Let’s Burn The Burqa

(I feel so honored, so grateful to the Free thought Bloggers for giving me a warm hearted welcome. I truly feel at home. A million thanks to everyone for showing their  support and solidarity)


Because of this article,   cities were burned and 2 people were killed in India.



My mother used to wear a burqa with a net over her  face. It reminded me of the meat safes in my grandmother’s house. Meat safe’s  net was made of metal, my mother’s  net was made of linen.  But the objective was the same: keeping the meat safe. My mother was put under a burqa by her family. They told her that wearing a burqa would mean obeying Allah. If you obeyed Allah, He would be happy with you and not let you burn in hellfire. My mother was afraid of Allah and also of her father. He would threaten her with grave consequences if she did not wear the burqa.

My mother was also afraid of the men in the neighborhood; even her husband was a source of fear, for he could do anything to her if she disobeyed him.


As a young girl, I used to nag her: ‘Mother, don’t you suffocate in this? Don’t you feel all dark inside? Don’t you feel breathless?   Don’t you ever feel like throwing it off?’ My mother kept quite. She couldn’t do anything about it. But I could. When I was sixteen, I was presented a burqa by one of my relatives. I threw it out.


The custom of veil is not new. It goes as far back as 13th century B.C.E in Assyria.  The women of aristocratic Assyrian families used veil. Ordinary women and prostitutes were not allowed to wear veil. In the middle ages, even Anglo-Saxon women used to cover their hair and chin and hide their faces behind a curtain. This veil system was   not religious. The religious veil  was used by Catholic nuns and Mormons, though for the latter only during religious ceremonies and rituals. For Muslim women, however, such religious veil  is not limited to   rituals, but mandatory for their daily lives.

There are people who say that the Quran doesn’t say anything about wearing a burqa. They are mistaken. This is what the Quran says:

”And command the Muslim women to keep their gaze low and to protect their chastity, and not to reveal their adornment except what is apparent, and to keep the cover wrapped over their bosoms; and not to reveal their adornment except to their own husbands or fathers or husbands’ fathers, or their sons or their husbands’ sons, or their brothers or their brothers’ sons or sisters’ sons, or women of their religion, or the bondwomen they possess, or male servants provided they do not have manliness, or such children who do not know of women’s nakedness, and not to stamp their feet on the ground in order that their hidden adornment be known; and O Muslims, all of you turn in repentance together towards Allah, in the hope of attaining success. (It is incumbent upon women to cover themselves properly.) ”(Sura Al Noor 24:31)


‘O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to bring down over themselves [part] of their outer garments. That is more suitable that they will be known and not be abused. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful.'[Surah Al Ahzab 33:59]


Even the Hadith –a collection of the words of Prophet Muhammed, his opinion on various subjects and words about his work, written by those close to him– speaks extensively of the veil. Women must cover their   body before going out, they should not go before  strangers, they should not go to the mosque to pray,  they should not attend any funeral, they should not  go to the graveyards!


There are many views on why and how the Islamic veil started. One view has it that Prophet Muhammed became very poor after spending all the wealth of Khadija,  his first wife. At that time, in Arabia, the poor had to go to the open desert for relieving themselves, and even for sexual needs. The Prophet’s wives, too, had to do the same. He had told his wives t  “You are allowed to go out to answer the call of nature.’’(Bukhari Hadith first volume book 4 No. 149). Accordingly, this is what his wives started doing. One day, Prophet Muhammed’s disciple, Umar, complained  that these women were very uncomfortable because they were instantly recognizable while relieving themselves. Umar proposed a cover but Prophet Muhammed ignored it. Then the Prophet asked Allah for advice and he laid down   the verse  (33:59) (Sahih Muslim Book 026 No. 5397).


This is the history of the  veil, according to the Hadith. But the question is: as Arab men, too, relieved themselves in the open, why didn’t Allah start the veil for men? Clearly, Allah doesn’t treat men and women as equals,  else there would be veil for both! Men are considered superior to women. So women have to be made walking prisons.


Another view is that the veil was introduced to separate women from slaves. This originates from stories in the Hadith. One story in the   Hadith goes thus:   After the fall of Khyber, people described the beauty of Safia Bint Hui, the new bride of a slain enemy soldier. The Prophet chose her for himself. On the way to Medina he stopped and had intercourse with her. His companions did not know if she was a wife or a concubine/slave. Later, a veil was drawn between her and the men-folk and they came to know that she was a wife (Bukhari, Book of Sales and Book of Nikah 3:59).


The third view comes from this story. Prophet Muhammed’s wife Ayesha was very beautiful. His friends were often found staring at her with admiration. This clearly upset the Prophet. So the Quran has a verse that says, “Oh friends of the prophet, never go to the prophet’s house without an invitation. And if you do go, don’t look at his wives or ask them for any favour.”  It was to resist   friends, and disciples that  the veil system came into being. First, it was applicable to only the wives of the prophet, and later it was extended to all Muslim women. Now, some women practice the veil  by only covering their hair. That is not what is written in the Quran and in the Hadith: covering just the hair is not an Islamic veil.

Why are women covered?  Because they are objects for sex. Because  when men see  unveiled women, they are aroused. But men are not covered for this.    Why should women have to be penalized for men’s sexual problems? Women also have sexual urges!  But men are not penalized for ir.  In no religion created by men are women thought of as human beings.  The rules of veil    humiliate not only women but also men. If women walk about  without the veil, it’s as if men will look at them with lustful eyes, or pounce on them, or rape them. Do men lose all their senses when they see any women without a burqa?


