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The Burqa ban – symptom of a deeper problem

We’ve all heard the recent calls to ban the burqa. Paul Dellit writes that the calls are the loudest from Christian conservatives.

The current Australian Prime Minister, who has regularly displayed himself through wet Speedos, recently advised the world that he found the Burqa confronting. (He meant Niqab, but ignorance has never stood in the way of ingrained prejudice. As Waleed Ali has informed us, the Burqa is Afghani apparel as rare as hens’ teeth in Australia).

As confronting experiences go, the sight of heavily layered, chalk-white pancake makeup with a deep, blood-red score mark in the middle, may provoke uneasy feelings regardless of one’s cultural frame of reference.

But to return to topic, a racist dog-whistle from an LNP Prime Minister is not unexpected. Nor is this PM’s publicly displayed penchant for attacking women. It was there for all to see before the Australian people voted him in. Why then, did some women and a majority of men think that this character trait was not so egregious as to rule him out ab initio?

My thesis is that the ‘Burqa’ ban is really just a symptom of a much larger problem – a problem now, but a practical necessity when it was initially adopted by the majority of social groupings: the patriarchal society.

As we know, patriarchies arose and became the norm because men were physically stronger than women when physical strength was essential for survival, and women were preoccupied with babies for the larger part of their active lives. Men held sway within their families and grouped together to direct the affairs of their social groups.

Skipping ahead, it is unsurprising then, that it was patriarchal men who devised the religions of The Book and equally unsurprising that that they framed these religions in their own image and for their own convenience. The advent of these religions merely codified and gave a specious moral authority to men to treat women as their property and use them as they wished.

Patriarchies have now outlived their practical utility and moral authority, albeit that the latter is still proclaimed by the religions of The Book.

Secular Australian society has come a long way towards removing sexism and towards greater equality of the sexes. But as we see when a hard right-wing party gains office, progress is thwarted and the kind of nonsense they currently indulge in under our current PM again becomes the norm. It is significant that the degradation of principals of social equality has been the work of a Cabinet dominated by adherents of the religions of The Book.

Religions of this kind lie at the base of many of our social problems, from paedophilia to sexism to political corruption, and lately the resurgence of terrorism and oppression of the kind that was once the preserve of the Roman Catholic Church.

 

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74 comments

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  1. Maree Elizabeth

    good article guys but way too polite…. any religion that tolerates oppression and pedophilia must be thoroughly removed from society… its the most vile and evil spirit of abuse hiding behind religion. lets throw all of those bastards out.

  2. Maree Elizabeth

    i hope they are very serious gosh !

  3. Carol Taylor

    Maree, and not only tolerates pedophilia but which blames the victim. I will never ever forget the statement from Pell who, when questioned about a particular case which involved a 12-13 year old girl, that Pell espoused opinion that the girl was “wise beyond her years”. Many middle aged men nodded their heads in agreement.

  4. Peter

    Religions of all kinds lie at the base of most of our social problems.
    We should strive for pure scientific understanding unencumbered by all superstitions.

  5. charybds

    There it is .. that racist undercurrent ..
    Islamic women ‘forced’ by the patriarchy to cover themselves..

    Sorry but I call bullshit here.

    Go out and ASK a Muslim woman why she wears it.
    Ask her if she does so by choice or if she is compelled.
    She will almost certainly point out that she is doing so willingly.
    Why? .. Because for the Muslims it is an act of piety, a way to show faith.

    Maree and Carol you are so very misinformed about that religion.
    It is true there are cultural factors that come from some parts of the world where Forced marriage of minors occurs ..
    but it is not only Muslims that do that.
    The religion itself does not require or condone it any more than Catholicism condones child sex.
    Most of the Muslims in this country have been here for many many years. Some for generations.
    In Turkey Islamic women are not forced to wear costumes, nor in Iran or Malaysia.
    The only countries where this is enforced is Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan, where sharia is indistinguishable from law.

    A point that is not well understood about sharia is that is only applied to Muslims.
    Another missed point is that it requires Muslims to obey and respect the laws of the country they are in.
    It does not ask for the removal of limbs or beheadings ..
    those are things enforced by the regimes, not the religion.

    Before you say ..”yes but ISIS ..” remember that ISIS has been thoroughly condemned by all forms of Islam.
    What those peopl are doing is no more Islamic than what the KKK do is Christian.

    Before you argue that Christians don’t treat people the way Muslims are supposed to do,
    Remember what happened in Bosnia when the Christians tried genocide on their Muslim countrymen.

    The simple fact is there are all kinds of dicks in the world of ALL religions.
    But Islam is not the foul thing it is being made out to be for the convenience of Abbott’s evil mates.

    Remember that there has never been a terrorist act performed by Muslims on our shores .. not one.

    I strongly suggest that before you condemn Muslims you make a proper effort to understand them.
    They’re not actually that different to the rest of Australia .. yes REALLY!

    Whilst I agree that religions in general are a bit silly (I am atheist) I am adamant that people should be free to
    believe whatever they want to.

    Don’t be fooled by all the Bull about national security that is just the Govt. forgetting that church and state are
    meant to be kept separate, and creating an enemy for the dumbasses in the country to fear and hate instead of
    condemning their awful budget or another reason-less oil war.

  6. June M Bullivant OAM

    I find it sad that the use of religion as an excuse for the behaviour of men is once again on the rise. Over the years we have seen awful things happen in the name of religion. We need to take religion out of our political system, we need to let those who believe in it pursue it, in peace. Then maybe Australians can be compassionate, kind, caring and peaceful, without being governed by people who have preconceived ideas of how and what the remainder of us do.

  7. billly moir

    Charybds
    afghan and Pakistan society directs the dress and there are men who beat and sometimes kill transgressors from their concept. Children are covered for modesty at puberty but my guess is as soon as a breast bud appears the mothers will put kids into the burqa to save them from scrutiny by men who believe rape is an acceptable punishment for ‘immodesty’ of female flesh. As for ‘terrorism’ have you not heard of the ice cream vendor and the halal butcher? As for keeping state and religion separate this is the crucial question. The burqa is cultural not a religious requirement and has no part in Australian society. They should be banned under the same rules as bike helmets and balaclavas. Linking them to Islam risks the men deciding they are religious and must be worn by the women of Islam. In turkey women were banned from wearing head scarves(hijabs) in secular situations and objected. In Islam and Christianity women’s hair is considered very sexy and should be covered. The former hidden from non family men and the latter dictated that gloves, stocking and hats/scarves outside the home and especially in church hidden from the sight of god. In Japan the nape of the neck was sexy and covered except by geisha here it was highlighted.
    Multiculturalism is not a freedom for cultural practices there is no room for the child abuse of genital mutilation of either sex and there is no room for the cultural burqa or niqab or chador and the hijab should not be worn under the age of consent I think it is 17 in Australia (although marriage is possible at 16).

