Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Burqini

Discuss

293 Responses to “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Burqini”

  1. danlalan says:

    @patricio

    From a western christian male perspective, it’s not an issue of faith, it’s an issue of individual freedom.

    Do you see, then, the irony of condemning an article of clothing?

  2. tim says:

    Aman Ali said:

    But I don’t think any government has a right to tell people how to dress

    Given the context of the original piece, I’d like to ask if you think it acceptable for a religion to tell people how to dress? Is it acceptable for a religion to tell people who do not adhere to that religion how to dress? Is it acceptable for a religious state to use ‘morality police’ to enforce standards of dress?

    Personally I don’t think so for any of the above but I am actually interested in your view.

  3. FoetusNail says:

    Plato’s cave anyone?

  4. Anonymous says:

    HELLO! Muslim woman here and I’m not one who has been “brainwashed and sheltered by her family and her surroundings” since I was born and raised in Canada.

    I was absolutely disgusted when I started reading the comments to this post, thankfully Xeni and people like her jumped in and evened out the playing field.

    As a Muslim woman raised with a western mentatlity I do tend to cringe when I see newsclips or videos from places like Saudi Arabia. Not because I disagree with my faith but sometimes people tend to take things to the extreme and it is true that maybe not 100% of the woman wearing burkas want to.

    The fact of the matter is that in any religion and culture people are going to find flaws; and people are going to find others who may be forced to do something or wear something they dislike. The opposite is also true.

    I wear a hijab (head scarf) by choice. As do 90% of my friends, all by choice. In fact my parents sat me down and asked me a number of times if I was sure of my choice. They told me that people would treat me differently and that I may not have the same oppurtuinities as I would normally.

    I CHOSE to wear one because, like most Muslim woman who also make the choice, I believe in my religion and the absolute FREEDOM it grants us. Freedom to make our own choices.

    As a woman who wears the hijab and as a woman who made the choice to do so one her own, I find the comments on this post to be more degrading than they assume the burqini may be. To be talked of like a weak, mindless, helpless and pitiful female who can’t escape the “chains” of her religion makes me more intent on spreading the true message of Islam. ISLAM IS PEACE.

    One more thing: I own a burqini and LOVE IT

  5. valdis says:

    I wonder how many of the white non-Muslim males commenting on this thread wear Speedos, when they really should be wearing male-style burkinis. You know who you are – we really didn’t need to see that at the beach.

  6. Anonymous says:

    [196] TP1024
    “I mean, outside Scotland and perhaps Nova Scotia you couldn’t go out in a Scottish kilt without lots of unwanted attention and ridicule. And who is going to argue that this *isn’t* as manly a piece of clothing as you could get?”

    As a male living in Prague (Czech Republic) I have publicly worn skirts (not kilts) to the shopping malls, to the touristy city center, to university, and to work (informal working environment). There have been some double takes and stares, but definitely no ridicule and everyone I interacted with acted perfectly normally. Most people simply do not notice or do not care. I am sure that a kilt would be a complete non-issue. Check out http://www.skirtcafe.org for similar experiences from all around the world (OK, mostly US/UK). Many social norms/rules are just in our heads, i.e. if you try breaking them, nothing happens.

  7. mindysan33 says:

    Patrico- I have to say, I’m all about individual freedom too, but such rhetoric has often used to subjugate others, has it not? You can’t deny that Western Male christians have not always been about individual freedoms to various subalterns, and this includes up to now. This is not to condemn you or all White Christian males, this is just to point out a historical fact. Can you really speak for Muslim women on this issue, much less white Christian women on various issues? Should you? If we truly live in an individualistic free society? Does the decision on how women dress lie with you? If so, why?

  8. mgfarrelly says:

    @PAXVOBISCUM

    It’s worth noting that the riots in Tehran, which were the most violent, saw the national police force killing protestors, over a hundred of them. Something that, sadly, is not uncommon. The “arab street” phenomenon took hold of the story and it spun wildly out of hand. Mind you, I live in a country where something like 22% of Sarah Palin supporters think President Obama is the Antichrist. So I have a hard time sitting in moral judgement.

    Lost in those acts of violence, which were horrific but isolated, was the Muslim boycott of Danish goods. Estimates that it cost upwards of 7 billion Kroner are what I’ve seen. That reaction was far more effective in expressing displeasure than any of the violent acts could ever be.

  9. Abu Som3a says:

    I mean. I’m not fully qualified for this.

  10. arikol says:

    The author says “But I don’t think any government has a right to tell people how to dress.”

    And most of us think that silly old books shouldn’t be able to tell people how to dress.

    and the author also states “The more I thought about the product, the more I began to realize how awesome it is. It’s another way Muslims have been able to adapt to local cultures and customs”

    I hope you are joking.
    This does not place muslim women on an equal footing to anyone. Do muslim MEN wear overalls to go swimming?
    Why not?

    Maybe muslim men just don’t have any self control, losing themselves to all baser instincts at the sight of a human body. Maybe that’s not really the problem. Maybe the problem is more to do with old patriarchal guy who want to keep that system going..

    But then, what do I know.

  11. Francesco Fondi says:

    “I don’t think any government has a right to tell people how to dress”.

    I’m a nudist… do you think I got the right to walk in a park or swim in a public pool like (put your preferred religion here) GOD created me?!

  12. Abu Som3a says:

    “That makes it more jarring, perhaps, to hear arguments from you that come from a debate that happened in this country ninety years ago, and which have seemed decisively settled for as long as I’ve been alive.”

    It has also been settled for us. But it seems we reached entirely different conclusions. :-)

  13. patricio says:

    @DANLALAN not really, because I’m not condemning the article of clothing, I’m condemning the practice of forcing everyone to wear a particular thing. I don’t think it’s bad that anyone wears a burqa, I think it’s horrendous when, such as in the case of Iran after the revolution, the entire female population is made to wear restrictive clothing not of their own choosing.

  14. Secret_Life_of_Plants says:

    I guess I am puzzled by the statement “It’s another way Muslims have been able to adapt to local cultures and customs without compromising their beliefs, an issue many religions face today.”

    In just what way is forcing women to wear pyjamas in the pool “adapting to local cultures…”? If this were “adaptation” no one would even notice.

    By the way, in Paris, men – e.g. American men are also not allowed to wear board shorts in the pool. They will be asked to change clothes and given tiny Speedos to wear in the pool — because all that extra fabric is seen as unhygienic.

    I am sorry, but no one is going to convince me that Sharia Law and Islamic practices are good for women or that a Burkini should be a cause for celebration. And I’m not prejudice against Muslims any more than I am against the equally ignorant sexist practices of any patriarchal backwards religion like Judaism or Christianity etc. Any belief system that teaches that Men and Women have different Rights within that system is bullshit and not to be celebrated.

    The laws that make the Burkini necessary are the same Laws that lead to the woman in Malaysia being Caned for drinking a beer. It is all disgusting.

    http://www.loweringthebar.net/2009/09/malaysian-woman-sentenced-to-caning-for-drinking-beer.html

  15. FoetusNail says:

    I find the opinion that only the hotties, male or female, should be wearing anything but a moo-moo at the beach further symptom of our shame of the body.

  16. PalookaJoe says:

    tp1024@138

    I apologize. My last post was unclear about what I considered an exaggeration.

    Your point about executive attire is a good one. When someone asserted that people should be allowed to wear whatever they want, my first thought was “I want to wear boxer shorts and an undershirt to work when the summer weather gets really hot.” It would be marvelously comfortable, but I bow to the will of the people around me and wear something more businesslike. Our positions on this issue are very close to one another.

    When I talked about exaggeration, I was referring to the assertion that your viewpoint wasn’t allowed on the comment boards or subject to universal ridicule. You may not be in the majority here, but that’s not the same as being locked out or mocked by every other poster.

    I hate making this kind of “the times, they are a-changing” statement, but it feels like we’re getting a lot of this misplaced outrage lately. Especially in politically charged discussions, people are treating disagreement like it is a dire insult instead of a normal part of a vibrant discussion. Dissent becomes a character flaw, and the dissenter becomes “naive”, or a “fascist”, or a “hypocrite”. It makes me long for the good old days, where we could discuss our differences without resorting to ad hominem attacks, a cup of coffee cost a nickel and (I think I’m remembering this correctly) I could ride a unicorn-driven swan boat to work every morning.

    On a completely unrelated note, was that captcha widget there this morning? Or did it sneak in here while I was working outside?

  17. Abu Som3a says:

    Also if you have noticed. I said men “should not” be liable. I didn’t say “are not” liable. Huge difference.

  18. arkizzle / Moderator says:

    Just wear nothing or speedos if the local regulations require them.

    What makes you think men are here for your delectations? ;p

  19. ofindustry says:

    i get the concept of dressing modestly. but it seems the implementation is uneven.

    i saw a woman wearing a burqa on a talk show who spoke eloquently about modesty and not wanting men to look at her, who was stopped cold when asked if she was immune to being attracted to handsome men.

    she admitted she could be tempted, and then had no answer to then, when men did not wear them too.

    I have no problems with standards of modesty that i do not share. Only if they are forced by law (or general fear of moral vigilantes) or if they are unevenly handled. Nothing about the burqa itself is inherently sexist, but its implementation certainly is.

    I think the amish are modestly dressed and fairly. although i’m not sure if amish women choose not to wear pants, or are not allowed to.

  20. Bassam Tariq says:

    Aman, next time talk about flowers.

    Here is an excerpt from Karen Armstrong’s TED talk that best sums up my feelings on all this.
    http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/karen_armstrong_makes_her_ted_prize_wish_the_charter_for_compassion.html

    Frankly, in the days that when I thought I’d had it with religion, I just found the whole thing absolutely incredible. These doctrines seemed unproven, abstract. And to my astonishment, when I began seriously studying other traditions, I began to realize that belief — which we make such a fuss about today — is only a very recent religious enthusiasm that surfaced only in the West, in about the 17th century. The word “belief” itself originally meant to love, to prize, to hold dear. In the 17th century, it narrowed its focus, for reasons that I’m exploring in a book I’m writing at the moment, to include — to mean an intellectual ascent to a set of propositions: a credo. “I believe” — it did no mean “I accept certain creedal articles of faith.” It meant: “I commit myself. I engage myself.” Indeed, some of the world traditions think very little of religious orthodoxy. In the Qur’an, religious opinion — religious orthodoxy — is dismissed as zanna: self-indulgent guesswork about matters that nobody can be certain of one way or the other, but which makes people quarrelsome and stupidly sectarian. (Laughter)

    So if religion is not about believing things, what is it about? What I’ve found, across the board, is that religion is about behaving differently. Instead of deciding whether or not you believe in God, first you to do something. You behave in a committed way, And then you begin to understand the truths of religion. And religious doctrines are meant to be summons to action; you only understand them when you put them into practice. “

  21. Anonymous says:

    I don’t think this post was meant to stir up fundamentalist debate. I’ve seen many burqinis and the one featured in here is rather stylish compared to some previous ones. And can we stop worrying how people would (or would not) like to dress? It’s not about oppression. It’s a liberating way to enjoy the waves.

  22. patricio says:

    @MINDYSAN33 “Does the decision on how women dress lie with you?” Not really tho you have to agree that most laws (good and bad) regarding equality in the world have been passed historically by males.

    But this is where I’m coming from: as I try to think what it would be like if anybody told me how to dress or think or pray, in a fundamentalist context or in a theocracy, my core cultural values just make me sick to my stomach. I think that when most men speak about this issue this is the general pov.

  23. PaxVobiscum says:

    “So the best way to world peace is to outlaw their outfits? Were you in the Bush diplomatic corps by any chance?”

    Nope, just on the recieving end of an angry mob. You should try it sometime, its fun!

    As to the topic itself, which I do apologise for ignoring, I really dont care what who wears where and when. Your body, your choice.

    But its not as easy as that, you can’t just seperate burqa from islam, can’t seperate adherence to religion and religious edicts from muslims. And I’m not just talikng out of my ass here, i’ve lived and worked with muslims on and off for the past 8 years. The part the imam plays in the lives of even moderate muslims just has no judeo christian equivilant, you simply can’t know this until its experienced.

    I have a friend, a former muslim now converted to christianity. Even though he no longer lives by muslim codes of conduct, he still, unknowingly, reacts and acts like a muslim in a great many situations. He dosent think of as women as less capable, but if he dosent activly contemplate that while engaging with a woman, he’ll treat her as less capable, because thats who he was raised to be.

    Some say the burqini is just cloth, so who cares. But a cross is just two sticks. They are both symbols, and weather you like it or not what the burqini symbolises is the role of the woman in muslim society – a role which is, and has always been, subserviant.

  24. arikol says:

    BTW, I am usually quite nice in my comments. This just irks me a bit.
    Thinking that not hiding women in a complete sack as usual is an indicator of how good and advanced that culture is is just absurd.

    The cradle of modern civilization is in the middle east. Then the AMAZING development, cultural, scientific and technical suddenly just stopped, mostly due to ever stricter and more religious rulers.
    Without this strict religion then the middle east would probably still be the center of the modern world. Instead large parts of the middle east are filled with hate, doing what europe did between 1300 and 1700, little wars all over the place.

    That’s what we did in europe when our hateful little religion was in charge.
    Then we learned.
    Now many countries in europe could best be described as non-religious (even though they have a state church of some sorts, noone follows that..). And Europe does not fight itself.

    The link does not PROVE a causal link. It does lead one to wonder, though.

  25. danlalan says:

    Aman, next time talk about flowers.

    With all due respect Bassam, I would hope that topics that force people to examine their worldviews continue to be posted.

    Thanks Aman, in my opinion you started a very interesting discussion (even if that wasn’t your intent).

  26. danlalan says:

    @Patricio

    I too oppose the subjugation of one part of a populace by another, but it is the subjugation I oppose, not the thing that is imposed.

    Do you argue that Muslim women in the west should not be free to wear concealing clothing because women in Iran are forced to wear it?

  27. Antinous / Moderator says:

    For all this talk about the ‘magical’ aspects of religion, is nobody going to mention the ‘magical’ thinking involved in declaring non-speedo bathing costumes unhygienic? Exactly what pathogen uses board shorts and burqinis as a vector for infection? But then, France is the only country in the world afflicted by the dreaded Heavy Legs.

  28. Bassam Tariq says:

    @Danalalan I was only kidding. :)

  29. patricio says:

    @DANLALAN “Do you argue that Muslim women in the west should not be free to wear concealing clothing because women in Iran are forced to wear it?”

    No, not at all. I also think the french laws against the veil are barbaric to say the least.

