Jihad Watch Board member Tashbih Sayyed reflects on some recent veil controversies and their implications:
Recent events in Europe, the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States underline the fact that Muslim immigrants who subscribe to the Islamist ideology and insist on maintaining an “Islamic” identity that is different and distinct from the mainstream culture of their host communities are a serious threat to the domestic peace and social cohesion of the communities in which they live.
In England, a 24-year old Muslim teaching assistant of the Church of England school in West Yorkshire refused to remove her veil when teaching the children. She also refused to work with men.
At an Islamic school in Leicester, non-Muslim girls have now been ordered to wear headscarves. And a Muslim police officer asked to be relieved from his diplomatic protection duty outside the Israeli embassy in London on “moral grounds” during the recent Middle East conflict because he objected to Israeli action against Hezbollah in Lebanon.
In Australia, that country”s most senior Muslim cleric, Sheikh Taj el-Din al-Hilali, condoned rape in a sermon last month when he suggested that the women are attracting sexual assault by the way they dress. Referring to a recent rape victim, he said, “If you take out uncovered meat and place it outside “¦ without cover, and the cats come to eat it “¦ whose fault is it, the cats” or the uncovered meat’s?” Hilali was quoted as saying in the sermon. “The uncovered meat is the problem. If she was in her room, in her home, in her hijab, no problem would have occurred,” he was quoted as saying, referring to the headdress worn by some Muslim women. Australia’s Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Pru Goward, said Hilali’s comment was an incitement to rape.
In 2001, a Muslim woman, Sultaana Freeman, in Florida obtained a driving license that showed her veiled face with only her eyes visible through a slit and when in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, the authorities demanded that she return to have her photo taken with her face uncovered, she refused.
In June, 2003, a Florida judge, Janet C. Thorpe,agreed with the state authorities that the practice of allowing veiled faces on driving licenses could help terrorists conceal their identities and ruled that Sultaana Freeman’s right to free exercise of religion would not be infringed by having to show her face on her license.
This year on October 11, Judge Paul Paruk in Detroit said he needed to see the face of a Muslim woman, Ginnah Muhammad, to judge her truthfulness. He gave her a choice: take off the veil when testifying or the case will be dismissed. She kept the veil on.
Paruk said that as a fact finder, he needs to see the face of a person testifying. “My job in the courtroom is to make a determination as to the veracity of somebody”s claim,” he said. “Part of that, you need to identify the witness and you need to look at the witness and watch how they testify.” http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2006610220597
The veil issue came under focus in Britain when former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, now leader of the House of Commons, said Muslim women visiting his office should remove their veils. According to British Prime Minister Tony Blair Islamic head scarves are a sign of separation and Britain’s Muslims should be encouraged to integrate with mainstream society in order to improve the quality of their lives and most of the moderate Muslims agree with him.
“People want to know that the Muslim community in particular but actually all minority communities have got the balance right between integration and multiculturalism,” Blair said. He said that the veil “is a mark of separation, and that’s why it makes other people from outside the community feel uncomfortable.”
The veil has become an issue in other European countries too. On October 17, Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi said Muslim women should not “hide behind” full veils and the Netherlands has been mulling a ban on burqa-type garments that cover the whole body and face, after parliament last year supported such a proposal. According to a Radio free Europe commentary, Britain is just the latest European country to grapple with the issue””and there have even been moves in some places to ban the most conservative forms of Islamic women’s dress. Harriet Harman, Labor Party leader, said: “If you want equality you have to be in society not hidden away from it. The veil is an obstacle to women’s participation on equal terms.”
The reactions of the western governments to these events suggest that they have finally decided to fight back and reclaim the open societies from the grip of those who refuse to acknowledge the centrality of the western values of tolerance, fair play and liberal democracy. It is also indicative of a growing understanding of the Islamist agenda which wants to impose a cultural apartheid by constantly claiming to have been offended by this or that in the western culture. http://worldpoliticswatch.com/article.aspx?id=275
Resistance to integration and assimilation into the mainstream culture is the cornerstone of the Islamist agenda as it helps in the development of closed societies within the host societies. There is no doubt that a community that allows a number of closed communities to develop in its midst loses its social cohesiveness and becomes dysfunctional. It becomes a source of discontent and dissatisfaction, breeds conflicts and lives in a perpetual state of tension.
Knowing that a marginalized and disenfranchised youth serves as a never-exhausting source for terrorism and a divided society breeds such young men, the Islamist establishment has worked diligently and scientifically to sabotage social harmony in Europe. As a first step toward achieving this objective, Muslims are convinced that they will have to insist on maintaining their “Islamic” identity, as their culture is better than the host culture. To further divide the host societies along the religious lines, Muslims are encouraged to refuse to evolve in the culture in which they live. They are being forced to recede into closed societies by refusing to integrate into the mainstream culture. According to an Austrian government study, 45% of Muslims in Austria don’t want to integrate. http://derstandard.at/?url=/?id=2454091
Observers have noted that closed societies serve the causes of Islamist extremists. They use such an environment to stay away from the spotlight. Experts believe that most of the sleeping cells use these isolated environments to hibernate and incubate. That’s why analysts insist that the immigrants who refuse to integrate should be watched closely. In their view, to insist on maintaining an identity different and distinct from the mainstream identy is the first step toward the creation of closed communities.
In order to understand why radical Islamists are working so hard to keep the Muslims from integrating, we will have to study what kind of an individual is created by an environment that rejects or looks down upon the mainstream culture.
Muslims who insist on keeping an alien and strange looking garb stand out and invite suspicion. Since they appear different, they find it difficult to be accepted by the mainstream. Consequently, they remain on the fringe of the society, feeling alienated and rejected. They blame the host culture for a situation that is entirely of their own creation and in many cases, they succeed in misguiding outsiders who often blame the host society for not doing enough to integrate its immigrant population. This situation suits global jihad perfectly, as the alienated and isolated youth can easily be recruited for the terrorist causes.
Germany recently has been wringing its hands over excessive violence in a high school in the Berlin neighborhood of NeukÃ¶lln. The teachers at the school, 83 percent of whose student body is comprised of immigrants, recently went public with the increasing violence and aggressiveness in the classrooms. A number of German states have also recently considered adopting tests to determine the attitudes of potential citizens to the German constitution. The Netherlands, France and Denmark have likewise been confronting major difficulties with integrating their foreigner populations””many of whom are part of the 15 to 20 million Muslims who live in Western Europe. French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy last month proposed an EU-wide contract that immigrants would be forced to sign requiring them to learn the language of their new home country. http://www.spiegel.de/international/0,1518,410098,00.html
What German Interior Minister Wolfgang SchÃ¤uble has said is true not only about the immigrants in Germany but about every immigrant group in the world. He said that while all levels of government must do what they can, immigrants themselves must also realize that they have to integrate. “Those who continue shirking their obligation to integrate and who don’t want their children to live as Germans made a mistake when they came to Germany,” SchÃ¤uble, of the governing conservative Christian Democrats, told Berliner Zeitung. “We will not achieve integration if the parents of children born here don’t realize that they bear a responsibility for raising and integrating their children into German society.”
What Europe is facing today is the direct result of their decades-old policies of multiculturalism that have helped the radical Islamists tremendously. And the U.S. will save itself from running into a lot of problems if it can learn from the Europe’s experience with Islamists.
The U.S. must declare that any immigrant group that insists on maintaining an identity of its own that is different and distinct from our American identity is a threat to our national security. And no one can deny that any group that does not believe in our American values, does not respect our liberal democracy and plans to replace our constitution by its totalitarian and fascist manifesto is nothing but an enemy of our freedoms.