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Blog Posted in avatar   Aidan Phillips's Blog

Burqa Bashing Britain? Just think of it as a dressing gown with a scarf

By Aidan Phillips
Posted Apr 24, 2011 in
A couple of weeks ago, Sarkozy implemented the long awaited controversial ban on woman wearing burqas in public in France. Naturally there was backlash from some areas of the nation - demonstrations, protests and calls from Muslim and ninja communities for his head to be placed on the guillotine. Typical French - any opportunity to try and spark a revolution and they'll jump to it like a frog on springs
But naturally such decisive legislation has aroused the burqa issue in Britain once again. Should Cameroon ban the burqa? Should we tolerate the burqa? Should one of us actually look up how to spell the word burqa rather than just taking a punt at it based on how it sounds?
Personally I find the argument frustrating. Its a trivial issue which has been overblown to ridiculous proportions. Essentially, its an attack on fashion; this has nothing to do with religion, tolerance or grammatical errors. The only reason that such a topic inspires such controversy and neanderthal English Defence League marches is because of the ideology which shrouds the said clothing. All we need to do is take that ideology away and look what you have left; a debate over whether someone should be allowed to wear what it essentially a dressing gown with a scarf wrapped around their head.
Now I'm not going to pretend that I'm an expert when it comes to the intricate aspects of Sharia Law. I can barely be bothered to learn how our own system functions, never mind someone else's 10,000 miles away. But the general gist of it is basically that burqas are lawfully imposed upon women as the sight of any female flesh would send men into revels of infidelity and uncontrollable lust. Apparently such rules were written on the basis of Russell Brand's latest book. Either way, its generally accepted that this form of state fashion is immoral and so last century.
But that's where people start going haywire; we forget that we're not living under sharia law, and that this is a free country. People can wear whatever they want, regardless of how unbearably immoral or unfashionable it may be, even in the case of fathers with their awful Christmas jumpers (take the hint Dad.) And if husbands do try to impose ancient and irrelevant practices on their wives, then they can approach the police and have a restraining order put in place. Women dont have to wear the burqa here; they do so by choice.
So effectively its nothing more than a choice of fashion, be it a slightly more meaningful and religious choice than maybe putting on a different pair of tights for a night out, and as such the matter should be treated as no more than if it was merely another item of clothing. A large coat and headscarf, let's say. If someone is walking down a road in a large coat and headscarf, then let them - it's their choice. If someone is buying a vacuum cleaner from Dixons in a large coat and headscarf, then why the hell not - just make sure you don't put the suction hose near your neck.
Equally, such a fashion should abide by the mandatory laws of all clothing. If a woman is called to court, then she must wear smart and appropriate clothing, like anyone else. If a girl is caught wearing a large coat and headscarf at school, then she should be sent home to change into normal school clothing, like every other child has to wear. It's really that simple; just tear away the ideology and appreciate that this is merely a moral choice of fashion for British citizens. Suddenly, the issue becomes about as important as what dye colour Cheryl Cole is going to use on her hair next week.
But sadly, just like the latter, such a trivial matter is overblown and plastered over the front pages. It is labelled as racist, un-British, madness, intolerant, and every other word under the sun that could describe something heavily controversial. People don't like things that are slightly different to the normal; they're weird, they're scary and as such they're treated with the utmost negativity.
All we need to do is look at this for what it is. A woman's choice to wear what she wants for her own reason.
And if Lady Gaga can get away with wearing half a cow to a formal occasion, then surely any woman can get away with wearing a black dressing gown and headscarf combo if she wants to.

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