My question to  people who argue that the Quran says nothing about the veil is: If the Quran advises women to wear  veil, should they do so? Really, No. Irrespective of which book says it, which person advises it, whoever commands it, women should  not wear the veil,  no veil, no chador, no hijab, no burqa, no headscarf, not any of them! They  are instruments of no respect. These are symbols of women’s imprisonment. Through them, women are told that they are  but the property of men and society: things. These coverings are used to keep women passive, submissive. Women are told to wear them so that they cannot exist with their honor, confidence, separate identity, respect – with their own opinions and ideals – intact; and so that they cannot stand with their heads held high and their spines strong and erect.


Some 1,500 years ago, it was decided for an individual’s personal reasons that women should wear veil, since then millions of Muslim women   have had to suffer it. So many old customs have died a natural death, but not the veil. Instead, of late, there has been a mad craze to revive it. Covering a woman’s head means covering her brain to ensure that it will not work. If women were not massively brainwashed or their  brains worked properly, they would have long ago thrown off these veils  imposed on them by a religious and patriarchal regime.



What should women do?  They should proclaim a war against the ill-treatment meted out to them.  They should snatch back from the men their freedom and their rights; they should throw their head-scarves out.  They should take off their burqas and burn them.


  1. 'Tis Himself says

    Do men lose all their senses when they see any woman without burqa?

    Can’t Muslim men control their urges when they see unveiled women? Instead of insisting women wear burqas, the Muslim hierarchy should be telling men to act reasonably, responsibly and properly no matter what women are or are not wearing.

    I have been at beaches where both sexes were wearing very little clothing. There didn’t seem to be orgies going on there. If Western people at St. Tropez and Daytona Beach can control themselves, why can’t Muslim men?

    • Usernames are stupid says

      If Western people at St. Tropez and Daytona Beach can control themselves, why can’t Muslim men?

      Unfortunately, when an belief (value) is part of one’s culture, it can be hard for some people to objectively see it, let alone reject it. This doesn’t make the value “right”†, but it makes sense why people’s values change slowly.

      An ex-coworker shared a personal story with me about travelling through some muslim countries when she was just out of college. She’s from India, but raised mostly in the States, so she got a bit of a culture shock going through those countries. I remember she said that several men asked her if she was muslim, and when she said no, their attitudes and demeanors changed. She said that that point, she started getting the heebie jeebies and proceeded to leave the area quickly.

      I wonder if the burka/veil is also damaging men—obviously not as much as the women who are forced to wear them—in that the men start to believe that a cloth-bag-wrapped woman is something (not someone) to be respected, whereas a non-cloth-bagged woman is a whore, so sex (and only sex) is all the relationship he needs to have with her.

      †Argh – I know “right” and “wrong” are subjective, and I’m going to be all ethnocentric and say that discrimination/bigotry is wrong anyway.

      • danielle says

        †Argh – I know “right” and “wrong” are subjective, and I’m going to be all ethnocentric and say that discrimination/bigotry is wrong anyway.

        Right and wrong are not subjective. Right and wrong may at times be complex, but this is not to say that there are no universal values. There absolutely are. Additionally, you are correct in saying that discrimnation/bigroty is wrong. There is nothing ethnocentric about saying that. For instance, there is nothing ethnocentric about the statement, “Slavery is wrong.” Nothing is wrong in saying, “Female mutilation is wrong.” These must be considered universal truths. To categorize these as “ethnocentric” is to value culture which is (no matter what culture we are speaking of) the site of various oppressions, to be above what is just. Culture does not take precedent over justice.

        Of course, everyone needs to tread with care in what they consider to be a universally just and there will be disagreement, but that’s always been true in ethics and it no doubt will always be true. We must continue the conversation about what is just and what’s not. Unfortunately, today’s urge to dismiss all notions of justice as relative is deeply harmful to that continued conversation.

    • says

      This has always been a massive point of contention with me. I have lived all my life in a western culture and have never once gone on a sex crazed rampage. Of course, I cannot deny the fact that sometimes I’m struck by someone’s physical beauty. This, however, does not then lead to me becoming a mindless drone in pursuit of sex and unable to reason with the various moral and legal laws that are in place to protect individual rights.

      In other words, sure, sometimes I see an attractive woman, but in the name of all that is FSM, that doesn’t mean I have any right to start behaving differently. It just honestly disgusts me whenever someone thinks that the opposite applies.

    • Stevarious says

      Can’t Muslim men control their urges when they see unveiled women?

      Consider, perhaps, an entire culture of men who are taught from childhood that if they see an unclad woman they will go mad with lust – that it won’t even be their fault if it happens, and that anything that happens after is the fault of the woman who allowed herself to be seen unclad.

      This is obviously a slight exaggeration. But not by much.

    • mynameischeese says

      Yeah, think of all the cultures where people walk around naked or nearly naked. Nakedness no longer means anything when it’s an everyday part of life.

    • seema kurd says

      I so agree….why can’t muslim men control themselves??? They should learn to respect women from the very beginning……There are more rapes and abuse in muslim countries where women cover themselves than in countries where women don’t wear burqa or hijab………..

  2. says

    Thanks for the info.

    I’ve heard so many contradictory points on this–it’s good to get some solid evidence and argument on this point. It makes understanding the situation with burqas a lot easier.

    Fight and Write on!

  3. Doubting Thomas says

    It took women in the US a long time to even get the vote and they are still not afforded equality in many areas, but they did not start from a place of such oppression. It is to be hoped that in today’s world with technology like the internet, the struggle for equality of Muslim women will be swift. In the end though, it is their fight to win.

  4. Susan says

    Just a couple of posts in, and I’m already hooked! Thank you for your brave and intelligent writing. Originally here via PZ, I’ve bookmarked you now. Welcome.