  8. CMMC

    Its a lower-middle class vexation, and thats why Tones stokes it.

    ‘I demand the right to stare at this outsider, but I can’t tell if they are just staring back at me, how rude!’

  9. Manfred

    Charybds :Religions are Silly, Ridiculous, Absurd ,Illogical, Unscientific, Irrational, Crazy, Fanatical, Unwise,Extreme, Incongruous, Male Chauvinistic,Ignorant and Hypocritical. One person’s piety is another persons ball and chain.

  10. red

    Charybds, well said and +1.

  11. Dagney J. Taggart

    Wow. What a hodge podge of an article. Is it pro oppression of women or anti oppression of women? Is the author pro Burqa (and thereby supportive of the continued oppression of women by religious patriarchy) or anti Burqa (and thereby siding more with the Christian conservatives)?

    Catholicism, for all its many, many faults (Albigensian crusade, anyone?), does not require that women cover their entire faces from anyone other than their immediate family. Fundamentalist Islam requires that, and it is about control and domination. Which pretty much sums up fundamentalist (political) Islam. Not all cultures are equal. And I, for one, do not particularly want that culture gaining a foothold here.

  12. stephentardrew

    We have a problem. Get rid of religion and you don’t think some crazy scientists will not be driven by another set of selfish self-aggrandizing imperatives? I see problems with both science and religion when scientist are so deeply embedded in the military industrial complex. There is not guarantee that a scientist will not be a pedophile or economic rationalist at the expense of the poor and marginalized. To think so is just plain naive.

    Calling yourself a scientist does to predict stability, compassion and a loving heart. Claiming to be a religious ideologue does not negate abuse and misuse of ideology and abusive sexual practices by the deviant. There are deviants in science and religion.

    Now we can argue the science religion divide till the cows come home, and I am much more inclined towards science than religion, however the problem is a causal evolutionary biochemical problem that demands a new type of approach. My experience meeting with groups of atheists is that they also misconstrue science and conflate determinism, which is incompatible with choice, with their choice to be an atheist which is a logical double-bind and a strait out paradoxical fallacy. The crazy idea that if I belong to a certain belief system it will make me immune from irrationality and deviancy is foolish.

    The Burqa is just a deflection from a deeper set of problems that underly the imperative for humans to unreasonable harm others for their own self-interest. Selfishness and greed seem to be much more demanding of our attention than forceful imposition of ones belief system. We do try to encourage democracy for good reason while continually undermining and compromising others rights to their beliefs. Least harm and do unto others should be a goal of any mature person under any set of beliefs. To be loving cannot be owned or derived from beliefs it is something we do knowing, in our hearts, that we want our fellow travelers to live satisfactory lives of comfort and security. Blaming the victim is the weapon of ignorant self-interested greed. Though criticized by some academic psychologists Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Need” is a good place to start simply because their need be no ideological prejudicial beliefs underlying the basic tenants of goodness, justice, peace, calm, compassion, empathy, altruism and love.

    Scientific evidence clearly demonstrates that to remain stable and well balance people, in general, need a sense of mystery, awe, wonder and purpose. I have written her before about the scientific and philosophical counterintuitives and paradoxes that are blindingly difficult to resolve which are accepted by many of our most intellectually astute scientists and provide deep textures of mystery and wonder. Foremost is the empirical and conceptual implications of infinity. If we throw out the baby with the bathwater a new set of disturbing beliefs and actions will follow a subconscious sense of nihilism and hopelessness driven by impending death.

    I have said it before end will endlessly keep repeating it. Love is something I want in my universe and I do not want others to suffer unduly while I live in absurd opulence. I speak by setting an example not continually assuming that any single beliefs system can substitute for action itself. We can either make this incredibly philosophically complicated or set out simple rational, compassion based, objectives through immersion in love, non-judgment, forgiveness and solutions based lateral thinking.

    When we accept that causation drives much of our lives, and is out of the hands of many individuals, then we can start making effective judgments that will help defuse our emotional, primitive, reactionary, egocentric fight/flight responses that cause so much conflict fear and reactivity. This is primarily a biochemical and evolutionary problem limited by the speed of evolutionary change. We may well need to dampen down our over-reactive autonomic limbic system to bring some balance into our social interactions.

    I much prefer solution based approaches to knee jerk divisive “them and us” resentment, tacit superiority and anger.

  13. Eleanore Reichel

    Why don’t you all exhibit this tolerance you are all talking about and mind your own business. And by the way, Australia is ALREADY a secular state as is New Zealand in our area.

  14. Rapscallion

    Dagney J. Taggart, you’ve said what needed to be said, and which was my first reaction to reading this piece. It must be the most confused article I’ve seen on this generally estimable site. It’s impossible to know what its point is, as it appears self-contradictory.

    The burqa and niqab are archaic, pre-dating Islam. Their imposition and continued observance may be seen as a political statement. Women and moderate Muslim thinkers fought for many decades to have it banned in various countries. Now we see foolish do-gooders in Australia supporting its wearing as if it were a kind of mere fashion statement. The fundamentalists and barbarians aim to re-impose the niqab and burqa, and have been doing so, winding back all the gains for the liberation of women, even in Turkey. But some young women in western countries, especially Britain, have taken to wearing this garb as a political protest against Western culture, much to the complete dismay of Muslim moderates, who can see the influence at work of ISIL and other extremists’ propaganda.

    Banning this clothing, when so few women wear it in public in Australia is almost certainly unnecessary and unwise, but that isn’t to say that it should be blithely championed as a matter of choice rather than criticised as a symbol of oppression.

