”Islam gives women freedom!”

Most people say, women choose to wear the burqa. Why hasn’t a single man ever chosen to wear the burqa if it is a matter of choice?

I have heard that under the burqa it’s an Italian woman who recently converted to Islam.

How can they bear such a humiliation! Is it because they, too, believe that women are born with the wrong gender!

They are women, inferior beings. They are slaves, men’s private properties. They have to feel ashamed of their bodies. They have to hide their bodies because they are objects who can stir men’s sexual thoughts. Every woman is a potential inducement to sin. Women are filthy, faceless. They are mobile prisons. Islamists, apologists for Islam, and some human rights organizations including Amnesty International are against burqa ban. They think women’s prisons are women’s freedom.

Let’s help women who are forced to wear the burqa, a symbol of oppression. Let’s help massively brainwashed women who wear the burqa for different silly reasons: Religious obligation, cultural tradition, religious freedom, exhibition of political Islam.


  1. nida khan says

    I would request you to get a deeper understanding of the religion you write about. In Islam women are not compelled to cover their faces. There is veil for men as well. Islam is the only religion in the world which offers women many rights, for example, property rights, taking her views into consideration before the marriage is performed. So be careful before talking about Islam.

    • Tom Robbins says

      “and last but the most important one, islam is the only religion in the world which offers women so many rights, for instance property rights, taking her view into consideration before the marriage is performed.”

      Bullshit! I call Bullshit! mostly because i can’t swing a cane without finding cases of women being mistreated for not covering their faces or running away from forced marriages, and secondly because sikhism is the only religion (besides lack thereof) i’ve seen that actually takes steps to treat women fairly.

      • nida khan says

        Allah created women different from men, so respect these differences and be kind to them

        The Messenger of Allah prophet Mohammad (pbuh)said, “Treat women with kindness, for woman is created from a rib, and the most curved portion of the rib is its upper portion. So if you try to straighten it, it will break, but if you leave it as it is, it will remain curved. So treat women with kindness.” [Sahih Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 55, Number 548]

    • mynameischeese says

      I don’t understand. Women around the world have property rights. How is Islam trying to take credit for this one? It’s a bit like Christianity trying to take credit for Nintendo.

    • says

      “taking her view into consideration before the marriage is performed.”

      Taking her view into consideration? Good grief! Just “into consideration”!

      You couldn’t be more patronising or sexist. You are an excellent example of what’s wrong.

  2. MichaelD says

    bah men wear the burqa that’s like asking men to wear skirts! It’ll never happen….. *skips links about kilts and transvetites and….* 😛

  3. 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.)

    • toby says

      The difference is that the Burqa presents a safety hazard by impeding movement, impeding balance and restricting peripheral vision. Yes, western women also wear clothes/high heels/eye makeup/gigantic sunglasses that impede movement, balance and peripheral vision but they are not under pressure to do so.

    • says

      The most baffling thing to me was being in a gender studies class at a big name school that was focused on ‘Women in the Muslim World.’ During one lecture, the instructor put up a picture like the one in the post, with dozens of women in complete burkas.

      The take-home message was, I shit you not, “The west orientalizes Muslim women by photographing them as if they’re one big monolith.” Yes, as if “The West” had posed the picture!

  4. The Rose says

    “They have to hide their bodies
    because they are objects who can
    stir men’s sexual thoughts.”

    —Your WORDS turn me on, Taslima. Make me feel terrible/sad/sick…ouch -good stuff

    I’m posting that “comic” in our bulletin board.

  5. says

    As near as I can understand the situation, women who ‘choose’ to wear burqa do so because of the centuries of patriarchy that have resulted in a variation of the Stockholm Syndrome.

    @ nida khan – I believe Ms. Nasreen’s credentials on understanding Islam are much better than your understanding of basic human rights.

  6. lpetrich says

    This reminds me of an amusing exchange in Richard Dawkins’s “The Root of All Evil?” RD found Joseph Cohen / Yousef al Khattab, an Orthodox Jew who had converted to Islam, someone whom RD hoped could see both sides of the Arab-Israeli conflict. But JC/YK talked at length about how important it was to get non-Muslims off of Muslim land, and he complained that in Western society, the men make the women dress like whores, or at least tolerate their dressing like whores.

