The New Inquisition

Click on Bradley’s name for the original article as it appeared in Haaretz. Photos have been added together with my own comments. My comments appear in [brackets].

Targeting Muslims – the new Inquisition
By Bradley Burston

Were I a Muslim living in the West, I’d be mad as hell. Not to mention terrified.

Were I a Muslim living in the West, I’d begin to believe that a new Inquisition had begun. An inquisition aimed at no one but Muslims.

Were I a Muslim living in the West, my wife, or my sister, or my daughter might well decide to wear a headscarf or a veil when she went out in public.

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Perhaps it would be because she was tired of men and boys ogling her, objectifying her. Perhaps it would be because she felt she was entitled to her dignity. Perhaps she simply might prefer modesty and privacy to fashion slavery.

Perhaps she just thought it was a free country.

And perhaps, on that last point, she would have been mistaken.

For years, and especially since 9/11, law-abiding Muslims have been verbally and physically attacked across North America and Europe. They are scorned for their faith, shunned for their piety, falsely condemned for dual-loyalty, blamed for the crimes of terrorists they abhor.

Of late, however, there has been a disturbing new trend, particularly in Europe, where cabinet ministers and influential lawmakers have increasingly made it their mission to combat, of all things, the head scarf and veil worn by growing numbers of Muslim women and girls.

  • In Germany, the states of Baden-Wurttenberg and Bavaria recently introduced legislation to outlaw the wearing of head scarves in schools.
  • Bavarian Education Monika Hohlmeier said the head scarf was increasingly being used as a political symbol. To the understandable ire of Muslims, Hohlmeier went on to say that it was acceptable to wear Christian crosses or Jewish symbols.
  • In Spain, home to the original Inquisition, Minister for Social Affairs Juan Carlos Aparicio was quoted as having said that the Muslim veil was “not a religious sign but a form of discrimination against women,” and having compared it to genital mutilation.
  • In Britain, the government minister for race and faith relations, Phil Woolas, was quoted this week as demanding that Muslim teaching assistant Aisha Azmi, 24, who refused to remove her veil at work, be fired for that reason.

“She should be sacked,” Woolas was quoted as telling the Sunday Mirror. “She has put herself in a position where she can’t do her job.”

Azmi worked at the Headfield Church of England junior school in Dewsbury, which took pains to state that her suspension had nothing to do with religion.

[Yet Mary, peace be upon her wore a veil]

[And designers are now copying the “Muslim Veil” in fashion]

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The scarf issue had already taken center stage when former British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, now an MP and Leader of the House of Commons, voiced public objections to the wearing of the niqab, a full-face veil, at face-to-face meetings with his constituents.

The national debate has since widened, with David Davis, a top Conservative Party official, taking the anti-veil stance to a new level.

”What Jack touched on was the fundamental issue of whether in Britain we are developing a divided society,” Davis said. ”Whether we are inadvertently encouraging a kind of voluntary apartheid.”

The anti-veil arguments dovetail with a parallel campaign, which takes as its premise the concept that Islam itself renders its adherents incapable of integrating into Western societies.

“If you are going to have Islamic schools, the question is whether they are going to embrace Western values,” Patrick Sookhdeo, a Pakistan-born Anglican priest in England who converted from Islam, told the New York Times this month.

“I would argue that Islamic values are not compatible with Western values,” he said.

And what Western values might these be? Are they the time-honored Western values of intolerance for people of color, suspicion and marginalization of non-Christians, fear and loathing of non-Whites? Exploitation of and contempt for the residents of former imperial possessions and colonies?

At this point, there will be a pause for the springloaded Islamophobes among us to suggest that it is any society’s right and duty to protect itself against elements that may foment terrorism. There will be those who will argue that the veil may both mask and encourage extremism.

Perhaps it is time for us in the Western world to declare that Islam has a right to exist.

Perhaps it is time for us to recognize that non-violent, non-Judeo-Christian religious observance is a right, not an act of war.

Scarves don’t explode. Veils do not kill. The niqab does not incite.


It takes courage to wear the veil in the West
. Certainly, no one should be forced to wear it against her will. But those who do so voluntarily, have chosen to brave ridicule, and perhaps to risk their own livelihood. They have made a choice for self-respect, in the face of all that is vacuous in contemporary Western civilization, where the worship of the superficial has taken on the potency and universality of a state religion.

We in the West have allowed the veil to become the symbol of all that we do not know and do not trust about Islam.

In the Age of Paris Hilton, however, the West desperately needs women who devote themselves to serious pursuits, to the betterment of society, women who believe that self-esteem and dignity are worthy values. If they choose to wear a veil, and we take offense, that is wholly our problem. We have no business making it theirs.

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Comments
  1. irishanglican says:

    If one reads the Text of St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians, chapter 11: 2-16, here we find the whole theological reality of the Head Coverings or Veil for the Judeo-Christian women.

    “But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.” (1 Cor.11:3)

    Here is no argument from culture, but from the doctrine of Christ and man. Christ, as the Last Adam is the “head” of the new creation, as “In Christ.” And this is fully redemptive, and incarnational!