  15. Rotha Jago

    I find the attack on a group of religions understandable but not really helpful. Religion is only one part of the set of influences which brought us to where we are. Militarism, Conquest and Colonialism are factors which have exercised an influence over our whole civilisation for hundreds, no thousands of years. The presence of an army or/and an armed police force makes a huge difference to any culture, ask Aboriginal people of any country which has been taken over. The fostering of Corporations or families to deprive ordinary people of their land destroys culture and distorts the morals of the conquerors. The new regime forces on the first peoples the need to have money in order to live. This is ignored by the view of history which the article presents. Religion like money can be an evil force, but militarism and financial oppression should not be overlooked.
    Men have traditionally been forced or cajoled into armies. The culture of male dominance is strengthened by the use of armed force. We are still struggling with this in Australia. When Mr Howard sent in the army in ‘The intervention’ it must have chilled the hearts of Aboriginal Australians, for it showed how little progress they had made in their struggle for fair treatment and respect. Sexual and physical and emotional abuse have still not been eradicated from the Australian Armed Forces nor from the State Police Forces. Be careful about writing in terms of ‘us’ and ‘them’.

  16. Maree Elizabeth

    for Carol Taylor:

    Hi Carol, reading your post makes me sick to the stomach and so very angry….. the child has her innocence ripped from her then they sit in agreeance with a most false and vile assessment of her? she is now wise beyond her years? are they freaking insane? their filthy priest caused that child to have experience beyond her years….. vile evil men of the cloth…… it is past time those evil persons were removed from having any control …time to say get out of our country … there is no welcome here to religions that promote and conceal terrible abuses and oppression.. no matter which religion it is… I do believe in God and His saving grace given us in Christ… but if you know scripture well… Christ said NO to religion…. He said religion was evil. And we can sure we see why. He instructed us not to keep tithing for buildings or infrastructure but to give every mite to the poor, the widows the fatherless, the hungry the homeless…. yet all I can see is religions (all of them) is pocketing good peoples offerings for their own greedy desires. I despise all religions and I will have no part in them.

  17. Maree Elizabeth

    and Rotha Jago… so true what you say….. time people stood up to the overlords of evilness…. dont be silenced, don’t let evil prosper … religious or scientific….

  18. Phi

    Way, way too much discussion and debate about Islamic apparel here. Its all unnecessary. Abbott is too ignorant to grasp the nuances of the debate ensuing from his and his party’s dog-whistling.

    Abbott, and puppet mistress Peta Credlin had one goal and one goal only in mind when they commenced screeching about the burqa. That goal was to divide and diminish Muslim Australians. By doing so they entrench support from the racists and the fearful who inhabit the conservative voter base.

    As long as the community is divided about Islam it isn’t discussing the failing economy, the privatisation of public education, the collapse of the public health system and the accelerating collapse of Australia’s natural systems. The LNP is criminally negligent for having abandoned its responsibilities to the Australian people.

  19. corvus boreus

    Phi,
    With you there.
    So much talk about the cut of cloth.
    I am now much more informed as to the terminology for voluminous female attire indicating Islamic allegiance.
    A hijab is like a hooded shawl.
    A niqab is like a hooded serape with a dust-mask.
    A burqa is like a hooded poncho with a lacy fly-screen.

  20. Maree Elizabeth

    affleck is a tool…. lol absolutely he is….. he has no idea does he…..

  21. Kaye Makovec

    Maree – Actually the bloke who said “It’s not a real thing when we do it” is the tool.

    Affleck is right. NOT all Muslims are terrorists, nor all behave as oppressors to their wives and daughters.
    Even IF one third of the 1.5 billion Muslims are terrorists, oppressors and downright nasty people, it means 1 billion are not so I do not understand why people keep on saying ‘all’ when that theory is not applied to any other religion.

    People of all religions, of all cultures, of all colours, do terrible things but we never hear religion applied to the crime unless it is done by a Muslim.

    This morning on the news there was a terrible murder (and a later suicide) where a woman was dismembered and I’ll bet you London to a brick the Murdoch press and Radio thugs are searching madly to find out if he was a Muslim.

    Why do we never hear a reporter state that the man who bashed and killed his wife was a Catholic or the woman who killed her children was a Baptist or the men killing people in Myanmar are Bhuddists?

    Here are another couple of media tools in action 🙂

  22. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Well said billy moir. There is no place for the burqa and niqab in Australian society. (Nor is any other form of dress or cultural attire from any religious or cultural grouping that seeks to segregate people from each other.)

    This is not merely a religious, racial argument. It is a gender equality issue. Full stop.

    Australian Muslim women and girls should not feel safe, confident, or free to self-expression by covering themselves up and removing their identities from the eyes of the wider community. They should feel safe regardless.

    If we really believe we live in a multi-cultural society, then we should act that way. That starts with the most basic human ability to be able to exchange communications, and expressions with one’s neighbour on an equal footing and with respect.

  23. Matthew Oborne

    then jennifer there should be no place for crosses as jewellery, and if you want to go into cultural- pants came from some foreign place, we shouldnt wear pants, the oldest known pair of pants are chinese, stands to reason we shouldnt wear just about anything because all our clothing started in lands outside of straya. A nice pair of woolen pants from ancient china surely set them apart from other cultures, and using your definition it must have segregated them. you are not a miner so surely denim jeans are cultually unacceptable for people to be wearing them outside of the mine, perhaps they are wearing the clothing of miners as some statement. In essence what people choose to wear is not our business. You are not alone many balding australian politicians have stood up as men telling women what they should not wear.

    Women are being abused for wearing this attire that so offends you. E tu brutea.

  24. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Matthew, I could take the deliberate, bloody-minded approach and demand that men wear the burqa and niqab as well, if gender equality is not an impediment.

    But I don’t want to segregate people from people.

    So please don’t attempt to undermine my gender-equality expectations by irrelevant examples of other forms of attire.

  25. Kaye Makovec

    I’m scared of big middle aged and old men wearing black leather, sunglasses and covered in tattoos!
    And young men wearing hoodies as I just know they are all out to attack or rob me!
    I say ban their apparel!

