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Cheeky darkie Holmes at it again

Written By: - Date published: 9:31 am, July 10th, 2011 - 196 comments
Categories: culture, racism, racism - Tags: ,

Paul “cheeky darkie” Holmes is at it again:

No place here for burqa

To hell with the burqa.

No Paul, to hell with racists.

It has no place here. This is my considered opinion after giving the matter extensive thought.

This is Paul’s considered opinion after wallowing in his racist prejudices.

It really is an offensive piece of medieval kit that speaks of medievalism and religious extremism.

It may speak to you in that way Paul, but how it speaks to others, and other cultures, really isn’t yours to decide. And if we’re going to play the “medievalism and religious extremism” game, would it be fair for other cultures to despise catholics for their ritual cannibalism?

But in this country the burqa seems to be an imprisonment of women. It just seems mad.

The only valid kernal of truth in Paul’s rant lurks in here. Of course it is perfectly valid to advocate for better treatment for women in any culture (including our own). But (like the theory underlying the West’s trade with China) this has to be a process of constructive engagement. Leading by example, reason and reward. Fundamental cultural changes cannot be imposed by force, and certainly not by discriminatory laws like “banning the burqa”. Like it or not, some women choose to wear it of their own free will (in as much as any of us have “free will” of course).

There’s more of the same, but I really can’t be bothered. I’ll finish with just this last snippet:

[the mask / niqab] says: “I am not part of your filthy heathen community. I’m here enjoying all of the privileges the enlightened West can provide, but I don’t really approve of you all and have no desire to be part of you.

Yeah that’s what is says to you Paul, but you’re an aging racist. I wonder if you have ever actually talked to any of these women? Do you know any? You might be amazed. They’re humans Paul, just like us.

Update: See Sunday Star Times: “Women in bid to lift veil of ignorance”.

Update 2: I’ve said this in comments, but will say again up here – the comment about catholicism in this post was never meant as any kind of attack or slur on catholics (some of my best friends are etc…). It was intended as an example of one of “our” cultural practices which could be perceived and portrayed by other cultures in a negative way.

196 comments on “Cheeky darkie Holmes at it again”

  1. Yep Paul is showing his age and his xenophobia.

    The Burqa is a piece of material that has cultural significance for some.   It is not threatening, it is not associated with criminality or health difficulties.

    For some to demand that all races and cultures in NZ should conform to a manufactured norm is obscene.

    Shame on Mr Holmes. 

    • rosy 1.1

      It is not threatening, it is not associated with criminality or health difficulties.

      Yes it is – Vitamin D deficiency – a reduction in the absorption of calcium.

    • Sam 1.2

      Paul Holmes’ comments about the burqa are not racist, it is a “cultural” thing only for some sectors of Islam.
      The burqa is not a symbol of race, it is a symbol of oppression towards women.
      I would have thought that left leaning people would welcome any move to improve the status of women, wherever they are from.
      After all the outcry over Alisdair Thompson was enough evidence of that.
      Double standards here?

  2. Colonial Viper 2

    Holmes has been watching way too much Hannity and Beck on US Fox News.

  3. lprent 3

    Paul Holmes has always been a obnoxious git. Over the decades I have avoided his shows because he is and always has been pig-ignorant, a silly showoff, smarmy, bigot, and produces dreadful TV.

    No real surprise that he has become more so as he enters his dotage.

  4. higherstandard 4

    I wonder what QoT thinks of the wearing of the burqa ?

    • QoT 4.1

      Ask and ye shall receive, HS!

      It’s a bit of a tricky one, though. I respect women’s choices and don’t want to buy into the dominant Western narrative in which burqas become a simplistic sexist device to lend credence to Western military incursions in Muslim/Middle Eastern nations.

      Of course there’s also a number of issues around Abrahamic religions and cultures hiding and shunning women’s identities and presence and sexuality, and inherently sexist assumptions about women’s bodies/men’s impulse control. But I’m a white girl born and raised in Epsom; it’s not an issue I get to lay down the law on.

      When it’s bus drivers in NZ barring women from travelling because of their religious choices? I say YOU GO GIRL and damn the pretty obvious Islamophobia attached to their barring. Even IF we assume all face-covering is sexist and oppressive, and even IF we assume we as white Westerners have a duty to “save” Muslim women (who don’t all wear hair/face coverings) (or other non-Muslim women who culturally cover their hair/face) we don’t fucking help anyone by saying “Hey oppressed women, prepare to be extra oppressed by white Westerners who are totes on your side and prepared to extra-limit your options and lives based on bullshit assumptions about your culture and faith!”

      (QoT apologises if this is a tad incoherent, she’s a bit pissed. Yes, on a Sunday. She is truly the face of Gen Y binge drinking culture.)

  5. Morrissey 5

    This latest anti-immigrant tirade is just more of the same from Holmes….

    Eight years ago, his fury was directed at the U.N. because it refused to back the U.S.-U.K. aggression against Iraq. Of course, Holmes saw it all in terms of skin colour….

    “That Kofi Annan, I have got to say to you, he has been a very cheeky darkie overnight. It is all very well giving a darkie that secretary general’s job. We will only take so much, I am sorry. We will only take so much. We are not going to be told how to live by a Ghanaian.”
    Paul Holmes, Newstalk ZB Wednesday 24.9.03

    Later the same day, and the next day, Holmes uttered a stream of self-serving and cynically dishonest “apologies”…

    “I think regret would be an understatement. I’m sick in my guts about it actually. It was wrong, it was stupid, it’s not how I think, it’s just something you toss off in the morning.” – Paul Holmes,
    One Network News interview, Wednesday 24.9.03

    “I L-L-L-L-L-L-LAUGH at racism…. I am not a racist….. I made a mistake. I am a good man. I am not a racist.” – Paul Holmes, National Radio interview, 9-30 a.m., Thursday 25.9.03

    “I should not have said what I did. It was tongue in cheek. It was the shock end of the spectrum, it was a bit mad probably…. You pour it out on a show like this, year after year, month after month, day after day. You work close to the line because people like you to work close to the line and sometimes you might cross the line.”

    “But I shouldn’t have said what I did and I shouldn’t have tried that routine so I am sorry if I have offended you. I am sorry if you were upset and I know some Maori people and Samoan people were upset and that really upsets me. I understand some immigrants were hurt and offended and upset and I am sorry about that as well because it is not what I think.”

    “It is not what I am like. I am not like that, you know that. If you listen to this programme for years, looked at my work for years you will know that.”

    “I ask you to remember my record on race. In all my years in broadcasting I have defended Maori against the bigots. I have never joined the Maori-bashing brigade, I have never been part of that, I have never worked that end of the market.”

    “So much racism is coded. You hear it in other broadcasters. I know the codes. I have never gone there either. I have never been part of that. I have never judged people on how or where they were born. I celebrate difference and I look for similarities in people.”

    “I love the variety of people coming to New Zealand to find new lives, I LOVE the great ethnic mix, it brings in so much colour and vibrancy.”

    “I defended the Middle Eastern people and the African people who came to New Zealand.”

    “I am no racist. I am no Maori basher. I hate racism, well in fact more than hate it. I LAUGH at it. I think it is absurd but by God it is out there.”

    “But, anyway, I am not going to fight you on those comments yesterday. They offended some people deeply, I know, and I am very upset about that.”

    “Whatever I was trying in the full flight of a radio programme didn’t work and I know it didn’t and I am sorry.”

  6. monty 6

    You guys would be amazed how many people out there would agree with Paul. But then I guess it’s understandable, given the weird little echo chamber you inhabit.

    • Colonial Viper 6.1

      Yep. Commercial media keeps the likes of Henry and Holmes around because it suits them – particularly bacause they do have an audience and they do sell in terms of selling advertising.

    • Morrissey 6.2

      Our friend “Monty” tries, unwisely, to be clever…
      ..given the weird little echo chamber you inhabit.

      The only echo-chamber evident here is in Monty’s calcified brain, which is apparently on an endless, horrific Michael Laws-Paul Holmes-Leighton Smith loop.

    • felix 6.3

      That’s a fair call monty. Paul, in this instance, really is saying what a lot of other people say/think.

      I don’t agree with his view, and his way of expressing it is pretty offensive, but he’s not a distant outlier in this discussion.

    • Lazy Susan 6.4

      You guys would be amazed how many people out there would agree with Paul

      No not amazed Monty but saddened. Knee jerk racism bubbles under the surface of all societies.
      People look for scapegoats and the race card is an easy one to play. Unchecked this can lead to atrocities such as what happened to the Jews in Nazi Germany.

      The likes of Holmes, Laws and talkback radio cynically play the race card for their own commercial gain and ego. Intelligent, reasoned debate is not on their agenda.

      • Hennie van der Merwe 6.4.1

        LS

        Whilst I fully agree that PH is an idiot and should not be allowed a public hearing (that is by us,the viewers) I also cannot understand how the racism card is being played here. For all you know there might be a snow white european hiding behind the veil! What has race to do with this issue? IMO it is a religious matter and should be treated as such.

        What I find truly amazing is that the societies where these people originally came from has zero religious tolerance – how can they then complain when when they are being treated similarly in other more tolerant societies? I can not understand why one would want to go and live in a country where the majority of the people do not share your values and in the process make it difficult to assimilate? Would I go and live in Saudi? Hell no!

        One other comment – I noticed in a video clip on TV1 that these women were driving cars – how can that be? It seems to me to be a bit hypocritical to wear a burqa and drive a car – apart from the fact that it is down right dangerous.

    • MrSmith 6.5

      “You guys would be amazed”

       Monty telling “us guys” that “we” would be amazed because “we” are not real people just a weird bunch in a “little” echo chamber.

      Do right for paul’s scripts monty?

      • MrSmith 6.5.1

        That last line was meant to read ‘Do you write Paul’s scripts monty?’ sorry

         

    • Monty, you mean being a bigot is acceptable in your narrow minded world – fuck off back to Kiwiblog you aging troll.

      • RedLogix 6.6.1

        Nah… I’m not going to echo you here Ian.

        As felix states very cogently, while Paul Holmes expresses his case clumsily… what he is saying is not too far off what many, many New Zealanders also think.

        The left frequently make the mistake of thinking tolerance must always be the highest principle that trumps all others. Well it ain’t. All too frequently it just finishes up as a proxy for being too lazy or apathetic to stand up for what is right.

        The burqa is a symbol of an intensely patricarchal culture that is deeply unjust towards women.

        Justice is the highest principle.

        • Puddleglum 6.6.1.1

          It’s a hard one RL.

          If the burqa is a sign of an intensely patriarchal culture so are many religions and their practices. Should they be banned too? Also, less concealing garments worn by Muslim women (headscarves with full robes and the like) are presumably also signs of an intensely patriarchal culture?Ban them too?

          You can see where I’m going? Well, let’s go all the way (and I don’t think it’s ‘ad absurdum‘).

          How about supposed ‘women’s fashion’ and make-up in our own country? Certainly has signs of patriarchy woven into it from where I’m standing (infantilisation of women, subordination and incapacitation via ‘culturally preferred’ women’s clothing – e.g., cupey-doll lipstick, high heels, etc.). Ban all of that too? If not, why not? Because individual women claim they like it? Well, many Muslim women like their ‘culturally preferred’ clothing. Also, I’m sure I could find more than a handful of New Zealand women who feel pressured and even coerced into wearing clothing that they would prefer not to wear (e.g., too ‘revealing’ but goes with the job).

          I think it’s important to distinguish between supporting the liberation of people from oppression and understanding when the people we want to liberate don’t feel oppressed or, if they do, they make a judgment that now is not the time to liberate them or to liberate them via our particular preferred strategy (e.g., banning some clothing).

          Slavery was something that needed to be abolished and needs to be abolished in any humane society (of course it lives on and even thrives today). In the 18th and 19th centuries, there were massive and repeated slave revolts that resulted in the death and slaughter of many slaves (and not a few slave owners). There was ample evidence that not just virtuous Europeans but slaves, too, wanted slavery stopped. Patriarchy is also well worth abolishing but, unlike slavery, there’s no straightforward legal ‘fix’ to abolish it.