    What is troubling is how the more democratic a country is (Turkey) the less restrictive the dress becomes vs a more theocratic state (Saudi Arabia, Iran). This seems to indicate at least a tiny bit how certain dress is forced upon women moren than freely accepted.

  30. Xopher says:

    Right on, Bassam. Do you know that there are people here who believe (accept as an article of faith) that anything without required articles of faith isn’t “really” a religion? They dismiss Buddhism, for example, from the list of religions.

    I’m more inclined to say that a religion that never causes you to DO anything differently than you would if you did not have that religion is no religion at all.

    Now, in my religion nudity is the norm in worship, with both men and women present. It ceases to be seen as a sexual invitation in very short order; also one gets used to seeing men and women of all body types and (adult) ages naked, and begins to let go of the delusions about the usual shape of human bodies fostered by Western television and movies and especially pornography.

    I believe this is a better strategy for making people treat each other in a civilized manner than the Islamic idea of modesty and separation, but then I’m not a Moslem and that’s part of why. There’s room for both answers, as a friend of mine is fond of saying.

  31. Pyros says:

    Xeni writes:

    “As far as I can tell, all of the voices in this thread bashing this funny post are white males.”

    I don’t think you would necessarily know the color of the skin, or the sex of the people who have responded to this post. If I am a white male, is my opinion somehow less valid? I certainly wouldn’t suggest yours is because you’re a white woman.

    Xeni writes

    “I am a non-Muslim female. I fully support the notion that women of various faith — Christian, Jewish, Muslim, or other — might adhere to a more conservative, modest forms of presenting themselves.”

    Of course, but the burqua, many would argue, is based in a religious tradition of oppression. The burqini is a reminder of that oppression, even if, ironically, it represents a modest step in relaxing sharia. If women choose to wear one, or a panda suit, or a bikini, or whatever they want to wear, I fully support their right. I just don’t think they should be stoned for dissenting.

    Xeni writes:

    “You know what else is oppressive? Presuming that every woman wants to be practically naked in order to enjoy the sea or the pool or whatever. Some women, faith or no faith, would prefer for that experience not to be sexualized, or involve physical exposure.”

    I don’t think anyone is presuming any such thing

    Xeni writes:

    “The vitriolic comments in this thread, and the “we’ve got to save the women” hysteria that caused the silly Burqini to be banned in some places — I doubt there’s much true compassion and understanding behind any of that.”

    I wouldn’t presume to know why you think you might be the judge of other people’s compassion. To decry those who decry oppression is a bit insensitive. At worst, it seems like it might be misguided compassion. That said, I agree that I think it is ridiculous to ban something. If women, just as men, should be free to wear whatever they want as long as it’s not hurting anyone else.

    How are we to feel about white males speaking out against something like female circumcision, otherwise known as female genital mutilation? Would we be wrong for detesting any initiative that might call for something slightly less than a full clitorectomy? If I were to speak out against such an initiative, would I be guilty, Xeni, of “save the women hysteria”? By the way, your choice of words is interesting. Did you happen to know that hysteria comes from the latin word for uterus?

  32. EMJ says:

    Fair enough if men and boys are forced to wear the equivalent.
    If not, no good.

  33. Bassam Tariq says:

    “The part the imam plays in the lives of even moderate muslims just has no judeo christian equivilant, you simply can’t know this until its experienced.”

    What are you talking about? I’ve grown up Muslim my entire life and the roles of the Imams in my life have been very subtle ones. We show them respect as elders and teachers, but otherwise they are not gods on earth nor have they ever delved into my personal matters.

    Just cos you have known Muslims for 8 or so years doesn’t give you the slightest authority to speak on the Muslim experience.

  34. Anonymous says:

    Another point of French history for Americans. France is a laic country (no “in god we trust here”). And when we say laic we meant that it’s in the genes of our rebublic to eat priests for dessert.

    Head scarves and skullcaps ARE banned from schools only (up to highschool), the law just says that any religious sign is. Crosses are too, and we don’t teach creationism at school :-)

    But may I remind you that in Turkey (a country with a majority of muslims), headscarves are banned from University too ?

  35. danlalan says:

    @Bassam

    I can be remarkably thick and literal on occasion. :)

  36. nerak says:

    “Personally I would never want to be a member of any group where you either have to wear a hat, or you can’t wear a hat.” – George Carlin, It’s Bad For Ya

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9FKOVFyd3nc

  37. TheCrawNotTheCraw says:

    “The Burqini has gotten a lot of backlash from governments in Europe. But I don’t think any government has a right to tell people how to dress.”

    Riiiggghhtttt… You don’t think any government has the right etc. etc. etc., but you don’t have any problem with a *Faith* which directs that you dress modestly, and which has (in Iran) paramilitary religious thugs who roam the streets with whips and administer warnings and beatings to those they deem in noncompliance.

  38. ofindustry says:

    because i’m in a typey mood i’ll keep going. I’ve been reading through the comments and I see some people really think this is a personal choice. And while I admit that it is a personal choice in a country where it’s not law, there is a certain amount of imposition happening, and that makes things fuzzier.

    I have friends who are united pentecostals who ‘choose’ to stay clean shaven while the girls ‘choose’ to only wear skirts. to say they’re not doing it because of law is to miss the point that they’re doing it to curry favor by following what they see as a higher law. The women have been programmed to see women wearing pants as a moral trespass.

    this next bit isn’t a 1:1 analogy because its far more grisly, but you could use these pro burqa arguments to also address female genital mutilation. It’s outrageous but what right do we have to dictate our western morals on them? Sure the kid can’t choose, but her mother had it done to her, and she’s choosing for her.

    In the end i don’t think anything can be done specifically about it. Targeted action is rarely a good method of making people more progressive. But fair is fair, if you want to opt into a social custom that only affects one sex, you have to be able to roll with the punches when someone calls it sexist. To say “lots of women like to wear them” is as anecdotal as saying “lots of women DON’T like to wear them.”

    Observations that are not anecdotal are things like the plain faced observation that one gender is subjected to something, and the other isn’t, even if being subjected to it is a matter of choice.

  39. CrunchyKnee says:

    In my opinion the problem isn’t a Burquini, or an American male not being able to wear a Speedo to the pool or a head of state having to wear a business suit in humidity. The problem is religion, plain and simple. Belief in an invisible sky daddy, or belief in a hipster creed is stupid.

    Imagine.

  40. grimc says:

    what the burqini symbolises is the role of the woman in muslim society – a role which is, and has always been, subserviant.

    Yeah, whereas “Christian society” is all about empowering women.

  41. Bass0 says:

    I think to some degree we are all living under the constraints of our own culture. That another culture’s dictates infuriate me shows how powerful my own culture’s constraints are.

  42. Anonymous says:

    I am not a muslim, but I am going to get one of these so I can swim. I have a medical condition which is aggravated by UV exposure, and I live in the sub-tropics where UV is often extreme. Thank you to the people who designed these garments, and for the link to the site.

    I see myself as a person first, and a woman second, and I prefer people to relate to me as such (with specific exceptions). If we women want to cover our bodies we should be free to do that.

  43. LRM says:

    @ Aman (28) “This is a bit of a stretch, but I can compare this argument to gay marriage. How come we strongly defend the rights for gay people to live their lifestyles (rightfully so), but we slam Muslim women for living a lifestyle that they have chosen.”

    I think I see where you’re going here, but your choice of analogy is skewed.

    The point people are making is that the dress code for women in this context is not a true choice. And, by the way, neither is being gay.

  44. forgeweld says:

    As a Papuan tribesman (okay, not really), my heart aches for all of you forced by your misguided tribal customs to cover regions of your body considered dirty. It must be hell in the hot weather. Maybe someday you will progress and shake off the oppression you seem to suffer so passively at this time.

  45. nolongeranon says:

    Ok, I lived in France for a few years, and this has NOTHING TO DO WITH MUSLIMS!! The French have bizarre rules as relate to swimming pools. I was refused entry to a public pool for wearing swimming trunks. You know, the standard swim shorts that are considered normal in the U.S. I had to purchase and wear a speedo-style swim suit to be able to swim at the public pools.

    I chatted with some friench friends about it, and they said that swim shorts were “dirty”. When pushed for further explanation, they said that anything that looked like regular clothes, you couldn’t wear in a pool because you might have been wearing it around that day, and that would make the pool dirty.

    Their logic makes no sense in reality, because one could just as easily wear a speedo underneath their clothes before coming to the pool (and I personally witnessed exactly this). I pointed this out, and everyone I talked to admitted that the policy doesn’t make sense, but “that’s just the way it is”.

    For men, speedo is ok but shorts are not. Similar rules for women.

    *Should* they make an exception to the rules to accommodate religious beliefs? I think so. But good luck getting ‘tradition’ changed in France.

  46. Sciurus says:

    @179

    Or for that matter, how western society encourages women to dress in skimpy attire. How does that empower women either?

  47. danlalan says:

    …you could use these pro burqa arguments to also address female genital mutilation. It’s outrageous but what right do we have to dictate our western morals on them? Sure the kid can’t choose, but her mother had it done to her, and she’s choosing for her.

    I knew this one was coming. And it is a stupid argument. There are numerous laws that limit how much power a parent has over a child. You can’t kill them, or torture (including mutilate) them, or keep them locked up in the basement. No matter what your particular religious beliefs are. You can make them wear a yarmulke, silly long underwear, or a burqa, because the assumption is that once the child reaches adulthood they can shed such customs if they choose to.

    Oh, and btw, how do you feel about MALE circumcision?

  48. Anonymous says:

    You can’t wear giant panda suits to the pool. You can’t wear street clothes in the pool. too germy.

  49. regularfry says:

    Abu Som3a@244: I was not looking for further arguments or justification, but for statistics to back up either side. Neither your argument nor mine seem, on the face of it, to be obviously correct given the existence of the other; measurement is required. This applies to many of the things you’ve said are “obvious” in this discussion. I disagree that they are obvious, except possibly from your particular point of view.

    Also:
    Even if we exclude crime, like I said before, sexual freedom in itself has many other problems. You have failed to address that.

    I don’t have to. You’ve posted some of your opinions, many of which I happen to disagree with; mostly because I’m in a different cultural situation from you and looking from a completely different viewpoint. For instance, you say “But socially I can’t think of anything less respect-worthy than a prostitute.” That is completely alien to me; how much respect someone is due is (in my world) orthogonal to what their job is.

    With that in mind, the onus is on you to justify your opinions if you want to convice anyone that they are valid; in many cases they can’t stand unqualified.

  50. Anonymous says:

    Re: someone not being allowed to wear this in a Paris pool. In my experience men aren’t allowed into French swimming pools wearing anything other than Speedos- no baggy trunks allowed, definitely no shorts that might be normal outside clothes- so I assume that women wearing anything other than a tightly-cut bathing suit would also be refused entry. (no tee-shirt over a bikini, for instance). So although the French attitude to religious dress can be intolerant, that’s not perhaps the underlying reason here. I think they claim it’s a hygiene thing.

  51. mindysan33 says:

    Patrico- True, they may have been passed by men, but not out of the kindness of their hearts. And how did they get in charge in the first place, isn’t that a question to ask. Voting rights here and in Britain were hard fought for by women… Often extending whatever rights to whatever group is a way in which to break down populist anger, and divide those subaltern groups which might band together against the powerful. Again, I’m not saying that your beliefs are heart felt, or wrong, just that there is a long history of white power and privilege being based on the taking of power from others…

    Arikol – I’m curious where you get your historical view about the middle east, as they seem a little problematic to me? Possibly Bernard Lewis? Go check out Peter Gran’s book, The Islamic Roots of Capitalism, a book which provides a bit of a counterpoint to historians like Lewis, where he argues that the Napoleonic invasion of Egypt had more to do with Egyptian abundance than with their supposedly weaker position (ie, the French were looking to exploit the food resources of Egypt, which were quite vast at this time). And again, the Ottoman context is useful to look at as well. In general the view that the Middle East was static after some point is ahistorical and feeds into an imperial policy that seeks justification for subjugation of a region. Was Europe really so great and free in the 19th century? What does the perspective of the powerless in Europe tell us? What is the motivation, for example, of various peasant revolts? Was it them being anti-modern, or was it the fact that they were being forced into a new system, which they might not have chosen? What is the motivation of people like Karl Marx – they hated freedom? I don’t think so, actually. Wasn’t all rights fought for under the rhetorical terrain dictated by the imperial powers anyway? Just a different way of looking at this historical period that I find generally compelling and far more useful for understanding our world today as opposed to the whole “the West saved everybody else by colonizing them”, as if that wasn’t a series of incredibly violent acts that murdered tons of people for the supposed crime of being “backwards”, and which in reality was all about conquering for profit?

  52. Anonymous says:

    Over 150 comments and no one has pointed this out yet:

    Banning clothing worn by someone who has to wear it because of oppression, is banning the person.

    Think about it, if she can’t wear the headscarf in public, and she must wear the headscarf, you’ve effectively told her to either stay inside, or divorce her family.

    With that kind of ‘protection’ who needs oppression?

  53. dragonfrog says:

    Arikol’s question @43 is buried in a predictable deluge of hijab-bashing, Islam-bashing, and general modesty-bashing (and interestingly enough, a certain amount of women-bashing – how dare women who don’t have supermodel bodies go nude or near-nude in public? Don’t they know they have a duty to make me horny?).

    But it’s a good question.

    How do Muslim men maintain their modesty while bathing?

    Does there exist a bathing suit that would allow Muslim men to bathe at a mixed-sex pool or beach? If you are aware of one, did you laugh the first time you saw it, or was your reaction different? Why?

  54. Xeni Jardin says:

    Bassam and Aman, I hope you will not feel compelled to avoid subjects like this. I’m very glad you posted this, and that you participated in the comments that followed!

  55. 2k says:

    so my point is that even Logical thought (using Logic, maybe even thinking in truth trees) is itself a sytem that is learnt by (or overlayed on) the mind of the student.

    That mind operates on a magical, associative basis.
    I’m not saying the character or output of thought is supernatural (although it may appear that way sometimes), I’m pointing at the fact that the basic nature of thought is associative.
    That’s why I made an appeal to neurology with my activation comment.

    So we have this nature of thought which quite naturally creates Religous Thought (which I think The Golden Bough expiates quite thouroughly (pardon the pun)), that engenders the kind of; bad now, better later assumption, perhaps leading to the idea that the end justifies the means.

    Enforcement of cultural idioms that may be quite damaging are then easy to justify to yourself because you are merely protecting the cultural extrusion of your underlying (and in this case overlaying) thought.