    I’m not really, in fact if I was in trouble on the road a biker or truckie would be the first I would ask for help and if my mobile was flat in an emergency I would ask the bloke in the hoodie for help as I know he would have one that worked 🙂

    And I don’t want to segregate people from people either Jennifer 🙂

    PS. I don’t like tattoos, eyebrow, nose or lip piercings, holes in the ear lobes, studs in the tongue or even pierced ears but I would never tell others they should remove them in my presence.

    PPS, not to mention leggings without a skirt or shorts, ‘muffin top’ pants, or …… lots of things I would love to wear but wouldn’t dare 🙂

  26. paul walter

    Rapscallion, for mind. That more Muslim women have returned to wearing it is a symptom of aggravation at Western smugness.

  27. Anne Byam

    I don’t know if this is the right topic on which to put forward an article I have just read.

    However – – as the ABC is sometimes vilified on AIM … by a few concerned folk ….. I figured this would be just as good an AIM topic as anything else to place this link :

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-10-08/allied-mission-more-barbaric-than-is-hizb-ut-tahrir-says/5799856

    Some of this quotes from Sky TV. Initially, this might come as a surprise to readers – even a shock. ….. But read on. In part the article states :

    ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, ( Wassim Doureihi – to the ABC ) “I come from a very clear point of view that, as Muslims, we have a fixed moral compass that says it’s unequivocally, under any conditions, an aberration to kill innocent civilians.

    “Tony Abbott cannot say that. John Howard dismissed the slaughter of half a million civilians as an embarrassment. Let’s talk about morality here. Let’s talk about who is the greatest threat to civilian life.” ,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    AND ( later in the article ) :

    ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, “The purpose of this lecture is to demonstrate that what Australia will be doing in Iraq and Syria, like its allies America and others – like they did 10 years ago in Iraq – will be absolutely disastrous,” he said.

    “And they are not there for humanitarian purposes, they are there for purposes of political expediency.” ( Please note THAT ! )

    He said the current mission and the 2003 Iraq War were “state-sponsored terrorism”,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    ———

    What I did find compelling, is the fact that the ABC reported on it – and showed it’s hand AGAINST the Abbott Government. ……. Leigh Sales conducted an interview with this UK counter-extremism expert – Haras Rafi, which was of ‘ interest ‘. (video)

    I don’t know whether Rafi is saying what he thinks Australia wants to hear, and thus spouting a load of BS, or whether he is sincere.
    ,,,,,,,,,,,,{ ” Australia should focus on de-radicalisation, not bans ” }

    Many on AIM have stated previously, that the ABC have gone way over to ‘right wing’ …. I have seen a few rightish commentaries myself.

    Maybe this is a start by the ABC, to question the way the Abbott Government is dealing with terrorism, going into war in the Middle East, etc. at least.

    ———-

    This does raise some contentious issues, more politics and poltical speak …. of course.

  28. mars08

    Anne Byam:

    …what Australia will be doing in Iraq and Syria, like its allies America and others – like they did 10 years ago in Iraq – will be absolutely disastrous…”

    I remember seeing pictures (during the “shock & awe” raids of 2003) showing the Iraqi civilians killed, dismembered, maimed, and mutilated by American bombs. Men, women and children disemboweled by good ol’ US firepower.

    In particular, I will never forget the photo of a tiny Iraqi girl in a pretty floral dress… standing, screaming. Her hands and face were covered in blood!

    That was the blood of her family members killed when American soldiers shredded their car with gunfire at a checkpoint. She was the only survivor…

    That photo spoke to me. The details of other dreadful photos of limp, shattered children have slipped from my memory. But there is no doubting the carnage. The images rarely (if ever) appeared in the anglophone media… and I NEVER SAW ANY in the Australian MSM… but the rest of the world was well aware of the slaughter perpetrated in our name. Just as the rest of the world sees the actual results of most wars we cheer on… or are involved in.

    Maybe the MSM thinks that Australians just don’t want to see such images. Or maybe the Australian public is too delicate for such confronting sights… goodness knows, young Tony Abbott seems to get quite flustered at the sight of a burqa.

  29. Anne Byam

    @ Mars08 …… agree with all you have said. Shocking images have emerged over the years …. from many wars.

    Also reminds me ( horribly ) of the one photograph shown around the world of the naked North Vietnamese child running in terror and pain, from the napalm attacks by South Vietnamese, against their enemy – their neighbours, all aided and abetted by the intervention of the West – which turned out to be the greatest bummer of all time – in terms of war. ( IF there is such a way of describing a war ). – – – – That photograph won many awards ?

    Makes me sick to my stomach.

    ———-

    The MSM ( newscasts ) used to pixilate images of people – their faces …. to maintain anonimity. That has progressed through technology to oval ‘blank outs’…. but is now applied to just about everybody – including perps. who have been indicted for serious crimes. Why protect THEIR identities ????

    Why the HELL would they bother to do that ?

    Perhaps it is indeed, all to do with a very real censorship in the media – sanctioned by both Liberal ( particularly ) and Labor ……. as it was in their reign, that this kind of thing began. I stand to be corrected on that.

    I can understand protecting the identity of children – and even the identity of SAS military – that’s fair enough ……… but the rest …… ????

    ——

    Slightly off topic but ……. there was an image of some sensation seeking chick in a see-through ( rather beautiful ) garment on TV yesterday …. and heaven help us ….. the newscast media blanked out her butt. ??? I couldn’t believe my eyes. Yet they can show other images – equally ( allegedly ) offensive, without the blink of an eye.

    Particularly, scenes at accidents, which does not leave much to the imagination. …….. “If it bleeds, it leads” …. the MSM have not dropped THAT mantra !

    ———-

    ‘young’ Tony Abbott ! ……….. gets flustered at just about anything. He is inept, and totally not capable of running the local petrol station, let alone the country. He had the gall to say on TV this evening ” I do not like to break promises” ….. thank God I had finished preparing and serving dinner …. it might not have been at all pleasant ……….. !

