Tag Archives: muslims

Indoctrination?

Yesterday evening, I got into a vigorous debate with an acquaintance regarding the wearing of the full Islamic face veil and the Burka. The discussion reminded me of this post, https://newauthoronline.com/2018/06/03/leave-women-free-to-dress-as-they-please/, in which I defend the right of women to wear the clothing of their choosing.

My acquaintance argued that while many Muslim women may not be “forced” to don the full face veil or the Burka, that they are “indoctrinated” into wearing these garments. Consequently, he maintained that the solution was to prohibit the wearing of either the full face veil or the Burka in public in the United Kingdom.

The argument of my acquaintance reminded me of that notion so beloved of Marxists (namely “false consciousness”, where a person genuinely believes that a thing which is, obviously against their best interests is, in point of fact very much to their advantage). Marxists use such arguments to denounce the “false consciousness” of workers who vote for non-Marxist parties and who (to varying degrees) support the free market economy. The Marxist notion of “false consciousness” denies individual agency. In effect (according to the Marxist) large sections of the “proletariat” are blind to their own interests and must be brought to a full understanding of the “class struggle” by the enlightened Communist/Marxist party.

Likewise my acquaintance believes that those Muslim women who wear either the full Islamic veil or the Burka are suffering from “false consciousness” (although he uses the word “indoctrination”) and must be compelled, by law to live as free non-wearers of either garb. If they refuse to do so then they should be fined or imprisoned.

My acquaintance contends that from early girlhood those who use the full face veil or the Burka have been “indoctrinated” by their families/the Muslim community to believe that by so doing they are complying with the teachings of the Prophet/Islam, and that to do otherwise than don these coverings would be unislamic.

It is certainly true that upbringing exerts a powerful influence on individuals. For example people who live in households where their parents vote for a particular political party are, on average more likely to support that party at the ballot box when they reach voting age. However many people disagree with the politics of their parents and espouse different opinions/vote differently on reaching the age of majority. Again, through education people are exposed to divergent political views to those espoused by their families. The UK is a free society where information is freely available (no one is exposed to only one point of view).

As with the above example, so also with the matter of Muslim dress. Young women may be strongly encouraged to wear the full face veil or the Burka. They will, however be exposed to girls, the overwhelming majority of whom, will not wear such garments and through such exposure decide that the Burka or the full face veil (or, indeed any kind of veil) is not right for them. To deny that this happens is to deny that we, as humans possess individual autonomy which (quite patently) we do.

Individual autonomy cuts both ways. I know of a number of Muslim women who have (against the wishes of their parents) chosen to adopt the full face veil. Just who is “indoctrinating” these ladies? The answer provided by my acquaintance is that young, impressionable girls read material online which encourages them to adopt a view of Islam in which the full face veil or the Burka is seen as being obligatory. This can (and does) happen. This is not (in my view) sufficient reason for going down the road of France, Denmark and some other European countries and banning the full face veil or Burka. The answer lies in educating both girls (and boys) from a young age in the importance of self-respect and the rights of the individual. If after having gained an understanding of such matters a young woman freely chooses to don the Burka or the full face veil that is a matter for her and her alone.

My acquaintance falls into the trap of many liberals in believing that because he can not (as a reasonable person) understand why an individual would adopt a particular course of action/dress in a particular manner, anyone who goes against his conception of “the good” must, of necessity be “indoctrinated” suffering from “false consciousness” (the latter term was not used by my acquaintence but, nonetheless I feel that “indoctrination” does, in this instance equate to the Marxist notion of “false consciousness”).

To maintain that all (or the majority) of Muslim women (in the UK) who wear either the full face veil or the Burka, are “indoctrinated” strikes me as the height of arrogance. How can one possibly look into the mind of another and judge their motivation in such matters? The answer is that one can not. We should (as liberals in the true sense of the word) take at face value statements by women who say “we freely choose to dress in such and such a manner” unless there exists evidence that they are being forced so to do.

Apart from the compelling arguments in favour of individual freedom there is the little matter of police resources. Is it really a productive use of police manpower to go around arresting women who choose to wear the full face veil or Burka? I for one would rather the police concentrated on preventing crime against person and property than in persecuting people who dress in a manner not approved of by the state/society.

Ultimately if one defends the right of a lady to wear a revealing dress (which I most emphatically do) then one must, in all logic defend with equal vigour the right of ladies to cover their faces and other parts of their bodies (unless they are security reasons or another good cause for them to show their face, for example at an airport security desk).