    Whilst it seems crazy to assume that we will be able to actually re-structure the neuron-activation nature of thought, I feel there’s hope for the moderation of the overlay.

    cough

  56. ethicalcannibal says:

    Okay, this might sound weird, but I’m a female, white, middle class atheist. I am covered with tattoos, and do adult pics on the side. With all that said, I was looking up “modest wear” swimwear.

    I don’t want my head covered, but I hate bikinis. HATE. Muslims are not the only ones making modest swimwear. I found loads of sites devoted to it by conservative christian groups in the US. I tend to wear boy board shorts, that go to my knee, and a tankini top that covers me from shoulder down. I just always feel exposed when I swim at the gym. I don’t have any problems being naked, but in that environment, I don’t like it. I also like to keep the bulk of my tattoo’d self covered and away from the sun.

    Personally, If a woman wants to cover up, why not let her. I have the freedom to go practically naked if I want, why not cover up as much as I want. Real freedom of choice for repressed women isn’t going to come by regulating out their choice in swimwear. Letting them be active and swim, seems to me, to be a better choice. Not removing activities they can do, and distancing yourself from them, even further isolating them.

  57. FoetusNail says:

    With the understanding that I have become some sort of pariah in these discussions, would anyone like to respond to my questions @26.

    What is the real freedom of a person, male or female, who has been taught from birth the shamefulness of their body and procreation?

    Is their resulting ‘modesty’ their own choice?

    As with us all, freedom of choice is limited to the choices available and availability is controlled by time, place, community, and education all of which control or perception.

    How much of what any of us view as our own freedom of choice or free will is just that, ours?

    My point is quite simple, religious and social indoctrination limits our freedom, which is sometimes good and at other times evil.

    The very best indoctrination leaves us with their choices as ours. The very best indoctrination leaves us feeling we complete freedom, which is always a lie.

  58. pfistypfoost says:

    Anyway…thanks for the link to Simply Modest. This old grandma still likes to go to the beach and catch waves. Her suits look good to me.

  59. Tiltingintexas says:

    In Dallas, Texas I’ve seen several women wearing Burqini’s at public pools. In most of the US, rules for swimming attire is fairly lax and allows for nearly anything besides denim. One is more likely to be banned for swimwear that is too revealing, such as a thong.

    The burqinis seem to be quite comfortable and dry quickly, making them perfect for casual or recreational swimming. Much better actually, than the swimshorts and t-shirts many young women wear out of modesty.

    I imagine that in most countries where Islamic law dictates a woman’s attire they are probably not spending any time at an integrated public pool anyhow. So it seems that saying the burqini is supporting this oppression is a bit exaggerated.

    Frankly, I wish it was socially acceptable for me to wear an hijab upon occasions. Not being forced by our societal expectations to style my hair every day before leaving the house would be a wonderful freedom for me.

  60. Xeni Jardin says:

    Anonymous Muslim woman, thanks for dropping in, seriously. It’s really cool to hear your thoughts.

  61. Snig says:

    I think forcing women to wear burqa’s is wrong.
    I think ostracizing someone who wears one by choice is more wrong. Have not heard of similar ostracizism of nuns habits, papal robes, popes (that tiny little old man forced by millions of Catholics to wear that huge hat, for obscure religous reasons), Jews in heavy black coats and hats in Summer, or those poor deluded souls who believe it’s OK to wear crocs. OK, crocs wearers are ostracized.

  62. tp1024 says:

    @168:

    I think we misunderstood each other on more levels that we both thought possible. :)

    I realized that I probably misunderstood exactly what you meant with exaggeration, but thought that you meant I exaggerated on the point that nobody should even be talking about it (and of course that was exaggerated).

    But I never meant to imply that I felt I couldn’t talk about that in comment boards.

    But I do feel that there is absolutely no way to just go out and take the *freedom* we are supposed to have (if you believe those who constantly refer to when saying that Muslim women don’t have any freedom) and move beyond the limited set of clothes that we are effectively *forced* to chose from in any given setting.

    I mean, outside Scotland and perhaps Nova Scotia you couldn’t go out in a Scottish kilt without lots of unwanted attention and ridicule. And who is going to argue that this *isn’t* as manly a piece of clothing as you could get?

    Even if a woman is reduced to burqas, they still have the choice of materials, colors, different cuts and different ways of wearing it (and as far as I know, they make full use of it). So, there is choice.

    But freedom it isn’t. Nor is it what the male western population currently has.

    Women, don’t be offended, but are you going to argue that you have less freedom and less choice?

  63. V2 says:

    The burqini is a great Aussie invention. Americans and Europeans don’t get it because of the lower level of beach culture in these countries. The burqini opens the beach up to everyone which is pretty good as far as I can see.

  64. Anonymous says:

    Nolongeranon, you’re absolutely right, and the only one I’ve seen who has the point.

    The rule in French public pools is that your bathing attire must follow the lines of your body — no swim trunks, no board shorts, no swim skirts – nothing loose that flaps in the water, as it’s seen as dirty.

    everyone has to wear swim caps, as well — which means that French public pools are a sight to see — everyone wearing swim caps and speedos — definitely an equalizer!

    The woman in Paris (who was actually in a suburb of Paris…) was asked to wear bathing attire that conformed with the rules. Nothing more, nothing less…and they turned me away the first time I visited because I wasn’t wearing bathing attire that conformed with the rules, either…and I’m neither female nor Muslim.

  65. FoetusNail says:

    So, you like wearing a burqini, that’s nice. You know some women, and men, like being tied up and wiped, but when you tie up and wipe a women for not wearing a burqini it sends a pretty strong message.

    As for religion of peace, I would have assumed you must have read the Qur’an. When there are literally pages filled with phrases enjoining the faithful to kill those that would lead the faithful astray or warnings of the punishments that god will inflict on those who ignore his love and fairness that sounds far fetched.

    As our Dutch commenter wonders above, show me the love! Thousands hit the streets protesting and destroying property because of a few cartoons, but not one large protest against suicide murder. Something that should be happening almost every day, as every day a Muslim is killed by another member of the faith.

    And please can we all stop throwing up the you can’t criticize one form of stupidity, because there are stupid people everywhere.

    I find all religion dangerous and intolerant. I find all christians just as lost as all muslims and jews. I find the US guilty of stupidity, religious ignorance, sexual hangups and depravity. I find and declare that this planet is overwhelmingly filled with idiots of which I am one. The proof is in the pudding. Welcome to my world.

  66. patricio says:

    @MINDYSAN33

    “True, they may have been passed by men, but not out of the kindness of their hearts”

    Obviously.

    In the end, I guess the problem isn’t really the burqa for most people, it’s the fundamentalist theocracy part. You get no argument from me when you’re talking about the veil in countries like Lebanon or Turkey. But I find the practice impossible to defend in Iran, Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan.

  67. Shannon says:

    I realize this conversation is long beaten to death so there’s probably little point in commenting, but…

    …As someone who’s spent most of his adult life
    “professionally” defending freedom of expression, I of course am happy to see women wearing whatever makes them happy. However, if even 1% of those women — and I suspect that if the women were properly informed and in an educated ignorance-free culture where they could express themselves free of fear that the number would be much higher (although still not 100% because of what foolishness religion inspires) — then I am deeply opposed to the system that creates these things.

    But as an atheist, it brings me to a split on the “do what you want” ethos, because I hate to see people doing stupid or self-repressive stuff in the name of an imaginary deity and whatever culture is built up around that fallacy. In my mind it’s all fruit of the rotten tree, and shouldn’t exist.

  68. mindysan33 says:

    Foetusnail – I agree about indoctrination, but frankly, the same can be said about our country, too, can it not? Are we not indoctrinated in some ways? We generally see ourselves (meaning the US) as being the bearers of freedom, but are we frankly that? Has actions on the part of the Western powers always been a positive?

    This is what is so problematic about trying to tease out the nature v. nurture argument. How can we ever divorce ourselves enough from our culture to really figure out what is culturally created and what is not? I see no way to figure that out, do you? Frankly, I see no easy answer to that question. But I think you are assuming that somehow we are more divorced from our cultural context than are people in Islamic majority countries? Are we really? Can you provide proof of that? I think the problem people have with your view is that you are assuming that your beliefs are not somehow conditioned by culture, while those who embrace Islam are? Do they have less agency than us? If so, why? We all are doing this careful dance across our cultural mores, which constrain us in different ways, some of which we might not see (that’s the whole argument about ideology to some extent, that when it works best, it’s invisible, right?).

    Does that go anywhere to answering your question? I’m afraid it doesn’t really, does it?

  69. Ernunnos says:

    I come from a Mennonite background. To most people, my mother’s side of my family would be indistinguishable from the Amish. No electricity, etc. I watched her go through a period of adjustment as she left that culture. The idea that this kind of clothing is something that women choose is absolute, unequivocal horse shit. Oh sure, ask any one of my aunts who still dress that way if it’s a choice, and they’ll tell you that it is. But it’s a “choice” accompanied by massive coercion from a very young age. Choosing anything else as a child would result in physical punishment. Choosing anything else as an adult results in exclusion from friends, family, and church. And that doesn’t even get into the psychological coercion of believing that failure to follow these sartorial norms puts your immortal soul in jeopardy of eternal torture.

    If it were men, if it were any other subject, we wouldn’t consider a “choice” made under these conditions to be any kind of choice at all. But it’s women, so it’s ok. And even liberal white women will step in to defend it.

    Disgusting.

  70. Antinous / Moderator says:

    I do have to say that the burqini in the photo makes me feel like I’m about to have my teeth cleaned.

  71. scar says:

    “How come a woman is not allowed to wear a burqini to a pool, but there’s no law saying she can’t wear a giant panda suit? If she wants to wear either of those outfits, hey go right ahead.”

    Actually most governments have probably nothing to do with it, it’s the pools reglementations: basic bathsuit for girls and no shorts for guys, if she were going on the beach ok but at pools you have to follow the reglementations and that’s all

  72. ofindustry says:

    #59

    I prefaced the comment by saying one was far more grisly. It’s by no means a 1:1 comparison. Notice how you pulled the same maneuver by providing the far less extreme example of imposed clothing, the yarmulke, in your reply to me. although you seemed less self aware of it than i did.

    I intentionally left the subject of male circumcision (which i am against) untouched to see if anyone would point out that westerners are guilty of the exact same logic despite our frequent outcries. We circumcise our males because “our parents made the choice for us, and they’re not any the worse off for having it done to them.” I try to be be fair. Just as i’ve been waiting to see if anyone will point out burqa analogues in western culture. Things that aren’t imposed, but heavily suggested, and often picked by choice?

    I understand the feminist movement and high heels have had a contentious relationship. there might be comparisons to make there.

  73. danlalan says:

    @foetusnail

    There is a lot of disagreement about whether or not human beings have “free will”. If none of us have free will, then arguing about ANYONES actions is futile.

    I think we must assume we have some free will, even if limited by our experience and the physical laws of the universe.

    That being said, your point about social and religious indoctrination applies to all cultures equally. We tend to favor our own culture because we are brought up to believe that we are right and good, and that by implication cultures that differ from ours are not.

    Saying that a religious upbringing leaves an individual in a psychological state similar to Stockholm syndrome significantly overstates your case. After all, Charles Darwin certainly was brought up in an unquestioning religious environment, and look what happened with him.

    Speaking as a militant athiest, it is my belief that we should target the magical thinking and inherent logical flaws that underlie theism, while at the same time leaving those cultural practices that do not violate the basic human rights of those in the culture alone.

    Burqunis don’t violate anyone’s rights.

  74. danlalan says:

    Dang, foetusnail.

    I don’t know about you, but I’m just an ignorant monkey trying to find my way in a world dominated by ignorance. We do the best we can, cuz that all we can do. Besides being stupid and depraved, and mostly idiots one and all, we are also builders, musicians, engineers, writers, lovers and parents. And we’re not always (or some would say often) good at it, but it is the only game in town.

    It seems important to me not to lose sight of the good bits even when up to my neck in the sewage that humanity is capable of producing. If one is a nihilist, why bother doing anything at all?

    btw, I think you meant whip, as intriging as the idea of tying up and wiping a woman is…

  75. Shannon says:

    BTW, I showed my daughter this, and while she doesn’t like the idea of burqas, she looked at this and say in awe, “THAT IS SO PRETTY!”

    So maybe they are doing something right after all!

  76. Anonymous says:

    As an agnostic “Western” woman I would TOTALLY wear one of these to swim in public simply because of body issues! Our society has brainwashed me into thinking I’m fat and disgusting because I’m not a size zero and I’m getting older.

    Let’s think about what our own “liberated” society is doing to our women before we start chastising other societies we have been too ignorant to learn about.

    (For the record, I’m 26 and of “ideal weight” according to all the health charts.)

  77. sobreiro says:

    “The more I thought about the product, the more I began to realize how awesome it is. It’s another way Muslims have been able to adapt to local cultures and customs without compromising their beliefs, an issue many religions face today.”

    Wow, this bothered me tremendously… “Awesome”? The thinking behind this (more than the actual piece of clothing) remembered me of that orthodox Jew from RELIGULOUS who has to come up with these ridiculous machines in order to by-pass the Sabbath laws without actually breaking them… If your life is so stunted by these old myths and fables (note: I’m not against Islam specifically, I’m a critic of every single religion out there, big or small – don’t take it personal) that you have to come up with clever ways to bend these self-imposed burdens, maybe it’s time, in an individual basis, to wonder: “is this way of life helping me or is it just weighing me down?”. Just my two cents…

  78. mindysan33 says:

    Patrico, I don’t want to defend those regimes, but not all of them are our enemies, don’t forget. I find, especially the Saudis reprehensible, as does some of my Muslim friends who have been there… but don’t forget, we totally support the Saudis, and this is when they are beheading and stoning people in stadiums just as much or more than the Iranians (we just hear about Iran more – gee, I wonder why?). The Saudis are hellbent on conquering the diversity of the Islamic world and imposing one view of Islam on it and we let it happen every day, and in fact, I think actively support it, because we want to deal with one power in the region or else we truly believe that the people of the middle east are incapable of automony. A case in point is Kosova, a country which has a very laid back version of localized more sufi like Islam. We’ve allowed Saudi Islamic charities, which had a very particular agenda to use a terrible situation for the Kosovar Muslims to convert them to their brand of Islam, into the area, I guess cause “all Muslims are alike” or something. And in Turkey, well, let’s just say that they are deeply problematic as well. And remember our guy, the Shaw (spelling, sorry), who had his men driving around ripping the veil off women? And of course the revolution was not originally Islamic in character in Iran, it was just eventually manipulated that way by khomeni (again spelling, sorry) We loved that despot, even Jimmy “mr. Human rights” Carter supported him, meaning the Shaw, not the Aytollah…. What does it say about us that we support every regime that is anti-democratic, while condemning those that show even the slightest sign of democratic tendencies? What do we really want in the middle east? I don’t think we really want democracies, at least our actions seem to suggest that.