  30. Ahmad Saparu

    The world problem that preoccupies human thought today and touches its core reality is that of the social system.
    It is clear that human society has always been divided in to social factors; color, race, tribe, sex, etc. and in fact these factors are the main causes of its dispersion.
    Although, in theory most of the political parties and schools of thought of the world are supporters of the unity of human beings but their beginning was either not for whole the humanity or at least they deviated from the very slogan after that and specified themselves to any of the specific school of thought, race or nation and interpreted their own interests only.
    Developed minds have reached the conclusion that though the color, race, blood and language are effective elements however formation of a nation merely based on these elements is not suitable. Again, in this modern age of science and technology where geographical distances have been closed together and the world has become like a city. At such a situation, to separate ourselves as a separate nation due to geographical conditions is not connected with with wisdom.
    The purpose of our comment is not concerned to be true or false of any idea. Here we only want to say that these single factor theories are not only void of creating intellectual unity among human beings but also cause incite egoism and extremism.

    The question is, has the humanity gone barren to the extent that it can not even think of to produce a collective ideology to accept each other regardless of their intercultural differences?

    Positively, we can say a collective ideology in true sense is that which finds any other source to gather human beings under its flag trusting on forces not connected with egoism and selfishness. Which makes prosperous that deep conscience in every individual concerned with the responsibility of individual for the society and the struggle of individual for the achievement of collective interests. That which protects the rights of others and their happiness. Which instead of inflaming the stimulants of self interests, seeks the help of those collective goals and stimulants equal to all in order to open the sources of virtues in their hearts and thus prepares a beautiful garland of human unity.

  31. Anne Byam

    A great collection of thought and contemplation ….. — Ahmed Saparu.

    Ref : your comment ……. ” The question is, has the humanity gone barren to the extent that it can not even think of to produce a collective ideology to accept each other regardless of their intercultural differences? ”

    I don’t believe it has gone beyond the ideal of collective ideology in those terms …. however, in the same breath, I think there is a long looooong way to go, yet.

    The young, I have seen, seem to think everything must be handed to them on a silver platter. …… At least that is how it appears today, with some exceptions. But not enough exceptions. Not yet. There is still much ‘egoism and selfishness’ … inherent in the raising of the young ( particularly to this most recent generation who are about to enter adulthood ). …. there is still much interpretation of self-interest.

    The very youngest of generations, todays’ babies, might have a chance at more collective ideologies, as the parents of those children are indeed beginning to think for themselves, ………. and praise to whoever, a sense of discipline is re-emerging ….. which is absolutely necessary. ….. Discipline teaches self-respect, respect for experience they do not yet have, and overall respect for their peers, others in the community, and their elders.

    A return to older values, without the brutality that often appeared with those older values. There IS a balance occurring …. but it will be a few generations before much can be realised, in terms of embracing all schools of thought, all races and creeds, without losing sight of their own beliefs, conclusions and integrity.

    I find your comments much along the line of a New World Order – in the ideal sense. But while the New World Order is being pounded by untold wealth, self regard to the exclusion of all else, and a ‘dog eat dog’ mentality …. it will make the issue a lot more difficult and opaque.

    I do think, however, there is much to hope for ….. in the development of human nature to it’s truest,, most honest form possible.

    I just wish I could be here to see it develop to some fulfilment of that ideal state of being.

  32. Brett

    What a confusing article. Condemnation of the burqa is a product of… wait for it… patriarchy?

    To the person defending Affleck, please read Sam Harris’ response to him on his site. The mismatch of intellect displayed by Affleck against Harris is one of the most amusing things I’ve viewed this year. Your grasp of Harris and Maher’s points is completely inadequate. And to confirm it, you reference the hopeless Reza Aslan. Who coincidentally, has completely embarrassed himself in a debate on Islam against Harris which you can easily view on YouTube.

  33. corvus boreus

    Brett,
    Out of curiosity, are you Brett the Conservative Christian Welfare Provider?

  34. Brett

    I’m absolutely staggered you’ve managed to gather that from some eldritch interpretation of my comment. How old are you?

  35. corvus boreus

    I have not gathered anything through eldritch interpretation, but seek informational clarity through the medium of your response. That is why I posted a question rather than a statement. I still do not know if you are Brett the Conservative Christian Welfare Provider, or another poster with the same first name, but my curiosity on the matter wanes.
    in response to your question, I am older now than I have ever been before, but still none the wiser.

  36. Annie Byam

    @ Jennifer Meyer-Smith ……….

    Rarely do i disagree with you, but have to put my thoughts this time. a very late reply to this admittedly —- have had trouble with my computer & AIM notifications. ( Your comment Oct 6th – 10.35 am ) ….

    ………….. ” There is no place for the burqa and niqab in Australian society. (Nor is any other form of dress or cultural attire from any religious or cultural grouping that seeks to segregate people from each other.)

    ———–

    The burqa is rarely seen in this country ……. and when it is, usually receives some form of notoriety – via You Tube, Facebook and the like. The Niqab on the other hand, is seen sometimes, and the hijab is seen very very frequently.

    I have been given some really beautiful scarves in recent times – as gifts — large pieces, and precious. The family members giving them, did so to help me a) keep warm in winter months and b) add to my clothing as forms of adornment to my otherwise rather conservative form of dress …. and I have used them, and delighted in them.

    Their kind wishes, however, does not preclude me from wearing the scarves I have …. around my head and draped across my neck – and indeed I have done so on many an occasion. …….. One of my sons had a conniption when I turned up ‘looking like a Muslim’. He backed off quickly, as he is a reasonable, caring and thinking person … but his initial reaction was ‘interesting’.

    Has someone in the street – the shopping centre – my neighbourhood, seen me wearing these gifts around my head and neck … and automatically ASSUMED that I am a Muslim ? I doubt it ….. I don’t think it matters one hoot, because they would not DWELL upon it.

    If talking about segregatioin – because of dress or attire … please give consideration to the young folk who wear clothes that they THINK or HOPE will outrage the ‘oldies’ in our community.

    They do so to attract attention, to make a ‘statement’ ( so I’ve been told ) … and to get some form of reaction, be it positive or negative.

    They LOVE doing this. ………. are they then, intent on segregation ? Are they a specifically cultural group ? … I don’t think so.

    Muslim women wear what they do because they desire to do so. In the case of the hijab, that is fairly obvious. But there are degrees of Muslimism ( if one can properly use that word ) …… and the more tenacious and extreme a Muslim woman is in her beliefs, would dictate what she wears ———- because that is what she WANTS to do. …… it is part of her belief.

    And we stlll ( I hope ) can embrace all religions | races | creeds – providing they do no harm … in our society. I believe a very large percentage of our society still embrace that ……. no matter what their own beliefs or not, . are !

