bodies.

These statements reflects Mr. Sarkozy concern for women but France own record of violence against women points to dismal state. In 2008, 157 women were killed by their husbands or partners in France. In 2007, this figure was 166 with 410 000 women declared they had suffered domestic violence from their partner.

When West is raising flag against Burqa labeling it as oppressive and against women's freedom, is it really due to their concern for women?


Discrimination and harassment of women is world wide phenomenon. Inspite of all development, women are still subjected to physical violence and discrimination. In July 2010, the United Nations General Assembly created UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women after years of negotiation. UN highlighted the fact that gender inequalities remain deeply entrenched in every society. Women in all parts of the world suffer violence and discrimination, and are under-represented in decision-making processes.

Worldwide, as per UN figure, among women aged between 15 and 44, acts of violence cause more death and disability than cancer, malaria, traffic accidents and war combined. Western countries are not far behind in violence against women. Domestic violence alone cost approximately US$1.16 billion in Canada and US$5.8 billion in the United States. In Australia, violence against women and children costs an estimated US$11.38 billion per year. In the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the study examined the cost categories of justice, health care, social services, housing, legal, lost output and pain and suffering and estimated the resulting cost of domestic violence to be 23 Billion pounds sterling (£) per year or £440 per person.

In the United States, 83 per cent of girls aged 12 to 16 experienced some form of sexual harassment in public schools. One incident of domestic violence is reported to the police every minute in UK. Every 2 minutes, someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted; there were 248,300 victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault, in 2007.

Women in West not only subjected to violence at home but even discriminated in daily life.


The report by the Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) says Women could earn less than men for the next 150 years owing to discrimination and ineffective government policies. Thirty years after equality laws began to reduce the disparity between male and female pay. In USA, women working 41 to 44 hours per week earn 84.6% of what men working similar hours earn; women working more than 60 hours per week earn only 78.3% of what men in the same time category earn. Women have to work longer to receive the promotions that provide access to higher pay. For example, among school principals, women have an average of 3 years longer as teachers than men do.

As per UN figure, women receive 90% in Australia, 79% in Belgium, 83% in France, 76% in Germany, 82% in UK and 142% in Qatar, as a percentage of men's wages in manufacturing industry.

Disparity in the salary is not the only issue at the workplace but harassment is also widespread in Western countries. Between 40 and 50 per cent of women in European Union countries experience unwanted sexual advancements, physical contact or other forms of sexual harassment at their workplace. In USA, 12,696 sexual harassment grievances filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in 2009.

Struggle for women voting rights and participate in government and law making began in 19th century and still continuing. In western hemisphere Switzerland gave women the right to vote in 1971 and Liechtenstein as late at 1984. Canada gave women the right to stand in election only in 1960.


In India too, atrocities on the women is widespread. As per figure available total of 23,883 dowry deaths have been registered during 2006-08. Nearly 150 to 200 women are killed every year in India after being tagged as 'witches'. According to a recent report by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) up to 50 million girls and women are missing from India’s population as a result of Infanticide.

UN rough estimates suggest that between 700,000 to 2 million women are trafficked across international borders annually. Adding domestic trafficking would bring the total much higher, to perhaps 4 million persons per year." The most common form of human trafficking (79%) is sexual exploitation. In several European Union Member States, prostitution has become increasingly dominated by foreign women. In many areas within the European Union the number of migrant prostitutes is higher than the number of local prostitutes. The trafficking of women for sexual exploitation is an international, organized, criminal phenomenon that has grave consequences for the safety, welfare and human rights of its victims.

World is still far away from Ideal place for women. Women daily ordeal has become a social norms. But strikingly, a flogging incident of a girl in somewhere in Pakistan, hogs limelight for days in small and big media. No one can justify any atrocities on any one by any one. Attack on women irrespective of caste, color, religion of women and location of incident, should be condemned and reported.