  79. Anonymous says:

    So, let me get this straight, someone invented a full-body swimsuit targeted to Muslim women because the Koran requires them to dress modestly. And, the inventor called it a burquini as a clever play on the word burqua, the traditional outer garment many Muslim women wear to maintain their modesty. And, a lot of people posting here are mildly to overly upset that the burquini and burqua exist.

    Thank you, Aman Ali. We are all thinking and talking about it now.

    You know, there are written and unwritten clothing rules we navigate every day. The man who attends a formal business meeting without a necktie or the woman who wears a revealing shirt without a bra in public will lose some status in the eyes of most people who see them. These are rules we accept or reject with attendant consequences.

    Many groups, religions and societies add their own clothing rules to the general mix, but very few of us seem eager to denounce the Mennonites or the Hare Krishna for their required dress. A Muslim woman may live in a family and community where wearing the burqua is the accepted or highly favored norm. She may then want to wear the burqua out of love of family, love of community, and/or self-evident belief in the Prophet’s words about modesty. These are not threats and coercion.

    In this family and community, what is the consequence if she refuses to wear a burqua like her mother, friends and sisters? Let’s assume a loving father who must continue to be a member of the community with a daughter whom most people now consider a little rebellious and strange. But, his more stupid associates will begin to speculate openly about what other rebellious things is she probably doing – drinking, smoking, sex? Her brother will get in fights because a few stupid boys taunt him by calling her a whore. She hasn’t done anything wrong other than draw attention to herself and her family by not wearing the burqua. I don’t see this so much as threats and coercion as it is a community showing disapproval to one of their own who does not want to be a part of them anymore. And the stupid ones will taunt you any time you give them the opening.

    What if there is not a Muslim community and the woman is pressured to wear the burqua after she refuses? What if everyone is not so nice, and Uncle Abdur gives her a beating to get her back in line? It is my hope that we can agree that these are bad things.

    If we can accept that the burqua can be worn for reasons other than threats and coercion, perhaps we can accept the burquini.

    My only objection is the husband in the speedo and the wife in the burquini. Modesty anyone?

  80. ofindustry says:

    #69 “If none of us have free will, then arguing about ANYONES actions is futile.”

    this is a very basic error to make when first starting to think about the existence or non existence of free will. There is a lot of interesting reading out there with arguments on both sides, but none really hinge on the fallacy you presented there.

  81. lectio says:

    I’d rather wear one of these than be stared at by gross old men when I swim at the gym.

  82. Sheik Rattle Enroll says:

    If by “backlash” you mean it counts as swimming fully clothed which was prohibited before it came along then you have a pretty low threshold for what you consider backlash.

    I consider backlash more along the lines of I leave a religion and I get stoned to death for it.

  83. FoetusNail says:

    I too see the immense beauty of our cultures, more later…

  84. theawesomerobot says:

    People wear next to nothing while swimming because the human body has some strange aversion to BREATHING UNDER WATER, so they try to stay as buoyant as possible. I’m sorry if your religion permits you to be less buoyant than others.

  85. vettekaas says:

    @ FoetusNail: I like where your argument is going. It’s hard to determine who is “free” and who isn’t free. I’m inclined to believe that all people, everywhere, are indoctrinated to a point where we decided nothing really on our own.

    I haven’t read this whole thread because the first comments showed little understanding of Islam and Muslim culture. I can’t stand the streak of cultural superiority that’s showing through. Are Western women any more free for being able to let their boobs hang out? When that freedom is used to justify rape (“she was asking for it”)? When women feel compelled to perform feminine roles in order to be accepted by society (http://contexts.org/socimages/2009/09/12/semenyas-makeover-gender-as-performance/#comments). My family discouraged me from pursuing a career in the scientists because “girls aren’t as good at science.”

    I don’t mean to undermine the oppression of women especially in some Muslim communities. But covering the body isn’t the worst of it. Covering your body doesn’t have anything to do with covering your mind.

    Stop parroting things that you’ve heard or seen in television. Read the works of Imam Ghazali (1050-1111), read about the history of thought that has lead to body covering. His stuff is so much more positive about the body and sexuality than anything in early Christian thought. Think about how women are made to feel about their bodies in Western culture (no mention of the clitoris or sexual pleasure for women in my sex ed. classes).

    Use your brains before making assumptions about cultures other than your own, and examine your own culture before critiquing other people’s culture.

  86. jere7my says:

    TP1024 wrote, I mean, outside Scotland and perhaps Nova Scotia you couldn’t go out in a Scottish kilt without lots of unwanted attention and ridicule.

    That will come as news to my Boston-area friends who wear kilts on their way to Scottish country dancing. Sometimes people look at them askance, I suppose, but I’ve never seen a kilt draw more than a passing glance. (I’d wear one, but I haven’t yet taken the $300+ plunge.)

    The rest of your point is well taken.

    Foetusnail@188, you’re making the (common) mistake of thinking fundamentalists and scriptural literalists are the only people of faith. Me, I find all dangerous and intolerant people dangerous and intolerant — and I know who’s coming off as intolerant in this thread. (Hint: it is not the Muslims.)

    You’d also do well to research the responses of moderate Muslims to suicide bombings, if you think there’s never been a protest against them. Perhaps you mean there’s never been a violent mob protest against them — which, if true (I do not know), seems like a good thing.

  87. KathleenL says:

    I’m a white female atheist engineer in California who is very comfortable with my body, thank you.

    However, I have to say that I’ve considered wearing hijab, especially to work. There is an appropriate context for showing off my body and my freedom of expression in clothing choice, and work is not it. At work, I’d like any focus on me to be about my brain and ideas and productivity, not on what I’m wearing. And definitely not on whether what I’m wearing is attractive or how does it fit and have I lost/gained five pounds? I don’t wear hijab because I’m not willing to take on the simultaneous problems of my own cultural appropriation and others’ anti-muslim sentiment on a daily basis. Instead, I wear long, very plain dresses.

    Even when divorced entirely from any sense of shame about one’s body or from religious influences, the constant attention on women’s appearance and dress can be irritating to those of us on the receiving end.

  88. FoetusNail says:

    I don’t tend to favor our culture; I hate living here, on earth; beautiful place, but the natives are insufferable.

    Is not the indoctrination of children in the belief that our bodies and sex are shameful a violation of human rights?

    This sort of original sin indoctrination is part and parcel of the three desert cults and should be just as much a target as magical thinking, etc.

  89. FoetusNail says:

    Dan, every once in a while someone escapes the cave, but look what happens when they go back to tell everyone what they found outside.

    Over 125 years after Darwin’s death with numerous discoveries that corroborate his original thesis and millions, because of religion, still don’t believe in evolution.

  90. Mitch says:

    FOETUSNAIL, the arrogance and superiority of some atheists is really an embarrassment to secular people. Why must a picture of swimming attire be taken as an invitation to bash Islam?

  91. Anonymous says:

    Wow, women can swim? this is great news, swimming is one of the best forms of anaerobic exercise, and the water helps lessen any jarring to the body. This will help any woman to get fit and tone up her body. I also hear its good for cellutlite girls!

    the arguments range from “its oppressive” to “its a free choice” the problem for non-muslims, is that sometmes we dont know when it is choice and when imposed, especially, say in UK/USA.

  92. Ito Kagehisa says:

    Sadly, Foetusnail, I have read nearly everything Hitchens has published. It’s like sticking your head in a blender; it only feels good when you stop. It’s worse than reading Ayn Rand.

    As per your excerpt (posted amidst the usual rants of people saying how their cultural prejudices are better than anyone elses’s), yes, I think Dorothy Parker was often screamingly funny, and when she wasn’t funny she showed philosophical insight that Hitchens is unlikely to ever achieve.

    If women do not want to expose their bodies in public, I am sure that will please those who do not wish to see such things. If anyone wants to bare it all, those who are offended should look away and keep their opinions private. There is nothing more that needs to be considered on this subject. Those who react inappropriately to things they see are themselves to blame, not the object of their sight; I suspect Mohammad (peace unto him) would agree with me.

  93. patricio says:

    @MINDYSAN33 What does it say about us that we support every regime that is anti-democratic, while condemning those that show even the slightest sign of democratic tendencies?

    It means that the american state is deeply hypocritical (I’m Mexican by the way ;-)). But still, I will defend a deeply flawed democracy (Iran under the Sha really wasn’t even that) over a stable theocracy or a dictatorship any day of the week. I think that this is really the issue.

  94. 2k says:

    …how difficult to navigate this topic without sounding like an ass.

    Whilst it seems that most of the commenters here agree that people should be able to wear whatever they want; criticism, then, seems attracted to the underlying, behaviour-forming society that conditions those preferences.

    If you disagree with someones personal choice to wear a garment, then from your perspective that criticism becomes conditional upon the pretext that it’s not the individual but the individual’s mileu that is to blame.

    Freedom to choose is no choice at all when your conditioning is not-to-choose?

    Apart from the fact that the burqini is *gulps* ‘quite sexy’ depending on, I guess, who is wearing it (c’mon, everyone’s a little bit of an ass), can you really justify criticising an entire people because you disagree with their clothing customs? (whatever else that may entail – and by that I mean that not all muslims men terrorise muslim women)

    Change, apperently, takes time. Maybe a more moderate attitude will help things along?

  95. seethemoon says:

    Thank you Pipenta #243. Beautifully said.

    Undoubtedly religious discrimination is a large part of the debate here but I think there is something else at play. Western women have fought a 100 year battle to free themselves of the constraints of conventionally acceptable clothing. This fight has coincided in lock-step with our fight for equal rights. Flappers rid themselves of bustles and corsets and the 1960′s saw the end of mandatory (by societal standards) of girdles and bras. The point of this was not to further sexualize the female form by undressing it, but exactly the opposite – to acknowledge our bodies as biological fact and realize the same freedom of movement (figuratively and literally) that the other half of the species has always enjoyed

    Whether it is a Mormon fundamentalist sect, Hasidic Jews or strict Muslims, our initial reaction to clothing constraints for women is that it symbolizes a step back from an ongoing battle for equality.

  96. Binaryloop says:

    Maybe they can sell them to Amish women too? Don’t think they’d go for the “Burqini” though. Maybe call it something like the “Plain Jane” and make it black. Instant success.

  97. Anonymous says:

    The author needs to get his facts right. I assume he is talking about the swimsuits in France issue, but the reason they are banned there is because it is not hygienic. I went to a french public pool in board shorts, and was not allowed to swim… you have to wear a speedo at a french public pool.

  98. Phrosty says:

    Sure, a government doesn’t have the right to tell people what to wear, but a religion does. THAT I get. :\ (and let’s not even get started on thr Iranian theocracy)

  99. Anonymous says:

    @18 I knew a girl from my class at school who was from a muslim family only 3 years ago,
    She decided she did not want to wear a veil so she didn’t. When her father found out about what she was doing he violently threw her out of their house. Yes lots of women choose to wear the veil by choice. but there was no support for this poor girl when she decided she did not want to be oppressed by her fathers beliefs.

  100. FoetusNail says:

    Sadly, Foetusnail, I have read nearly everything Hitchens has published. It’s like sticking your head in a blender; it only feels good when you stop. It’s worse than reading Ayn Rand.

    Now that is funny! Thanks.

  101. Antinous / Moderator says:

    With the understanding that I have become some sort of pariah in these discussions

    Acknowledging the problem is the first step in finding a cure.

    Mod note: Circumcision is off-topic. If you keep repeating your pet peeves about religion, I’ll trim the redundancy. Keep it civil.

  102. Gelfin says:

    I dream of a day when all people can experience the unbridled freedom to do what I think is normal instead of suffering under oppressive conformity to what they think is normal.

  103. sirkowski says:

    Religion is stupid.

    That’s all you gotta know.

  104. Anonymous says:

    Seriously if the hibjab or the burqini become normal part of American women attire, I’m out of the country. Take this for what you will, The muslim religion like every other religion ever conceived wants nothing more than the entire planet to follow their beliefs. This would be a first step in that direction.

  105. FoetusNail says:

    Ant, I think that in this thread I have behaved quite well and in fact have steered this discussion towards the root of these issues, what is freeedom of choice.

  106. EH says:

    Either way, doing things because some old, religious and incorrect book tells you to does nothing to advance us as a species.

    That’s no way to talk about “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.”

  107. Anonymous says:

    I believe that one reason the Burqini is banned from a swimming pool is to prevent people from taking a swim in a public pool while fully clothed. I have seen homeless people ‘bathing” in fountains, fully clothed and more or less washing their clothes at the same time. If the burqini is ok to wear in a public pool then I guess you’d have to allow a guy who just finished pounding nails all day to jump right in, cool off and wash his blue jeans at the same time. ” it’s my blue-jean and dirty t-shirt swim suit”

    Not trying to bash islam..but I look askance at any religion that won’t allow you to make a cartoon about their religious leaders.

  108. octopod says:

    hmm. think the issue is that the state enforces it.

    like if you can go to jail or worse based solely on the type of clothing you wear, then that’s pretty sucky.

    otoh, if you walk naked thru a shopping mall in the usa, then you’ll probably see the inside of a courthouse. so it’s all relative anyways.

  109. danlalan says:

    @foetusnail

    I think we have little argument.

    I am saddened that more people have not found their way out of the cave, certainly, but a lot more people have found their way out since Darwin than before him.

    Unfortunately it is very human to see patterns that don’t exist, to hold superstitions, and to engage in magical thinking. And I doubt that it is entirely due to indoctrination since such behaviors are universal, only varying in degree. It is my belief that we are fighting biology to some extent, and that this, as well as indoctrination, limit our volition. Fighting biology makes this a particularly tough slog.

    Burqinis aren’t the problem.

  110. arkizzle / Moderator says:

    Mitch,

    FoetusNail isn’t only bashing Islam, he is bashing religion.

