The burka is an assault on women’s freedom : CAROLINE OVERINGTON

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    The burka is an assault on women’s freedom

    The burka is not a religious garment. It is not a requirement of Islam. Muslim women do not have to be covered head to hand to toe, not according to the Koran.

    The Koran requires both men and women to dress modestly.

    It does not say that all women — and only women — must be covered up in black cloth, revealing only the eyes.

    It has nothing to do with religious freedom.

    The burka is worn in cultures where the lives of women, the freedom and independence of women, is severely curtailed, and that now includes Sydney’s west, where the burka can now be seen, even on little girls.
    It is used as a tool of shame, and of control.

    It is designed to remind women that they are a temptation. That they are sinful. That they will be the ruination of men. That their sexuality must be controlled and contained.

    It is sexist, misogynist nonsense.

    Anyone who says so will assuredly be accused of “attacking Muslims” or worse, not protecting “religious freedoms.”

    On this page yesterday, The Australian’s national security correspondent Paul Maley flogged Tony Abbott for hypocrisy after Abbott gave a speech, arguing for Western freedoms.

    He said: “Where was Abbott when Pauline Hanson walked into the Senate chamber in a full length burka?

    “Did Abbott rise up in defence of Australia’s 600,000 Muslims? Did he call a press conference and condemn Hanson for her attack on the hard-won right to free worship?”

    He wondered why Abbott did not defend the “right of a Muslim woman to walk down the main street of Lakemba wearing whatever she likes.”

    Instead, he said, “here was Abbott a few days after Hanson’s grubby photo op: “I understand the point she was trying to make.”

    Hanson wore the burka into parliament to make a point about security issues: you can’t see who’s under it, basically. It was a stunt, and we could easily do without it, but it had nothing to do with religious freedom, because the burka is not about religious freedom.

    It is the opposite. It is an assault on women’s freedom. It’s designed to keep women and girls in their place, in the home, out of commerce, under the control of men. It is anti-feminist, and therefore the antithesis of Western values, such as religious freedom.

    Maley also said: “Abbott flirted with the idea of banning Hizb ut Tahrir, a militant Islamic group, whose anti-Western bluster is offensive, but otherwise harmless.”

    Hizb ut-Tahrir is not harmless to women. Its ideology is in fact extremely harmful to women.

    Earlier this year, a local women’s branch of Hizb ut-Tahrir held a seminar in western Sydney designed to demonstrate the ways in which men could hit their wives.

    Veiled women lectured local Muslim women about how they should expect to endure a level of physical punishment at the hands of their husbands. Their husbands, and their fathers, are allowed to hit them if they step out of line, they said. The seminar was filmed and posted to Facebook. There was nothing taken out of context. They believe it, and they are pushing that ideology onto local Muslim women.

    Hizb ut-Tahrir also supports a global caliphate governed by sharia, which is incompatible with the Australian system of human rights, especially with regard to women and little girls.

    It’s not “attacking Muslims” to say so. You cannot be a feminist without being prepared to stand up on these issues. Muslim women who do not support the physical punishment of wives, and who do not want to wear the niqab or the burka, are deeply frustrated by the lack of support from Christian sisters.

    It’s not religious. It’s cultural, and yes, you may feel free, in Australia, to practice your culture, but those cultures that support it are sexist, the end.