          In fact, even in the case of abolition of the slave trade and the consequent ending of slavery in the British Empire, many slaves’ circumstances took a drastic turn for the worse (they became very lowly paid, immobile, ‘wage slaves’). It wasn’t a simple stroll into the Promised Land.

          In that vein, it’s also important to know what the likely consequences of a self-righteous act (such as banning a type of garment) might predictably be, such as trapping some women within private dwellings and making their lives worse. Tinkering with the burqa and leaving the rest of the ‘intense patriarchy’ intact may not be helpful to the women involved. [The lack of thought about such consequences in Paul Holmes' reflections suggests that liberation of women is not the main motive. Looks more like fear to me (i.e., xenophobia, itself 'dressed to the eyes' in a full cover burqa of 'freedom for women').]

          There might well be a better way of prising the tight little fingers of the patriarchy off these women and my guess is that they (the affected women) will be the ones to show the way on that. Then ‘we’ (New Zealand society) should definitely come to the party in their support.

          Imagine this: Muslim women start to become activist and say, forget about the burqa, what they really need is easier access to divorce, a more generous DPB (including criteria for getting it) and fast=-tracking of permanent residency. I wonder how many of those New Zealanders who are now so concerned to liberate Muslim women by banning the burqa would pay those kinds of prices for their liberation?

          And a small quibble – justice is not the highest principle in my book. Love is (otherwise known as seeing something clearly and fully as it is). Hence mercy and forgiveness are virtues.  (And that is from a socialist atheist, for want of a better label).

          • RedLogix 6.6.1.1.1

            I think you answered your own question PD. As you say liberation is never a stroll into the Promised Land. History is full of unintended consequences.

            Patriarchy is also well worth abolishing but, unlike slavery, there’s no straightforward legal ‘fix’ to abolish it.

            Oh yes there is. Like racism there are two major forms of it. There are the explicit overt forms that are embedded in the legal system as for instance the apartheid regime of South Africa, or the Jim Crow laws in the South. Or the right to ‘beat a child for the purposes of discipline’. There is always a straightforward legal fix to this aspect. Change the law.

            And then there are implicit, assumed behaviours embedded in people’s beliefs and values. These are harder to change because you cannot to legislate for what people think.

            But at the same time there is a strong mutually interdependent link between the two; the law reflects both cultural values and can also lead it.

            For instance at the time of the abolition of slavery there remained a very strong body of opinion against it. Certainly a majority of the wealthy and powerful were very unenthusiastic… yet because it was the morally right thing to do there was a certain inevitable force unleashed by law change which proved unstoppable. Regardless of the unintended consequences.

            Nowadays we look back on the slave trade, a trade that had flourished in the Atlantic for four hundred years prior….with unalloyed horror. Slavery had been a part of almost all large scale civilisations since the time of agriculture, some forms of it being perhaps somewhat more benign than others…. yet ultimately when confronted with the power of justice… it crumbled. It also rather helped that the Industrial Revolution was about to make it’s primitive ‘chattel slavery’ form obsolete.

            And it is of course only a short step from the ‘ownership of other humans’ to the ‘ownership of women’. If slaves were non-entities, female slave had to be double non-entities.

            So how about envisaging a future when our great-grandchildren look back on the patriarchy, and all it’s symbols with the same horror as we now regard the slave ships that plyed their cargoes out of Africa?

  7. Lazy Susan 7

    Saw the headline to Homes opinion piece and couldn’t bring myself to read it. Thanks Anthony for offering a precise that confirms Holmes little rant is everything I feared it would be.

    This is my considered opinion after giving the matter extensive thought.

    If this is all Holmes can come up with after “extensive thought” it’s a good indication how narrow his little brain has become.

    His behaviour during the Hobbit fiasco was appalling referring to the Australian Union as “left wing filth”.

    20 years ago he was almost liberal. He sold out though while at ZB having to tow the right wing line – mixing with the likes of Smith, Williams and Woodham has got to be bad for you. He’s now a rich, comfortable tired old hack who has nothing to contribute. Hope he joins Act soon and self-combusts with the lot of them.

    • Morrissey 7.1

      20 years ago he was almost liberal.

      Really? Paul Holmes? What evidence do you have to support that statement?

  8. freedom 8

    a bit off topic i know but Holmes was a bloody joke this morning.

    Apart from the ridiculously scripted agenda of an Innovation Special that was populated by a wide variety of people yet he communicated with but a few, the telling moment was when he had Wayne Mapp sitting there talking about how National has increased funding to R&D in New Zealand. After spitting coffee you have to ask yourself what planet do these people inhabit?

    He has the gall to call himself a journalist yet when faced with an undeniably innaccurate statement from a MP, (what your Mother would have called a lie) he says nothing.
    Just sits there doing the gnome nod.

  9. Sookie 9

    Another issue where I completely depart from general leftist thinking and scarily agree with Paul Holmes (although definitely not the sentiment in which his views are expressed). I absolutely detest the burka/niqab. It is not a religious right, its pure sexist barbarism that most people of the Islamic faith have no time for. And I certainly don’t want to see women being cajoled into wearing such garb in NZ while the male members of their family get to prance about in comfy western clothes. There is NO reasonable arguement in the universe for women wearing such things, especially none with a feminist basis. I expect to get my ass kicked for this but I will never change my mind. Vive la France I say.

    • Terry 9.1

      Well, Sookie, I truly hope you do get your ignoramus ass kicked. Have you seriously studied Islam (as I have for an honours degree)? How dare you even attempt to speak for Muslims? Through serious study I have much respect (as a Christian) for Islam, a religion which the West scandalises. Please try, with such brain as you have, to get real!

      • RedLogix 9.1.1

        Well Mr Honours Degree… quote me the parts of the Koran that specify that women MUST wear a burqa… not just something about modesty. The burqa in specific detail.

      • Sookie 9.1.2

        Ahh, the know it all student. When you’ve travelled the world and read a bit more widely and met more people from outside your comfort zone, you’ll look back on the time when you said such stupidass things and cringe. Believe me, I know.

      • Hennie van der Merwe 9.1.3

        Terry,

        Should we also allow them to stone woman to death for committing adultery?
        I definitely do not intend speaking for Muslims but sure as hell will speak against them.

    • Vicky32 9.2

      It is not a religious right, its pure sexist barbarism that most people of the Islamic faith have no time for. And I certainly don’t want to see women being cajoled into wearing such garb in NZ while the male members of their family get to prance about in comfy western clothes. There is NO reasonable arguement in the universe for women wearing such things, especially none with a feminist basis. I expect to get my ass kicked for this but I will never change my mind. Vive la France I say.

      And yet, Sookie, so many Muslim women I have spoken to say they prefer to wear it! They especially like the freedom from being “eyed up” as if they are pieces of meat at the butcher’s shop, which they (especially the younger women) have to put up with in New Zealand.

    • Vicky32 9.3

          It is not a religious right, its pure sexist barbarism that most people of the Islamic faith have no time for. And I
      certainly don’t want to see women being cajoled into wearing such garb in NZ while the male members of their family get to prance about in comfy western clothes

      And yet, Sookie, so many Muslim women I have spoken to say they prefer to wear it! They especially like the freedom from being “eyed up” as if they are pieces of meat at the butcher’s shop, which they (especially the younger women) have to put up with in New Zealand.

      • Reality Bytes 9.3.1

        I think there are valid issues to be concerned about in terms indecent female subjugation here. But I also feel Paul Holmes is lacking in tact and is doing a bit of a disservice to the issues at hand. His heart might be in the right place, but reading his rants, it’s hard to know for certain, it’s very hard to align with his opinions.

  10. Tangled up in blue 10

    Of course it is perfectly valid to advocate for better treatment for women in any culture.
    But this has to be a process of constructive engagement. Leading by example, reason and reward. Fundamental cultural changes cannot be imposed by force, and certainly not by discriminatory laws like “banning the burqa”.

    This is a crucial point Holmes misses. Banning the burqa will only make life more difficult for women within oppressive relationships where they are forced to wear a burqa before they leave the house.

  11. Gus 11

    Acceptance of the Burqa is no different to acceptance of Female Circumcision, Child Brides or Honour Killings. Each of these are acceptable in various countries around the world and we in New Zealand need to decide whether these things should be acceptable within ours.

    When it comes to the Burqa the only questions I need to ask myself is would I want to have to wear one? and Would I want my mother, wife or daughters to have to wear one? Overwhelmingly the answer both these questions is no, and while the argument can be made that some woman choose to wear the Burqa in most of the patriarchal societies that still embrace it use the Burqa is a tool used my men to control, dominate and subjugate women to their will.

    As a result in a society like ours that advocates the equality between Men and Woman, is prepared to protest for equality of representation and pay between the sexes I can see no way that we can accept or tolerate the Burqa.

    • felix 11.1

      “Acceptance of the Burqa is no different to acceptance of Female Circumcision”

      Um, it really is, in so many ways. I understand the point you’re making but to say they’re no different is just fucking batshit insane. A moment’s thought please Gus.

      • Gus 11.1.1

        Felix I think perhaps you should perhaps give a moments thought before starting down the name calling and abuse. Female circumcision in my mind is an abhorent act however like the wearing of the Burqa, in the minds of many people around the world female circumcision it is an acceptable practice and part of their culture.

        • felix 11.1.1.1

          So they’re similar in that particular sense. I’m sure there are other parallels you can find too.

          However to say they are “no different” as you did is blatantly obviously ridiculously untrue and does your argument no favours at all.

          • QoT 11.1.1.1.1

            And eating pizza is totes similar to cannibalism in that, um, humans have found both to be delicious at various points in time, and therefore no different! This game is fun, ay Felix? :P

            • felix 11.1.1.1.1.1

              Well yeah, if you accept pizza you pretty much have to accept cannibalism. There’s no way around that. And pizza can be eaten hot or cold, just as human flesh can.

              Same/same.

              • QoT

                And that’s why pizza is so delicious, because that’s how the authoritarian religions get you.

      • RedLogix 11.1.2

        Sorry felix but I suggest you’re making the mistake of interpreting this on a purely materialistic level. Yes of course circumcision is physically different to a burqa.

        But the cultural values and behaviours that enable both are the same.

        • felix 11.1.2.1

          I disagree. I think acceptance of a repressive clothing tradition – while not something I’m comfortable with – is several orders of magnitude from acceptance of female circumcision or honour killings.

          • Gus 11.1.2.1.1

            While you may see the issue of the Burqa, Female Circumcision and Honor Killings as being of different magnitudes the issues shouldn’t depend on how much they are right or wrong but simply whether they are right or wrong.

            From my viewpoint within a modern society where Men and Women are supposed to be equal like our own then quite clearly the Burqa it is wrong. As a result we shouldn’t be tolerating it or making excuses for those who feel that there is an appropriate place for it but rather condemning it for the archaic, misogynistic device that it is.

            • felix 11.1.2.1.1.1

              Ok Gus.

              Stealing lollies is no different to murder.

              • Gus

                Yes in the manner that both acts are criminal and perpetrators should be punished.

                Obviously those punishments should be different however the fact that they should be punished remains the same.

                • Pascal's bookie

                  How about a marriage where the female takes the males name? Think carefully about the history and meaning of that Gus. Is that just like female circumcision? Shall we ban that shit?

                  • RedLogix

                    How about a marriage where the female takes the males name?

                    Yup… firmly rooted in the notion of ‘woman as property”. Fortunately a practise which is no longer mandatory in the west and many younger folk are coming up with interesting and creative alternatives.

                    One family I know, the daughters use the mother’s name, the sons the father’s.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      But should we ban it?

                      And it’s not just about property. It is a denial of the existence of the woman as a legal entity in a way that goes far beyond the covering of the the burqa, The burqa deliberately hides the identity, traditional marriage obliterates it. This is the reason that spouses cannot be asked to testify each other. It’s not about respect for the bond between them, but about the fat that they were traditionally considered to be one person. The man person. The female ceased to exist as a separate entity.