  111. Teapunk says:

    First of all, one pool in Paris is not “backlash fromn governments in Europe”. As far as I know there are several pools (for example in Germany) with special days/hours ONLY for (muslim) women.
    Which opens a whole other can of worms, but – like the burqini – it is better than not being able to swim at all, no?
    I like swimming but I’ve yet to see a burqini in the pool and I’d like to hear a swimmers standpoint on the garment.
    Professional swimmers wear full cover suits, too, so I guess full cover might be a good idea but the fabric seems to be rather lose fitting for religious reasons so my guess would be that you can sort of paddle in the water but not really swim fast or *gasp* competitive.
    I remember swimming in clothing, it is more an excercise in not drowning than enjoyable swimming.
    Maybe Aman Ali knows someone who tested the burqini and she wouldn’t mind to share her experiences?

  112. Xopher says:

    I’m not the only one, I expect, who’s dead tired of watching FoetusNail ride this tiresome hobbyhorse.

  113. Anonymous says:

    I bought something pretty similar for my 6-year-old daughter this year; it didn’t have a hood (we’re not Muslim and don’t cover our hair), the leggings were mid-calf, and the sleeves were elbow-length. It was pretty, it was comfortable, it dried quickly, and best of all it kept her sensitive skin protected from the sun so she could play as long as she wanted to at the beach. If I could have found something like that for myself, I would have bought it in a heartbeat; no shaving, no stuffing my had-a-couple-of-babies stomach into a skimpy Lycra sausage casing, no tugging at the back self-consciously to try to keep my butt covered. Modern Western bathing suits kinda suck for a lot of us.

    The burquini seems like a sensible solution for women who wish to preserve their modesty while enjoying the water. (Wearing regular clothing in the pool isn’t allowed and it takes forever to dry anyway.) Hooray to this woman for finding a way to help her co-religionists enjoy the water comfortably! You can be modest for lots of different reasons, including ones that aren’t about the repressive patriarchy or religious subjugation. Try being a large-breasted woman out with friends on a Saturday night, then come back and tell me how damn free you are. I’m not one bit ashamed of my body, but it would be nice to have men talk to my face instead of my breasts, especially at work.

    I have a friend who chose to wear the hajib after she was married. She said that once she met her husband, she enjoyed feeling like a beautiful present that was unwrapped every time she came home and took off her hajib. In her experience, Americans saved the best of everything for guests – the good china, the fancy meals, the extra primping for special occasions – and were their sloppiest at home (“it’s just family”). She wanted to save the best and most precious of everything for her family, including her beauty. I was honored by her gesture of friendship when she began removing her hajib during visits to my home.

  114. buddy66 says:

    Looks cool to me. I’ve got this little foot fet- well, not really a fetish but a, heh-heh, thing about the sweet little tootsies.

  115. 2k says:

    I wasn’t (just) trying to be a smart-arse with the ‘all thinking is magical comment’; it’s really true.

    The associative nature of thought is the basic underlying nature of activation, whether it be sub- or liminal. Overlaying systems like science or what-have-you may give the impression that it’s not.
    But it is.
    Think about it.

  116. jere7my says:

    Threads like this are helpful in reminding me that the enlightened rationalist elite can be just as narrow-minded, judgmental, bigoted, and short-sighted as the most hidebound fundamentalist. What most of these anti-religion comments boil down to is “My cultural mores are optimal, because they are invisible to me” (with or without a side order of “Muslims are smelly”).

    Those who say people shouldn’t let the shackles of cultural oppression control their dress and behavior would, with some exceptions, still be horrified to find half a dozen naked men masturbating in the produce section of their supermarket.

    And if you agree, I would appreciate you sending a letter stating as much to: Brighton Police Department, Dept. of Public Indecency, 100 Main St., Brighton, MA.

  117. Anonymous says:

    i have a burqa fetish. no, but really:

    - you can be modest, even in the nude.

    - however immodesty can be moral.

    - sex for fun can be moral.

    - however a life spent obsessing over the next O is probably largely a life wasted.

    - good things shouldn’t be needlessly sacrificed in the fight against bad things.

    - problems should be confronted head on.

    - faith is a monkey wrench in the machinery of reason.

    - the history of the burqa surely has many positives and many negatives.

    - using force against someone for wearing a burqa is immoral and a slippery slope.

    - i’d give 100:1 odds, if everyone self-actualized burqas etc. would be more rare.

    peas to all

  118. Anonymous says:

    “But I don’t think any government has a right to tell people how to dress.”

    I really hope you include Islamic states in that comment – because women should have as much right to choose “no” on burqas as they do “yes.”

  119. Anonymous says:

    About the Paris part, let me get it straight for americans (French here). She wasn’t denied because of the muslim part of the outfit. She was just denied because in French pools you are only allowed in swimsuits (even beach bermudas are prohibited). This is just a hygiene rule to prevent people from coming to the pool with their regular clothes. That’s it, and rules are for everyone. If I went to the pool with a pair of jeans and a shirt, I’d get kicked out too !

  120. billstewart says:

    Anon#188, I was just at the surf shop today, and they had a number of garments designed for sun protection while swimming – dive skins and a variety of other things.

    Various people have posted that the reason that the woman with the burqini wasn’t allowed to wear it in the pool was because of the French prudishness about “hygiene”, and while that’s a bit harder to believe given their practice of forbidding school girls to wear Muslim head coverings, it’s probably true. On the other hand, the public pools in France supposedly prohibit nudism, also because of alleged-hygiene prudishness. It sounds like the usual human rationalization process of making up reasons that what you like should be mandatory, and it’s close enough to the majority preferences that they get away with it. They’re not any less prudish than Americans, they just have different targets for it.

    When I was a kid, the old downtown men-only YMCA pool prohibited bathing suits because they thought it was cleaner and didn’t clog up the pool filters with fibers (though that didn’t apply to the newer mixed-gender YMCA pools.) On the other hand, the college swim test was done nude (for men) because the gym didn’t want to deal with 1000 wet swimsuits.

    In general, speedos don’t look that great on middle-aged fat guys like me; they’re fine for young muscular guys, but with my figure they’re just silly; I look more dignified either naked or more covered up, though I don’t like swimming in baggy shorts either. And it’s getting to the time of year that it’s too cold to swim very long without a wetsuit in Northern CA.

  121. vettekaas says:

    @ jere7my: my thoughts exactly

  122. octopod says:

    >in the produce section of their supermarket.

    if it was over the produce, that would be a bit much.

  123. jere7my says:

    Octopod@96, I’ll point out that the produce section of the supermarket has more baggies per capita than pretty much any other store in the city.

  124. Anonymous says:

    @165, Anonymous Muslim Woman.
    Really nice to hear from an independent, empowered, confident, savvy Muslim woman for a change! NO, WAIT!!!.. That’s the norm in my life. Religion does not the person make.
    Thanks for speaking up. I am not Muslim, nor female, but I know plenty of both, and you could be any one of 15 or more women I know.
    Except we live in different hemispheres…

  125. Anonymous says:

    As Samuel Johnson said, “no man is a hypocrite in his pleasures”, and perhaps he would extend that to women.

    In the Judeo-Christian countries of Europe and the Americas, there are no prohibitions against wearing this getup. So, should the fact that likely no-one has seen anyone actually doing so — I certainly haven’t — indicate that no-one actually wants to wear one? Does it indicate that even where a preference for more modesty is expressed, that it does not extend to several yards of it? Or is it that western cultures have their own pressures that would make wearing this likely to make a woman an object of derision?

    The idea of going to the beach or pool is itself highly constructed, socially meaningful, and our participation in this rite indicates an understanding that you will not only find sand and sun and waves to frolic in, but networks of social meaning as well that you will participate in. Clearly, the issues around the choice of adopting anything like the burquini, even down to the name with its cutesy reference to the most revealing clothing women are legally allowed to wear in most countries in the west, indicates the culturally stuck nature of not only the modern muslim woman, but women in the west in general. It’s worth mentioning that a bikini is a form entirely unfree: it is bound to only cover, and at the most minimal degree exactly those areas of the woman’s body that are deemed sexually essential: in a certain sense, both the burquni and the bikini perform the identical function of delinieating what is sexually essential, and what is sexually irrelevant about women. The bikini is a complex construction to define exactly the boundaries between where control arises, and so is the burquini. Neither connotes freedom to renegotiate these boundaries: a bikini top worn backwards, exposing the breasts and hiding two areas on the back is just not on. The choices around both these garments equally demonstrate, in one sense the lack of “freedom” that people have. Interestingly, when the areas covered and uncovered are reversed, both equally become highly kinky, the kind of thing associated with explicitly sado-masochistic relations to the woman’s body.

    This freedom isn’t an issue of individual expression, its the lack of freedom we have to ignore the requirement for social conformity for social conventions to maintain meaning. If you want a western example, look at Degas’ Dejeuner sur L’herbe, where the clothed men, much like a burquini at Malibu, renders the otherwise conventionally nude women into shockingly naked ones, and raises the sexual temperature of the scene beyond what the conventions of the nude allow. So much of the debate is framed in terms of freedom, in an american mode that ultimately suggests that freedom is something above culture, that we ideally make decisions outside of cultural constraint. This is a load of crap, and illustrates the problem that rhetorical approaches to freedom have: we’re social animals: the place we absolutely lack freedom is outside of culture, because culture is what provides us — in language, custom, knowledge, belief, practice and so on — with the only possible basis for rising above immediate necessity to the place where choice can exist in a meaningful way. Ignoring conventions is always seen as a threat to social stability: what differentiates conservatives and liberals are the conventions that are held to be fundamental to maintaining stability. All freedom derives from a degree of surrender of freedom.

    By assuming that choosing what you wear to the beach is a purely “individual” decision ignores the reality that you are also making choices that assert a relationship to the socially-constructed notion of beach, pool, exercise, sex, physicality that are intertwined in it. This garment pisses some people off because they see it as taking a hypocritical attitude: asserting participation in a social convention while repudiating its underlying meaning. For these people, this kind of denial is threatening, and they aren’t completely wrong: societies work very hard at creating and maintaining institutions that allow the exhibition of the body in a socially acceptable way. Threatening that goes to the core of sexual security. In the cultures like Saudi Arabia, this garment would likely be unacceptable. But wearing a bikini would be absolutely so. It upsets the balance of sexual mythology that exists there, as the burquini does here.

  126. octopod says:

    @92 – “..see patterns that don’t exist.. ”

    where does our sense of beauty and aesthetics in general came from ?

    “It is my belief that we are fighting biology to some extent,.. Fighting biology …”

    we live for such a short time and then we’re gone, so as long as nobody gets harmed who doesn’t want to be harmed, wtf does it matter how ppl choose to live their lives or use their brains?

    tbh, the problems seem to start when one person or group starts telling other ppl what to do. inevitably things go down hill from there.

    and it’s equally problematic with evangelical religious types as it is with rational fundamentalists.

  127. octopussoup says:

    I don’t care about the swimsuit. But I’ve always hated that hajib. It’s not even required in the Qu’ran. If it was why wouldn’t all muslim groups wear it?

  128. Marcel says:

    Is there any reason why we shouldn’t, by that same token, allow nudists to go take a swim in that same swimmingpool bare naked?

    Morally objectionable you say?

    But…isn’t that a culturaly biased statement?!

  129. chgoliz says:

    Abu Som3a @ #232:

    “Then they aren’t being reported, or taken seriously by the authorities. If you don’t think every society suffers its share of sexual abuse, you are living in a fantasy.”
    In a proper muslim community, you wouldn’t hear them as much as you would in a foreign one. If women are dressed conservatively, and men have a moral and religious obligation not to mess with them, and they don’t eat a lot in Ramadan (hunger reduces sexual desire), then chances are these incidents won’t happen as much as in a western community.

    Point of education: rape isn’t about sex, it’s about power and control.

    Men who have been castrated, physically or chemically, can (and do) still commit rape.

    Women are raped all the time in Muslim communities. They can’t report it, because unless men step forward in court to substantiate their claim of victimhood, they will be prosecuted for “admitting” to having had “sex” with their attacker.

    Do you also believe there are no gay people in Muslim communities, just because in most cases they’ll be arrested, tortured and/or killed if they admit who they are?

    There are many Muslims (just like Christians) who know how to follow the best of their religion without using it as a cudgel against others. The arguments you are giving show that you are merely repeating the manipulations and deceptions you’ve been told. Your posts are not representing Islam at its finest.

  130. Anonymous says:

    What bothers me, as someone of middle eastern heritage but raised in the States, is that I have to be very careful when around Muslims, here or abroad, because I don’t act or dress “appropriately” for my appearance. By wearing basic American clothing, making eye contact, and acting as if I were equal to men instead of subservient, I invite some pretty nasty behavior. I have it coming to me, you see.

    The Islamic argument that men cannot control themselves and thus it is the responsibility of women to cover themselves means that women who do not “choose” to cover themselves are *by definition* inviting men to lose control in their presence.

    Whose definition of “choice” is that?

  131. Anonymous says:

    What about an ordinary skintight head to toe diving suit?

    It covers the entire body except the hands and face. Is that OK or does the koran also require that the shape of the … ahem … chest and hips also be hidden?

  132. Anonymous says:

    It is disturbing indeed to tell people how they should dress or not dress.

    Oops. Was I just criticizing the French government or the Muslim religion? I guess I’m criticizing the ban that caused the other ban. And both are bad.

  133. chgoliz says:

    @ #249:

    AFAIK, you can convert from islam if you were born muslim. You didn’t have a choice in the first place. The “death” part should only occur if someone embraces islam on his own then reverts from it. And for a good reason.

    What is that “good reason?”

  134. Anonymous says:

    Just to be clear here. The public pools in France have strict clothing requirements for all swimmers. Men are not allowed to wear the long-short “jammers” either, speedo-type small trunks are required. It isn’t a cultural thing, but rather said to be an issue of “cleanliness” and keeping frayed fabric from the filters. Whether this makes sense or not, it does not have anything to do with the anti-clerical sentiment that fuels the movement against the wearing of hijabs in schools.

  135. Antinous / Moderator says:

    From 2004:

    A top French politician has criticised people for taking part in demonstrations over a ban on kids wearing headscarves in schools. Around 5,000 people, mainly Muslims, took part in the march in Paris on Saturday, and other protests took place in Europe and the Middle East. But minister Nicolas Sarkozy said the demos encouraged tension and anger. Headscarves and skullcaps will be banned by the law, as the French government says they separate people.

    From 2009:

    President Sarkozy has declared that the burkha and the niqab – both forms of Muslim veils – are no longer welcome in France. In a speech to parliament, the president said he regarded such extreme veils as ‘subservient and debasing’ and the women that chose to wear them ‘prisoners behind a screen’.