  7. Gopal says

    I think having the ability to drive themselves in Saudi Arabia without the insane assumption that women drivers are out to fornicate and have gay sex, or even the safety to walk about in parts of Afghanistan without of worry of being attacked and raped, is a bit more paramount to women in some Muslim countries than what they’re wearing.

    • MatthewL says

      So your point is one part of an oppressive condition is OK because other parts are so much worse?

      • Gopal says

        Is it wrong to think that social and legal change is more important than clothing at the moment? Especially since clothing and other side effects of cultural institutions become less important, generally, as law and society become more liberal? I just think people should be focused on what women actually want in these regions — driver’s licenses in Saudi Arabia, general safety in Afghanistan for examples. Then we can worry about burqas and chadors and niqabs and so on. (Which, really, women are quite creative with anyway — they aren’t all shapeless black potato sacks. Oddly enough, you’re probably more likely to see that in Muslim communities in London than, say, Tehran anymore.)

  8. says

    Phillip Helbig:

    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…

    The face is rather special as human anatomy goes. It is how we recognize each other and how we communicate with each other. Masking the face always has implications beyond general notions against nudity.

    • MatthewL says

      Good point. There is also a fundamental difference between outfits specifically intended to erase individualty and self expression and pretty much all other clothing.

  9. jdrs0819 says

    The burqa is more cultural than religious; it’s existed before Islam was even founded. I do not believe in cultural relativism. Sexism is a form of violence, and I do not think it should be tolerated; I see the burqa as a sexist “tradition” by putting the onus of men’s sexual and power trips on women, just as has been done for centuries. When it comes to basic human rights, nothing pisses me off more than arguments based on “cultural acceptance”. But what makes it any different than what nuns wear? Saris? The White Man™ should not be seen as the blank slate. It is the thought processes that should be combated, not whatever cultural norms that might continue a sexist tradition. Women in the West should not feel pressured to wear makeup before they go to the grocery store any more than a woman in Saudi Arabia should feel pressured to cover her body down to her ankles. Nor should they feel pressured not to wear what they so choose. In this sense I feel like we’re all trapped in a prison of societal pressures; who determines whether it was actually your choice to do it?

    I suppose the reason there’s a stronger focus on things like burqas is because in a sense women don’t have an identity, and it’s almost like they’re ghosts. Over time cultural norms change, and women in Afghanistan didn’t always wear the veil (before the Russians invaded they really didn’t, and they attended the University of Kabul in droves). For women who grew up wearing it, or seeing their mothers and grandmothers wear it, it’s part of their culture. They may feel uncomfortable without it. I don’t think demanding women give up traditional garb is either effective or fair — the sexist traditions that the burqa represents can only be changed by time and assimilation into a more open, multi-cultural society where women have more personal freedom and the education to take advantage of it. That is what we should strive for, that is where my end goals reside.

  10. Pooja says

    The best analytical article towards Burqa. Also I feel, it’s not only Muslims, even Hindu women in some parts of India practice ‘Purda’, which is equally condemnable. Women, please wake up, respect yourself.

    • Sumbul Waseem says

      Islam doesn’t suppress a woman rather it protects her. Islam talks about Hijab for women, SO DO OTHER RELIGIONS. It might be surprising, but here goes the quotes from Rig Veda, Book 8, Hymn 33, Verse 19 “When Brhama has made you a dame(woman) you should lower your gaze and should not look up. You should put your feet together and you should not reveal that which the garment and the veil conceals ” and in Mahavir Charitra, Ramayana Act 2, pg 71 Rama tells his wife Sita to lower her gaze and put on the veil.