                      And sure, the name changing is becoming less the norm, though it still is the norm for ‘family names’. But do you ‘tolerate’ it, for those that choose it, in a way that you say you shouldn’t have to with the burqa?

                    • Yes, RL “no longer mandatory” – but last time I looked, the practice wasn’t banned.

                      Are you calling for it to be banned with the same gusto you are calling for the burqa to be banned? Is it as urgent to have banned?

                      What other practices common in New Zealand might also be on the ‘urgent’ list? Women wearing white at weddings? Women having wedding rings (when men don’t)? The bride being given away by the father? Certain well known marriage vows?

                      There’s going to be a very long list even before we get to the ‘wedding breakfast’. Patriarchy is everywhere when you start to look for it.

                      [One thing I would ban is cold callers trying to sell things who say to my wife "Am I speaking to Mrs Puddleglum?" - makes my wife feel like she's being mistaken for my mother.]

                    • RedLogix

                      Nah you are drawing a false equivalence.

                      The burqa is associated with a very old cultural theme that essentially obliterated the woman from the public domain.

                      It remains alive and well in many parts of the Middle East today.

                      The western world has it’s own history with ‘woman as property’ as well… but the difference is that in the west the legal equality of women, their legal status as equals with men is well established. It is no longer the case that in marriage the legal existence of women is obliterated.

                      Sure remnants and echoes of our own earlier patriarchal memes are still with us… but the system they were once symbols of is fast passing.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      Nah you are drawing a false equivalence.

                      I don’t think I am. You’ve said you oppose the burqa because of what it symbolises rather than what it is. These things symbolise the same things, things that do not legally exist in our society. So why tolerate one thing that symbolises something that doesn’t exist in our society, and but not another. The symbols are either powerful statements of support for what they symbolise, or they are not.

                    • RedLogix

                      Sorry PB… spend some real time in the Middle East. I’d hope the experience might alter your perspective some.

                      I’ll be real plain. The burqa/niqab is a very visible and prominent symbol of a culture that is deeply unjust and prejudicial towards women. It’s nothing to do with Islam. In fact in it’s early and classic era Islam was exceedingly liberal and enlightened around the status of women. You only have to learn something of Mohummad’s own first marriage to Kadijah to realise how many women of the era lived quite independent lives.

                      But the Middle Eastern world is far from monolithic culturally… huge portions of it were also locked into an ancient system of purdah, the practise isolating women from men.

                      It is still very much alive in the world today.

                      By accepting the burqa/niqab, it’s most prominent symbol, into our own society were are condoning, enabling this ancient misogyny. Lending it a legitimacy when we should be shunning it.

                • felix

                  Gus, I think I see the problem.

                  Do you get the distinction between the following statements:

                  1. There is no difference.

                  2. There are some similarities.

        • mickysavage 11.1.2.2

          But is a Burqa that bad that it has to be banned?  What if an enlightened westernised woman wishes to wear one?

          Interesting to see the diversity of opinion that is emerging.  For me banning a burqa is really nanny statish.  Interesting that Monty et al should be happy with this particular exercise of nanny statism. 

          • Gus 11.1.2.2.1

            Micky you’re wrong to be thinking of this as an issue of Nanny Statism it is rather and issue of equality between the sexes.

        • Vicky32 11.1.2.3

          But the cultural values and behaviours that enable both are the same.

          Really, no, they’re not.

    • Chills 11.2

      Of course the wearing of a burqa is a signal to us all that the wearer is living in a repressive environment that we as a progressive people should always work towards eliminating…

      But if we take the example of the incident that sparked this debate, as a bus driver would you deny service to a woman or child with a black eye, or someone else that has an obvious sign that they live within an oppressive social arrangement?

      Yeah, let’s add to their oppression by further alienating them, sure it will do them a world of good…

  12. happynz 12

    Bus drivers here in Christchurch don’t seem to suffer from ‘maskaphobia’ (whatever the hell that is), or they make a good fist of stifling their irrational fear of masked mums pushing prams, as women wearing the veil have no problems here using public transport.

    • Colonial Viper 12.1

      The focus on burqa wearing risks another level of unwanted and unwelcome attention for these women. Let’s be clear – the burqa is an outwardly visible sign or symptom. Banning it may help make the underlying issues less visible, but it may not in itself make those womens’ lives better.

      I’d be interested to know how muslim women themselves position on the issue.

  13. RedLogix 13

    The Burqa is a piece of material that has cultural significance for some. It is not threatening, it is not associated with criminality or health difficulties.

    Umm.. it is nothing to do with Islam. This form of clothing pre-dated Islam. While the Koran and Hadiths do have verses that make reference to modesty in dress, there is nothing to justify these all-enveloping, shrouded, walking prisons. For much of the classic Islamic period they were completely unknown and only became commonplace some centuries ago in the more backward, fundamentalist parts of the Islamic world… such as Afghanistan and Yemen.

    Most cosmopolitan, educated and liberal Moslems are as appalled by it as we are. Personally I find it an offensive symbol of a backward, oppressive Middle Eastern ‘honour culture’ that treats women as nothing more that the chattels of a patriachal extended family.

    It’s as offensive as a Klu Klux Klan robe, as dressing up in a Nazi/Brownshirt uniform, wearing the Orange while marching through a Catholic part of town, or a gang-patch for the purpose of intimidating people. It’s not the piece of cloth that is the problem, it is what it represents. If you had spent any length of time in the Middle East (as I did some decades ago) the demeaning, oppressive and downright cruel treatment of women that is casually on display day in day out will leave an impression on you. I vehemently reject it. And I do not want it in my country.

    And this is the point. If you want to wear this clothing, wear it in your home country were it is acceptable. When my partner travelled in these countries she respected the local custom and dressed appropriately, yet these Moslem women KNOW that the burqa (and it’s close derivatives) are not accepted here in NZ, they make people uncomfortable and uneasy, yet they insist on doing so despite this. Really it is deeply disrespectful for them to wear it here.

    Banning the burqa will only make life more difficult for women within oppressive relationships where they are forced to wear a burqa before they leave the house.

    Which really has to be my fucking point. How bizzare is it for the left to be enabling this ignorant medieval behaviour… that a woman is not free to choose what clothing she wants to wear?

    • r0b 13.1

      Not often that we’re on the opposite side of a debate RL!

      My problem with your point of view is that you’re assuming that you know more about these women’s lives than they do.  What if you’re wrong?  Do read the Sunday Star Times piece linked at the end of the post.

      Having said that, of course I’d like to see the burqa gone too.  I just don’t think that legislation is the right way to do it.

      • RedLogix 13.1.1

        Yes I did read it …. earlier today as it happens. The line that jumps out at me is:

        “Being in New Zealand, we always talk about freedom of religion, freedom of practice, diversity, understanding.

        Again I repeat the point that the burqa and it’s close derivatives, are NOT specified anywhere in the Koran or the Hadiths. There are of course verses that clearly point to the notion of modesty in dress, but backward fundamentalists interpret them literally … perverting sage advice into a something that takes away a woman’s right to any form or expression of public identity.

        This form of clothing pre-dates Islam; it only became associated with Islam because it was a pre-existing component of the underlying Arabic culture, and in some backward places it became a specifically religious fetish.

        She said many people assumed that women did not choose to wear it and that it was forced.

        No I’m not assuming that at all. I realise perfectly that this is how these women are accustomed to be in public. But when they came to NZ did they think nothing would change?

        “When we look at a nun, who is all covered, we see peace and tranquility and we give it that respect.

        A rather dated comparison. When did you last see a nun in a full habit? The Catholic Church has not required it for decades. Again it was nothing to do with Christianity, it was just a religious fashion. Besides.. it never covered the entire face obliterating the person’s identity.

        “I think it’s very strong of them to do it in a western society.”

        And what would she say if a western woman wore her normal western clothing in an eastern country? That she was being a slut and deserved the abuse she was getting from the men?

        • r0b 13.1.1.1

          Again I repeat the point that the burqa and it’s close derivatives, is NOT specified anywhere in the Koran or the Hadiths.

          So what?  You won’t find worshipping icons of the virgin Mary in the bible either, but it is long established catholic tradition.

          But when they came to NZ did they think nothing would change? 

          No one moves to a new country expecting nothing to change.  But they did expect “freedom of religion, freedom of practice, diversity, understanding”.  Is that going to change?

          And what would she say if a western woman wore her normal western clothing in an eastern country? That she was being a slut and deserved the abuse she was getting from the men?

          I hope not.  Why would you assume that it was? 

          • RedLogix 13.1.1.1.1

            OK so we can agree the burqa is a ‘cultural tradition’.

            Now while I can accept that religion and tradition are often closely intertwined, they are not the same thing.

            Religion has an inner and outer aspect. The inner aspect is eternal and essential, it is that sense of awe which urges us to reach out to that which is larger than our purely material being, to seek an understanding of the nature of the Divine qualities, justice, purity, sincerity… modesty even.

            But in this world a religious community creates for itself an outer aspect, communal themes and traditions we call churches, rituals, laws and institutions. All these things are man-made interpretations, they are temporary and have no permanent significance, yet usually become so entrenched that they obscure the essential.

            Moslems are perfectly free to practise their religion in this country. But that does not mean that every non-essential cultural practise that they are accustomed to associate with it will be acceptable.

            When you move into another country, you move into another cultural mileu… and you make changes. If you didn’t want any change… stay at home.

            I hope not. Why would you assume that it was?

            Because from direct personal experience… that is exactly what the women would say.

            • r0b 13.1.1.1.1.1

              Now while I can accept that religion and tradition are often closely intertwined, they are not the same thing.

              Not the same thing for you maybe.  Do you speak for everyone?  Our religions are what we make them.

              Moslems are perfectly free to practise their religion in this country. But that does not mean that every non-essential cultural practise 

              Do you get to decide which is which for them?

              Because from direct personal experience… that is exactly what the women would say.

              My experience is different. 

              Cheers and I’m enjoying the discussion, but gone now until tonight… 

              • RedLogix

                Our religions are what we make them.

                In that case, we can un-make them too.

                • Pascal's bookie

                  But who gets to unmake them Red? Insiders or outsiders?

                  • Descendant Of Smith

                    History tells us both do.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      And what should liberals do. Use force, or set examples? How about Christians? same question.

                    • Descendant Of Smith

                      Liberals should ensure as I posted earlier that everyone gets a secular education through childhood.

                      That’s partly force, that’s partly setting an example.

                • Reality Bytes

                  I think you make some good points. There is a huge challenge for an oppressed Muslim women living in a strict society (as is common for too many religions/cultures). To protest against and enact any real difference from their status quo is usually against insurmountable odds. Occasionally things do change for the better, but it is frustratingly rarely. It happens much the same as it does with other groups who have struggled in the past (womens suffrage etc). Things will improve in good time soon. Sooner rather than later I hope!

          • Vicky32 13.1.1.1.2

            You won’t find worshipping icons of the virgin Mary in the bible either, but it is long established catholic tradition.

            Sorry, I just have to jump in and say that Catholics do not worship icons of the Virgin Mary, nor do they worship Mary herself! I know you probably don’t think that they do, but I want to make that plain, as “worshipping Mary” or “worshipping statues” are slurs I constantly have to fight against.

            • Descendant Of Smith 13.1.1.1.2.1

              “slurs” is a bit strong. Misconception maybe.

              Yeah technically you only venerate and pray to Mary. But even that is the cause of angst between Protestants and Catholics.

              It is equally true of course that Mary should have been stoned to death for bearing a child out of wedlock.

              • Vicky32

                It is equally true of course that Mary should have been stoned to death for bearing a child out of wedlock.

                As my son would probably say “Lolzwut”? Are you one of those Ben Pantera believers? I really don’t know where to start… and here is not the place, anyway. I recommend the Dawk site for you and Zug.. :)

                • Descendant Of Smith

                  It’s quite simple – she was espoused and in the 10 to 12 waiting period before consummation. The consummation of the marriage was still some time away. She was found to be pregnant which was equivalent to committing adultery which was punishable by stoning to death.

                  It was the intervention of an angel to Joseph that persuaded him that she had not been unfaithful and that she had been blessed by the Holy Ghost.