Intolerance is on the rise all over the world and west has fair share. Burqa Ban, Minarat Ban, attack on immigrants and denial of right of place of worship are indication of that. Recently in UK, there was public backlash against a plan by a shopping center to install few Indian-style toilets, which is popular among South Asians. It shows level of intolerance west has achieved. Recent survey done by Gallup in USA showed that nearly two-thirds of Americans say they have little or no knowledge of Islam. Still, a majority dislike Islam. In another survey, done in 2008 by Gallup, to judge the Muslim opinion on various issues showed that most Muslims -- including radicals -- admire the West for its democracy, freedoms and technological prowess. It also showed that about 93 percent of the world's 1.3 billion Muslims are moderates and only seven percent are politically radicals. On terrorism, 93% of the Muslim worldwide condemned the 9/11 attack on USA.

Belgium's lower house of parliament has voted for a law that would ban women from wearing the full Islamic face veil in public. As per BBC, Only around 30 women wear this kind of veil in Belgium, out of a Muslim population of around half a million. A recent survey in UK suggested 67% of Britons want burqa ban. The Netherlands seek to propose a country-wide ban as well. The Austrian far-right Alliance for the Future of Austria party intends to introduce a bill to parliament calling for a burqa ban. A majority of the Danish population says it would support a burqa ban. Italy's Equality Minister Mara Carfagna, former showgirl and topless model, is considering four draft bills on burqa bans. In Spain, the city of Barcelona has announced a ban on full Islamic face-veils in some public spaces such as municipal offices, public markets and libraries.

It is ironic that while Burqa ban is being proposed in Europe, prostitution is not illegal in most of the Europe. In Barcelona, Spain public nudity is a recognized right but Burqa is banned. In Cap d'Agde, France the world's capital of nudism, you can bank, shop and dine naked. In USA, Oregon, public nudity is legal and protected as free speech, as long as there is not the "intent to arouse." It's perfectly legal to swim naked, or to sunbathe topless or in the nude in Scandinavia. All the countries in Europe have clothing-optional beaches or nude beaches.

Inspite of all hue and cry over Burqa, Burqa is getting popular in unexpected quarter. A small group of ultra-orthodox Jews in the town of Beit Shemesh chose to don the burqa in a bid to protect their modesty. Since then, the habit has spread to five other Israeli towns. Ultra-Orthodox women are required to dress conservatively and keep their heads covered with a scarf, hat or wig when in public. But some insisted that only by covering their faces and wearing multiple layers of clothes to hide the shape of their bodies can they really be chaste. It is also worth mentioning that dress worn by religious people of various faiths like Christian nuns, Hindu sadhvi, Muslim, Sikhs and orthodox Jews look very similar and modest in nature.

Western media always raise doubt about status of women in Islam and Muslim countries. But in their zeal to project Islam in negative light they fail to present facts. It was Islam which gave women greater and legal rights than women in pre-Islamic Arabia and medieval Europe. Professor William Montgomery Watt, a leading Scottish scholar described Prophet Mohammed as "a figure who testified on behalf of women’s rights" appreciating his effort in upliftment of women. Even in modern times, we have seen more women head of states in Muslim world than in western world, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Indonesia, Turkey and Kyrgyzstan named few. It is difficult to comprehend that Muslim with so much of hatred against women as projected in media will choose a women to rule and represent them. Even though there is some debate in Muslim society whether a women can rule the country.

Attack on Burqa has nothing to do with concern for women but on the contrary it is combination of bias against women, immigrants and Islam. Values the West is proud of are under attack from intolerants. But can the West allow few to dictate terms and attack what it has stood for centuries? Intolerant societies only lead to path of downfall. If the West does not tackle this problem soon, it could be beginning of end of their rise.

Other articles by M. Zajam

Photos: s_sultana06 and drawn-together-by-modesty.com


Burqa Ban is "IN-FACT" Burqa Marketing ?

Nicolas Sarkozy has BANNED Burqa, conveniently ignoring his own girl-friend OR French First-lady Carla Bruni - once a "topless" model, had affairs with tens of famous personalities, before "landing in lap" of French President.