  5. Upright Ape says

    I think it is worth noting that mandatory dress codes for women have existed among christians as well. Oliver Cromwell banned makeup in England and his troops enforced strict rules of chastity. Dress codes for women were also strict in Puritan Massachusetts. But that was then and this is now.Most of the islamic world is still stuck in the 17th century.

    • Jim Baerg says

      In the case you mention about makeup, I doubt that makeup on males would have been acceptable, so at least it would not have been a sexual double standard.

      The pants for men vs. dresses for women, rule which only disappeared a few decades ago in western society, is similar (though much less extreme) to the Burka in that women were obliged to wear the more inconvenient type of clothing.

  6. Navigator says

    This reminds me of the book “My Forbidden Face” written by a girl about her life after the Taliban took over Afghanistan. At first they said the opening over a woman’s face could be “this big” and later came back and said it had to be smaller. All with the mesh obscuring the woman’s view.
    They are inconsistent and only interested in controlling women.
    Very sad that women stil have to endure this.

  7. Geeta says

    Taslima ji….u have written a very informative piece, I had many doubts regarding Muslim religion and burqua, You always write mind-blowing…what I think whatever the religion women have to face the same condition.Please write on Hindu religion and Women also. Another thing I want to share is that I am still confused about religions, every religion promotes itself as they are only best….I am born Hindu but the rituals and other aspects forces me not to follow it….

  8. Ian says

    Excellent. There is less fear of darkness where the light can penetrate; except of course for those who fear the light!

  9. Didaktylos says

    Really what should happen is that Muslim men should be forbidden from going out without blidnfolds …

    • says

      Massive facebook-style “Like”

      They should indeed!

      It happens in other religions too. In Ultra-Orthodox Judaism women are instructed to cover up also because men are apparently so weak that they cannot control their urges whenever they see above a woman’s forearms or if she wears jeans or red clothes.
      Also (obviously) in some of the extreme Christian groups in the USA and other places, where women are also treated as second class citizens due to a misinterpretation (and mistranslation apparently – see Aramaic bibles recently translated) of the story of Eve in the Bible.
      Even extreme communism (such as in China) women are treated horrendously if they don’t agree with the doctrine.

      We need to bring back the old Goddess religion as it was. In Arabic countries God was called “Al-lat” and She was worshipped at Mecca. The Kaaba was in fact her original shrine and is now covered up!!!!

      Really great blog! Thank you!! Keep writing!

  10. says

    Islam is approximately 14 centuries old. It has now reached the same state of social development as xtianity had when it had reached the age of approximately 14 centuries. It appears that you might be able to use the analogy of 100 years for a religion = 1 year for a human. So Islam is behaving like a nasty teenager with a bad attitude, or (at best) with an intellectual hobby-horse.

    Sooner or later it will grow out of this child’s-mind-in-an-adult’s body phase, and start acting at least nominally (in some parts of the world, at least) with a little tolerance and intellectual humility.

    I 100% support this piece of writing – but what I would never, ever condone would be the banning of its wearing by societal laws (as has happened in France). Ultimately it is a matter of choice – poorly informed and ill-motivated choice maybe – but choice nonetheless. Some slaves don’t want to be free.

  11. Andrew G. says

    The custom of veil is not new. It dates back to 300 BC. The women of aristocratic Assyrian families used veil.

    Typo for 1300 BC? The usual reference here is to a law code from the Middle Assyrian period dated to about that time (give or take a century or two).

  12. jay says

    Upright Ape: I think it is worth noting that mandatory dress codes for women “have existed among christians as well”

    Remnants of that still exist. I can sit shirtless in the yard and have a beer, but, as much as she’d like to, my wife can’t do that without risking arrest.

    The burqua problem is the extreme. But there is a lot of this in all religions that roots down to a suppression of women and obsessive fear of things sexual. And that sexual obsession remains in the secularilised world. Even in the west, it’s often other women who will ostracize one who deviates from the local ‘norms’.

  13. Kimpatsu says

    Because they are objects for sex. Because when men see unveiled women, they are aroused.
    The Buddha and Mohammed were walking along a riverbank, and they came across a beautiful young woman too afraid to ford the river, so the Buddha offered, “Jump on my back and let me carry you across”, which offer the beautiful young woman accepted, and the Buddha duly carried her across the river. Thereafter, for the next two miles, Mohammed was silent and clearly fuming about something, so the Buddha invited Mohammed to air his grievance. Whereupon, Mohammed burst out, “You touched that woman, an object of male desire!”
    To which Buddha replied, “Mohammed, I left that woman two miles back there on the riverbank. Why are you still carrying her with you…?”

  14. Felix says

    @Upright Ape:

    “Most of the islamic world is still stuck in the 17th century”

    Strictly, I think you should say the 15th (or early 16th) century, since in the 16th Europe had the reformation which broke the hegemony of the Catholic church and made Kings superior to the Pope and also opened the way for the religious pluralism of the 16th century followed by the ability to think for oneself as was necessary for the coming scientific revolution.

    Recommended reading: A.C. Grayling “Towards the Light: The story of the struggles for liberty and rights that made the modern West”


  15. Walter says

    This is English translation, but I wonder what ‘adornment’ and ‘apparent’ mean. Since the quotation only specifically mentions breasts to be covered yet eyes to be downlooking, complete veiling seems not in keeping with this command. I’m sure there has been endless discussion of all these points to justify doing what the ‘custom’ is.

  16. says

    And as Libby Anne pointed out (wrt Christian fundamentalists, but the point still applies), not only does this assume that men have less self control than a toddler or a chimpanzee, it goes on to say that these pathetic people with no self control are supposed to be in charge!

  17. says

    In no religion created by men are women thought of as human beings.

    And yet, so many seemingly intelligent women still cling to these religions.

    (Thanks for the wonderful post!)