Kevin

Iraq And The Islamic State

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iraq/11017976/Islamic-State-takes-over-Iraqs-largest-Christian-town.html

 

Standing in my bedroom, the much loved pine bookcase giving off it’s scent of forests mixed with books. The flat is quiet, England is at peace. What a contrast to the situation in Iraq where madmen in the shape of The Islamic State murder and persecute Christians together with anyone else who dares to disagree with their warped view of the world. Mad men doing evil, chaos reigns and I stand, breathing in the smell of books mixed with pine, at peace in a free land.

The other day an acquaintance remarked that they felt uncomfortable in the presence of women wearing the Burka (the cloak worn by some Muslim ladies which leaves only the eyes exposed). France has banned the garment as an affront to equality, a decision recently upheld by the European Court of Human Rights despite the claims by some Muslims that the ban on the Burka in public breeches human rights. Is the prohibition a peculiarly French piece of legislation stemming from Rousseau’s view, expounded in The Social Contract that man “must be forced to be free”, (in this case those Muslims wishing to wear the Burka must subordinate their desire to “the general will” which, in France appears to be in support of the Burka ban?

Some in the UK are calling for the country to go down the French route and prohibit the Burka in the interests of “social cohesion”. One can not, they claim interact with fellow citizens when all but their eyes are concealed behind black cloth. The Burka is “sinister” and should be prohibited in public. Calls for a prohibition on the wearing of the Burka have found support among some muslim scholars who say it has no place in a modern conception of Islam, (see, for example the following recent article http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2695181/Why-I-Muslim-launching-campaign-ban-burka-Britain.html.

Others argue that banning the Burka runs counter to a long and honourable tradition of British liberty. It is, they say intolerable for the state to dictate to people how they aught to dress. The British philosopher J S Mill was suspicious of what he termed “the tyranny of the majority” and adherents of Mill’s views might well argue that to impose “the general will” or what most people would call “the will of the majority” on fellow citizens as regards how they choose to dress is illiberal. The idea of a person being arrested merely for wearing a certain kind of garment sticks in the throat of many liberals. However other liberals argue that Muslim girls and women often come under intense pressure from within their own communities to wear the Burka and, in many cases it is far from being a free choice of clotheing. Therefore we must assist such women by prohibiting the wearing of the garment in public.

Leaving aside for a moment the rights and wrongs of the Burka there is also the argument of pragmatism. At a time of limited resources is it a good use of police time to go around arresting women for flouting a Burka ban? If such a prohibition where introduced might it act as a recruiting sergeant for Islamic extremists who could portray it as persecution of Muslims?

At a deeper philosophical level can one “force people to be free?” Would prohibiting the wearing of the Burka promote outward conformity with western norms of dress but leave those who wish to wear it inwardly seething with anger?

The advance of the terrorist Islamic State in Iraq undoubtedly helps to fuel suspicion and, in some cases paranoia against Muslims most of whom abhor what is being done in their name in Iraq. We must be steadfast in our opposition to extremism (whether Islamic or otherwise) but, at the same time consider long and hard before going down the road of Burka bans and other similar measures.

Islamification Of Birmingham Schools

The Telegraph reports on the ongoing investigations in to whether Islamic radicals attempted to islamify Birmingham schools. The Office For Standards In Education (OFSTED) is investigating claims that teachers who voiced opposition to the alleged plans where passed over for promotion in favour of more compliant colleagues. Other allegations include pupils being suspended for holding hands and girls being treated as second class citizens with some teachers favouring boys over them. If true this is deeply worrying.

For the article please visit http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/10790441/Guide-to-school-Islamisation-by-ringleader-of-Trojan-Horse-plot.html

Help Wanted With Writing About The Experiences Of Muslim Ladies Growing Up In The United Kingdom

Once I have finished my present project (my book Samantha which tells the story of a young girl forced into prostitution by her brutal pimp, Barry in the city of Liverpool) I’m considering writing about the experiences of a young muslim girl/lady growing up in the UK. I want to explore the conflicting pulls of the west and Islamic worlds. This will entail a great deal of research in terms of reading both online and traditional paper books. It will be a long term project and I’d welcome any help which anyone can offer. In particular I would be interested to hear from muslim ladies (either practicing or non practicing) who have been brought up in the west. Please do get in touch either by leaving a comment on this blog or, alternatively by sending an email to newauthoronline@gmail.com.

 

Many thanks,

 

Kevin

To A Young Asian Girl Brought Up In The West

Asian girl, like some beautiful caged bird, enmeshed in your mother’s world. Your voice never heard, beautiful Asian girl. Caught between two worlds, beautiful Asian girl. No veil covers your long black hair, beautiful Asian girl. Part of the west but constrained by a faith from another land, entangled in a religion which you only dimly understand. Are you happy in this world oh beautiful Asian girl?