    From Sarkozy’s 2007 victory speech:

    I am going to give the place of honour back to the nation and national identity. I am going to give back to the French people pride in France…

    Quite a few commenters seem to be tripping all over themselves to point out that the burqini is banned in France for reasons of ‘hygiene’. It looks to me like a convenient excuse for Sarkozy to mount a fascistic defense of the purity of French culture.

  136. Anonymous says:

    Don’t want to take away from the SRS BSNS tone of the arguments so far, but that pictured burqini looks really freakin’ comfy.

    I mean, I wanna cuddle up with some hot chocolate in front of a fireplace in it.
    Even if that’s not its primary aim. :\

  137. Signy says:

    @259: If you wear hijab, the focus will be on your clothing. You say you’re an atheist? Don’t buy into Islamist hype that hijab takes the focus “off the body” and puts it on a woman’s personality. That’s total bunkus. It’s called propaganda. I wore the hijab almost my entire adult life. Not only was the focus very much on my clothes, but it didn’t stop men who wanted to from viewing me sexually or as a sexual commodity. In fact, once you start wearing the hijab, you get introduced to a very particular sexual subculture that fetishizes it. I encountered a lot more freaky people who were turned on by that cloth than I have encountered any everyday sexualized stuff from men dressing like a normal American woman. Oh, not to mention all of the political and social stuff you take on when you wear the scarf.

  138. Signy says:

    @239:

    Abu Som3a: “Yes. We don’t tolerate rape. We don’t tolerate underage sex…etc…just like any other sane community.”

    This is not true. Fiqh allows for pre-pubescent girls to be married to adult males, something that goes on today just as it did when Muhammad married six year old Aisha and consummated with her age age 9. There is some room for interpretation regarding whether or not the shariah allows for the marriage of a child to be consummated either prior to age the of 9 or prior to the first menses. Remember, differences of opinion are a mercy in the ummah! It is the ulama who have fought efforts in the Muslim countries to establish a minimum age for marriage, and those laws have not prevented people from marrying off 15, 12, and even 8 year old daughters. Hell, I would guess that of the people from Muslim backgrounds reading this thread at least half of us have a mother or grandmother who was married and having babies prior to the age of 18, or even 16. What Islam disallows is premarital sex, and extramarital sex with the exception of “right hand possessions.”

    Regarding rape, please do study the rules of the “right hand possessions,” ie, female slaves. A Muslim male slave owner is allowed to have sex with his female slaves whenever he so desires.

    Abu Som3a: “AFAIK, you can convert from islam if you were born muslim. You didn’t have a choice in the first place. The “death” part should only occur if someone embraces islam on his own then reverts from it. And for a good reason.”

    This is not true. Muhammad said, “Who changes his Islamic religion, kill him.” That is in sahih Bukhari. Study your religion. There is nothing in the shariah that says “for a good reason” or “that only applies to converts.” It doesn’t matter if you are murtad milli or murtad fitri: the penalty is death for leaving Islam. The ONLY exceptions are the Hanafi ruling which imposes life imprisonment on female apostates and a newer ruling that says this only applies to people who take up arms against the Muslims or engage in activities that work against Islam. Like, say, what I am doing now.

  139. arkizzle / Moderator says:

    2k@198

    Smart arse.

  140. Doug Watt says:

    Aman mentioned what I was thinking, it is a respect issue. Being gay, I expect respect from others as I go about living my life.

    Here in the SF Bay Area, I have neighbors who wear turbans and neighbors who wear burquas. When I pass them at the grocery store or on the street I make a point of making eye contact and saying hello the way I would with anyone else.

    Because people have the right to wear what they choose here, I respect their choice.

    Most Christians are part of that religion because they were raised that way and it’s no different with other religions. I’m not fond of religion in general and I don’t think people should feel ashamed about things that come naturally.

    But we’re talking about what women wear, a touchy subject in any group.

  141. Lobster says:

    The burqa is outlawed in Europe because it is seen as a sign of oppression.

    What better way to liberate women than to tell them what to wear? :D

  142. DefMech says:

    anti-religious vs. absolute moral relativists fight! fight!

  143. danlalan says:

    @2k

    I would agree that much of what goes into making up “thought” occurs below the level of consciousness. A nervous systems is merely a means of sensing and reacting to the world around an animal, taken to an extreme in the case of human beings. But it is chemistry, not magic, that is happening.

    As I suspect you are aware, that is not what the term “magical thinking” refers to, though. Magical thinking is the belief that doing thing X will cause event Y, when X is independent of and unrelated to Y. A good example is the childhood saying “step on a crack, break your mothers back”. Another good example is the common belief that saying a few words in the right order and addressing them to the right invisible being with the proper level of sincerity will cause action at a distance, such as casting a spell or praying for some specific event.

  144. mermaid says:

    @77
    “I’d rather wear one of these than be stared at by gross old men when I swim at the gym.”

    I’m tired of being stared at by the gross young women too.

    Remember :women don’t dress for the men in the room.

  145. octopod says:

    @105
    “What bothers me, as someone of european but raised in the States, is that I have to be very careful when around Americans, here or abroad, because I don’t act or dress “appropriately” for my appearance. By wearing womens clothing, make up, and acting as if I were equal to women instead of dominant, I invite some pretty nasty behavior. I have it coming to me, you see.”

    >Whose definition of “choice” is that?

    yeah, life sucks.

  146. mindysan33 says:

    Patricio- That is my point exactly, the hypocrisy of a policy which claims to be “spreading democratic principles” which in reality is spreading corporate imperialism. Hence, my claim that rhetoric that seeks to reinforce that view of Islam as backward and despotic is part of the imperial project. In reality lived Islam is and always has been more complex and negotiated than that. Much the same can be said of Christianity. This more dogmatic, top down version of religion seems to be part and parcel of the imperial project overall.

    And I agree with Antinous that just because some say it’s about hygiene, it’s really about french imperialism/mythos of French nationanl purity, etc. Whoever said that a secular society is free ideology because the ideology is missing something fundamental about the nature of secular society. Just because you agree with that ideology doesn’t make it any less so… right?

  147. jody says:

    Folks should all have the right to dress as they please.

    They should also have the right to repudiate their native religious beliefs, whether in whole or in any part, if it suits [!] them personally.

  148. misterjuju says:

    I’m a Muslim female, and I happily wear the hijab required by law when visiting Iran (tho from experience, they are a lot more relaxed there than they used to be, for example, I saw women in shorts, and the head covering really only has to loosely cover the top of the head, even the forehead and hairline can be exposed, and they don’t stone you in the streets for being immodest, they just tell you to go inside NOW!). For the record, my Muslim boyfriend does, in fact, have a foot fetish, haha.
    I’m a semi-regular commenter on BB but this is way too embarrassing to publish under my name.

  149. ace0415 says:

    This is an interesting discussion, and it’s good that it’s going on. It gets a bit disturbing at times, certainly, and there is just one fact that is bothering me that I’ll throw into the mix here.

    The reasons behind a belief, and the ramifications of that belief, ARE relevant to this discussion. While we all seem to be obsessed with “it’s my belief, you can’t disagree with me” it’s just simply not true. You have the right to believe whatever you want, and I have the right to say you’re wrong. Hopefully the better argument, supported by the best rational proof, will win in the end. Otherwise we have to accept all Holocaust deniers, Heaven’s Gate type cults, homophobes, etc., out there. It’s just what they believe, do we have to respect that?

    “People should be allowed to wear whatever they want” is being used as a DEFENSE for the burqini, but it’s that the biggest argument AGAINST the burqini? As #105 points out, the reasons behind the burqini are insane, and they are very relevant to the issue.

    All religions need to stop hiding behind their right to believe. Believe anything you want, but you’re going to be called out on those beliefs when they cross into the realm of the insane and the harmful.

  150. FoetusNail says:

    Dan, I think we are in relative agreement. I especially agree burqinis are not a problem.

    The ability to believe is critical to our development and the exploitation of our ability to believe is a double edged sword.

  151. danlalan says:

    where does our sense of beauty and aesthetics in general came from?

    False pattern recognition is a pretty widely recognized phenomena, I’ll let you look if you’re interested. It has to do with things like seeing astrological figures in the random patterns of stars and bunnies in clouds, not in aesthetics and the appreciation of beauty.

    as long as nobody gets harmed who doesn’t want to be harmed

    This is the problem, isn’t it? What about people who get harmed that don’t want to. I would submit that religions that are by their very nature intolerant of each other are responsible for far more harm than rational secularism will ever be.
    Morality can exist with or without religion, but religious cultures can share morals and still have violent confrontation simply because of differences over dogma.

    …it’s equally problematic with evangelical religious types as it is with rational fundamentalists.

    I don’t care how people live their private lives. However, when a set of irrational beliefs result in a person with control over a powerful military starting a war based at least in part on their religious convictions, as it appears a recent unnamed president did, that is far more problematic than desiring that people not believe in fairy tales.

  152. Jennifer says:

    I feel like people get way too upset in both directions. For the women who are forced by either law, culture, or religion to wear a burqua, this swimsuit may provide more freedom, fun, and health benefits in giving them the chance to enjoy swimming that they may have not had before. The same applies for a woman who isn’t forced but simply chooses to dress modestly because of her beliefs. She may have refrained from water activities due to her beliefs and now has the option to join in. I am an American, baptised Lutheran (Christian) but non-practicing, and while I do not agree with women being forced into anything in particular, I do personally know many Muslim women who don’t mind the rules regarding their style of dress and are content with their garments. They feel satisfied that they are fulfilling their religious and cultural duties and it gives them a sense of pride. Their opinion and their feelings are what matter — not what outsiders think and feel about it — because they are the ones that have to wear it. I personally don’t like the fact that here in the U.S., 99% of swimsuits are pretty revealing — even childrens’ swimsuits are mostly bikinis. This summer there was a trend of surfer-style swimsuits for girls and women that consisted of t-shirt-like tops and board-short-like bottoms that were similar to pieces of a scuba wetsuit. I purchased 2 of them for my 3-year-old daughter and liked that she was more protected from sun exposure, and didn’t have to feel like she was “expected” as a female to show off a lot of skin when swimming. Swimming should be about having FUN and doing something healthy and enjoyable — not religion or whether or not the clothing required is sexual or modest.

  153. arikol says:

    @ mindysan33

    I’m not suggesting that europe was (or even IS) a perfect place to be. It, however, matured. 1700-1800 saw huge changes. We had the industrial revolution and all that crap. That should have been in middle eastern countries, if their rich culture had not stagnated a few hundred years earlier. The outcome is that by the latter half of the 20th century europe was a pretty good place to be in almost all respects.
    The point is that those countries seem to operate according to similar rules as europe. Europe of a distant past.
    Even though they have gotten industrialized, the culture and human rights seem stuck on a pre-1900, and pre 1800 level in some cases.
    Yes, I may be harsh and predictable, and no, I don’t hate anyone for their religion. For coming into other countries, wanting to belong to their system, but not wanting to take part in the system….. I think that’s pretty lousy.
    If muslims want the burqa, then stay in burqa areas, don’t try to force them into cultures which have been trying to shed this kind of silliness

    @ dragonfrog,

    You miss my point. (ok, some muslim bashing and such, have you read the Quaran, or the bible? I have, hateful books, new testament included)

    Forcing anyone to wear something due to an old book written by the ruling class to keep their powerbase does not fit in with western culture anymore. If someone does not like wearing a bikini, don’t wear a bikini. I sometimes wear little because I feel confident about that, sometimes I wear a bunch of clothes because it’s comfortable. However, on a warm summers day Iget a choice.

    It’s all about choice. Getting confitioned since birth takes that choice away (mostly)

  154. Anonymous says:

    Thanks all for interesting discussion!

    #78 and #80 touched on this a bit, but does anyone have any insight on the following:

    -Many religious doctrines state that men and woman were created by God and that all of God’s creations are perfect. So the human body in all of its forms = divine perfection. Human sexuality, as part of the package, would also be perfect.

    -The uncovered body, when viewed by a member of the opposite sex, is somehow a cause for shame, sin, etc. by one or both of the parties involved, with the burden of guilt typically falling more heavily on the women. So our bodies are perfect creations but you’d better not look at them.

    I don’t intend the above to be pointed. I really am curious to know how these seemingly opposed ideas have been tied together, particularly as relates to the Abrahamic traditions. I’m more interested here in the theological explanations than the socio/political.

    -PWB of Very Polite Methodist upbringing who realized it was all a bit ridiculous one day, though everyone certainly meant well.

  155. Anonymous says:

    I’m from Australia where the burkini seems to have had more positive press, and even occaionally gets promoted as encouraging integration by opening up traditional aussie beach activities to all. It also seems to be an option only discussed in relation to younger muslim women who are working out how to blend their religion, their aussie culture and the culture from their often immigrant families – a difficult balancing act for any young woman and if this provides some people with another option in the balancing act, good luck to them.

    To be honest, by the time I’ve put on my long sleeved high neck “rashie”, boardies that come to just above my knees and keep a hat firmly on my head when I’m not in the water the amount of skin coverage is not that much different and sometimes I feel the burkini may just look a little more stylish, even if I’d feel like a fraud and miss the feel of the surf through my hair.

  156. Tzctlp says:

    I have seen several comments purporting that Muslim women are free to chose to dress like this.

    Anybody that knows how Muslim families operate knows that women’s choice in anything related to how to lead their lives is limited by their male relatives (I should say mandated, but hey).

    Many Muslim women will happily accept that this is their choice (at least in Western countries, where they can actually have a say in the matter), what they don;t say is that “modesty” is the only choice in offer.

    Frankly it is Orwellian.

  157. mindysan33 says:

    Arikol – I think you might be assuming that industrialization was always a good thing and that that progression is a natural process. Do you really think that the world we live in as Westerns is not riddled with very deep and complex problems that are rooted in industrialization? Not everyone agreed it was, even at the time – hence peasant revolts. The whole thing completely changes in context when one looks bottom up and actually sees how people are actually reacting to these changes going on around them, often without their consent or input. Rights we enjoy now were not handed down magnanimously in accordance with industrialization, but were rather hard fought for and often given to quell unrest because of industrialization rather than because of some grand belief in equality. I think that Douglas Rushkoff’s book, Life Inc. provides an excellent counter-point to that positivist view of European history (in a way that is far less preachy and academic than some material I’ve read on this topic). You assume that this is what the Middle East was missing, making it static and backward, when some scholars argue contrary to that, I mentioned Peter Gran above, who has a completely different perspective on the whole “capitalism began in Europe” argument. Europe went after resources in the middle east not from a position of strength, but one of weakness. The Ottoman Empire particularly really was only weakened in the latter half of the 19th century, after it was indebted to European banks – the more they instituted European like policies intended to modernize them, the more they gave up their unique system that many Ottoman subjects were in favor of, because it gave them a great deal of autonomy locally (for instance, sure Christians had to pay higher taxes, but they didn’t have to send their kids off to war, and as for those supposedly “kidnapped” Christian boys who served the Sultan – they were the badasses of their day, and many of them went on to quite powerful positions, including the Albanian Muhammad Ali Pasha of Egypt, who Egyptian nationalist point to as the founder of modern Egypt…). It was not an inevitable process – it never is inevitable. Context, Context, context… That should be the word of the day from me. I guess I’m of the view the modernization and the industrial revolution is at best a mixed bag, and not the logical out come of some historical march forward that all countries need to mimic in order to succeed.