  18. Steinar says

    This posting made me think of the debates that are ongoing about veils and hijab in several European countries; it would be great if you had the opportunity to share your views about e.g. prohibiting the use of veils in classrooms. Can such prohibitions be effective at protecting women (and men, actually) from oppressive religious practice, or is it rather better characterized as inhibiting freedom of expression?

    Also, thank you for your direct, clear and strong texts!

    • says

      Women are either forced or massively brainwashed to wear veil. Some secular countries banned religious signs in public schools. An effort to raise awareness about secularism.

      • mynameischeese says

        I hate when new converts to Islam in western countries start wearing extreme veiling and then go on and on about how spiritual it is and how it’s a feminist choice to cover because they’re feminists and they’re choosing it. As a woman and a feminist, for some reason, it really annoys me. I think the reason it annoys me so much is that they never take into account all the women around the world who don’t have a choice.

      • Ian says

        There as a female member of the audience on ‘The Big Question’ on BBC tv a couple of weeks ago who was a recent english convert to Islam. She was defending the veil, burka and almost everything else, but, the more she spoke about the protective feeling she had, and the spirituality, the more it became apparent that she was a shy, introverted female with a very poor self-image. Quite sad.

  19. bene.taylor says

    Learn something new every day: Muslim women wear veils to conceal the fact that they have no brain.

    Thanks for your posts…

  20. Woo_Monster says

    These are symbols of women’s imprisonment.

    Concise and true. It saddens me when some women (and some liberals, of all genders) fight for the right to wear these symbols of oppression.

  21. Katzentier says

    You’re a truly amazing writer und a very strong person. Looking forward to more, this is wonderful.

  22. jay says

    “. Can such prohibitions be effective at protecting women (and men, actually) from oppressive religious practice, or is it rather better characterized as inhibiting freedom of expression?”

    This is kind of where I draw the line. No one should be force to veil, but no one should be forced not to either (even if it’s for a good cause). What these women need, rather than superficial rules about their appearance (which, I think tend to treat them as children unable to make decision) is strong support to any one who chooses to leave that life… including legal protection, ‘safe houses’ if needed etc.

    Mandating exposure is not helpful (I imagine some western women would be uncomfortable to be in a place where they were *required* to be topless, for example.)


    There is some parallel with legal attacks polygamy. While it certainly is true that some such relationships are coercive, there are also people (I know some) who are in poly-amorous relationships of their own free will. The state does not belong making decisions for the people involved.

    • says

      This is kind of where I draw the line. No one should be force to veil, but no one should be forced not to either (even if it’s for a good cause).

      Agree completely. Seems like not only religious fundamentalists but some secularists are all too happy to use women’s bodies as a political playing field.

      How a woman chooses to dress is ultimately up to her, whether or not we approve.

  23. cami says

    Hi, Im a fan of your work. When I read this piece I was reminded of an experiment some classmates of mine once conducted. In one of my womens studies classses a group of eight gals all agreed to wear a hijab for one week. They gave a presentation the next week and all of them reported having been bothered, ridiculed, shunned and even hit upon. It was such a horrible experience that none of them made it the full week. And they were wearing a style of hijab that is popular in Kuwait. As far as veils go, this was a very progressive headscarf. Also, one of the gals father was Saudi and so she was ethnically Arab but passed as white(not because she was trying to but just because of peoples assumptions based on her appearance). When she wore the hijab, some of her sorority sisters made some horrible, derogatory comments about Arab people. It really hurt her deeply.
    The consensus of our class discussion was that veils are damaging to women and are an impediment to full participation in society.

    • Dianne says

      The consensus of our class discussion was that veils are damaging to women and are an impediment to full participation in society.

      I’m not sure how you came to this conclusion from your experiences, at least as you describe them. It seems to me that the experiences you wrote about are more about people’s prejudices leading to difficulty than the clothing per se being a problem.

      The woman whose father was Saudi but passes for white when not wearing a hijab was particularly interesting: She was hurt by her “friends” sudden changes in assumptions. They were nasty when she appeared as a member of a group they disliked. When she appeared to be one of them they were nice to her. I don’t see the difference between blaming the clothes here versus blaming a hoodie for making a young black man look like a “thug”.

      Maybe I misunderstood your experiences?

  24. freya says

    A wonderful article Taslima. Things like this very much need to be said publically and reach large amounts of people. Keep up the great work!

  25. julietdefarge says

    So, can one assume that those aristocratic Assyrian women were treated as trophies, and thus not for the commoners to look upon?

    At one time I thought that maybe the burqa started as protection from dehydrating sun and dirt blowing in the wind, and then I realized that these problems could have been solved with a wide-brimmed hat and an occasional scarf over the nose. If I needed any more proof that burqas are repressive, it’s the color. Men get to wear light-colored garment that reflect the heat, women have to wear dark.

  26. Caravelle says

    ”And command the Muslim women to keep their gaze low and to protect their chastity, and not to reveal their adornment except what is apparent, and to keep the cover wrapped over their bosoms; and not to reveal their adornment except to their own husbands or fathers or husbands’ fathers, or their sons or their husbands’ sons, or their brothers or their brothers’ sons or sisters’ sons, or women of their religion, or the bondwomen they possess, or male servants provided they do not have manliness, or such children who do not know of women’s nakedness, and not to stamp their feet on the ground in order that their hidden adornment be known; and O Muslims, all of you turn in repentance together towards Allah, in the hope of attaining success. (It is incumbent upon women to cover themselves properly.) ”(Sura Al Noor 24:31)

    Okay, I’m probably missing something here, but… doesn’t this tell women not to reveal their breasts ? It refers to “bosoms”, and I tried assuming that “adornment” meant “hair” (given that most muslim veils AFAIK cover the hair at the very least), but how on Earth would stamping one’s feet make one’s “hidden adornment” known if that’s hair ?