    The beauty of women is both from creation and redemption.

    Fr. Robert (Anglican)

  2. fourthreichisrael says:

    Beyond the veil

    My modest dress that you see
    As a sign of oppression
    Is for me the symbol of ultimate liberation

    It urges you to look beyond the veil
    To peel the skin
    To peep through the physical
    The limited… the confined
    Straight into the essence
    The infinite … the boundless

    It’s a glaring statement
    I am more than just a body
    I am a mind… a heart
    And a soul

    Don’t just stop there
    At the door
    Come in
    Get to know me
    For what I really am

    It gives me contentment
    And great satisfaction
    With my femininity

    It gives me dignity
    As I refuse to be portrayed
    As a sex object

    It gives me freedom
    To choose my dress
    Not only wearing what men desire

    It gives me protection
    From all undesired attention
    For my intimacy I only share
    With the one I love

    Does that make any sense to you?

    -written by, Nahida the exiled Palestinian

  3. irishanglican says:

    ATW,

    I am tired of people thinking us so called Anglican clergy are just milk toast. Not this one! And oh yeah, I was a Royal Marine officer in Gulf War 1, and I was not a priest then. But a recon officer.

    The point is the whole world view should be different between a real Christian and a Muslim. This is both an ideological and theological difference. I guess now you can fill in the blanks.

    Fr. Robert….”Irish”

  4. Father? Robert…

    Now there’s an “educated and logical” comment!

    “This blogger,” if you noticed, “father,” is reporting the news… did you even notice who wrote the article? Did you bother to see what paper this was posted in?

    Of course you did not! The stats showed that no one clicked the link today! So don’t even try… 😉

    So what “logic” is “this blogger” not using?

    Obviously, you’re just as intolerant to other religions or faiths as those you may blame of the same!

    And you’re a “father..” now that’s ironic.

    Is this not a case of the “Pot calling the Kettle black?”

    ATW

  5. irishanglican says:

    jonolan,

    Most of these people (this blogger) do not use logic, thus the very many problems. We all must simply admit, that the Judeo-Christian and the Muslim have very different world views.

    Father Robert

  6. Rayon.

    I have house in South France… I had been in Tui and Barcelona and i tell you Barcelona people have no problems wearing the Hijab. Not like in Toulouse and the rest of France that even ban the Hijab in schools. Not to mention the Banks which most dont allow women with Hijab. Even me that i dont look like muslim i am white, French people discriminates me a lot… I have no doubts that France is the most racist country of EU

  7. Rayon Soleil says:

    @Orlando7truth,
    Which area of spain ? I just tell you based on the fact where i am living. The government view doesn’t mean french people share the same. Muslim community is 20 percent of the population in France. I feel much comfortable wearing hijab in Paris than in Barcelona or Rome. I tell you, french people have a good tolerance in reality towards this difference. Most of my muslims friends here be thankful that we lives in France and not in other Europe’s cities.

    Regards,
    Rayon Soleil

  8. I think there is NOT that “new inquisition”

    What exist is discrimination based on irrational fear made by the media which when show muslims… only show the bad ones.

    Rayon soleil you are so wrong… It much but much more easy for a muslim wear hijab in Spain than in France. France is the ultimate racist country in Europe toward muslims

  9. rayon-soleil says:

    ATW ~~

    6émé…? Oh that’s a nice arrondisement.. my kids are schooling in 8émé arrondisement. Vous allez bien ? 🙂

  10. Thank you for sharing rayon-soleil. I stayed in Paris for about a month once in Paris 6ème area/ district. I am forgetting my French!

    ATW

  11. rayon-soleil says:

    I am a muslim woman who lives in Paris (more exact ; banlieu/suburb/region parisienne) for 5 years now. There’s no problem so far in wearing veil/hijab here, because i have nothing to do with government offices (my husband’s company arrange our carte de sejours/permit residence), nor public schools. Muslims’s life here is better than in Spain or Italy…
    French people are ‘closer’ to muslims than other europe countries.

  12. Andrew says:

    The whole assertion that there is no enemy is ludicrous and can only be seen as a blatant denial of reality. Reality says there is an enemy. Our choice is what do we do with that reality? Do we hate and demonize the enemy? Can we embrace them and get along? Can they be trusted? America has been burned in the past for being friendly with Muslims (i.e. Bin Laden). Like Bush tried to say (and miserably failed at): fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. That right now is our governments stance. Logically, it makes sense. It just does not pan out as we would like.

    The fact of the matter is that “world peace” is not possible because of the fallen and depraved nature of man. There probably hasn’t been a point since the beginning of time that men have not been murdering each other and at war. We, in all our self-righteous philosophy, knowledge, and technology, are incapable of the one thing that we need: Christ-like Love.

    27Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
    -Jesus (John 14)

  13. jonolan says:

    Finebeer,

    Who attacked us on our own soil? Who are we in “shooting wars with – no matter who started them? Muslims in all cases, most of which at least look like what an American thinks of as “Arab”.