As mentioned in the article, politicians (especially Europeans) are wasting TIME, ENERGY, and TAXPAYER money in discussing and passing Burqa Ban - in gross DISREGARD of their OWN country's LAWS, CUSTOMS and PRACTICES. A FANTASTIC religion Islam is, where a LAW is PASSED for a couple of dozen OR couple of hundred women !!!

Whoever may have launched the attacks on W.T.C. in New York, and at Pentagon Building in U.S.A. hijacking commercial airliners. Administration and media tried to blame religion - Islam. However Islamic Centers in U.S.A. and Europe were flooded with phone-calls from GENERAL PUBLIC who wanted to know, what type of religion is Islam - which preaches to "SACRIFICE" life, whilst other religions preach "FEARING" to give-up life.

U.S.A. was engaged with U.S.S.R. in a cold-war for over five decades. Ultimately it succeeded in disintegrating the country using Michail Gorbachev. I have yet to see a person who is INSTRUMENTAL in DISMANTLING his OWN HOME - except Gorbachev. When U.S.S.R. disintegrated, tens of Muslim Nations cropped who inherited oil, nuclear arsenal, minerals, and are culture-rich Muslim nations.

It reminds me of a famous saying: MAN PROPOSES, GOD DISPOSES.

The Creator is "Master of Planners", and He understands the minds of His creation, better than man.

Lastly, Burqa Ban is in-fact creating "awareness" among those women, who voluntarily gave-up OR forgot their religious requirement i.e. to wear clothes protecting ones "modesty". We now see more Muslim women in India wearing Burqa, than before.

An Indian

this is the highly

this is the highly appreciative, informative article. i am very much thankful to the writer Mr. M. Zajam

Burqa and the Status of Women

Atrocities against women and degradation of women are worldwide phenomenona. To mention them in order to taunt those who attack the burqa is disingenuous. If some people see the burqa as a symbol of subservience of women we have to accept that as their honest opinion even if some of us disagree with them. Attempts to question the motives of those who condemn the burqa is not going to win us any points. Many of them are strong advocates of women's rights and speak up against abuse of women in general as well as against the burqa.

Individual Countries prerogative


I donot understand when this is not made a big issue in gcc, it is being made in india.

It is very clear that every countries have their own madness and anybody who wants to live their has to adhere or move on

Gcc does not give citizenship to any other religious following other than islam. You have to comply the rules of the country however it could be.

So the west is following the same and it is the choice of the muslims there to be in that country or not.

Wrong comment - without truth !!!

"satwa gunam" on 19 August 2010 - 7:39pm. under title: Individual Countries prerogative.

GCC countries DO NOT GIVE CITIZENSHIP even to Muslims from other countries. You are ABSOLUTELY WRONG in your comment. Check with anyone, including Embassy offices in India i.r.o. GCC countries policies.

People from East and European countries go to GCC for "employment" - NOT FOR "living" or "settling" in those countries. Overseas contract workers DO NOT pay TAX in those countries - at-least NOT to my knowledge.

GCC countries are KINGDOMS, whilst European countries are DEMOCRACIES. You are comparing "apples" with "oranges".

Please correct your comment OR feeble "knowledge", as I "lived and worked" in one of the GCC country, and am commenting based on my PERSONAL experience. Thank you.

An Indian

Burkha Ban.