    On the other hand, stamping your feet on the ground will make your breasts jiggle.

    It also makes the “not to reveal your adornment except what’s apparent” have a modicum of sense : normally revealing something and making it apparent are the same, but breasts are something that can be apparent without being actually “revealed” (i.e. naked).

    It looks as if I could (and do) respect that Sura fine with a t-shirt and a bra (70% less jiggling !). The other verse about bringing down upon themselves part of their outer garments might more clearly be about veils but I can’t really tell.

    I had no prior assumptions that the Quran doesn’t require veils (after all, the Bible does), but if those verses are the best evidence for it I’m unconvinced.

    But I guess there are translation issues or other verses that make the case stronger ?

    • Sana says

      “how on Earth would stamping one’s feet make one’s “hidden adornment” known if that’s hair”. My guess would be jewelry that makes jingling sounds such as anklets or even some other if someone walked with a stomp. On another hand, a perfect way for a woman to feel utterly self conscious about her body, and even how she walks.

      A lot of girls where I grew up walked with a hunchback when they were in their teens. Some still walk slightly bent embarrassed of their curves.

  27. freedom thinker says


    Excellent post! I totally agree with everything that’s written. ban on veils in Countries like France and Turkey should be an example to the world. veiling a woman is degrading and unethically! this mentality should not exist to veil a women because of male intimacy and sexual arouses. Veiling should certainly not be a CHOICE even in the west because this non-sense mentality should not exist!!

    I am violently against the piece of fabrics that women have to cover up with, its morally wrong and anything that comes from Islam is morally wrong and a threat to the human civilization.

    AND for women who say women should be free to wear the veil etc, NO they should not be! i would love to see them living in the Middle East and North Africa under those Islamic conditions and see if they survive with the veils.

    Long live secularism and humanity!!!

    • says

      ban on veils in Countries like France and Turkey should be an example to the world.

      No, they should not. Do you want to see women in France and Turkey confined to their homes by male relatives because they can’t legally go outside in “modest” garb? And some women wouldn’t feel comfortable without veils, just as many women in the West wouldn’t feel comfortable without a shirt on in public. They’re supposed to be unable to go out without massive anxiety and unwanted attention from men just because you want to make a point?

      Fuck’s sake, I’m damned sick of people who treat women’s bodies like a political battlefield for the women’s “own good,” whether they’re theocrats or atheists. (And why am I not surprised to hear this crap from some d00d with a pseudosopher handle like “Freedom Thinker”?) Women can damn well decide what they want to wear, thank you.

      • says

        Your thinking is flawed. And, you contradict yourself. If as you state the religion imposes this and women follow it passively and in order to protect themselves from “unwanted attention” then how can you on the other hand emphatically state they should be allowed to demand the right to wear the Burqa? The ideas conflict. The fact remains it is an imposed costume intended to convey one thing. I, the wearer, am sexually and otherwise a possession. This mentality is not normal or in recognition of any equality gender or otherwise. Why defend it? Judao-Christian/Western/Secular Democracy thinking really does not apply here. Think like Mohammed and the how the Quran conveys its message on women. You actually do little to defend women’s rights at all with this thinking. Read the Quran, study the cultural practices which are supported and encouraged by Islam and take a step back. It isn’t your perspective that is important, you need to look at it from the other side, your experience, where you grew up, is irrelevant.

    • says

      I am so grateful to all Freethought bloggers for welcoming me at FTB. This is the only place I believe I would not be thrown out of. I would not be banned or censored.I would be able to express my opinions even if that may be different from others’.

      • Sarah says

        Haha! Good luck with that! There are a lot of places on the web where you will not be banned or thrown out, opinions will not be censored, FreeThoughtBlogs is not the place.

        Try disagreeing with any of the prevailing “settled” opinions here, or perhaps have a visit to PZ Meyer’s “Dungeon” where he labels and mocks people who he has thrown off his website and banned, safely where they cannot reply to his abuse.

        This is not a safe space. Nor an honestly named one.

  28. harkirat singh says

    Its interesting that sects in which women are given considerable leeway, record lower number of rapes than the orthodoxes. I remember quite distinctly reading in TOI, about a study conducted, comparing the such sects in india. And the result was as expected.

  29. Stephan says

    Why women in West still cover their nipples or cover their vaginal area?

    Who gave them this order to uncover the whole body but not nipples and vaginal area?

    Why some parts of women body are moral and the rest is not?

    To be slave of religion or of market is same.

  30. Akram says

    The problem is Prophet Muhammad who misled the all Muslims. He was a vulgur man. He was a greedy of women. He had a child-wife Aisha who was just 6 years old. So muslims are the followers of a notorious mean human which shows they have little about think. Most times i begin to think whether Muslims are semi-humans as they hardly have humanity. Wherever you go they do all dirty and inhumane deeds in the name of Allah.

    • Stevarious says

      Unfortunately, all the evidence shows that being wrong about important things and treating other humans terribly are entirely common human traits.

      Dirty and inhumane deeds are not exclusive to Muslims. Muslims do not all act in dirty and inhumane ways. Please keep in mind that when you make ignorant sweeping generalizations about people you don’t know, you reveal all sorts of unpleasant things about yourself.

  31. says

    It is so wonderful you write this and freethoughtblogs are to be congratulated to provide you with a home. Overdue it would appear that you had a secure place to freely communicate. “Burn the Burqa” is a beacon of light in support of eliminating what must be crushing oppression for so many. In contrast we hear of “protests” where, rather than burn the Burqa we’re asked to “wear the Burqa” in solidarity of women. What on earth do they mean by this? Have they gone mad, or lost the capacity to think? The social left have lost the plot on this matter. I’ve had so many head shakes and worried frowns sent my way when challenging the view that to wear a Burqa is a suppression not a right or a symbol of piety. People have lost the capacity to view criticism of Islam correctly and in context with it as a religion which rejects human rights and especially those of women. To defend a “woman’s right” (imprisonment is not a right) to be permanently shrouded by the Burqa whilst the majority are forced by fear or even community pressure/isolation to do so is obscene and oppressive in and of itself. Where are our human rights voices on this?
    I’ll be looking out for more of your refreshing clarity. Thankyou Talisma!