    I personally, do not believe it is a ‘gender equality issue’.

    Trust I have explained my reply – adequately.

  37. Brett

    Why would a conservative Christian be championing famous atheist Sam Harris, corvus boreus?

  38. corvus boreus

    Brett,
    I now understand, by the context of your comments, that you are not the other Brett(the numerically challenged Christian Conservative Welfare Provider). Curiosity is satisfied.
    In response to your question, I sometimes reference people, whose views on many matters may differ fundamentally from my own, if they present a convincing, conveniently quotable case(particularly, I confess, if it aligns with my own viewpoint on the subject at hand).

  39. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Annie Byam,

    I have not questioned the wearing of the hijab at any time. I agree that they are lovely pieces of attire, which I understand are also modest garments because they cover the woman’s or girl’s hair, shoulders, neck. I do not question that at all.

    I do however, maintain my concerns regarding both the burqa and the niqab, as I believe it is fundamentally a denial of the woman’s interaction with the community to wear either, particularly the burqa.

    I know I may appear to be in the minority on this with other AIM Network people.

    I am not opposed on security grounds, but on gender equality grounds. If I can see a man’s face to speak to, then I think it is fair to the woman and to me that I see the woman’s.

  40. Annie Byam

    Jennifer Meyer-Smith ……..

    I get what you are saying, and I did not question you in any way, about the Hijab. It can indeed be a beautiful piece of clothing.

    I found this which you might be interested in : ……… a quote from the link

    ………..” Firstly, for the record almost no Muslim women in Australia wear the burqa, which is the dress commonly associated with places like Afghanistan. Rather, a very small number of Muslim women wear the niqab, which is a face covering that leaves the eyes exposed.”

    From : http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-10-02/krayem-mccue-the-burqa-ban-call-only-creates-division/5785318

    I, personally, abhor the wearing of a burqa ( everything covered including eyes behind a cloth mesh – it is demeaning ) ……. and the above quote is precisely what I tried to point out in my post. The niqab, does in fact show the eyes, which are allegedly the ‘windows of the soul’ … so they can in fact look a person in the eyes, and maintain contact – if they wish.

    How many times have you spoken to a person ( woman or man, teen or child ) who have lowered their eyes, and not maintained contact in any way. Unfortunately, that has been my experience over many years. Some look one straight in the face, others do not – ( for whatever reason ).

    I seriously do not think it has anything to do with equality for women.

    I have never seen a burqa worn anywhere in or around Melbourne – and I get out and about a fair bit. …….. I would however, be concerned about a burqa, on SECURITY grounds – very much so. ……….. No-one could possibly know what might lie behind a burqa …. but I have never had to even think about it……….would think that I have only seen a niqab on maybe a half a dozen occasions in the Eastern areas of Melbourne over years…… but I see dozens – even hundreds – wearing the beautiful hijab.

    Personally, I think the Hijab, enhances a womans’ femininity and approachability. …. At least I have found it so.

    I do hope that clears up any misunderstandings. !!

    ——

    p.s. It was, after all our ‘esteemed’ leader ( pfffft – bah humbug !! ) …. who issued one of his grandiose edicts about the burqa —- and frankly, he didn’t have a CLUE what he was talking about …. ( as usual ).

  41. silkworm

    Last year I lived in the Bankstown area of Sydney, and on any day in the main shopping centre you could see at least one woman wearing the full body niqab. I did not find it confronting, but I did wonder why any woman would still be wearing such an oppressive garment in our open and liberal society. My only hope was that, through exposure to Western customs, the woman in question would, in time, feel relaxed enough to drop that garb.

    I am an active member of the atheist community here in Sutherland, and I can attest that atheists are divided on this question. Some oppose its wearing, while others tolerate it, suggesting that opposition to the niqab is a religious thing in itself.

    The issue is divisive amongst feminists also, some of whom regard it as a woman’s right to choose what she wears, while others argue that it is a symbol of her oppression.

    I would also surmise that Christians too are divided on this issue, with some opposing it as offensive, as Islam is offensive to Christianity itself, while others support it on the grounds of religious freedom. But isn’t that what the government wants – to divide and distract us?

  42. Rotha Jago

    Christians need to remember that until Pope John and the Vatican Council modernised orders of nuns, they were dressed in ‘oppressive’ garb too, and they were treated with great respect. Not only Catholics held these traditions sacred, but other churches too had their adherents dressed in ‘modest’, very modest attire. Why is no one drawing attention that there are many more ‘closed’ orders of women than men?
    But then some men also are required to dress in shapeless clothes and to cover their heads, which doesn’t seem to draw much comment.
    Yes, we are being manipulated to treat others with suspicion or even hatred. Is there a way around this?
    Is it time for an advertising campaign to emphasise the positives? A steady diet of negatives feeds the destructive tendencies of angry unbalanced people. The alternative is to continue to fill prisons and mental hospitals as we are doing now. The teaching of Ethics in NSW was opposed by the Churches. This was an example of negative thinking. Too few people understand what negative thinking is and how much of it we all are doing.

  43. Annie

    Rotha Jago ………. how absolutely right you are – in everything you have said on your excellent post. …. Well done.

    I am not being disrespectful at all to your post or the hijab or nun’s habit …. but –

    My Mum was born in 1909 … so was very much raised in the post era of Victorian traditions, and being non-Catholic, she used to tell me to ‘watch out for the penguins’ ….” never speak to them” ( I think she thought they would try to convert me !! ). … such was the ignorance and negativisim of the day.

    Surely we are not returning, with negative attitudes and thoughts – to those old days ?

    I, on the other hand, loved the Nuns. ……. They seemed so serene and calm, walked gracefully and with such dignity.

    BUT I could never ever figure out how they wore those hefty black habits in the middle of summer, with not a bead of perspiration to be seen on their faces.

    Still has me puzzled – especially as I know now that black is the worst thing to wear in the summer sun. It locks in heat, rather than deflecting it, as white does. I miss seeing Nuns in full habit, to this day – but am glad they are probably more comfortable in lighter normal day wear, clothing.

    …………

    Just a little ‘aside ‘ I figured I’d put here.