                  There was provision where a women had been raped for only the man to be punished and provision for betrothed couples to then betroth.

                  It wasn’t compulsory to be stoned to death of course but was well within the law at the time.

                  BTW I have no idea who Ben Pantera is. I just have a historical curiosity that makes me look to see how things occurred – like where did raining cats and dogs come from – it’s just a quaint curiosity.

                  • Vicky32

                    BTW I have no idea who Ben Pantera is. I just have a historical curiosity that makes me look to see how things occurred – like where did raining cats and dogs come from – it’s just a quaint curiosity.

                    Don’t worry about it! I thought you were saying something different from what you actually were. It’s okay.. I see what you meant..

            • r0b 13.1.1.1.2.2

              Apologies Vick32, I had no wish to offend.  I guess it’s clear that I’m not a catholic!

    • Tangled up in blue 13.2

      Which really has to be my fucking point. How bizzare is it for the left to be enabling this ignorant medieveal behaviour… that a woman is not free to choose what clothing she wants to wear?

      You missed the point. Banning the burqa won’t change any “ignorant medieveal behaviour” as it will just result in these women will not be allowed to leave the house. Though banning the burqa will discriminate against women who choose to wear it.

      If it’s not a public safety concern then the Govt. shouldn’t dictate what people can or cannot wear and doing so isn’t justified by some misdirected aim to change the negative aspects of a culture.

      • RedLogix 13.2.1

        Sure.

        Maybe it’s a bad idea for the state to ‘ban the burqa’… but can the state also force me to tolerate something I find intolerable?

        As a shopkeeper do I have to allow someone to enter my shop wearing one?

        Do I have to tolerate a workplace colleague wearing one?

        Do I have to sit next to someone on a bus?

        Am I forced by law to say nothing?

        • Tangled up in blue 13.2.1.1

          You can act as bigoted as you like so long as your intolerance doesn’t equate to discrimination based on prohibited grounds under the Human Rights Act.

          All you’re doing is discriminating based on a generalisation you have made about the lives of women dressed a certain way.

          • RedLogix 13.2.1.1.1

            So you’d have no problem with me prancing about in KKK white robe then?

            Or would you start generalising about my life and come all over a little bigoted about it?

            • chris73 13.2.1.1.1.1

              You’ve made your point so well that I couldn’t really add anything

            • Tangled up in blue 13.2.1.1.1.2

              I wouldn’t like that you were wearing it, but I would defend your right to wear it. Though if tested in court it could be seen as an incitement to violence.

      • Gus 13.2.2

        You’re wrong Tangled if you believe that Banning the Burqa wouldn’t result in any change.

        At minimum if there was a total ban of the Burqa in public places the men in these relationships would have to choose whether or not the enforcement of their traditional views of women was worth the disruption to them and their families lives. Women in Burqa’s wouldn’t go out shopping, pay bills, take children to/from school, sports etc and the men would have to either a) pick up these tasks themselves or b) alter their position to one where women were more equal.

        • Tangled up in blue 13.2.2.1

          I’m not sure that someone fundamental about their religion will be that easy to change.

          Going by what’s happening in France atm women are just ignoring it or not going out.

            • felix 13.2.2.1.1.1

              Oh that is clever.

              • QoT

                Fuckin’ awesome, innit? Like, how do you tell that woman that her choice of headgear is unconstitutional/un-French? I AM ARRESTING YOU FOR, um, DISPLAYING THE FRENCH FLAG WITH PRIDE, YOU FILTHY TRAITOR. Wait, I’m confused.

                • RedLogix

                  Fuckin awesome innit? Like if I coloured toilet paper red white and blue you’d still call it a Tricolour?

                  • QoT

                    You know, RL, this would be a remarkably logical comment from you if there weren’t, like, a whole context around French laws against face-coverings specifically targeting Muslims for this image.

                    • RedLogix

                      Most Muslims don’t wear the dammed things. Most are as appalled by it as I am. It’s really nothing to do with Islam. I’ll probably get to repeat that about another hundred fucking times and still everyone will stick with the same stupid misconception…

                      And that’s why Islamaphobia and the French reaction to the burqa have been so tightly linked together… a dumb arse mistake.

                    • Most Muslima, RL, that would be Muslima!

                    • QoT

                      Most Christians don’t have a problem with women wearing pants – let’s ban Exclusive Brethren women from wearing skirts in public. Most Christians don’t believe in literal transubstantiation – let’s ban Catholics from making any references to it! Gosh, this is a fun game which has no actual relevance to people’s choices and freedoms of belief.

                      Because seriously, if we’re going to start with telling people what they are and aren’t able to accept is part of their own damn faith, let’s just go hog-wild. It’s for their own good, after all.

                    • Most businessmen don’t have a problem with a small select group wearing pinstriped green stone washed suits but it is so demeaning really for the male gender to have to wear such a uniform so let’s ban those too.
                      Oh no… that asserts status so we can’t bans those. it might damage the egos’ of said men. Ha, I could really get into this!!!

        • Puddleglum 13.2.2.2

          OK Gus, let’s speculate.

          The man finds it’s intolerable doing all the outside domestic duties himself. He either has enough money to get a ‘nanny/servant’ to do that OR he tells his wife to get a western friend/acquaintance to do it OR he tells her to wear the burqa and go out and get arrested and she goes to jail, gets fined, or whatever OR they all go home to where the woman is likely to have an even more ‘constrained’ existence.

          Just put yourself into ‘his’ shoes. He’s unlikely to turn himself into a domestic child-caring goddess overnight, is he? (what with being part of an intensely patriarchal culture himself.). 

          • RedLogix 13.2.2.2.1

            Pretty much similar arguments you could use to defend a man who was violent towards his partner.

            Anything to avoid him changing his behaviour eh?

            Besides from what I’m hearing others say it is the women who like to wear the burqa/niqab… you know to stop all us disgusting western males leering at them like pieces of meat?

            • Puddleglum 13.2.2.2.1.1

              No, violence against women is banned here – non-Muslim or Muslim.

              Also, I was using the case of a woman who was being oppressed into wearing the burqa and so would want to be out and about (i.e., I was accepting Gus’ premise). Of course, a woman who wanted to wear the burqa and did not want to be in public without one would have a self-imposed exile within the family home. 

              “Anything to avoid him changing his behaviour eh?” – no, my point was that banning the burqa would not change his behaviour because he would find ways around it that would not threaten his domination of women (or his ‘maleness’).

              Please try to be charitable in your interpretations. I have no more tolerance for oppression of women than you do. I just think we should follow the women’s views of how they wish to be emancipated. 

              • RedLogix

                I just think we should follow the women’s views of how they wish to be emancipated.

                Which we are not likely to hear are we? I’ve don’t like these cultural relativism arguments at all… ultimately it merely dumps the responsibility onto the victim.

                Please try to be charitable in your interpretations.

                Oh fair enough, but frankly to me this issue is as open and shut as was the fight against apartheid in the 80′s. Sure we can ankle-snap this debate around the block until it expires from boredom, but if what you say is true, that you have no tolerance for the oppression of women… then you get to draw a line in the desert sands somewhere.

                And for me that line is that the burqa/niqab is a highly visible symbol of an oppression that has no place in the western world.

                • QoT

                  Which we are not likely to hear are we?

                  Hear ye, hear ye! Women in the Middle East and women of Muslim faith are completely unable to have any agency or play any part in their own “liberation”, for a white dude sayeth so! Carry on laying down your Western interpretations of Muslim/Middle Eastern (oh who am I kidding, they’re the same, right?) women’s issues and struggles because they sure have no voice to call you on it!

                  Oops: http://muslimahmediawatch.org/resources/

                  • RedLogix

                    As an Epsom white dude I get to call on you on your bullshit too. Sure you’re expert level on it… but you are still full of it.

                    First up we get you waxing lyrical about how wonderful purdahh culture must be, then from your safely tipsy couch you get to tell us how fucking liberated the Middle Eastern world is because you’ve gotten a linky thing on the interwebby.

                    Lets try this linky. oops

                    What about this one? oops

                    • QoT

                      Mate, if that’s what you’re choosing to take from my comments you must be more pissed than me and I can only congratulate you on your excellent lack of drunk-typos. Wait, no, I mean, OH MY GOD, YOU ARE SO RIGHT, ONE ARTICLE ABOUT A REPRESSIVE REGIME (please note, readers, no repressive regime has ever existed sans Muslim religious overtones) AND ONE LINK TO AN UNOWNED, EMPTY DOMAIN NAME, GOSH, YOU ARE SO RIGHT, YOU KEEP TELLING THOSE WOMEN WHAT’S GOOD FOR THEM.

                      … wait, what?

                      [lprent: Please less SHOUTING. Hurts my eyes. Irritates me whilst moderating. ]

                    • RedLogix

                      If you’re too pissed to RTFT then I’ll guess I’ll have to repeat myself… the burqa/niqab have nothing directly to do with Islam, and everything to do with the purdah culture widespread throughout the Middle East. An oppressive culture that has no place in the modern world.

                      Like if I’m not a black African I’m not allowed to protest apartheid; if I’m not a child, I’m not allowed to deplore child slavery….how long do you want this list?

                      Or can I just sit on my fat privileged white arse and say fuck it… you liberate yourself … I’ve got nothing to say?

                    • QoT

                      You know, RL, descending into “SO I CAN NEVER SAY ANYTHING, HUH? HUUUUUH?” ridiculousness is always a good sign of a privileged person who wants to dictate how oppressed people can/should act without actually bothering to listen to those people’s voices.

                      All I said was that I do not feel qualified to lay down the law on whether hijab is objectively an evil, oppressive thing, and that the whinging by people like yourself is very often a repulsive exploitation of real women’s struggles in an attempt to justify your own Islamophobia/racism. You may pick which.

                    • QoT

                      Well RL some of my best friends are white dudes so I’m really glad you’ve let me know that this means you can never accuse me of hating white dudes again.

                      You realise, don’t you, that where you have been and what you have done has five-sixths of bugger-all to do with changing the fact that you remain a pompous, privileged white dude who is presuming to lecture a subset of women from a certain culture/religion (the two of which tend to get lumped together as the same thing by mainstream Western narratives) what they should or should not believe?

                      Because, um,*that’s* the problem. The fact that you happily whinge about performing the hajj while continuing to buy into Islamophobic rhetoric is just a bonus.

                      [Sorry 'bout the shouting, lprent, people making nonsensical arguments has that effect on me sometimes.]

                  • RedLogix

                    Fuck off QoT.. you assume too much.

                    When I said I had spent much time in the Middle East I guess it was remiss of me not to mention that I once performed the hajj. Yes that’s a surprise isn’t it? So you can cross off the Islamophobia option.

                    So I guess that leaves you with the ‘repulsive exploitation’ option to justify … I dunno… I’m white, male and privileged. Can’t you just reflexively loath me without all the BIG LETTERS and whiny preamble?

                    • Why did you perform the hajj?

                    • RedLogix

                      It came about in a rather odd way. In those days the Saudi authorities were not so diligent about checking everyone who arrived in Mecca, and the Iranian family I had lived and worked with for about a year were happy for me to accompany three of them.

                      I spent much of the first half of my adult life actively engaged in several non-Christian religions. Of all of them Islam has to be the one most impenetrable for Westerners. The Koran is just SO different to what we expect it to be. Almost every attempt to read it literally, or in the way you are accustomed to reading the Bible, you get sideswiped. It has to be read symbolically…and that has to be taught. You really cannot just pick it up and expect to get it.. or at least I couldn’t.

                      But what I did learn is just how much of what we think of as purely Western culture really has it’s origins within the Islamic period between roughly 1000-1500AD. At a time when most of the west was still mud huts and petty warlords huddled in primitive rock forts… the Islamic cities had miles of paved and lighted streets, safe and flourishing markets, doctors, schools and universities. (The oldest University in the world is the one in Cairo, now over 1000 year established.)

                      What we know as the ‘Rennaisance’ was at least in part seeded by the intense contact with the Islamic world brought about by the Crusades, yet sadly most of what we ‘know’ about Islam in the west is founded on old Church propaganda, misconceptions and ignorance.