  32. DLC says

    On the one hand, I want to see all mandated clothing stop.
    Legally the state can force women to take the headgear off while taking their driver license or passport photo, and police officers can compel a woman to remove their headgear for purposes of identification. I think Taslima’s concluding paragraph is right. She mentions “should” not “must be forced to”. The key issue to me here is choice. No woman should ever be so brainwashed as to want to make that choice. It’s just plain wrong.
    Burn the Burqa.

  33. says

    I agree with Taslima – by all means, encourage Muslim women to burn the burqa, niqab, hijab. While we are at it, let’s encourage ultra-Orthodox Jewish women to toss away their wigs and conservative clothing and sit at the front of the Israeli buses, and encourage fundamentalist Christian women to throw off their long dresses in favour of slacks/trousers/pants.

    But please let’s not try to pass laws mandating how much or how little clothing a person must wear. Yes, the woman who embraces wearing the hijab or niqab (or even a burqa) as a feminist act of personal expression is probably not thinking very clearly about the implications of her actions. But she should not be legally prevented from doing so, any more than we should mandate that a highschool girl should be forbidden to wear a tuxedo to her prom, that a woman should not be allowed to remove her shirt anywhere a man can, or that there should be any sanctions against any form of dress and/or undress with the exception of those required for health and safety.

    • says

      Despite my disagreement with Taslima in other threads, I basically agree with her here, but your comment really gives an almost perfectly balanced position. Ideally, there should be no laws about clothing except perhaps with regard to health and safety. Fine. No problem. I agree. This means that people can choose to wear the burqa if they want to. We have to accept that—in such a society. But this society exists in no country on Earth. In reality, the majority decide what everyone must and must not wear, the difference being the amount of leeway involved, the penalties for non-compliance etc. Not what you or I would want, but that’s the way it is. Basically, if a society wants to ban the burqa from public life, this is no different than banning nudity from public life. Whatever personal reasons are involved for various people concerned, at the end of the day the fact is that something is allowed or not because the majority wants it that way. Again, I don’t agree, but that is reality.

      In some places where “Islamic dress” has been banned, there have been demonstrations for the right to wear whatever one wants, in the name of personal freedom, often supported by left-leaning atheists. My response: I’ll come to your demonstration if I can be nude while there. This calls their bluff. It’s not about personal freedom, it is about their wish for an exception to the rule (which I disagree with) that the majority decides what is appropriate for all, which is often the case in democracies which haven’t yet realized that majority rule is only when a decision has to be made and that there are many areas where no decision is necessary and personal freedom should be the guide. There are anti-discrimination laws which say one shouldn’t be disadvantaged due to race, origin, religion, ethnicity etc. Fine. By the same token, one shouldn’t be able to claim some sort of exception on these grounds. So, if the majority says, for whatever reason, we don’t want the head scarf in public, people who want to wear head scarves in public have to accept it for the same reasons that people who want to walk nude down the high street can’t do so for no other reason than that the majority doesn’t want it. Would I agree to lifting both restrictions? Yes. Would I agree to lifting only one? No. Fairness in society is too important. Also, if the one to be lifted is based on religious objections, this could set a precedent for allowing other special privileges on religious grounds, not a precedent that should be set.

      • says

        My response: I’ll come to your demonstration if I can be nude while there.

        No bluff to call: If I were holding such a demonstration, you would be welcome to attend nude.

        As for universal application of rules, I have yet to hear a proposal for how to formulate laws to implement public bans of the burqa or niqab without reference to religion. True secularism does not make exceptions for religion, either to permit what would otherwise be forbidden, or to forbid what would otherwise be permitted.

        • says

          No bluff to call: If I were holding such a demonstration, you would be welcome to attend nude.

          Presumably my wife as well. Then you’ve called my buff. 🙂

          As for universal application of rules, I have yet to hear a proposal for how to formulate laws to implement public bans of the burqa or niqab without reference to religion. True secularism does not make exceptions for religion, either to permit what would otherwise be forbidden, or to forbid what would otherwise be permitted.

          There was a law in France (not sure if it was implemented in this form, was overturned etc but the status should be easy to find) certainly aimed at the burqa which forbids covering the face so that identity is not verifiable. Of course, this applies to anyone wearing such attire for any reason. Actually, many countries have laws against this anyway, since otherwise it is difficult to identify criminals from surveillance cameras etc. (Obviously, if someone robs a store, then he won’t hesitate to wear a mask. However, this would prevent someone from showing up in a mask (or in a burqa, which is actually a real concern—it could also be a man underneath for all anyone knows) to scout the scene of the intended crime without doing anything else illegal. Exceptions exist for health and safety reasons (firefighters when fighting fires, motorcycle riders when riding motorcycles). There are also other reasons, such that nonverbal communication can be important etc. Although no-one debates the fact that the law was aimed at the burqa, as formulated it is religiously neutral.

          Another aspect: If a country wants to allow the burqa in general, at least in some situations, then one could still make a case for allowing it only for people over 18 or whatever. There are similar laws in many countries allowing tattoos, piercings, cosmetic surgery etc only to people over 18, no matter what the parents’ views on the matter might be. This has to do with the idea of equal opportunity. Schoolchildren wearing a burqa don’t have equal opportunity in practice, and whether it is their choice is also not easy to determine, so here it seems better to err on the side of no burqa.