  44. RothaJago

    Hi Annie,
    Thanks for your kind words. About those flowing black habits worn by nuns, they may not have been so uncomfortable.
    During a visit to Dubai in midsummer three years ago I wore a long mostly dark coloured and shapeless dress
    With a fairly voluminous scarf mostly covering my hair. In 40+degrees heat it was surprisingly comfortable.
    Nor was the scarf on my head uncomfortable. When we entered buildings with efficient air conditioning I remained comfortable, protected from the contrast by my flowing clothes. My husband and I were treated with kindness and hospitality. I did not envy the many Brittish tourists in their skimpy clothes, and reddening skins.

  45. Annie Byam

    That was so interesting Rotha Jago.

    Some years back my daughter who had been in Egypt, brought me back a white ‘abaya’ ….. which is so cool and comfortable in the summer. ……..( I forgot about that !!! )

    But it has a very heavily blue ornamental neckline, and – being white, has to be washed frequently. So I hand wash it very carefully , and hang it so’s the colours don’t run into the white. She also brought me back a type of ‘abaya (?) coat – rather like a light dressing gown. Unfortunately the colours ran in that. So I just wear it casually around the house. Being so flowing, I guess they catch the breezes and air flows — and are thus cool and comfortable.

    I would not have thought darker colours would be suitable for such a hot climate as Dubai. Very interesting … and thanks for the info.

    …………

  46. silkworm

    Annie Byam, you are using this forum to project Catholicism in a favourable light. Devious. Jesuitical.

  47. Annie Byam

    Silkworm . ?? ……….

    I am going to take your comment above …. as your feeble attempt at humour !! …. a slightly kinky humour none-the-less. ….

    If, however it wasn’t, I have NO idea how you could possibly have deduced such a thing.

    I am not Catholic, nor would I EVER espouse that religion as being anything to aspire to. ……. and boy oh boy, do I have GOOD REASONS for that ! ……….. I did not HAVE to tell you that – I chose to.

    Devious ? Jesuitical ? ….. ” using this forum ” ??

    the Jesuits, from my understanding ….. are a severe and demanding order of monks or priests – who command extreme service ‘ as soldiers of God ‘ ( according to what I have just this moment researched ). Their founder had a military background – ( not surprising !! ).

    I am in fact agnostic. I think you need to be a little more educated … so to that end :

    _________________________

    ” Religious zealots are often viewed as ignorant by agnostics’ because
    of their blind following of a supreme being which may or may not exist.
    Agnostics will often question the existence of a supreme power because
    a lot of modern religious beliefs have no basis in modern logic; therefore
    blind following of popular religions is viewed as an easy out for people
    who choose not to think for themselves. ”

    _________________________

    There’s a start for you.

    Perhaps you are one of the zealots yourself – – – an atheistic zealot ? There are zealots in every walk of life.

    Now – – – go educate yourself ……….

  48. silkworm

    Sorry for offending you, Annie. You did get one thing right though. I AM an atheist zealot. 😉

  49. Annie Byam

    ok – Silkworm ….. apology accepted.

  50. corvus boreus

    Silkworm,
    I personally think one should always allow a chink in one’s zealotry of denial to allow for the astronomically thin possibility of the existence of orbiting teapots and air-mobile pasta beings.

  51. James

    One has to wonder why people from others cultures who encourage both the burqa and the niqab would want to come to a predominantly Christian believing country and continue with those traditions in the first place. Do they leave their homeland to come to Australia to become Australian? Perhaps they leave their homeland to come to Australia to become Muslims. Or is it that a Muslim with a strong Islamic belief leaves their country with it’s accepted laws and beliefs and travels to a country on the far side of the world to become a Buddhist, Hare Crishna or something else. I doubt that very much. I agree with anyone who says that Australia is the place to live. It is in my opinion the safest country in the world, so why come here and spend every waking moment trying to make it like the country they left, in the first place. There has been a recent suggestion that Pork should be banned from inner city schools because it offends the Islamic faith, but in my opinion this action isn’t Australian. In some areas the Australian flag cannot be flown and children can’t sing God save the Queen anymore because it’s offensive to other religions.
    If your Islamic belief is the strongest force in your life, or the one concept that directs your actions and gives your life meaning, why wouldn’t you stay in the country of your birth where your religion is the strongest force in the land. If however it isn’t the strongest force in your life and perhaps the willingness to give your children a better way of life is what comes first for you, why would you enforce the dress of your ancestors.
    Helmets, Masks or any type of facial covering is illegal in every state in Australia in all public buildings, Shopping Centres and Service stations except for facial coverings of anyone who might be a Muslim. Isn’t equality great.
    Now is the time for anyone who reads this to label me a racist, because its that which other people like to do. Lets forget about the democracy we all enjoy and my right to express an opinion. So lets throw it out there. I think there’s no place in Australia for either the Burqa or the Niqab. Now lets see how many people deny the Australian way of voicing one’s opinion and forgetting all those old diggers who died trying to encourage a free way of life. Enjoy.

  52. corvus boreus

    James,
    “In some areas the Australian flag cannot be flown and children cannot sing ‘god save the queen’ anymore”.
    Sounds dubious. Give verifying evidence for this claim.

  53. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    You won’t get an argument from me about the burqa and niqab. (I support the hijab, if that is what the woman or girl chooses to wear for modesty etc.)

    I do not support either the burqa and niqab on feminist grounds.

    This is because of my belief that everyone has the right to Gender Equality. To be seen and to interact with the community are part of Gender Equality and people’s facial expressions contribute to these forms of communication and yes, freedom of expression.

  54. Rossleigh

    Why on earth would kids be singing “God Save The Queen” anyway? Sounds like this story is coming from somewhere in England!

  55. corvus boreus

    Rossleigh,
    I have suspicions as to the source of that story (possibly pulled from an anatomical orifice). I am willing to consider/accept any supportive informational should it be offered.

  56. Hyper Bollocks

    James,

    Now is the time for anyone who reads this to label me a racist, because its that which other people like to do.

    No-one is going to call you a racist. Your particular “ideas” don’t really have anything to do with race. You might, however, be labelled “ignorant”, assuming folk are feeling kindly towards you. I do wish you would name an area of this country where the Australian flag cannot be flown. Unless you mean at the bottom of the local public pool, in which case – well, duh.

