If clothing is a measure of how we view ourselves and one another, then few garments in history have been such a lightning rod for controversy as the Islamic veil.
Whether hijab the headscarf, al-amira the two-piece mask, khimar the cape-like veil, chador the cloak, niqab or purdah the face coverings or the head-to-toe burqa, the Muslim female garb is wed to fundamental Islam which is, unquestionably, linked to terrorism. The coverings are such a source of modern-day concern that Free World governments have moved to banish them.
In 2006, British Member of Parliament Jack Straw correctly lamented that he did not like talking to women clad in niqabs, and that he wanted the veils “abolished” because they bore “implications of separateness.”
Also that year, the Dutch parliament voted, overwhelmingly, to outlaw the burqa in public, later amending the ban to bar such garments in schools and government offices. Last month, French President Nicolas Sarkozy deemed the burqa “not welcome” in France and opened hearings to forbid it in public, drawing the wrath of al-Qaeda’s north African wing, which vowed “to take revenge for the honor of our daughters and sisters.” Yawn.
Women covering their heads for modesty’s sake is nothing new. Orthodox Jewish women shave their heads and wear a wig while Christian women don hats as a sign of grace, but the Muslim dress code has taken the demureness to a grim new level by becoming a symbol for terrorism.
Before 9/11, the camouflage was ignored or romanticized, but never reviled, even though Islam’s extremists had long bared their fundamental fangs towards westerners, whom they viewed as precocious and promiscuous without appreciating all the good the Free World has done. One of the first recorded Muslim holy wars of the 20th century took place in Australia on January 1, 1915: Gool Mohamed and Mullah Abdullah brandished rifles and a homemade Islamic flag, and began firing aboard a civilian picnic train near Broken Hill in the Outback, killing two passengers and wounding six others after Australia and the Ottoman Empire joined opposite sides in World War I.
A note left by the men, who perished in the ensuing gun battle, foretold, “You kill our brothers, we kill yours.”
In the decades to follow, jihad-inspired attacks increased and introduced us to the vengefulness and blood-lust of Muslims, epitomized by the 1972 Summer Olympics Munich Massacre, the 1985 drowning of disabled American cruise passenger Leon Klinghoffer, the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the 2000 suicide attack against the US Navy destroyer USS Cole.
It wasn’t until that sunny Tuesday on September 11, 2001, though, that the pyrotechnics of public consciousness exploded, blowing the shroud off a race and religion, whose believers were clearly more preoccupied with death than life. Words and phrases, such as “Islamophobia” and “racial profiling,” became household slang, prompting us to take a second look at the veiled Muslim women among us and their haughty humility. Who hasn’t raised an eyebrow over the perplexing sight of a female believer trudging the streets on a scorching summer day in a black burdensome burqa while her male companion sports shorts, sandals and a T-shirt?
As we became more informed about Islam’s male-dominated thugdoms, we discovered that such raiments weren’t dictated by the Koran but by perverted Muslim men, who tamed their violent sexual frustrations by commanding their women to hide under grim masks and beneath shapeless, oversized tents.
The veils would have invoked more tolerance, even sympathy or indifference, if mainstream Muslims had been more helpful in locating and prosecuting their terrorists after 9/11. But, they were not, securing themselves a firm reputation for being terrorist appeasers and mankind’s greatest oppressors of the female sex.
Never before in history have so many weak women been conned into covering themselves up as much, and done so little about it.