Dear Friends,
My late father had encouraged us and advised us to respect all religion and to go out and experience different cultures. As such, I have walked barefoot from Thirupathy steps to Thirumala, he had taken us to visit the darga at Chickamangalur Baba Budangiri. The list is long.
We have ever since respected the procedures whenever we visited any shrine according to the ways of the people who run it.
Years later, my father was no more, but we followed his teachings. We welcomed people home and made them comfortable. During a couple of such occasions, the guest who were not used to our ways, made me feel like a stranger in my own house. It was one of the most annoying experiences. I used to get so annoyed but stoically ensured that my guests were comfortable. This lasted for some time and then, it started reflecting on my health, my blood pressure would mount and I had to do something. I had to make them understand that they are free to enjoy the hospitality but have to respect our ways and that they can not take advantage of my goodness and make me feel like strangers in my own home.
We Asians must understand that we are going to the west to live a better life and when we go there, they have been good to us to let us live our lives as we wish but without making them uncomfortable with our ways. It is our duty to respect the goodness that they have shown to us and make sure that we do not make them feel uncomfortable in their own country.
The west has been tolerating us for long. As long as our numbers were small it was not a problem, but when our numbers started growing and we started demanding our ways in their society as our rights, then we are making them uncomfortable in their own country. I think our leaders should educate our people and state that we have to respect their ways. In any case, our children who are growing up there are mingling with their children and are comfortable in their society, we should at least for their sake accept their way of life.
I am a Parsi, we are the smallest minority, probably in the world. We were reduced to this by the invasion of Arabs in our ancestral land and by forcible conversion into Islam. A handful of our ancestors migrated to Gujarat in India as refugees only to escape from forcible conversion. The Hindu king in Sanjan refused at first to let us stay, but when our wise priest made them understand that we will not in any way interfere with their way of life but only sweeten their society by our presence, they accepted us and gave us shelter. We have experienced their hospitality but never made them feel uncomfortable. The history of Parsis in India should be an example for any emigrant where ever they go as migrants.


Thank you, Mr. Y. R. Palia. You understand the situation perfectly.

Regards from Germany!

West has become very intolrent

Writer has been successful in pointing out that Western society in recent times have become very intolrente. All this could be due to the fact that natives are pushed to second grade in all aspects of life in their country.

Their frustation is very visible in their attack on imigrants, even the oposition to arranged marriage.

Creator's WISDOM of Modest WOMEN Clothing

Creator hid VALUABLE MINERALS under earth's crust or underwater deep inside sea and oceans. Gold, diamond, pearls and other precious minerals are difficult to find - hence valuable.

Similarly, a women's chastity, modesty, and beauty is VALUABLE, which needs to be hidden - rather than displaying in public, making it INSIGNIFICANT or VALUELESS.

If, those who voted in favour of "Burqa Ban" know Creator's Wisdom - setting aside religion, they would have VOTED "against" the ban.

An Indian

Insecurity is high in Western countries

When u r low on self confidense, insecurity gets very high. West is afraid of:

Immigrants. They want to steal our jobs, go on welfare, have babies, and talk behind our backs in Spanish.

Muslims. They want to fly airplanes into our homes.

Foreigners. All the poor ones want to come to America (see above), and all the rich ones want the U.S. Navy to protect them.

Gays. They want to destroy our families by getting married.

Women. They want to be the boss at work and they want us to change the diapers at home.

Everyone on the Coasts, except San Diego and the Old Confederacy. They look down their noses at regular folk in the heartland.

The Federal Reserve. They stick it to the little guy.

Union workers. They don't do anything, but want a job for life.

Government employees. They don't do anything, but want a fat pension.

The unemployed. They don't do anything, but want a benefit check.

Baby boomers. They want to retire.

Liberals. They want government to take over everything, especially our guns. And our money.

Environmentalists. They want to take away our cars.

Doctors. They want to kill grandma, but only if the government pays them to do it.

Lawyers. They want to sue everyone, especially small businesses.

Dentists. They want to fluoridate the water.

Teachers. They want to brainwash our children.

Burqa ban in France and it´s effect in Germany

As Gandhiji said "no culture can survive if it attempts to be exclusive"
I realised that the number of Arab tourists in Germany increased. Most of them come with family and Burqa clad woman and children. Normal tourist spents around 190Euro while staying in Munich, Germany where as an Arab tourist spends between 500-1000 Euro. So due to Burqa ban in France Arabs prefer to come to Germany. Any way in Germany Mosques are having one day open "Tag der offene Tuer" open for public where people of other cultures can come and ask Muslims to know about more about Islam. Newly RTL II TV will start news telling about "Iftar" time during Ramadan months. There are around 4 million Muslims living in Germany most of them from Turkey. Liberal Muslims should come up and do online work to promote good for for all human persons of this world. If Muslims can educated liberal people and girls then only this society can progress


In your story about the Burkha ban in France, you have a picture that shows an orthodox Jewish woman in a head scarf, Christian nuns in their habits and a Muslim in a hijaab.