    I think you’re reading too much of what you want to hear into what I’ve posted. “Valid suspicion” does not equate to hate, unreasoning fear, or any overt preemptive action. All I’m saying is that a threat has been defined and that it’s rational to take certain precautions to minimize that threat.

    If I believed in the demonization of all muslims, my rhetoric would be significantly different.

  14. finebeer says:

    Spelling correction: think not then — thanks

  15. finebeer says:

    Jonolan, your views are the ones that disseminate stupidity and a lack of critical thinking. You write:

    “Since America’s “active” enemies are muslim “Arabs” and those enemies don’t wear formal uniforms and attack via terrorist methods, Americans must view all muslims with a certain amount of valid suspicion.”

    Have you ever stopped to ask who designated Muslims as the supposed “active enemy” (rubbish) and why? Did you then Reds were under the bed during the Cold war, too? This demonisation serves political ends of a narrow few, and this neocon elite is counting on you buying into their hateful propaganda. There’s a sucker born every day. Build bridges instead of walls, and don’t believe everything the MSM tells you.

  16. jonolan says:

    ATW,

    You obviously have some critical issues with semantics; “normally reserved for” is a reference to common useage or connotation, as opposed to definition or proper denotation. I’m well aware that the Arab tribes are semitic peoples. This definition has been forgotten by most due to Zionist propoganda; thus my phrasing – “normally reserved for”.

    Enjoy your world view and be comforted in the fact that you’re not alone. Stupidity is sadly common.

  17. Jonolan,

    I was hoping you’d reply and I was hoping that your reply would be exactly as you stated!

    I don’t even begin to see how you can drag anti-semitism into this. That phrase is normally reserved for denouncing supposedly anti-Jew or anti-Israel rhetoric.

    And that, dear sir, is due tou your ignorance which shines through quite brightly. Do you even know what a Semite is? Who a Semite is? It’s obvious that you do not. I’ll give you a clue: dictionary!

    Long before you were born, Mr. ignorance, the whole world knew what a Semite is. It’s part of knowing one’s religion too. Yet only in North America have the militant Jews tried to change the definition to appease morons like you. I’m glad that their attempts were quite unsuccessful!

    And with this, dear Sir, I conclude. I have no more time to waste on the likes of you.

  18. jonolan says:

    I don’t even begin to see how you can drag anti-semitism into this. That phrase is normally reserved for denouncing supposedly anti-Jew or anti-Israel rhetoric.

  19. jonolan,

    Perfect. I love the fact that you have confessed to being an anti-Semite.

    Just what the world needs!!!

    ATW

  20. jonolan says:

    I’ll try this again since my last comment “disappeared”.

    It is perfectly natural for people to want to protect themselves and their families from threats. Since America’s “active” enemies are muslim “Arabs” and those enemies don’t wear formal uniforms and attack via terrorist methods, Americans must view all muslims with a certain amount of valid suspicion. Yes, this response plays right into the terrorists’ hands, but what can an American do? Ignore the threat and put our people at risk or take steps to protect yourself?

    I admit freely that when I see a muslim that I don’t know I do a quiet threat assessment and keep my eye on them. This is not islamophobia or bigotry; it’s just common sense since I’m involved in a war with my “side” pre-chosen for me.

  21. Jonolan,

    Although I understand and appreciate your reasoning and comments on Planet of the Arabs, I find your comments here shocking. By the same token then, Hitler was justified to err on the side of caution. Likewise, any terrorist group which kidnaps and kills civilians, anywhere in the world, have just found comfort in your words. This is appalling.

    ATW

  22. jonolan says:

    LOL! America has many enemies. Those enemies who are currently “under arms” against us are ALL muslims and most are of middleastern descent. It’s not surprising in the least that Americans are suspicious of obviously muslim people – any one of them might be a bomb wearing terorist!

    It’s all well and good to bow to political correctness and to strive to be fair and unprejudiced but, when the the price of a mistake is that high, it’s better to err on the side of caution.

  23. alizaki says:

    Excellent article! You’re right to drill home a

    I’m a muslim from Pakistan studying in the far east. I’m about as comfortable with anyone and anything as a ‘normal’ person can possibly be. I’ve traveled extensively, including three trips to the US in my 21 years, and speak many languages. I have friends all over the world, most of them in either the US or Canada.

    Yet I do feel hesitant now when someone mentions . Last time I applied for a visa (2003, never traveled), the process was cumbersome, requiring a personal interview and long forms, and I felt like the officers were eyeing me as a ‘suspect’ (god knows for what). In fact, they even fingerprinted me just because my last name happens to be Mahomed. So yea, if I were in the US i’d be bloody mad and bloody scared.

  24. Great article. The only exception I take to the head scarf, hajab, burqa, etc. is the case in Florida where the Muslim woman wanted to wear the full veil for her driver’s license photo. Other than that, everyone should have the right to live, work, play and for that matter anything they want provided it doesn’t interfere with the rights of another.

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