  158. PalookaJoe says:

    I think we’re demanding an impossible level of perfection out of each other here. Just because someone isn’t 100% consistent and rational doesn’t mean he or she is an extremist.

    I don’t have much first-hand knowledge, but I suspect that Muslims choose their clothing the same way that everyone else does. Part of it is their own preference. Another part is influence from the outside. As much as we like to believe in the purity of our own individualism, none of us is immune to the opinions of the people around us. Why should Muslim women be any different? That doesn’t automatically make them oppressed. It just makes them human.

    Sure, there are plenty of brutally oppressive cultures in the world. And I think ending that oppression is a very good thing. But when we declare that any woman who wears a burqa is mentally damaged, we’re denying her basic humanity. It’s the same misogynist attitude that we’re trying to criticize, but it’s wearing a different outfit.

  159. FoetusNail says:

    That anyone associated with a modern western blog would act as an apologist for Islam is simply stunning.

    Lets listen to another muslim woman. One who is not anonymous. One who is in fact under protection because of death threats due to her beliefs and her insistence in speaking out for real freedom of choice for all muslim women. This security is mentioned around 7:30.

    http://www.theahafoundation.org/

    http://fora.tv/2007/07/06/Is_Islam_Compatible_with_Liberal_Democracy#fullprogram

  160. flynnfx says:

    I have no problem with countries like France banning the Burqini. I wish every western country would.

    Do you think any Middle Eastern country would allow Western women to wear bikinis?

    We have to tolerate their ways to be flexible, yet they remain steadfast and allow no bending of their rules and customs even for those not of their faith.

  161. Hmpf says:

    White, European, atheist female here.

    When I was a kid, my parents sheltered a young woman from a Muslim background for a couple of months or so, who was being threatened by her brother because of her ‘Western behaviour’ and her Western boyfriend.

    Later, in my teens, I made friends with a Muslim girl who wore a hijab by choice, and I saw enough of her family over the next couple of decades to be able to say quite confidently that there was no coercion taking place there (or at least none that goes beyond the ‘coercion’ of growing up in any kind of specific cultural situation, including our own – i.e., yes, she, just like most people, was of course shaped by her background.) She went on to become an engineer. She still wears a hijab.

    Yes, the world really is that complicated.

  162. legosnell says:

    The burkini, by itself is neither right or wrong. It’s just a bit of clothing. A Western woman could choose to wear it because she feels uncomfortable in a regular bathing suit. A Muslim woman could choose not to wear it because she enjoys the freedom of a bikini.

    The real question is: how are you treated when you don’t wear it?

    I am not Muslim, but I am a woman and I don’t have a problem with a woman choosing to wear a hijab as long as her wearing a hijab is no different from her not wearing one; that is, if she chooses not to wear it one day, she will not be persecuted or discriminated against because she isn’t wearing it. I think that’s the real test of tolerance.

  163. Tzctlp says:

    @79 posted by vettekaas: “Are Western women any more free for being able to let their boobs hang out?”

    A.- Yes. In civilized countries they can do that as they see fit.

    “When that freedom is used to justify rape (“she was asking for it”)”

    A.- In no civilized country such an excuse is acceptable, so frankly I don’t understand why you bring that up.

  164. mindysan33 says:

    Arikol -I think the best counterargument to the believe that Europe is some how more “mature” than other places in regards to rights, is to look at what is REALLY going on in places like Kosova, where those who support democratic processes run by Kosovars, are being criminalized (VETËVENDOSJE!). Sorry if this is off topic, but I really don’t think these things are disconnected, especially given Kosovar’s Muslim make up. It’s generally all about there being just one way to be modern (secular, industrial, corporate), as far as I can see. Sorry… off my Kosovar soap box… Censor if you feel you must, moderators. ;-)

    And Palookajoe and HMPF, FTW!!! I agree with both of you.

  165. orwellian says:

    Some of the anti-burquini crowd sees Muslim women as often having their equality taken away. Some nations don’t allow them to drive, some interpretations of sharia count their testimony as worth a fraction of a man’s and some Muslim cultures have honor killings. The segment of the anti-burquini crowd I’m talking about are revolted by sexism. The veil is seen by them as pushing away the rest of the world, forcing the women to be almost invisible. How do you recognize someone with a veil? How do you start a conversation with a person whose face you can’t see?

    Some comments have referred to different Muslim cultures like in Kosovo. Here’s an excellent article about that: http://www.city-journal.org/2008/18_4_kosovo_muslims.html

    We can argue that Victorian England or medieval Europe did this or caused that which was a response to the battle of Tours which was a response to the power vacuum from the collapse of the Roman Empire and their foreign policy which was a response to something else. It’s not an excuse, however, for oppression happening now. We don’t hear from the oppressed women because, well, they are being oppressed. We hear about them, though. We hear about honor killings and rape and female genital mutilation and child marriage and it sickens us. The burqa or veil or burquini is a visible symbol of what we fear is a culture that embraces those things.

    If a woman in a veil or burqa or burquini is being oppressed, being rude or angry towards her is just obscene. It’s like knocking someone’s teeth out and then kicking them in the stomach for mumbling. If the woman isn’t being oppressed, then what she wears isn’t an issue and being rude or angry towards her is just obscene. We should find a way to protect people’s freedom to choose how to live without letting them take away another’s choice. Oh, and we should also look into mandatory panda suits.

  166. Anonymous says:

    Salams..

    I am a Muslim woman, I practice hejab, I wear the burqini to swim (the one from ahiida.com)
    I love sports, and I love swimming – I also love my religion, so the burqini offers me the perfect solution to maintaining my modesty and enjoying myself at the same time.

    I think all these debates arising from a swimsuit are ridiculous!! some beaches allow nude-bathing and we’re arguing over a full body swimsuit??

    Muslim women are facing far more pressing issues, and if the EU and Western governments are REALLY concerned about them, they would focus on child marriages, forced marriage, honour killings, female genital mutilation etc carried about by monsters in THE NAME OF ISLAM, not BY ISLAM…. the clothing a muslim woman wears should be the last of their concerns, which in most cases, SHE CHOSE TO WEAR, and even if she didn’t, first address the serious issues, and then she can decide if she wants to remove the hejab! its smacks of plain islamophobia.

  167. PalookaJoe says:

    Tzctlp@120

    I think most of the people in this discussion agree that the situation you describe is a bad one. But I also think you’re making a mistake when you assume that it’s the only one. A quick internet search tells me that there are more than one billion Muslims living all over the world. There’s room in there for almost unlimited variety.

  168. grimc says:

    The White Man’s Burden lamentations in this thread are sad.

  169. Scott Bieser says:

    In some fundamentalist Muslim societies such as Saudi Arabia, the hijab might be thought of as a symbol of gender suppression, because it is generally required by law. In more secularized countries, such as Egypt and Turkey, as well as the non-Muslim countries of Europe and America, the hijab is nearly always worn voluntarily, as a sign of solidarity with the Muslim faith and culture; and occasionally as a pointed rejection of Western secularism.

    As an atheist, I have a difficult time understanding why someone would want to feel solidarity with Muslim culture. But as a thinking person, I also know that it is foolish to judge a man (or woman) without walking a mile in his shoes, or her hijab.

  170. chgoliz says:

    There have been several references above to men being forced to wear suits (not about being forced to earn 6- and 7-figure salaries in their chosen career, just the suits they have to wear as part of the bargain).

    Does anyone have information on a man who has been stoned or whipped or killed as a result of not wearing a suit?

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      Does anyone have information on a man who has been stoned or whipped or killed as a result of not wearing a suit?

      It is currently illegal to sell neckties in Iran. Men with ‘Western’ hairstyles are also getting picked off by the morality police. This has nothing to do with the Quran (which I am quite certain does not mention neckties) and everything to do with rejecting Euro/American culture.

      It’s virtually illegal to wear a headscarf in Turkey, although it’s quite the norm. The Turkish government (the only government to have twice outlawed its national headdress – first the turban, then the fez) is desperate to prove that it’s European and not Middle-Eastern. It must give Sarkozy a warm glow to know that he’s neck and neck with the Turkish military oligarchy in his quest to rid the world of foreignness.

  171. Euryale says:

    FlynnFX@266: How does restricting options in Western countries make us any better than the Middle Eastern countries you despise? The West can’t pride itself on its freedoms and then deny perfectly reasonable choices to its citizens and visitors.

  172. arikol says:

    #134 posted by mindysan33
    Sorry, I missed that post.

    You know full well (or should) that I am speaking of western europe. Our system is flawed too, but has its strengths as well.
    Kosovo never got to be part of what happened in the rest of europe, partly due to wars in the beginning of the 20th century, partly because it was a communist country for much of the later half. Also, different ethnic (and religious) groups were forced into cohabitations, borders arbitrarily changed, etc.
    Yugoslavia was not a great place to be, modern Kosovo has severe problems of many types.
    Kosovo is geographically part of europe, it is politically part of europe. It is culturally not part of europe (western europe, that is)

    As I said above (I think in this thread..) I find the actual burqini a nice looking garment. I just don’t like what it stands for.
    Much like stereotypical american tourists (loud, with at least one flag marked item on them, obnoxius, aggressive) stand for the worst parts of american culture, and my own stereotypical countrymens drunken idiocy when abroad (Icelandic).
    I feel that all these are symbols for the worst from each nation/culture.

    #227 posted by dragonfrog
    Thank you

  173. tp1024 says:

    No male Americans are qualified to say anything in the least against this article or burqas for that matter. Why?

    Because no male can wear a speedo on the beach in America. (At the very least in the public opinion widely expressed all over the internet.) And this is no less oppressive than making women wear burqinis.

    As for the burqa matter, this goes for almost all countries of the western world:

    No male representative of a government in the western world can appear in any parliament without a suit. The same goes for almost anyone in the corporate world.

    When the German Joschka Fischer came parliament for the first time, he caused an outrage. Not because he didn’t wear a suit, he did. But he dared to wear SNEAKERS! He returned to more traditional footwear and was afterwards derogatorily referred to as the “sneakers-minister”.

    Stop being hypocrites. Please.

  174. peterbruells says:

    @22 People who need to cover more skin to feel modest have no *higher* standards of modesty, just different standards of modesty.

    And as others have pointed out: Anyone who claims that the govenment should have no say in what people wear in public, quite obviously accepts that nakes people on the beatch, at pools and at supermarket in the metro should not be regulated, either.

  175. Anonymous says:

    i have no problem with modest attire imposed by religion, but swimming is a life skill and is learned and mastered more easily by wearing less rather than more. there was a steamship accident in ny’s east river where the large majority of drowned victims were women and girls who at the time were discouraged to learn how to swim due to social prejudices of the day.

  176. PalookaJoe says:

    tp1024@129

    You’re exaggerating for dramatic effect, and I get that. But you’ve also raised an interesting point.

    Disagreement is not the same thing as censorship. Without dissenting viewpoints, this would be a short (and rather dull) discussion. Don’t let the differences hurt your feelings. It’s a conversation, not a pitched battle.

  177. Abu Som3a says:

    It riddles me how exploiting female bodies in pornography, public (semi)nudity, working in strip clubs, and having “one-night-stands” are widely accepted as some sort of freedom (to women), yet wearing a burquini is considered demeaning to them. I thought it was the other way round.
    I am from Egypt, and whoever says muslim women are forced to wear a veil of any sorts is lying. Women here can wear whatever they want, as long as it is socially acceptable (READ: not too revealing).
    The western world may be more richer or more technologically advanced, but in reality it’s a zoo. And I’ll tell you why…
    STDs? Bastard children? Underage sex (or sex without marriage for this matter)? Incest? Unfaithful wives? Sexual assault? You rarely hear these cases in a proper muslim community. Not because religion bans it. But because women are dignified enough to cover their bodies and therefore earning men’s respect towards them. Also not seeing female body parts helps prevent men from sexual stimulation (which eventually leads to what I mentioned earlier). And yes, sight is the main sexual stimulant for men.
    And if you think muslim people are sexually deprived, think otherwise. They can still get married (obviously). And there is no muslim law limiting them to say “the missionary position”.

    I’m not here to defend Islam, which doesn’t need defending if understood properly (READ: all the arguments I read against it are either misleading or just stupid). This post was to explain simple obvious reasons on why wearing a veil is a good thing.

    Regards,
    Abu Ismail

  178. semiotix says:

    I’m just going to throw this out there, in the hopes that it will prove more constructive than controversial:

    Islam ≠ the entire category of religion
    any given Muslim ≠ all Muslims
    What one Muslim does ≠ What Muslims do
    What one Muslim says ≠ What Muslims think
    your anecdotal Muslim ≠ my anecdotal Muslim ≠ all Muslims
    a woman forced on threat of death to wear a full burqa ≠ a woman who might wear a burqini ≠ a woman who sometimes wears a hijab
    A woman who eats pork and never covers her head ≠ a woman who cannot possibly be a Muslim
    Saudi Arabia ≠ Turkey ≠ France ≠ Ann Arbor
    Hitchens ≠ the entire category of atheism

    And so forth. You’ll forgive me not using more sophisticated symbolic logic and Venn diagrams, but hopefully the point comes across.

  179. Antinous / Moderator says:

    I know plenty of US women of no particular religion or ethnicity who would be pretty happy to shroud themselves before going out in public. And at least one man – me. Nobody should be forced to wear anything, but this is pretty appealing to an introvert.

    I wonder how this discussion would evolve if we were talking about Tuaregs, whose men wear veils and women don’t. I’m pretty sure that current European governments would find some reason to deprecate it. The niqab is banned for schoolgirls in the UK because ‘teachers can’t properly read their reactions without seeing their whole faces’. It’s always something, but the bottom line is that they just hate foreigners.