      In Christianity a nun is not considered to be suppressed when she covers up herself. Then why is Islam targeted when all the religions talk about the same thing? All religions protect a woman so that she is not exposed to any sort of Evil like Adultery, rape, eve-teasing, Harassing etc.Allah has ordered in the Quran FIRST to the MEN and then to the women to lower their gaze and guard their modesty : Surah Noor Ch:24, V:30 “Say to the believing man that he should lower his gaze and guard his modesty”. A man should lower his gaze if any unpleasant thought comes to his mind. So if both men and women start following these principles I’m sure problems wont exist and people wont have to fight for their rights as they do Today!

      • says

        So your “justification” of your stupid religion is that other religions are just as bad. It took centuries advance to the degree of equality between the sexes that we have in the West. Three hundred years ago women were locked up in nunneries, burnt at the stake and imprisoned for merely being themselves, by “God fearing” Christians. It is quite clear to anyone with a modicum of intelligence that if political Islam had its way this obscene way of treating women would return.

        Many of us have had enough of stupid religions and their stupid prophets and their stupid holy books. We have no need of any more.

          • Sumbul Waseem says

            Really Ms. Nasreen, maybe your own thoughts are hampered after knowing the truth which you are trying to hide. At least let people express their “free thoughts”

        • Sumbul Waseem says

          @ Bernard – There are two sisters, Twins, very beautiful. One of them wears mini skirt revealing her body parts and the other sister wears an Islamic burqa. Both of them are walking down a street where there is a gang of hoodlums.
          I ask you, which girl would bear the risk of being teased or being raped? Of course the one with the revealing dress who exposes her beauty. Like all the women who wear “their choice” of revealing dresses and intentionally “stir men’s sexual thoughts”,no wonder they are being mobbed off their Rights! How stupid can a person be? First they themselves do the mistake and then blame the society for their losses. Its time to WAKE UP.

          • says

            Grow up, Sumbul, you inane pile of pigshit! How dare you blame women for the way they are treated by criminals! Idiots like you are part of the problem not part of the solution. Men who rape or molest women are criminals and deserve to be treated as such; and I am not interested in pathetic excuses about their sexual thoughts being aroused. Any man who finds himself unable to live in a society where women and men behave as equals is mentally ill.

          • says

            That really depends on which person the gang of ‘hoodlums’ decides to rape, no?

            It’s nice of you to be an object lesson in why the burka sends the message that some women are ok to rape.

          • CuriousSkeptic says


            The hoodlums may rape either the one with burqa or the one without burqa or both. Because the rapists are a gang of hoodlums. It is not because of women’s dressing style that gets them raped. It is because of the hoodlums’ antisocial behavior that is causing the trouble.

            Suppose both sisters are wearing burqas. Do you think the gang of hoodlums leave the sisters alone? or do they rape one or both?

            Probably they may rape both.

            Why don’t you propose chastity belts to prevent women from being raped? or force your women locked up inside the houses so they never get raped?

            It looks like you are going backwards in civilization.. to stone ages.

          • CuriousSkeptic says

            It is not the dress that causes the rape. It is the rapist that causes rape.

  11. left0ver1under says

    Women are not “temptresses” as islam claims, it is muslim men who can’t control themselves. It would take a lot less material and effort to put blinders on men than to put burqas on women. Clearly, the imposition of burqas is not done to address the source of the problem.

    Perhaps muslim men should not be allowed to go out alone, and should be escorted by female family members to prevent them from being “tempted”.

  12. Annie says

    I’ve shunned feminists who have vigorously defended religion. I find myself thinking, listen sister, don’t act all interested in “female equality” and lecture me on women’s choice here! You’re the one upholding the power of the enormous beast from which patriarchal ideals catapult out at an obscene rate without thought or apology or mercy, impervious to social consequence even in the most extreme of cases.

    I won’t have a thing to do with that kind of mindset. How disingenuous some people are.

  13. harries says

    The word freedom is fake. To lead a better society in a country it requires some rules and regulation. where there are rules and regulations, freedom can’t exist there. Islam doesn’t give freedom anybody neither men nor women. It gives only alternatives. All society and religion do same. We are human being is confined. We have to keep the limits of a particular activity, subject, area etc. Men has some limit as well. they never say why we are confine. I agree with you in one aspect some follower of islam religion is going to dog. But remember they are not the perfect follower of islam.
    I want from Taslima Nasreen any perfect idea of a society that can lead both (men and women) to peaceful life. If it is better we must follow and establish in our society.
    Thank you very much.