                      And the hajj was truly profound. I did perform it properly and it remains one of several very important moments of my life. And then there were other adventures too…

    • Sookie 13.3

      Redlogix, you put the arguement far more eleoquently than I have. I have been fuming about this all morning and wondering why the hell ‘the left’ is bothering to defend the indefensible.

      Afghanistan = child marriage, acid and gas attacks on women daring to go to school, burqa.

      Saudi = child marriage, female migrant worker slavery, women can’t vote/drive/go out in public without a man, female circumcision, niqab.

      If I was a Muslim woman, I’d be horrified that westerners were accepting these things as cultural practices worthy of defense. And they’re all part and parcel of the same thing, female oppression which has bugger all to do with religion.

      • Puddleglum 13.3.1

        Think about your lists Sookie.

        Child marriage – banned here.
        Acid and gas attacks on women daring to go to school – banned here.
        female migrant worker slavery – banned here
        Women can’t vote/drive go out in public without a man – banned here
        Female circumcision – banned here.

        But we allow women to wear a burqa or niqab in public. And, for some reason, you interpret that as ‘the left’ defending the other things on your list? I don’t see anyone on the left advocating we ‘un-ban’ those other things, do you?

        Here’s another way of thinking about it – if, miracle of miracles, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan became thoroughly liberalised in all those other things would you still want the burqa and niqab banned? If not, why not? If ‘yes’, why?

        • RedLogix 13.3.1.1

          if, miracle of miracles, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan became thoroughly liberalised in all those other things would you still want the burqa and niqab banned?

          At which point in time the burqa would become a quaint historical curiosity rarely seen outside of a few museums. And the power of it’s symbolism would have been largely neutered.

          At the same time you might want to consider that we’re still not all that keen on people wearing KKK robes or Nazi uniforms in public either.

  14. Herodotus 14

    No place here for burqa
    To hell with the burqa.
    No Paul, to hell with racists.

    Rob – how is this a racist comment? There is no “RACE” that wears a burqa. It is cultural.

    • r0b 14.1

      Strictly speaking you’re correct I guess.  But its also the case that most of that culture are also of non “white” race. And Holmes’ fear and prejudice clearly springs from the same dark well as his cheeky darkie bullshit.

      • Herodotus 14.1.1

        Rob as so many people mis use this term, IMO it is important for as many as possable to use the term appropiately.
        The term is used by many to incite emotional reaction and to take away from any real indepth discussion, especially when those entering into an arguement are void of anything of substance.
        Now is PH comments culturally insentive, is he standing up for the oppressed, or is he a product of his times and upbringing? But for me his comments are not racist.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racism

  15. BR 15

    Should a bank, say, be permitted to refuse entry to someone because their face is covered?

    The reason why a bank would want to do this is glaringly obvious.

    Should burqua wearing be banned in public?

    If a poll was run that asked the question, “do you agree with state sanctioned apartheid?” the results would return a predictably resounding “no” and rightly so. Freedom of association is fundamental. If certain individuals or groups wish to associate with or do business with each other (illegal drugs and other criminal behaviour notwithstanding), there would be few if any who would argue that the state should have the power to stop them.

    How about freedom of disassociation? Should the state be permitted to force individuals or groups who may not wish to associate with other to do so? A landlord or an employer is not allowed by law to run advertisements which exclude members of certain groups from applying for a job or a tenancy. If a landlord or employer does not want to employ or rent to a Maori, a Caucasian, someone under six foot three, or someone over 5 foot six, or someone with red hair, etc, the law disallows them from making these disqualifications public. No matter. The employer or landlord will choose whom they wish from whatever applicants they get, and may even decide to withhold the job or tenancy if none of the applicants are considered suitable.

    However, such restrictions are more difficult to impose for businesses like restaurants or hotels. One may not exclude persons based on their race, colour or appearance etc.

    This clearly violates the principle of freedom of association. Being free to associate is not the same as being FORCED to associate. That is as serious an assault on personal freedom as apartheid. Being forced to associate with people with whom one does not wish to associate is as bad as being forbidden to associate with those whom one does wish to associate with.

    Back to the burqua.

    The state should not have the right to impose dress standards on the public (indecent exposure excepted), therefore the state should not ban burqua wearing in public. Of course there are situations when one should be required to show one’s face for identification purposes. Gang patches should not be banned from being worn in public either.

    However, when it comes to private property, any business owner should be permitted to refuse to do business with whomever he wants, and should be allowed to make public any restrictions he cares to impose. That includes wearers of the burqua, skullcap, dreadlocks, red hair, dark hair, light skin, dark skin, freckles or indeed anything he damn well chooses.

    Bill.

    • Colonial Viper 15.1

      However, when it comes to private property, any business owner should be permitted to refuse to do business with whomever he wants, and should be allowed to make public any restrictions he cares to impose.

      Yep. I’ll do business with whomever I wish to, and without state inteference thanks. And it’s definitely nothing personal but no chinks, no queers and definitely no unwed mothers, please.

      I’m glad to have your support Bill.

  16. Blue 16

    I think most Kiwis don’t have a problem with the hijab, which covers the hair but not the face (in the same way that the Christian nuns cited in the SST article cover their hair but not their faces).

    Many women and girls who wear the hijab I have found friendly, warm and happy people, and they are accepted in society well.

    The burqa or niqab is a different kettle of fish. I think it is a basic human need to see the face of the person you are interacting with. And no amount of justifying is going to change that. Talking to someone when you can’t see their face is a very off-putting experience. Humans operate on being able to use facial features for identity recognition and facial expressions for judging how a social interaction is going.

    Women who choose to wear the burqa or niqab will always be on the margins of society, and that’s a choice, one which they may be happy to make.

    If they are being forced into it, it would be disgusting, but if it is their own free choice to do this, then it is their right.

    I may think these women are misguided for choosing to wear the burqa or niqab, but they have as much right to woolly thinking as Paul Holmes has.

    • Descendant Of Smith 16.1

      It’s my understanding that exclusive brethren women are not allowed to wear trousers and that they must wear dresses – preferably with stockings as to not appear overtly sexual, have their hair long and wear a scarf.

      I’m slightly struggling to see the difference between one set of religious requirements and the other.

      Both are oppressive, religious and unnecessary.

      Neither should be legislated against.

      In both cases all children should have to attend a secular school and their religious instruction should be at home.

      Religious schools should be told to piss off and having received both a secular and a religious education during their childhood they should be free to make there own minds up once they become adults.

      No religious schools should get any state funding what soever.

      • RedLogix 16.1.1

        I’m slightly struggling to see the difference between one set of religious requirements and the other.

        Well yes, they are both expressions of oppressive, unjust attitudes towards women. But the burqa goes further and obliterates a person’s right to a public identity.

        Now as much as I detest them, I’m still open-minded on whether legislating against them as the French have done will prove to be a good idea or not. The French went through a massive debate to reach the point they did and maybe the rest of the world would do well to learn something from their experience as it unfolds.

        But equally I’m not at ALL comfortable with political leaders telling me I must ‘tolerate’ people wearing them in the name of religious freedom. No more than I would try and justify burning witches alive at the stake… because it was once a Christian tradition.

        • Descendant Of Smith 16.1.1.1

          “public identity”

          Whatever that might be.

          I’m assuming you mean the somewhat limited ability to be visibly seen.

          I find the inability to commune with the general public, including own family members who may no longer share your religious views – as far more preventative in having a public identity. Several religions in NZ practise this horrible behaviour.

          The choices seem to be tolerance, education or legislation.

          I’ll go for the middle one.

          If the latter is to be used then it would be only fair and just to include the inability for any religous group or employer to force you to wear any type of clothing except for physical safety needs.

          If my church can’t tell me what to wear then my employer certainly shouldn’t be able to.
          After all god is mightier.

          • RedLogix 16.1.1.1.1

            “public identity” …Whatever that might be.

            Oh don’t come all over literalistic on me DoS… you are way better than that. One of the central practises of this tradition we are talking about is complete exclusion of women their entire adult lives from ANY contact with any male outside of the family.

            Their movements are strictly controlled, they live in a different part of the house, they cannot choose who they associate with, who they marry, what education they might receive, what medical care they can expect. They will have no economic choices, little ability to determine how many children they have. Any infractions of these rules meet harsh and often violent retribution for having brought ‘shame and dishonour’ on the family.

            All their lives will revolve around the household. Their purpose is to breed children, and serve the needs of the men. On those occasions where for practical reasons where it is necessary for them to leave the house they are enclosed in a walking prison that in effect ‘takes the house with them’. While they may be in a public space, they are still essentially a prisoner of the household.

            In essence their lives are entirely private. It may often be quite tolerable on it’s own terms, but they can never aspire to any ‘public life or identity’, as say for instance… Helen Clark did.

            PS. Oh and this still has nothing to do with Islam.

            • Descendant Of Smith 16.1.1.1.1.1

              Yeah but the burqa is a symptom of those practices and banning it in itself won’t change the other practices and why should it be singled out more than say the brethren dress code.

              On one hand there has to be religious tolerance and on the other the ability to allow all to have freedom of association and expression.

              Maybe what we need is an overall encompassing right not only for religious freedom but for individual freedom not to be constrained by any religious beliefs or edicts except voluntarily.

              Giving the legislative backing for women not to wear the burqa, for catholics to use contraception, for brethren women to wear trousers, for Jehovahs not to be shunned.

              Send a clear message that you cannot be coerced into doing any of these things.

              • QoT

                One is tipsy and thus also feels the perverse need to point out that equivocating “no public identity” with “no ability to interact with a male [outside the family]” is a wonderfully patriarchal concept.

                Because of course women who go out in burqa can always just go to a friend’s house or other place only inhabited by women and de-veil (such is my understanding); but that of course cannot count as having a “public identity” because if men can’t see them then they can’t be real.

      • Vicky32 16.1.2

        It’s my understanding that exclusive brethren women are not allowed to wear trousers and that they must wear dresses – preferably with stockings as to not appear overtly sexual, have their hair long and wear a scarf.

        Did it occur to you that some women prefer to dress like that? I do, and I am not in the Exclusive Brethren. Wearing stockings can be considered very sexy (as one boyfriend of mine said.. and they certainly help in New Zealand’s winters which are unbelievably harsh.

        In both cases all children should have to attend a secular school and their religious instruction should be at home.
         
        Religious schools should be told to piss off and having received both a secular and a religious education during their childhood they should be free to make there own minds up once they become adults.
         
        No religious schools should get any state funding what soever.
         

        Bigotted much?

         
         

        • Descendant Of Smith 16.1.2.1

          Not bigoted at all.

          I’m highly tolerant of others views but not shy about disagreeing with them or putting an alternative view.

          I’m quite happy for you to believe what you wish and for you to show me the same courtesy.

          I do draw a line at separation of church and state – that doesn’t in any way make me bigoted. It’s quite a well defined principle that has historically come about for good reasons.

          The language you use shows far more bigotry than my own – where misconceptions are called slurs, where criticism is called bashing.

          Make you should work out what bigotry is – it’s has nothing to do with disagreeing with religion – unless you want to be specific about religious bigotry.

          I rail against the compulsion on those women to wear dresses not their choice and against religious teaching in school not at the freedom to do that at home.

          Both those things give a high degree of tolerance.

  17. Shona 17

    “The burqa is a symbol of an intensely patricarchal culture that is deeply unjust towards women.”
    On the money as always RL.
    It is an overt symbol of the opression of women.
    Nz is a secular state. We do not have to sanction/tolerate the wearing of this obsencity in this country.
    I am not surprised to see that the wearing of the burqa in NZ is supported so eloquently by by a MALE academic.What the women who wear the burqa think is clearly irrelevant, they have no choice, no freedom they are the chattels of their male masters.
    This monstrosity of misogyny has no place in NZ.
    It is on a par with foot binding, shotgun weddings, male guarantors, the gender pay gap, the glass ceiling, female circumcision, and spousal abuse.
    It does not represent cultural freedom of any kind.
    It represents power / control of the male gender over the female gender.