The fallacy of this picture which purports to draw equivalence between clothes worn by people of other religions and the burkha:

1. The Jewish dress is hardly comparable to a burkha.

2. The Christian women wear a habit are NUNs. NOT ordinary women. Even then, the habit is still nowhere as restricting as a Burkha is because it covers the face.

3. Though this story is about defending the burkha, EVEN THE MUSLIM WOMAN IN THE PICTURE IS NOT WEARING A BURKHA! It seems even you are loathe to show the true problem with this demeaning costume.

Logic baffles me

So you are comparing nuns who enter a religious convent to every day muslims? Why not show a picture of an every day jew, christian and muslim, then moderates, then conservatives? Or are you trying to skew the debate. If you are going to cite sexual harassment in the west, define the term first. I think that if you do that, then harassment rates are higher in the muslim world. I have two daughters and have never tried to circumcise them. Now that's harassment. The sooner that the muslim world creates a culture which values women as equals (full equals and not property as they do with the valuable jewel analogy) the sooner they will join the rest of the world in the 21st century. Read up on Bacon. All men (and women) are created equal. Choice without penalty is choice! Tell me that a daughter in the middle east has the ability to come home and say to her father, "dad, I want to stop wearing the Burqua, nasdiq, hijab, etc." I bet he'll say,"Honey, while i don't agree with your decision, you are an individual who has the right to live your life as you choose. I will always love an honour you". Yea, fat chance of that happening.

Burqa in Context

We have to ameliorate Muslim backwardness in areas of education, science, arts, professions, business, political sophistication and gender equality. The burqa issue should be seen in the larger context of general Muslim upliftment. History of ill-treatment of women is common to all societies including Muslim societies but to use it as an argument to defend the burqa is like cutting off your nose to spite your face.

By title and affect - Germany wins

Going by title of article, and considering PROPONENTS and OPPONENTS of Burqa Ban - France, Belgium, and those European countries who are PROPONENTS are LOSERS, and those countries that are OPPOSING or ARE NEUTRAL not to "hype issue" are WINNERS.

Germany is one such European nation, that is sensible for NOT STOKING "emotions".

A recent discussion "cropped" in U.S.A. w.r.t. building an Islamic Center near GROUND-ZERO on a private property in New York. Emotional speakers are unaware about LEGAL and CONSEQUENTIAL results of hyping such a dispute / debate. Let's see what transpires !

The day humans engage in IMPLYING WISDOM in ANY DISCUSSION / DEBATE - truth, justice, and sanity prevails.

An Indian

West has problem at hand, tackle it and do not blame others

West is still living in state of denial in term of growing intolerance in society.

Can any explain if these burqa clad women started wearing Burqa in last one year? If they have been wearing burqa all along then why hue cry over it now. It is clear sign of intorent society. Rightly pointed out by writer, in UK people are opposing even Indian style toilet. Tommorrow they will ask do not eat chapati, do not wear sari, where it will stop? They are going to new low.

West need to reialise that there is growing problem of intolrenace and find remedy before it is too late.

signs of intolerance

West action pointing towards insecurity and intolrence

I think, West is very high on insecurity. They actions are signs of that.

Pastor says armed militia to protect church during Quran-burning event


This need to mention that not a single Bible was burned in whole Arab world or Afgahnistan where millions killed in allied bombing.

writer has right pointed out,

Recent survey done by Gallup in USA showed that nearly two-thirds of Americans say they have little or no knowledge of Islam. Still, a majority dislike Islam. In another survey, done in 2008 by Gallup, to judge the Muslim opinion on various issues showed that most Muslims -- including radicals -- admire the West for its democracy, freedoms and technological prowess. It also showed that about 93 percent of the world's 1.3 billion Muslims are moderates and only seven percent are politically radicals. On terrorism, 93% of the Muslim worldwide condemned the 9/11 attack on USA.