  14. ik says

    Oh jeez. Count on Taslima to take an absolutely essential point and push it WAYYYYYY too far while stripping away all qualifications, caveats, and hypotheticals.

    There are a fair number of women who are not pleased when people like Taslima tell them that they personally are oppressed. Whether they are, that’s another question. Cases in which the highly concealing garb is forced or coerced, of course, must be suppressed immediately. Choices should be treated a little more gently.

    • mUHAMMAD says

      A British man came to Sheikh and asked:
      Why is it not permissible in Islam for women to shake hands with a man?
      The Sheikh said:
      Can you shake hands with Queen Elizabeth?
      British man said:
      Of course no, there are only certain people who can shake hands with Queen Elizabeth.
      Sheikh replied:
      Our women are queens and queens do not shake hands with strange men.
      Then the British man asked the Sheikh:
      Why do your girls cover up their body and hair?
      The Sheikh smiled and got two sweets, he opened the first one and kept the other one closed. He threw them both on the dusty floor and asked the British:
      If I ask you to take one of the sweets which one will you choose?
      The British replied:
      The covered one.
      The Sheikh said:
      That’s how we treat and see our woman.

      • says

        So you actually think women are no better than sweets, although you call them “queens” – you disgust me!

        I don’t criticise Muslim women for what they wear; I criticise fascist ideological extremists who have the effrontery to assume they have the right to force women to act in accordance with the rules of their particular form of ideological idiocy. I refuse to be held hostage to your, or anyone else’s, ideological delusions and I see no reason why Muslim women, or anyone else, should have to be held hostage. As far as your religion is concerned, you are free to believe whatever absurd nonsense you like; you are free to indulge in whatever religious entertainment you find most amusing provided you do it with consenting adults in the privacy of your home or Mosque; but when you treat women as less than human, then you have overstepped the mark, then what you do has no place in a civilised society. If you are too immature to accept this then my advice to you is to go home, get you mummy to change your nappy, and to grow up and start living in the real world.

      • says

        It might be worth pointing out that in Europe we have spent hundreds of years freeing ourselves form the grips of Christianity. It is true that this tyranny burned people as witches and apostates, sent “fallen” women to convents and was in a large part responsible for the cultural atmosphere that lead to such as the Holocaust. The battle is not over yet but you should be clear about one thing: we did not fight this tyranny so that another could take its place.

  15. Billy Eager says

    Muslim women ‘choose’ to wear the burqa in the same way that a nine-year old little girl ‘chose’ to have sex with a middle-aged man.

  16. Siverly says

    The veil, from hijab to burqa, is the very symbol of misogyny. It is women- and increasingly little girls who seem to be expected to shoulder a disproportionate responsibility in appearing ‘modest’ in public. Why are women held responsible for male desires? This scorns womens’ autonomy and keeps males infantilised. Some example to set for growing boys.
    All women who are under pressure to wear veils must be given support to dissent and all men who support(or condone or demand) the veil should either be ridiculed or shamed. Why should we accept sexism?

  17. Rob says

    A point many of you are missing is that the Quran/Bible/Torah is bullshit made up by a bunch of male itinerant goat-herders. None of these books has any validity defining morals, either by the direct teachings in the books or the examples of behavior of its characters. Arguing about what the Quran says about women is as useless as discussing what Lewis Carroll says about rabbits. Get over it, already.

  18. says

    A few years ago here in Oz there was a spate of rapes by young muslim men. It seemed they were taught that they had the right (or was it the duty) to rape women who did not comply with the dress code of their religion. The then most senior imam proposed as a solution to this problem (if indeed he saw it as a problem) that all women, regardless of their religion, should comply with the muslim dress code. The idea that young muslim men should be taught that they don’t have the right to rape anyone, for any reason, ever was, considered at least culturally insensitive if not downright anti-islamic.

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