    • MrSmith 17.1

      Unfortunately Shona Most organized religion have oppressed women for centuries and still do today.
      An example would be priests still mainly being male.

      • Sam 17.1.1

        ut have you realised that in these religions, the men wear dresses -
        catholic priests, islamic mullahs etc.

    • r0b 17.2

      I am not surprised to see that the wearing of the burqa in NZ is supported so eloquently by by a MALE academic

      I am not surprised to see my point of view completely misrepresented. Nor do I see what my profession has to do with anything, unless it is some kind of knee-jerk stereotyping that you have going on?

  18. ak 18

    Blue The burqa or niqab is a different kettle of fish. I think it is a basic human need to see the face of the person you are interacting with.

    Precisely my good man. This cursed telephone contraption will never catch on; and don’t start me on those damnable tinted spectacles…..

    Shona What the women who wear the burqa think is clearly irrelevant, they have no choice, no freedom…

    But…..

    Regina Rasheed said it was a personal choice whether a woman chose to wear a burqa, and that should be respected.

    Afifa Chida Of the approximately 45,000 Muslims in New Zealand, only about 150 wore a burqa

    Sounds like a fair bit of choice actually Shone…..and yep, Red, you don’t have to sit next to them on the bus, but it’ll be your loss: take it from me at least two of those 150 are the nicest people you’ll ever meet.

    • Blue 18.1

      Personally I hate talking to people on the phone, and talking to people who are wearing dark sunglasses.

      Same reason – you can’t see that person’s face.

    • RedLogix 18.2

      This cursed telephone contraption is just that… at a distance. It’s not the same as being physically in the same space with them; since the first letter was sent we understood the difference.

      Personally I’m not that fussed with the ‘can’t see their face’ argument. Yes we are accustomed to seeing a person’s face in public and that is a good thing for a variety of reasons others have often mentioned; but I do not see it as the essential thing.

      take it from me at least two of those 150 are the nicest people you’ll ever meet

      Yes there are only a small minority of women who by and large appear to choose to wear the burqa in NZ… although quite a few more do wear the niquab which has much the same effect really. But whether they do it from choice, or because the males in their family insist, or for some mix of these or other reasons is not relevant to what it represents.

      Yes they may be perfectly nice people, but what they are wearing is a symbol of something that is not.

      And that’s the shame of it.

  19. zug zug 19

    I have to agree with Holmes here. I am a Green Party voting lefty. I am 28 year old male.

    I admit that I have not visited the middle east and have had limited contact with muslim people in my life.

    I am however a staunch atheist and have read many books and listened to many discussions by intellectual heavyweights like Chomsky, Hitchens, Dawkins and Sam Harris. I have also read ‘Infidel’ by Hirsi Ali.

    The rights of WOMEN trump all cutltural/traditional/religious garbage. EVERY TIME!!!

    It’s the same as that time that woman (forget her name and couldnt find the link) challenge Marae protocol by speaking at the same time as men.

    ANYTIME A WOMANS RIGHTS ARE DIMINISHED BY TRADITION THE CORRECT RESPONSE IS TO SAY FUCK YOU TO THAT TRADITION AND REJECT IT!!!

    This is indefinsible, I couldnt give a shit if I am called culturally insensitive, ethnocentric or whatever for this.

    What really fucking gets my goat though, is how religion and cultural traditions are always shielded from critiscim in a way that no other thing in our society is. This is bullshit, and its not fair.

    I fucking hate how exemptions are made for people because of their religion.

    Here’s a little Role Play of me getting my drivers licence photo taken.

    Person: “Please take off your hat sir”

    Me: “Umm, actually this hat is a part of my religion and I’m not taking it off”

    Person: “Sir, you are wearing one of those hats with the beer cans and the straws going into your mouth”

    Me: “So?”

    Person: “No religion I know of wears a hat like that…”

    Me: “So? Does a religion have to have a minimum amount of followers to be legit?”

    Person: “Ok then, what is your religion?”

    Me: “It’s called Kopimism. Look it up.”

    Ok, this might seem churlish, but my point is there is no meaningful way to distinguish a ‘real’ religion and a fake one. If i genuinely was on a path of spiritual enlightenment and was following a religion that formed 2 weeks ago people would say “That’s not a real religion, you are not really religious”

    Based on what? Is there a time limit on when a religion is founded or follower size that makes a religion legit?

    The reason why it’s so hard to tell a ‘real’ religion from a bullshit one is BECAUSE ALL RELIGION IS BULLSHIT.

    George Carlin does a really great bit on this, look it up.

    • Morrissey 19.1

      I am however a staunch atheist and have read many books and listened to many discussions by intellectual heavyweights like Chomsky, Hitchens, Dawkins and Sam Harris.

      Christopher Hitchens? Are you serious?

      Christopher Hitchens is not an intellectual heavyweight. Two people who definitely ARE intellectual heavyweights are Norman Finkelstein and Noam Chomsky. Both of them have written damning condemnations of Hitchens. Finkelstein has nothing but contempt for him, calling him a “repellent showboat” and makes fun of his lightweight political posturing….
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mgB20YmqN6A

      Chomsky has a similarly low regard for Hitchens. Several years ago, in an interview with Kim Hill, Chomsky said Hitchens was “incoherent”. In a recent interview, Chomsky said Hitchens was a liar, and trying to argue with him was like arguing with a Soviet commissar.

  20. zug zug 20

    The argument that some women choose to wear is bullshit and doesn’t make it right.

    I am SURE that I could find some brainwashed hyper-christian young adults (that is old enough to make some of their own choices but still under their parents protection) who would say they don’t mind being disciplined physically by their parents because their parents are righteous.

    So when the cops turn up, and the kid has been bashed within an inch of their life and suppose because the kid is so brainwashed with religious garbage they say it is perfectly fine and they ‘chose’ to be disciplined that way that makes it ok?

    We have laws like section 59 to tell society that something is wrong AND IT DOESNT MATTER A DAMN if the person ‘chooses’ to go along with it, it doesn’t make it right.

    And while we are on it, there really is no REAL CHOICE about what religion you adopt when you are brought up in a religious family. It is all forced down your throat until you are brainwashed into believing it.

    Hmm, do I make life easy for myself and just go along with this religion or reject it and have my entire family and social life fall apart… Yeah… so much for a REAL CHOICE.

    Same old bullshit the Right uses to say that unemployed people choose to be poor because they are too lazy to work.

    [lprent: Limit your SHOUTing. It irritates me. Irritating me whilst moderating is dangerous. ]

    • Vicky32 20.1

      I am SURE that I could find some brainwashed hyper-christian young adults (that is old enough to make some of their own choices but still under their parents protection) who would say they don’t mind being disciplined physically by their parents because their parents are righteous.
       
       

      And I am sure you couldn’t find any such thing. (It’s called ‘making shit up’ zug, and I’ve seen you do a heap of it here. I’ll say the same thing I have said to 100 000 teen atheists I’ve come across on sites over the past five years – what would you to say to the three out of five of us sibs, all brought up by atheist parents in an atheist home, who are now Christians? So, the atheist brain-washing didn’t take did it? Given that, why are you so cocksure that all Christians were brainwashed into it? 

       

      • felix 20.1.1

        You seem to be having a little trouble with the blockquote tag today Vicky.

        You might want to make sure you’re closing the tag correctly ( /blockquote ) at the end of the bit you’re quoting.

        • Vicky32 20.1.1.1

          i just use the WYSIWYG thingie, Felix! I was having massive connection problems which led me to do double posts, and also to have to re-post things I had already done, hence the problems… Sorry, I will (I hope) do better in future, I hate not being readable…

  21. Bill 21

    So patriarchy sucks. And the attitude of many men sucks.

    And it’s dealt with in the same broad way in societies that insist on women covering up to protect men from dealing with their own dick head led ways and in societies where women are stripped down to mere sexual objects by popular culture thereby ‘normalising’ dick head led ways. In both instances it is women who carry the can for male shit.

    I honestly can’t see how one can be seen as ‘more enlightened’ than the other.

    • RedLogix 21.1

      At least in the west we can say the word ‘patriarchy’….

      I can see where you are coming from Bill. All but a tiny handful of indigenous cultures in the world today are essentially patriarchies; it’s only a matter of degree really.

      But that doesn’t mean we still cannot condemn the worst excesses of it.

      • Bill 21.1.1

        I just don’t think one scenario is more excessive than the other. In both instances, men get to blithely ignore their own shit and how that impacts on women while imposing male expectations on women.

        Seems that what we have is the opposite ends of the same (bullshit) spectrum.

        It’s not so long ago that the expectation of women here was that they ought to be ‘lady like’ and cover up. (Think ‘ankles’?) And even now in the west, veils are still worn on occasion. (Mourning, marriage etc)

        Meanwhile, without overt compulsion some people prefer to cover up, whether under hoodies, behind glasses or beneath layers of make up or whatever.

        But the expectation these days seems to be that women should titillate. And that brings with it a whole different raft of oppressions, complexities and difficulties.

        • RedLogix 21.1.1.1

          I just don’t think one scenario is more excessive than the other.

          Well I do. At least in the west we have begun to talk about it. Women do get the platform and opportunity to call us males out on our attitudes and behaviour. You and I are having this conversation.

          But the expectation these days seems to be that women should titillate.

          Yet no expectation that women should be able to claim an expression of their sexuality as they choose?

          Yes the place we are at is an awkward one, neither fish nor fowl. Capitalism is such an intensely ownership oriented system that it is very difficult for an alternative model with matriarchal elements to flourish.

          Indeed the patriarchal mindset is so entrenched in our thinking most of us can only imagine a matriarchy are the same as a patriarchy, but with the gender roles reversed. ie the women get all the ownership privileges.

          While perhaps in a matriarchal world the whole concept of ownership is simply less relevant. And that makes it very hard for us to imagine it, much less recognise one if we saw it.

          • QoT 21.1.1.1.1

            At least in the west we have begun to talk about it.

            [Citation needed] that non-Westerners haven’t started to talk about it.

            • RedLogix 21.1.1.1.1.1

              I dunno.. I guess you could always try voting, or driving a car in Saudi.

              • stargazer

                I dunno.. I guess you could always try voting, or driving a car in Saudi

                and of course the whole muslim world and every single muslim resides in saudi. and of course there wasn’t a huge protest by saudi women challenging the driving ban on june 17th, that had a significant impact. and they haven’t been moving towards voting in municipal elections, slowly making progress on other issues.

                and the arab spring just didn’t happen, in which no women were involved in protests. nope, we’ve been waiting for you, the white crusader with your smug superiority and blinding arrogance to save all us poor muslim women who can’t possibly think or act for themselves. and our expression of sexuality couldn’t possibly include the notion that we don’t give men the right to view it.

                you have filled this thread with crap, and just because you happen to know muslims or have lived in muslim countries doesn’t mean you speak for us, nor that you know what’s best for us. if you can’t bear to sit next to a burqa-wearing woman in a bus, then best you don’t use buses. because you, a man, have no right to dictate what women wear. and if someone’s beliefs don’t fit into your notion of what islam should be, that’s entirely your problem & no-one elses.

                you don’t care about muslim women, you don’t care about women, and in this thread, all you’ve shown is that you want to dictate to others what they should think and believe. it’s a shame that we have people like this claiming to be on the left.

                • RedLogix

                  and of course the whole muslim world and every single muslim resides in saudi. and of course there wasn’t a huge protest by saudi women challenging the driving ban on june 17th, that had a significant impact. and they haven’t been moving towards voting in municipal elections, slowly making progress on other issues.

                  Great… and only about 100 years after the rest of the world. But yes it is progress, and it came about the only way it could… that the women in Saudi had the not inconsiderable courage and commitment to their cause to bring it about.

                  nope, we’ve been waiting for you, the white crusader with your smug superiority and blinding arrogance to save all us poor muslim women who can’t possibly think or act for themselves.

                  Arrant bullshit.

                  and our expression of sexuality couldn’t possibly include the notion that we don’t give men the right to view it.