          While we’re at it, circumcision (of either sex; I am aware of the fact that “female circumcision” makes it sound less gruesome) should also be voluntary and permitted only for those over 18. (If any recently formed “sect” had genital mutilation of children as part of its practice most countries would outlaw this practice right away without the need for any sort of debate.)

          • says

            I have no problem with restricting burqas or niqabs from being worn in banks, stores, etc – this is a matter of public safety. I similarly have no problem requiring people to wear shirts and shoes in stores and restaurants – again in issue of health and safety. My understanding of the French law is that it bans burqas in all public spaces – ie even on streets and parks etc. Where I live, it would be impossible to formulate legislation that outlaws burqas in public without banning outdoor apparel commonly worn on our streets in January/February, except by explicitly referring to the religious nature of the garment.

  34. says

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    • says

      Note to Taslima: The above comment from “Porno” is very probably what is known as comment spam. Note that the text is purely generic and could apply to any blog. Note that it is an ad for porn. What probably happened is that some program scans blogs for certain keywords and enters a comment (with the link to the site provided in the “Website” field). The person responsible has very probably never read your blog nor knows who you are.

  35. Mehreen Hashmi says

    I love your article, I am happy at least some one raised this issue. I myself have been molested by my Muslim neighbor when I was only 3 years old. I don’t have to explain much after this . He was Muslim and I was only 3 , was I supposed to wear burqa that time? This is not it! Later on my own brothers molested me in my own house and I was always a sign of ashamed for my family so they forced me to wear a burqa and act of my brothers had considered my fault cause my family thought because I am a girl so my use is just to have sex in short I am made for sex nothing else. Now I am not in contact with my family , I have taken apart from them , I threw my burqa and working as an Visual artist now. I am not in favor of covering myself. Why should I suffer and suffocate myself? When my frustrated brothers and my neighbor can not mercy a little girl………
    and one more thing when I tell people about my brothers they tell me to keep quiet , If some thing like this have happened to me , Its not my fault , these assholes should be suffered. But in this country when I tried to get legal support against my brother no body wants to talk about it. But I don’t care I will fight and will save other girls like me who I know are suffering with the same situation but they don’t know how to fight !

  36. Ramsey says

    After reading the article I have come to one firm conclusion. while the right to free speech is a good thing, I wish people practised the art of thinking as well.

    Take everything you read on this page (and elsewhere for that matter) with a grain of salt. It’s a very good practice. Looking at her interpretations I see just that, interpretations, lacking any truly convincing arguments behind them. In the area of religion, I believe the author to be a layman. Sure, she is entitled to her opinion, but it is just that, an opinion. While she may believe certain things about the veil, that does not make them true.

    Let me explain by example. Some 5 or so years ago at least one state in the US had a law which forbade interracial marriages. I could write an article and put it online in which I explained how this law showed that there was active discrimination against black people, including all kinds of persecutions up to and including lynch mobs. To (a hypothetical) someone in a foreign country that has had very little to do with the US my argument might seem very convincing. Especially if I dug up some other laws. And they exist, in at least 3 states of the US legally blind people are allowed to hunt. With guns.

    Now, while I could write a very convincing article about it, it would not be true. Because interracial marriages do exist in Alabama. The law is simply on there because no one ever bothered to take it off the books.

    I only ask the people reading this to exercise their right to think freely. While she may have a point about women not covering their faces and such with a veil (I believe that a full body burqa is silly and not very Islamic myself) she is not an authority on religion in any way. Her interpretations on verses and hadith could be (and I believe them to be) faulty. After all, it does not take a lot of imagination to find another interpretation for “to keep the cover wrapped over their bosoms”. I assume that anyone reading this comment will agree that going topless is not considered socially acceptable in many societies (although it was quite a bit more acceptable in Arabia before the Prophets time, probably the reason for said verse).

    And as for “throwing the headscarves off”, are we really the kind of society that believes in forbidding women to wear a perfectly acceptable piece of cloth covering their hair? After all, there are plenty of female Muslim politicians who cover their hair. Perhaps it’s the association we seem to have with oppression that we need to get rid off.

    And I find it quite odd that people are so rampant on protecting the “poor Muslim women” from innocent pieces of cloth while anyone with a Middle Eastern name has a hard time finding employment. Before we start forcing people to not wear a headscarf, perhaps we should protect their right to finding employment without discrimination?

  37. Aisha says

    Taslima is not as educated as I thought she was if she believes that the burqa is nothing but evil and that it should be “burned”. Sure, her mother was forced into wearing it or, rather, manipulate into wearing it and so are hundreds if not thousands of innocent Afghani, Arab, Pakistani or African Muslim women who are living a life of hell and pain behind this huge piece of clothing that’s imprisoning them but then at the same time there are women out there who are wearing because they wish to do so and because they feel comfortable with it. Everyone opposing the burqa probably already heard that a million time and you know why? BECAUSE IT’S TRUE. So, no. The burqa doesn’t need to be burned because a few unfortunate women are living in pain because of it. Instead, help those women and educate them to stand up for themselves or rather, educate the men or women in their lives forcing them to wear it.

    • says

      Thesis: Societies which require the burqa differ from most other societies only in degree, not in kind. Most societies agree that nudity is not generally acceptable and also agree more or less what nudity is. It is also sex-neutral, except that a visible beard is not considered nudity but visible female breasts are (both are secondary sexual characteristics). While most people might claim they reject public (or even private) nudity on other grounds, the real source of this taboo is religion, just like in the case of the burqa. It’s just a degree of difference, not of kind. Any arguments as to why public nudity is inappropriate are essentially the same as arguments in favour of the burqa, head scarves etc.