  57. Matters Not

    Now is the time for anyone who reads this to label me a racist

    Why?

    Or is that another problem you have?

  58. Michael Taylor

    Thank God (or whoever) that Aborigines don’t wear burqas. It would be too much for James to cope with.

  59. Kaye Lee

    “In some areas the Australian flag cannot be flown and children can’t sing God save the Queen anymore because it’s offensive to other religions.”

    Ummm….none of us have sung God Save the Queen for over 30 years James…..do try to keep up, though I do know of some Christian schools trying to hijack the national anthem by singing the verse

    With Christ our head and cornerstone, we’ll build our nation’s might;

    Whose way and truth and light alone, can guide our path aright;

    Our lives a sacrifice of love, reflect our master’s care;

    With faces turned to heav’n above, Advance Australia Fair;

    In joyful strains then let us sing, Advance Australia Fair.

    Tell us the truth James…..where are you from because its obviously not Australia.

  60. Paul G. Dellit

    For those who were either confused by this article or misread it, I hope the following provides clarification of the premises upon which I based it.
    First, I am an atheist and thus only accept currently available best evidence, scientific and historical, as the basis of our current understanding of reality. Such understanding is always susceptible to change as new more persuasive evidence comes to light. There is no cohesive body of evidence which supports any religion. Science is not a religion, as its detractors would have it, but the antithesis of religion.
    Second, Those who believe in a religion are entitled to hold that belief and proselytise if they wish in our pluralistic, secular society.
    Third, the religions of the Book all patriarchally place men in a position of power over women. That is not to say that some female adherents of those religions do not prefer it that way. That is their good fortune. But those female adherents who find this aspect of their religion discomforting have to just grin and bear it.
    Forth, the hard right wing, science denying, hypocritical, lying, dog-whistle racist Abbott Government finds an advantageous alliance with the uneducated, racist cohort within the marginal seats that it jealously panders to, ably assisted by the Murdoch press.
    Fifth, personally, I find Tony Abbott repulsive regardless of his mode of attire, and the sight of the pancake makeup layered, blood red lipsticked Bronwyn Bishop performing from the Speaker’s chair like an out of control Miss Havisham positively offensive. But I defend their right to appear as they wish as I defend the right of anyone to wear what they like in the observance of their religious beliefs.
    Sixth, religions of the Book have some socially cohesive benefits to offer in a pluralistic society, as well as some detrimental outcomes, including the stifling of independent thought. Education which respects logical independent though will have the effect of demonstrating that basing one’s life on wish-fulfilling mythology is pointless, and thus result in the decline of religion and self-serving ideologies, such as the Hayekian exercise currently embarked upon by the Abbott Government.
    I do not believe that any of these points contradict one another or are internally contradictory, but if there are any instances where my logic is found wanting, please respond with examples. Thank goodness that we have AIMN to provide us with such a form for discussion!

  61. John Fraser

    <

    Australians can buy thongs (flip flops) with the Australian flag on it …. and walk all over it all day long.

    True democracy !

  62. corvus boreus

    John Fraser,
    There are also flag-print ‘thongs’ of the other type available, as well as other types of underwear and swimmers, for those who wish to conspicuously express their patriotism by covering their genitalia with the Australian flag.

  63. Jexpat

    We prefer the Boxing Kangaroo.

    Complete with green and gold sombrero.

  64. Rossleigh

    Ok, once for James (who complained that there are places in Australia where one can’t sing “God Save The Queen” because it might offend. I guess that’s why we had to change our national anthem about forty years ago!)…
    Everybody, celebrate Australia Day by joining in lusty chorus:

    “God save our gracious Queen
    Long live our noble Queen
    God save the Queen
    Send her victorious
    Happy and glorious
    Long to reign over us
    God save the Queen

    O Lord our God arise
    Scatter her enemies
    And make them fall
    Confound their politics
    Frustrate their knavish tricks
    On Thee our hopes we fix
    God save us all

    Thy choicest gifts in store
    On her be pleased to pour
    Long may she reign
    May she defend our laws
    And ever give us cause
    To sing with heart and voice
    God save the Queen

    Not in this land alone
    But be God’s mercies known
    From shore to shore
    Lord make the nations see
    That men should brothers be
    And form one family
    The wide world over

    From every latent foe
    From the assassins blow
    God save the Queen
    O’er her thine arm extend
    For Britain’s sake defend
    Our mother, prince, and friend
    God save the Queen

    Lord grant that Marshal Wade
    May by thy mighty aid
    Victory bring
    May he sedition hush
    And like a torrent rush
    Rebellious Scots to crush
    God save the King”

    Mm, not sure about that last verse there.
    Ah, whatever.

  65. DanDark

    I am not sure why people get their knickers in a knot over a piece of cloth, I am sure there are more pressing problems in the world other than what women wear, like how many billions of kids are starving all over the world…sigh

  66. Rossleigh

    Hey, that second verse sounds a bit violent to me. I thought we people weren’t like that!

  67. Jexpat

    Rossleigh wrote: ” …that second verse sounds a bit violent to me. I thought we people weren’t like that!”

    O flower of Scotland
    When will we see your like again
    That fought and died for
    Your wee bit hill and glen
    And stood against him
    Proud Edward’s army
    And sent him homeward
    Tae think again

  68. Kaye Lee

    You people….don’t you worry about that!

    I kinda miss the Joh and Flo show. How’s the youngster doing? Is he still leading Clive’s “get Campbell” campaign?

  69. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    @Rossleigh

    I’m not sure about that last verse either.

    And just to be a total pain in the posterior, when it says “That men should brothers be”, I’d like to know how we sisters are meant to be behaving?

    Maybe, there ain’t no rules to be applied and it’s open slather for us women and girls to decide ourselves?

  70. Kaye Lee

    Jennifer, let’s not forget our own anthem was originally ‘Australia’s sons let us rejoice’, and ‘For loyal sons beyond the seas’ became ‘For those who’ve come across the seas’.

  71. Hyper Bollocks

    I believe him. Don’t you? Haha hahaha

  72. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    @Kaye Lee

    That just proves my point more.

    If any text fails to use gender-inclusive language that recognises the 50+% female portion of our population, then why should we women and girls consider it applies to us?

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