                  By all means dress modestly in public. This is a common theme in all the great religions… but again this has nothing to do with the purdah culture which seeks to entirely isolate women from all non-family male contact. And nothing really to do with Islam.

                  Besides you insult all your fellow male believers if your mode of dress implies we are incapable of looking into so much as your face without ‘improper thoughts’. In fact precisely the opposite is likely to happen… the more you attempt to hide something desired from view, the greater the urge to seek it.

                  I could be a tad mischievous and suggest you visit a nudist group sometime to get a sense of how non-sexualised the environment is.

                  and just because you happen to know muslims or have lived in muslim countries doesn’t mean you speak for us,

                  Actually I was speaking for myself. This kind of argument is a bullshit line that really amounts to nothing more than a bullying attempt to silence me. I do have an opinion about this, and it’s one based on some pretty strong experiences… and you are not going to silence me.

                  you don’t care about muslim women, you don’t care about women,

                  I’ve been blogging here for many years. I’ve been abused by all sorts and I don’t offend easily… but truly you have no idea what you are talking about. The fact that you would make such utterly stupid and wrong assumptions about me, when you truly know nothing of me and my life, is both thoughtlessly arrogant… and not a little scary.

                • grumpy

                  Wow, scary….

                  ….and I guess there is not much chance of…..(say)……a Christian asking for the same kind of tolerance in Saudi is there?

                  I have been following RL’s contributions here with mounting admiration, obviously a person who’s experiences and overall philosophy has led to strong and principled opinions on this subject.

                  Great that we have a society where both RL and stargazer can express opposite opinions freely.

  22. BR 22

    “Yep. I’ll do business with whomever I wish to, and without state inteference thanks. And it’s definitely nothing personal but no chinks, no queers and definitely no unwed mothers, please.

    I’m glad to have your support Bill.”

    Quite right. A private business should be allowed to refuse entry to whomever they like on what ever grounds they see fit, and be allowed to state publicly that will not allow chinks, queers or unwed mothers onto the premises if that is the criteria, and even if it is personal.

    I’m glad you concur with most of what was said. I was expecting a more spirited debate here, but it seems that many people, including you, agree with me.

    Bill.

  23. zug zug 23

    The more I think about it the more this debate seems to be like the one that was held for section 59.

    But some children choose to be disciplined physically…
    SO WHAT? IT’S STILL WRONG

    But it’s always been my families/cultures method of child discipline for years now, you are not respecting my beliefs!…
    SO WHAT? IT’S STILL WRONG

    But it’s not your place to tell ME how to discipline MY kids. It’s my choice, my freedom you are imposing on etc

    YAWN…

    And yes, you do sometimes need to legislate morality. Ban it because it is sexist. Issues of equality between men and women must come before any of pandering to traditionalist/cultural bullshit and trying to be culturally sensitive.

    The Swedes found that after they introduced their section 59 years ago that there was a marked decrease in the rates of child abuse. Sometimes a society’s morals are more advanced than our laws (for example sensible people support decriminalisation of lesser drugs like cannabis yet our laws lag behind) and sometimes the law is more advanced than society’s morals (for example section 59)

    When I see a woman in a burqa, I see a woman in a prison, a prison put there by a man, and its wrong, no matter how u slice it, it is wrong

  24. Jum 24

    I have a problem with the burqa itself. I know many women wear it because they choose to, some because they are forced to, some (not necessarily women) because it is a good cover for criminal activity.

    Because it was never part of the original teachings (cover up modestly was) but is an add on I don’t see any reason why it cannot be removed for identification purposes or better still to be able to drive safely.

    There also appears to be two reasons for wearing this cloth over the face. Some say it gives them the freedom to be themselves; their brain is presented instead of their face. Yet to me it makes them unapproachable and invisible. This could be an east/west thinking divide; I want to show people when I am angry or sad or pleased or happy with what they have done or said to me or for me.

    Others say because the face is covered the other person cannot get a sense of what the covered person is ‘saying’ from a smile, a grimace, etc. I cannot see how any human being can indicate their true meaning when their face is covered. That to me is dishonest.

    This debate is a bit like the descriptions that accompany ‘black’ and ‘white’; some would say black is dark, evil, prohibitive and white is pure, clean and classy. Others would say black is powerful, dynamic, elegant and white is insipid, colourless and bleached and a thousand other contrasting adjectives depending upon the speaker and every one of those descriptions is true, according to the speaker.

    The East/West divide is not the problem; it is how fundamentalist the beliefs are that are foisted physically or mentally on to the other side.

    What I don’t like more importantly is that the intention of covering up as far as the male fraternity goes is that that female is sacrosanct and must be protected from attack but that anyone not in that type of dress is somehow less worthy of protection; Australia had a multi rape case several years ago where a woman was lured to a place, her attackers were invited to attend by texted and words used towards her indicated that she was not a respectable person, not of that religion; ‘she was asking for it, because of her dress, because of her friendly/polite attitude.

    How do you change that sort of thinking with people that have been brought up with that belief and I include many New Zealanders, both men and women in that group, that target victims for dress, wrong place, wrong time, didn’t fight back, did fight back, etc. This is a type of prejudice and I have my own prejudices; I always blame the males who actually did the rape – go figure.

    I personally cannot have a conversation with a person with a covered face – like a bike helmet should be removed in order to speak to me or anyone else, so should the face cover be removed; to me that is MY belief of manners and I do not envisage changing my mind – to those who think I should. In this democratic non-Islamic state of New Zealand everyone can.

    Maybe a sheet of the common requirements that will allay any particular group in society from being insulted should be printed and we can accommodate those as far as we personally want to. That’s democratic and empathetic.

    PS – I have always wondered how well burqas would be received in New Zealand where at least 1 in 6 people have Asthma; with Asthma you are fighting for breath. I don’t understand how anyone could bear to wear a total body cover when they can hardly breathe. That would be a form of torture for the Asthmatic.

    • QoT 24.1

      There also appears to be two reasons for wearing this cloth over the face. Some say it gives them the freedom to be themselves; their brain is presented instead of their face. Yet to me it makes them unapproachable and invisible. This could be an east/west thinking divide; I want to show people when I am angry or sad or pleased or happy with what they have done or said to me or for me.

      Others say because the face is covered the other person cannot get a sense of what the covered person is ‘saying’ from a smile, a grimace, etc. I cannot see how any human being can indicate their true meaning when their face is covered. That to me is dishonest.

      Well, Jum, obviously if you feel a way about certain things it must totally be objective and true and not a product of subjective Western socialisation. *nods sincerely*

      • Jum 24.1.1

        QoT

        I don’t do ‘sincere’ so cut the crap.

        If you really wanted to say something interesting explain to me how people could deal with Asthma attacks under a face cover.

        • stargazer 24.1.1.1

          jum, no-one has any obligation to change their lives and their beliefs just to make you feel comfortable.

          as for asthma, easy. just put the puffer under the cloth, into your mouth and breathe. your extreme concern for the health of these women is noted. it would be nice if you could actually be concerned about their right to practice their beliefs, and learn how to interact without looking at their faces. if you can’t even be bothered to do that, then why bleat on about asthma?

          • grumpy 24.1.1.1.1

            stargazer, you seem to be identifying yourself with Saudi womanhood. Perhaps you can advise us if Saudi women in NZ work or drive cars? Perhaps some of their “core beliefs” are less core than others?

          • Jum 24.1.1.1.2

            24.1.1.1
            11 July 2011 at 1:21 pm

            (‘Jum, no-one has any obligation to change their lives and their beliefs just to make you feel comfortable.’)

            Absolutely correct stargazer and nor do I. I can avoid people who make me uncomfortable because life is too short. I found that out a few years ago.

            (‘as for asthma, easy. just put the puffer under the cloth, into your mouth and breathe. your extreme concern for the health of these women is noted. it would be nice if you could actually be concerned about their right to practice their beliefs, and learn how to interact without looking at their faces. if you can’t even be bothered to do that, then why bleat on about asthma?’)

            When I was a teenager, on the hot humid windless nights in my home town I had to sit on the floor with the front door open trying to get the slightest bit of air into my lungs during an asthma attack. I could not bear much clothing around my shoulders never mind around my head or my neck or face. Obviously, you do not have attacks or you do not have asthma or you would not have made such a stupid unfeeling statement.

            You are wrong if you think I am concerned about New Zealand women who wear the burqa; they made their decisions what to wear in New Zealand; I can do nothing about the women in other countries apart from defend their rights to their own choice of dress should the occasion ever arise. I am more concerned about my rights and my personal safety if I choose to dress according to my tastes should fundamentalists try to tell me how to dress in my own country. How dare you tell me to ‘learn how to interact without looking at their faces.’ I don’t need to, unless you are trying to tell me something about the continuing future of New Zealand as a democratic secular state.

            If these New Zealand women are not being protected by New Zealand laws re the freedom to wear garments of their choice that should be brought to the attention of the government agencies and to the attention of any National Council of Women members or like minded woman’s organisations that would then publicise it and shame the government.

  25. Vicky32 25

    It’s a good post, and Holmes thoroughly deserves a good bollocking – but… I wish you hadn’t included the dig at Catholics. There are so many people here on the Standard who don’t need any encouragement to bash Christians, especially Catholics, but who will nevertheless welcome it!
    The point is, that in NZ, there are only a minute number of women who wear the burqa. I’ve taught some of them in language schools. They do no harm to others, and a minimal amount to themselves.

    • Descendant Of Smith 25.1

      Drawing a historical parallel, promoting secular viewpoints and disagreeing with particular religous viewpoints is not the same thing as “bashing”.

      Christian religions can’t even agree on things and I’ve yet to see a secular person banning anyone from having contact with Christians – whether they be Catholic or any other Christian persuasion.

      Most left wing commentators here in my view have a high degree of tolerance for expression of different thought – including religious.

      Personally as someone who often is critical of religion to equate that with the notion of violence against those who do believe I find abhorrent.

      I’m well aware that there is both good and not so good Christian behaviour – genetically we’re all pretty much the same – you can’t beat several hundred thousand years of evolution. It’s also why race and cultural differences are pretty much irrelevant in the long run as well.

    • r0b 25.2

      It wasn’t meant as a dig at catholics Vicky, and I apologise if it came across as such.  It was an example of one of our cultural practices that it would be easy for other cultures to criticise if they felt so inclined.

      • Vicky32 25.2.1

        That’s okay r0b! I get your point – it’s just that I am a bit over-sensitive about that because of my experiences on another board… :)

  26. kriswgtn 26

    To get bk on topic re Holmes
    Quite simply the prick needs to be sacked

    • felix 26.1

      If he were a horse he would’ve been disposed of long ago. More of an ass though, isn’t he?

  27. r0b 27

    Thanks all for some very interesting and passionate contributions to this discussion. And all conducted in a respectful way.  It has certainly given me plenty to think about!

  28. BR 28

    “Should it be ok to put a sign in my shop window that says “No Niggers”?”

    Yes, of course. It probably wouldn’t be very good for business, but that doesn’t mean it should be forbidden by law.

    Bill.

    • felix 28.1

      Interesting, I hadn’t really expected your answer to focus on the commercial dimension.

      Quite revealing.

    • RedLogix 28.2

      What about a sign that says “No Gang Patches”?

      And can you think about how would that be different to a sign saying “No Maoris”?

    • Descendant Of Smith 28.3

      Nope it’s not.

      You want to do business in a community that community should be free to do business with you without having to get your permission.

      They should be able to freely walk in without fear or favour.

      You should be able to trespass someone who is causing you problems but you shouldn’t be able to stop anyone coming in and shopping.

      Freedom of access to all should take precedence over your personal preferences on who you might want to deal with.

  29. Adele 29

    Please, not all gang patches are worn by Māori. Sometimes, we actually like to wear other things, you know, like florals and silk.

  30. Irascible 30

    Can anyone tell me why it is alright for the Pope to insist that women should cover their faces & hair with a veil when in audience with him or to enter a Duomo and not alright for Muslim women to wear a Hijab or ans abaya?
    There are numerous photos of the Presidents of the USA, Kennedy, Reagan, Carter and others along with the British PMs – Blair all with their wives shrouded or veiled in response to a sanction by the chief priest of the Catholic church.
    I presume that “Cheeky Darkie Holmes” will now write a horrified blast against the tyranny of a Christian sect as he has over Muslim women wearing a similar covering??