Banning the veil (BURQA) in France

Islam is a respecful religion in the world. Woman is a 'respectable', 'honourable' and 'precious' gift by the GOD (That's Only One). As precious things are protected, Islam protect the 'woman' by all aspects. Veil (burqa) is also a part of protection and honour for women in Islam. Banning the "veil" (burqa) in france is totally unfair and injustice because it is voilation of basic human rights.When it is said that rights for every cumminity are reserved, then why "Muslims" are being punished mentaly by banning their bisic rights in 'West"? When 'catholic Nuns,'orthodox jews and'chiristian Nuns' wear the veil, they are not banned or discouraged, then why only Muslims are treated injustice. Is it not unfair and a shame on "motto of rights for all"? Islam respects are religions and 'Non Muslim Communities' in its surroundings (area). I recommend that 'banning the veil' should be banned.


Sorry guys, but I don't buy your rhetoric. The burkha hides the face. How can one be attracted to a ghost-like image? Answer, you cannot and you don't need to either because some other interested party has thankfully removed the onerous task of having to decide upon a (1) life-long partner. The same partner that, well, even a very good Islamic friend of mine shows anti-west tendencies when engaged in conversation. Behind closed doors who knows? I listen but I can only comment when I know it wont sour our friendship. Abuse takes many forms. I have to conclude that the Islamic nature of my very good friend has other concealed behaviour patterns. Another very good Islamic friend of mine has never introduced me to his wife. I'm very friendly with his son. They are all lovely people. The lad goes "on holiday" to Pakistan. To go clubbing? Sorry guys, no cigar. We have a lovely but decaying country here. If you are that keen on populating it both directly and indirectly, please make a little more effort to integrate and leave the burkha on the plane. I'm not anti-Islam nor am I anti-immigration. I am anti-religion though....I uphold your right to believe (note the word "believe") but I just wish that there was no religion at all, a position in which I am far from alone. You'll get no grief from me brothers and sisters, but please try to integrate. Don't be like those "British" ex-pats living in enclaves in Spain and France etc. Send them a positive message and assimilate the culture of wherever you choose to end up and I'll be happy to call you all friends. Does that make me racist? I really do hope not.

I have seen several articles

I have seen several articles that seem to use as an argument to women covering up the fact of violence against women. I do not understand the logic of this argument. If it is the man's fault for having sexual thoughts, which is clearly against the 10 commandments, then it is the fault of the man, not the woman. The man should be made to cover up his eyes. Do not make the woman suffer because of the man's sins. It is the man who should never look upon a woman. Let the man suffer, not the woman. If he should see a woman and not avert his gaze, he may acquire unclean thoughts. This is the man's fault. He should then be made to wear horse blinders, those things they put on horses so that they have to look straight ahead. Another thing that can be done is that men could be castrated. Then there will never be any problems. Of course I am just joking. But my point is it is not the woman's fault. Let the man suffer for his sin, not the women. In the USA it is known very well that some men - a lot of men- are attracted to young boys, young girls, and men. So you see, the problem is with man, not with woman. As to pertain to the argument that violence is committed against women because they induce it through their sexuality, this is nonsense. It is not sexuality that makes a man look down on a woman, it is disrespect, dishonor, meanness, and a belief that woman is less than a man. That has nothing to do with sexuality. It has to do with the beliefs of a man that he holds a woman to be less than himself. Once again, this is the sin of man. It has nothing to do with the sexuality of a woman. Sexuality does not cause a man to disrespect a woman. Disrespect causes a man to disrespect. If a man wants to mistreat a woman, then he will do it, if that is what he intends on doing. No matter how she is dressed. That is because the sin is within the man's mind. Being badly treated is not a result of a woman's sexuality. It is the result of hate.