      In no country does the freedom exist for individuals to determine completely where, when and what they want to wear (or not). In all countries, the majority determines what is appropriate for everyone. If one can live with the fact that the majority doesn’t want public nudity, then one should be able to live with the fact if the majority wants to ban the burqa. In both cases it’s the same reason: it is what the majority wants. Anti-discrimination laws specify that no-one should be disadvantaged because of race, religion, culture, ethnic origin etc. By the same token, no-one should be able to claim exemptions from the rules of society on these grounds. There are two logical arrangements: complete freedom of dress, including allowing public nudity, or majority rules, including banning the burqa. Thus, there should be no problem banning the burqa based on majority vote as long as majority vote rules in similar questions (appropriate dress). On the other hand, if one thinks that individual freedom prohibits a ban on the burqa, then it should also prohibit a ban on public nudity. If one campaigns for freedom, it should be freedom for everyone. A campaign for the right to wear the burqa based on freedom is probably cast that way not because the people pushing it believe in freedom, but because they see this having a greater chance of success than trying to claim an exemption from the rules of society. (Of course, many people who favour the right to wear the burqa, and all people who think that the burqa should be mandatory, disapprove of public nudity, making it clear that their real issue is not freedom.)

  38. says

    What i like to say after reading this article that it has no strong point about any sense of making a women nude. If you dont like to keep your body protected then none will force you to keep vail. But what ever you do and what ever you have done wrong for all these stufs you have to sufer in hereafter. Indeed allah knows the best why he asked to keep women under cover or asked to wear long clothes on bodies or not to show their bodies display to others. Indeed its a sin to disobey allahs command and not to follow quran and sunnah. Here the writer said if women goes out sxey then the muslim men will unable to keep themselves in control. What a pity it is she clearly answeed the dangerness of nudity but she like to mention for men to get aroused is sin here. i am going to laugh on it. so thats why women should follow what allah asked to. On the other hand if not followed all will be burn with this writer too.

  39. mashal says

    you knw wat..after reading this piece of crap ….i just felt that the writer is implementing to get nude…..because i think if burqa is a form of imprisonment then so is clothing……! and seriously nobdy gives a damn if you are fu**ed up about smthng………!

    besides , even if i were a christen i would think that why should i listen to a muslim who doesnt even have knowledge about her own religion….! if this was written by a Christian or say a jew…. and burqa was their custom seriouslyyyyyy…. i would’ve thought that if half the population is following smthing and the Prophet and The Holy book is saying the same smthng …why should i listen to sm1 waaaaaaaaaaay too ordinary…!!!!! think about it

  40. Ehtesham Deshmukh says

    It is pity that a woman who has not read Quran and does not know anything about Islam uses her Muslim name and non-muslim faith to criticize the Burka without understanding the philosophy. Whether she came acre=oss a single woman of the sorld who has a complaint against her male counterparts/family member alleging that they have forced her to adopt and follow Burka. females of my family do not use Burka. there are thousands and laks of muslim women who do nbot use burka. Whether they are condemnd by mulsim male in their fmaily. Mol;e out of mountain for Taslima about her malafieds about Islam and Muslims. She practised not following marriage Institution .does it mean that such act should be followed by all. My non mulsim friends are not expected to know Islam or its concepts. Without any study of such ocncepts it is not fair to follow a outcasted ELSE there will be repetition of cases of Delhi Gang Rape. Give some examples where burka clad woman is raped in India.Taslima-Ehtesham Deshmukh

  41. Reason Me says

    This is what happens to women who burn Burqa! Not by the hands of a man, but by Allah (SWT).
    Ehtesham is right, You don’t have any Islamic faith and you only speak for yourself, Do not you know of women in Australia, Canada, USA and lots of other Western countries reverting to Islam and wearing veils?
    Could any man ever force those western grown up women to wear veils?
    You have been brought up as you said yourself, in India, a poor, under developed country, moraly, ethically and with lots of social problems. So why would you not chose this topic to be famous and known so you could be highlighted as a good writer and activist.

    If you have written on anything but Islam., you’d still have been a no one unknown.

    Check out the link below:

  42. vijay says

    Tasleema curse upon you tasleema.. if you don’t want to wear burqa then don’t but why are you saying against it.. if you don’t like to eat spicy food so then you are not eating it, right? but you don’t publish it in the books or your fucked up blog. so why are u publishing this religious topic.. shame on u curse upon u. u bitch tasleema

  43. Sabbir Iquebal says

    In fact burqa is not associated with the Islam, it is associated with the male dominating society, the patriarchy or patrilineal form of the society

    • ahmad zafar says

      Mr. Shabbir I humbly address to you the fact that burkha is mandatory in Islam because it has many importance. I recommend you to learn importance of burkha from imaam of nearby mosque. I also initially don’t like the school but when I learn its importance I attended it. So nothing good or bad is based on some one liking because all people have different behaviour but when you learn its importance you start liking it.

  44. ahmad zafar says

    Burkha is good. Its shows that women are not exposing their body parts to men. Men are also very comfortable to live in society were woman wear burkha. If you were men you had known more value of it. Its your choice but I give you a humble request to try it once with good feeling not thinking of what others will say. You will surely feel the importance of it. You will feel dignity and pride in it. That’s its a gift for a woman. You will fell more womanly and important. Its will increse your internal beauty.

  45. says

    The the very next time I read a weblog, Hopefully that this doesnt disappoint me as much as this one. I mean, I know it was my substitute for read, but I really thought youd have some thing fascinating to convey. All I hear is actually a handful of whining about something that you could fix should you werent too busy trying to find attention.

  46. D P Naidu says

    yes, it’s true. burqa custom is outdated and against humanity as a whole.
    it’s to be stopped.


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