Examine all you’ve been told,
dismiss what insults the soul

Susan Collins

Australian women need to be vigilant in investigating all claims made by Islamist religious zealots in regards to women. And when I say Islamist religious zealots, I refer to both genders. I’m surprised that when I bring up topics such as the full body Burqa with Australian women, that they seem ill-informed about the issues surrounding this garment and the encroaching political Islamic movement.

By all means, I do not want to dictate to people what to think, nor do I want to tell other women what to wear. I do however urge women to do their own investigations and draw their own conclusions about issues we in the West know little about.

For several months now there has been much debate in the media in regards to banning the full-face Burqa. Unsure about where I stood on this issue, I decided to do some investigations. I read many books, many media articles and blogs on the internet, and watched current affairs programs about the Burqa debate.

My investigations revealed:
  • The full-face Burqa is considered to part of Stealth Jihad, an attempt to discretely implement Sharia Law in the West.

  • Some women are forced to wear the full-face Burqa by their families, and do not choose to.

  • The full-face Burqa is useful in hiding bruises and cuts received from vicious beatings by family members.

  • The full-face Burqa is a health hazard as it stops the skin breathing, collects dead skin cells, and — I suspect — contributes to heat exhaustion.

  • Most Muslim countries already have banned the Burqa.

  • The Burqa is pre-Islamic and was used by desert tribes for privacy and to protect against the elements.

  • Radical Islam has the effect of making some women more religious and extreme as a way of coping with such an authoritarian and rigid ’way of life’. Hence, they can outdo the men by becoming more extreme and wear the full-face Burqa, advocate its use, and legitimately declare they chose to wear it.

My personal opinions include:
  • Some women wearing the full-face Burka, advocating that it is their right to do so and that they will not be able to leave their homes if they can’t wear it, are actually in need of psychological treatment. And I don’t say that sarcastically. If someone is so anxious about the outside world that they need to cover their entire body to shield themselves from the outside world, they have mental health issues that require treatment.

  • There are many ways of showing modesty and a spiritual relationship with a higher power. This can include dressing conservatively and developing healthy and functional skills when interacting with others.

Another area women should investigate is Sharia Law, and the push for it to be implemented as a parallel legal system in Australia only for the Muslim community. For instance, introducing Sharia courts as an alternative to the family courts for Muslim families. One claim is that it would actually provide more rights for Muslim women and protect them in an already intimidating process.

My investigation into this claim revealed that women were the losers in divorces settled by Sharia courts. They lost any children in a marriage to the father, and financially did no better. Also of concern is that some Muslim women in Western countries with duel legal systems for divorce (such as the UK, which has Sharia courts for divorce settlements) are forced to settle the divorce by the Sharia legal system, not the modern Western system. The message was that, if given the choice, many of these women would have rather had their divorces settled by the Western family courts.

My personal opinion is that I do not support a parallel legal system in Australia, nor do I support something where one party is forced to use an unfair legal system that is going to deprive them of their civil liberties.

In addition to this, we must ask more questions about some of the reasoning behind why requests for a parallel legal system are being made. We need to learn to be informed and look between the lines. One example being that introducing innocent elements of Sharia Law could have ramifications that would only be understood decades later; such as reducing the marriage age from 18 to 16 for members of the Muslim community. This would enable families to marry off their children to overseas spouses and enable chain migration to occur, significantly increasing the Muslim population.

Young people with little life experience or independence would be vulnerable to a forced arranged marriage at a very early age, to a partner they didn’t choose who may abuse them, or just use them for citizenship. Teenage girls are especially vulnerable to an early arranged marriage where they get trapped by child-rearing and domestic duties before they get a chance to gain independence emotionally and find their own voice.

I suspect that many of my generation have no experience in fighting for women’s rights. Somehow we managed to win the right to dress like harlots and drink like bullock drivers, and not be judged, but what is really important?

Women’s rights,
Now you see them,
Now you don’t.

Don’t swallow things whole; examine all you’ve been told, dismiss what insults the soul.

October 2010