    • higherstandard 30.1

      Here you go

      http://www.bsa.govt.nz/decisions/show/184

      Remarks stating that if God was great the Pope might die soon and that he had bizarre
      religious interpretations which prevented women from having more power were made
      by Paul Holmes on Newstalk ZB on 5 September 1994 about 7.20am.

    • Locus 30.2

      Asking someone to wear a veil in an audience with the pope is a little different than the views of some adherents of Islam regarding the wearing of burqa.
      For example

      You should note that women’s observing hijab in front of non-mahram men and covering their faces is something that is obligatory as is indicated by the Book of your Lord and the Sunnah of your Prophet. If we think about unveiling and women showing their faces to non-mahram men, we will see that it involves many bad consequences. Even if we assume that there are some benefits in it, they are very few in comparison with its negative consequences. Those negative consequences include:

      1 – Fitnah (temptation). By unveiling her face, a woman may be tempted to do things to make her face look more beautiful. This is one of the greatest causes of evil and corruption.

      2 – Taking away haya’ (modesty, shyness) from women, which is part of faith and of a woman’s nature (fitrah). Women are examples of modesty, as it was said, “more shy than a virgin in her seclusion.” Taking away a woman’s modesty detracts from her faith and the natural inclination with which she was created.

      3 – Men may be tempted by her, especially if she is beautiful and she flirts, laughs and jokes, as happens in the case of many of those who are unveiled. The Shaytaan flows through the son of Adam like blood.

  31. BR 31

    “Interesting, I hadn’t really expected your answer to focus on the commercial dimension.

    Focus?

    Quite revealing.”

    Really? What does it reveal?

    “What about a sign that says “No Gang Patches”?”

    I have seen some signs which display exactly that.

    “And can you think about how would that be different to a sign saying “No Maoris”?”

    That is an absurd question. There is a huge difference. Only a very small percentage of Maoris wear gang patches.

    And in case you ask, yes, I would support a business owner’s right to display a sign that said “No Maoris” in the same way that I would support the right to display a sign that said “Maoris only”.

    Bill.

    • felix 31.1

      “Really? What does it reveal?”

      It is probably the single most hurtful, offensive word in the English language, loaded with hatefulness and judgement and carrying the pain of hundreds of years of murder, torture, suffering and oppression.

      It’s quite revealing that you don’t consider the effect that using this word in such a casual way in a public space might and will have on a considerable number of people.

      Instead, you consider the negative consequence to be that it might be bad for business.

      What does it reveal? It reveals your priorities.

  32. Jum 32

    ‘QoT
    Jum 24.1.1
    10 July 2011 at 10:48 pm

    QoT

    I don’t do ‘sincere’ so cut the crap.

    If you really wanted to say something interesting explain to me how people could deal with Asthma attacks under a face cover.’

    I am still awaiting your reply to my question. I didn’t ask it for fun.

  33. BR 33

    “It is probably the single most hurtful, offensive word in the English language, loaded with hatefulness and judgement and carrying the pain of hundreds of years of murder, torture, suffering and oppression.”

    To quote a rather more dignified response from an ex-prime minister, and from the sanctity of the debating chamber: diddums.

    If you are so easily able to be hurt by a sign on someone’s private property, perhaps you seek psychiatric help. No one should have the right to be protected by law from being offended. One only gets offended if one chooses to.

    “It’s quite revealing that you don’t consider the effect that using this word in such a casual way in a public space might and will have on a considerable number of people.”

    If a sign on someone’s private property is capable of causing “a considerable number of people” to take offence, then that is a sad indictment on the society that this country now represents. A bunch of wimpy mealy-mouthed complainers and whiners. The law should never be used to protect the sensibilities of such people. What next?

    “Instead, you consider the negative consequence to be that it might be bad for business.”

    You see, you miss the point entirely. Businesses need customers. Even sensitive crybaby sooks are welcome if they have the money. No business operator, unless he wants to commit commercial suicide, would deliberately do things that would discourage customers of any description from buying his product. A law forbidding such a display is both unnecessary and undesirable.

    “What does it reveal? It reveals your priorities.”

    Freedom of expression.
    Freedom of association.
    Freedom of exchange.

    Those are my priorities. What are yours?

    Bill

    • Colonial Viper 33.1

      Those are my priorities. What are yours?

      They are priorities you have for yourself, not for others.

    • felix 33.2

      So you think your right to display, in a public space (shop window) the most offensive, degrading, hurtful statements imaginable…

      …should trump the right of everyone else to peacefully go about their business.

      “One only gets offended if one chooses to.”

      Ah, that old chestnut. You think black people offended by that word are choosing to be offended? What incredible ignorance. Are you 12? Are you Peter McCaffrey?

      How about rape victims being offended by rape jokes? Their choice?

      Grow up, kid. Get your nose out of the Rand books and learn some humility.

    • Pascal's bookie 33.3

      No business operator, unless he wants to commit commercial suicide, would deliberately do things that would discourage customers of any description from buying his product.

      So those “no Irish or Maori” signs never existed then, nor all those ‘Whites only’ shops in the Jim Crow south. Moron.

      • Vicky32 33.3.1

        So those “no Irish or Maori” signs never existed then,

        Actually, no they didn’t! (The “Whites only” signs were real, but as I read recently, the No Irish, no Maori signs are an urban legend.)

    • Jim Nald 33.4

      “Dogs and Chinese not allowed”

      Shanghai, 1903 regulations of the Public Garden
      http://www.urbanvintner.co.nz/Shanghai%27s_%22Dogs_and_Chinese_Not_Admitted%22_Sign

  34. BR 34

    “They are priorities you have for yourself, not for others.”

    Why should such freedoms not extend to every law-abiding citizen?

    Bill.

    • Colonial Viper 34.2

      You’re playing the Freedom card which has worked so well for the US right wing

      Now they are all free to be poor over there or be shot, the largest prison population in the world with the largest police state in the world, that’s Freedom

      Lets talk about Human Rights instead, like the Human Right not to be descriminated against because of your gender, race, religion or age.

  35. BR 35

    “So those “no Irish or Maori” signs never existed then, nor all those ‘Whites only’ shops in the Jim Crow south. Moron.”

    So what if they did? If at the time the proprietors believed, rightly or wrongly, that admitting certain types of people onto their premises was bad for business, then they have every right to exclude said groups from their custom, and to make the wider public aware of such restrictions in advance. No individual or group should be forced to associate with another. Such compulsion is every bit as reprehensible as apartheid.

    “Shanghai, 1903 regulations of the Public Garden
    http://www.urbanvintner.co.nz/Shanghai%27s_%22Dogs_and_Chinese_Not_Admitted%22_Sign
    Reply ”

    This website deals with a LAW that disallows people of a certain race from being in certain designated public places. It is a law to be deplored. This has NOTHING to do with private property. It is a bylaw set down by government officials. The government has a duty to represent everyone equally, a private business or individual has no such duty.

    “You’re playing the Freedom card which has worked so well for the US right wing”

    OK, so you think that the fundamental freedoms of the citizenry should be restricted. Who should decide which freedoms should be restricted and to what degree? People like you?

    “Now they are all free to be poor over there”

    Perhaps a law could be passed requiring everyone to be rich.

    “or be shot,”

    If one is determined enough to being shot, one can shoot oneself.

    “the largest prison population in the world with the largest police state in the world, that’s Freedom”

    Perhaps the prison system and the police should be abolished. Would that suit you better?

    “Lets talk about Human Rights instead, like the Human Right not to be discriminated against because of your gender, race, religion or age.”

    No such right can be granted to anyone. No one has the power to grant it. Attempts by the state to bestow such rights have always been at the expense of individual freedom.

    Bill.

    • Pascal's bookie 35.1

      Sorry, I thought you believed that:

      No business operator, unless he wants to commit commercial suicide, would deliberately do things that would discourage customers of any description from buying his product.

      • Colonial Viper 35.1.1

        The research is pretty clear that many business operators have descriminated and discouraged customers from buying their product.

        Keeping Blacks out of White neighbourhoods and out of White private schools was seen as crucial to real estate values and upholding private tuition fees for instance.

        Sometimes racism and ethnic cleansing is extremely profitable. Ask those who sold arms to the Bosnians and Serbs.

        I really suspect BR has no fucking idea.

  36. BR 36

    “You think black people offended by that word are choosing to be offended?”

    Are you talking about all black people, or just a select few?

    “What incredible ignorance. Are you 12?”

    Anyone can play the insult game. It does nothing to further what little argument you have.

    “Are you Peter McCaffrey?”

    Never mind who I am. I am a voice in the darkness that disagrees with your sort. There are many like me.

    “How about rape victims being offended by rape jokes?”

    How about them? Have you asked any rape victims whether they would favour a ban on rape jokes?

    “Grow up, kid.”

    I am not the one throwing temper tantrums.

    “Get your nose out of the Rand books and learn some humility.”

    I do not take orders from the likes of you.

    Bill.

    • Pascal's bookie 36.1

      There are many like me

      There are many like many things, but proportionally you are insignificant. Self styled ‘Libertarians’ tend to get around 0.5 % of the vote in most democracies. In NZ they got an order of magnitude fewer votes than ‘Bill and Ben’ at the last election.

      There are a lot of you making noise on the internets though, to be sure.

    • Colonial Viper 36.2

      I do not take orders from the likes of you.

      Bet you don’t like to take orders from women, gays, blacks, jews and disabled people either.

      Just guessin’

  37. BR 37

    “The research is pretty clear that many business operators have descriminated and discouraged customers from buying their product.”

    Well that’s just too bad. No business should be forced by law to do business with anyone, any more than an individual should be compelled to buy products from a particular business. You can’t argue with that. All you can offer is distractions, misdirection and insults.

    “Keeping Blacks out of White neighbourhoods”

    Only a government can keep certain groups out of particular neighbourhoods. Such a policy decision by a government not only infringes on the rights of the excluded group, it also compromises the rights of a property vendor or landlord who would be less able to sell or rent his property in an artificially diminished market.

    “and out of White private schools was seen as crucial to real estate values and upholding private tuition fees for instance.

    Private schools are like any other business. They have the right to accept or reject any applicants who apply to enrol. It is highly unlikely in the 21st century that any school would publicize a “No Blacks” or a “No Whites” policy of course, but that doesn’t mean that doing so should attract the attention of the criminal justice system.

    Yes I know. Private schools receive public money.

    If all the private schools were to close, the government would be required, at the taxpayer’s expense, to educate the kids who formerly attended the private schools. The private schools SAVE the taxpayer money, and the economy and the education system would be worse off without them.

    “Sometimes racism and ethnic cleansing is extremely profitable. Ask those who sold arms to the Bosnians and Serbs.”

    What’s that all about? You’ve gone from racism and schools to civil war in two sentences. What are you saying? That the arms dealers started the war, or that they were just not helping matters?

    “I really suspect BR has no fucking idea.”

    Wow. You’re going to convince a lot of people with that rebuttal.

    “Bet you don’t like to take orders from women, gays, blacks, jews and disabled people either.”

    I would be happy to take orders from members of any of these groups as long as I was being paid the agreed rate.

    “Just guessin’”

    Do you ever do anything else?

    “There are many like many things, but proportionally you are insignificant. Self styled ‘Libertarians’ tend to get around 0.5 % of the vote in most democracies. In NZ they got an order of magnitude fewer votes than ‘Bill and Ben’ at the last election.”

    What makes you think I’m a libertarian? I am something of a libertarian in an economic sense, but I disagree with them on other issues. I am a conservative. Libertarians are far too obsessive about legalizing drugs, which to me is a low priority issue. I have also heard them saying that there should be no tax at all, and I would never agree to that. There should be a massive reduction in tax for sure, but there are legitimate functions of government that everyone has a stake in, and they need to be paid for.

    “There are a lot of you making noise on the internet though, to be sure.”

    A lot of who?

    Bill

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