  180. Anonymous says:

    think of the UV protection. who knows, maybe it’ll catch on.

  181. FoetusNail says:

    So the muslim world is theocratically stuck in the 14th century and ladies swimwear is stuck somewhere in the early Victorian 19th century?

    Why isn’t this “shame of sex” seen as well…sick? This is not mere modesty. This is institutionalized shame. How does one teach shame? Read the book.

    Quran:

    “And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and be modest, and that they should not display of their adornment except what may (ordinarily) appear, and they they draw their veils over their bosoms, and do not display their beauty except to their own husbands or fathers or husbands’ fathers, or their sons or their husbands’ sons, or their brothers or their brothers’ sons or sisters’ sons, or their women, or their slaves, or male attendants who lack vigor, or children who have no sense of shame of sex. And they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments. And turn unto God together, O believers, in order that you may attain bliss.” (An-Nur 24:31)

  182. PalookaJoe says:

    semiotix@133

    “My anecdotal X” is sublime. I’m going to adopt it and make it my very own!

  183. Abu Som3a says:

    [QUOTE]Does anyone have information on a man who has been stoned or whipped or killed as a result of not wearing a suit?[/QUOTE]Nobody should force a woman to wear a veil. She has to do it by her own consent. If otherwise happens, don’t blame the car. Blame the misled driver.

  184. RikF says:

    I’ll accept the enforced wearing of these for women, only when the same places that enforce it for women enforce them for men. Where they are optional, make them optional for both sexes.

    BTW, I’m fairly sure that the argument (whether or not it was masking an ulterior motive) was over hygiene. I’ve had a similar reason cited for the banning of long board shorts in England at some pools.

  185. sam1148 says:

    People can do what they like.

    However, if it was a swim suit..or any other symbol of the Southern USA like a Confederate flag. Would it be as well defended? Well received.

    I can understand some Women “Know their place” and put on these garments. But it would a Confederate flag be as well received? Or would that flag be marked, ridiculed, as a symbol of slavery? (as it was and should be).

  186. Anonymous says:

    “I don’t think any government has a right to tell people how to dress.”

    I too agree with this and think that only religions and should have the right to tell people how to dress.

    Since I put my self forth not only as the leader of my independent political party but as a minor deity, I think you can all feel comfortable excepting my policies regarding synthetic wigs and the eradication of all non-prime number clothing and shoe sizes.

  187. Anonymous says:

    i agree that governments shouldn’t have the right to tell people how to dress. however i also don’t really think that religions should tell people how they must dress either. especially in terms of their gender.

    does the quran spend as much time dictating rules of “modesty” to men? it doesn’t seem so, from the muslim men i know and the clothes they wear.

  188. Anonymous says:

    I think I can answer that fron an European point of view. France is a secular country – which I much prefer to the strong christian influence in my home country of Germany. One of the highest values here is the separation of church and religion. You are okay to believe what you want – unless you want to force it on others or bring your beliefs into politics. You would definitely be thrown out of the pool for wearing a giant panda suit or a nun’s habit. I wouldn’t order pork sausage and beer in Riad or Islamabad or Teheran out of respect for (for me) silly customs – and nobody should swim in a french swimming pool fully dressed.

    The problem we have in addition to that is that we have our religios fanatics under control (and they haven’t killed a lot of people since the cruisades), while there is a growing bunch of jihadists, which abuse our hospitality by fighting us in our own countries. While not typical for the islamic minority in Germany, they give the whole religion a very, very bad name. Fundamentalist Islam and millitant religiousness is just not compatible to our set of moral values.

  189. Jocelyn Chabanis says:

    I don’t know if this part has been adressed already, but I’d just like to say, as a french man and witness of France laws, that even swim-shorts are not allowed in public pools. They are considered clothes and it’s forbidden to swim with clothes.

    We men all have to wear speedos, because shorts have been ruled as unhygienic. Personnaly, I don’t like it but it’s the rule and I hardly see how this has been declared with discrimination in mind.

    What is surprising is that the woman was actually allowed once to swim with the burqini, since it is clearly violating hygien rules in the swimming pool.

    I am really not fond of Sarkozy at all and won’t ever support him, but before trying to prove that France is becoming a racist crazy country (maybe with a partly racist crazy government, I admit), check some local facts and please don’t go and declare that everyone there is anti-muslim and take decision according to that criteria only.
    Thanks

  190. Pyros says:

    The author writes: “When I first heard of this product a few years ago, I’ll admit it made me laugh, even with me being a Muslim.”

    Either the author is suggesting that Muslims in general have a sense of humor not easily coaxed, or that Sharia, the code of Islamic religious law which governs such things as how women are allowed to dress in public, wouldn’t ordinarily be something someone would find to be humorous.

    I know that Boing Boing does not like comments that offend their bourgeoisie sensibilities which is why my previous comments about 30 mosques in 30 days were censored, but I’m going to also comment on the so-called burqini. Hopefully, I will not become the object of some imams’ fatwa, or even some hipsers fatwa.

    I guess all of the women of the world who have, by strictly enforced social custom, been forced to wear what can only be described as a garment-cage-torture-device know as a burqua can rejoice! While we men, on a whim, may decide to stone you to death for defying the holy laws of Allah, you may, in our most tolerant moments, get away with wearing The Burqini so that you may go swimming. It’s oppression lite!

    Anyway, I wonder how many women who have to wear a burqua are laughing?

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      my previous comments about 30 mosques in 30 days were censored

      Pyros,

      Your last comment before this thread was on September 18th.

  191. martinhekker says:

    Regressive maybe, but not anything to get upset about. Kind of opens up new avenues for fashion: more rules to break.

    And while yes the Koran says some odd things. But from another perspective. . .isn’t all belief in God fundamentally stupid? That is what I think, anyway.

  192. Abu Som3a says:

    [I]http://www.euro-islam.info/2008/12/28/ireland-for-burqa-wearing-women-vitamin-d-deficiency-rises-from-lack-of-exposure-to-sunlight/[/I]Sunlight isn’t the only sourc of vitamin D. It can be easily compensated by eating certain foods. And besides. And you only need around one hour of sunlight exposure per day to make a sufficient amount of the vitamin. I don’t think Women wearing burqas wear them 24/7, or don’t eat cheese at all.

  193. imjumpy says:

    agreeing with post #146:

    One of our IT guys decided to wear a kilt to work one day. (This is a wastewater treatment facility in the US) The women in the office thought it was great, and so did a lot of the younger guys. The corporate managerial-type dudes, however, were horrified.

    I don’t know why it should have mattered what this guy wore to work. He wasn’t out in the field, being exposed to waste and chemicals, he was “decently covered” (he did mention he went commando under the kilt, meaning no undies) and most people didn’t care. Only those with a vested interest in corporate culture and the status quo raised any kind of a stink.

  194. Opspin says:

    I think it’s wonderful, not just for muslim women, but for everyone who don’t want to show off too much skin, many girls are (wrongly) ashamed of their bodies and might not want to go to the beach for this reason, and being covered up in a way that allows you to swim is excellent.

    I think by the way that men wore swimsuits that covered the knees and arms up until the 50′s or 60′s at least in Denmark. Now many girls are topless or even naked at the beach, and only if they have extremely large boobs is it considered “sexy” otherwise I think most people just consider it “natural” albeit wonderful ;)

  195. Marcel says:

    Yes, you’re so right! I do believe all muslim women should be required to take a swim in a giant panda suit.

    I mean, why even bother trying to be stylish in your self-imposed supression of self?
    If you want to hide yourself, why not at least do it in a funny way, so we can all have a laugh about it.

    Really. Seriously. I don’t get it. I never did.

    I have lived in the proximity of muslims for the better part of my life, and I still don’t know how to deal with it.

    Because not only does it say something about the attitude women should have towards their own body, it also presumes something about how I, as a man, perceive the female body. As if I’m ready to jump on anyone female who has her contours showing.
    And really, that very situation could be achieved were all women to cover their contours.

    The bottom line is this. For me to respect your faith, is for me to force myself to restrict my own expression towards the people of your faith, and I’m not going to do that.

    Because before I can respect and accept others, I have to respect and accept myself.

  196. tp1024 says:

    There is no practical difference between outlawing/censoring something and universal ridicule.

    Ridicule is as much a punishment as going to jail, sometimes worse.

    What most people who so ardently argue for freedom don’t see, is that there has never been such a freedom here either.

    I was not exaggerating at all. In many companies, not wearing a suit and tie gets you fired. Period.

    CEOs around the world have to wear suits in even the most ridiculous environments. 35 degree (that’s about 100F), humid air in the tropics is no environment for wearing a suit, yet, any male western diplomat or politician visiting tropical countries invariably wears a suit because he has *no choice*.

    And choice in fashion is elusive for males in todays society in general. It all comes down to very few, very narrow, self-contained patters. This has been very different in the past. Look at any paintings of the 18th century and earlier and you will realize that male fashion was extremely varied and included many items that are now viewed as exclusively female to the point of doubting any male’s sexual orientation who dares to wear them today. (Try and dress up like Louis XIV … don’t forget the wig, the makeup, the pumps, the panties and the corset …)

    Over the last century, fashion for women that has become very inclusive, by adopting male clothes and inventing/reinventing new styles.
    This goes to the point of general indifference or applause towards cross-dressing by females. At the same time when cross-dressing by males is generally an anathema.

    It is just that the restrictions in western fashion are now so firmly established, and still unchallenged, that they are a huge blind spot to anyone in the society.

  197. np says:

    2K@84: Indeed.

    ANONYMOUS@102: Nice post, probably too long for anyone else to notice or even read.

    ANTINOUS/MODERATOR@134: Did you miss a few words? I seems that you meant: “the bottom line is that [those f...g Europeans] just hate foreigners.” (/sarcasm)(/irony)

    ANTINOUS/MODERATOR@156: As a moderator, how would you rate the chances that pulling a Godwin is going to improve the credibility of your argumentation in this thread?

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      np,

      Would you prefer to pretend that Hitler never existed. That quote from Mein Kampf is highly applicable. Hitler was (well, claimed to be) appalled by antisemitism until he was confronted by a Jew wearing clothing that distinguished him from the mass of Germans. At that point, he becomes appalled that someone would parade their foreignness in the faces of ordinary Germans. I find this very much parallel to Sarkozy’s demands that burqas and skullcaps be banned because they ‘separate people’. Perhaps if he had never mentioned skullcaps, we could pretend, as he now does, that his concern is only for the welfare of women. But, his earlier statements make it clear that it’s nothing but bog standard xenophobia.

      Also, you might want to re-read the definition of Godwin’s Law.

  198. Opspin says:

    @Martinhekker yeah, pretty stupid :) I don’t consider the burqini a particularly religious garment, more of a modest garment, I would much rather my girlfriend wore something more modest than a bikini to the beach if she was alone, because I would be less jealous, I know it’s kind of stupid of me too, because no matter what she wears she’s faithful to me and tells nosy guys to get lost. Other cultures have different views and I don’t think it’s necessarily to do with religion.

  199. Mitch says:

    It’s ridiculous that in France it’s ok to be naked on a beach but not ok to wear a modest bathing suit like this in a public swimming pool, and it’s not acceptable for girls in a country with one of the largest Muslim populations in Europe to wear a simple head scarf to public school.

    Too many secular and liberal people are so arrogant as to think it is their job to rescue or enlighten people from more conservative cultures, but there needs to be room for different kinds of people with different ways of living in the world.

  200. helion says:

    Presenting the issue as a matter of independent personal choice is misleading – it’s rather westernly naive to think that most women in a conservative religious patriarchal community *have* much of a choice, besides going along with the wishes of their fathers and husbands. I feel sorry for every girl who’ll have to wear an opaque bodycondom when she turns into a teenager.

  201. emmiliscious says:

    I live in Turkey (originally from Oregon). I have been here 20 years and have watched the increasing “islamicization” of society. I think the burqini is a wonderful invention. Wearing bathing suits as we do in the West is a very recent custom in the history of the human species. Why should everyone feel comfortable with showing their bodies to total strangers? Men in the West huge baggy shorts that look like skirts and no one says a word (look at the NBA– I miss the 1970s!) What are they hiding?

    I am an atheist and I rarely even show cleavage. Nakedness does not equal modernness. If these women want to cover their skin while swimming, then that’s great– it’s even healthier considering the harmful rays of the sun. As my husband pointed out this summer, once they get wet they are actually much sexier than bikinis ever are.

  202. tp1024 says:

    Just to show you what an exaggeration looks like (although it actually isn’t one): I wonder how many seconds a man would be allowed to in a public place, wearing a koteka.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koteka

    A picture of it being worn (not necessarily safe for work):

    http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Datei:Koteka_2.jpg

    If you *don’t* understand why this should be objectionable, then we may talk about freedom of choice in what you wear or not. ;)

  203. dragonfrog says:

    Arikol – I wasn’t accusing you of bashing anything – I just meant that your post was lost in a sea of other posts that contributed nothing but bashing. But it was a good one, so I thought it was worth bringing it up again…

  204. FoetusNail says:

    Again, this is not self-imposed modesty or even cultural modesty. This is institutionalized religious law. A law that teaches shame and has real punishments, sometimes fatal, for those who fail to comply.

    This all started with the Jews and was continued by puritanical christians and clung to by muslims. Why this shame of nudity and sex? Why are we to be ashamed of our bodies? Why is the act of procreation a sin? Why do we teach our children we are born of original sin?

    Because otherwise we may not have a reason to beg forgiveness.

    This is absurd.

    To quote Hitchens on religion:

    It attacks us in our core, and it does so, in a related way, that I think is also quite close to the core, I don’t know about you, by deforming our sexuality in the same manner by saying that all this too is a source of guilt and shame and fear. So, yes, of course, it is poisonous, and we shouldn’t grant the idea that even if metaphysically untrue, which it most certainly is, that religion is none the less the teacher of morals, it is to the contrary the source of misery, guilt, shame, unhappiness, and immorality.

  205. Afterthought says:

    Someone is alleging that any significant number of women chose Islam sans force, threats, and intimidation?

    That’s not how it works.

  206. arkizzle / Moderator says:

    Abu Som3a,

    You do realize women (as men) have the choice to do (or not do) any of those things you mentioned, yes? The freedom part is the choice.

    We are not forced to star in porn, or have pre-marital sex. But if we choose (and can find someone willing) we can do as we please. Sounds good to me.

    STDs?

    The Muslim population in Africa represents about 65% of all the African people. AIDS kills some 6,000 people each day in Africa, which amounts to more deaths than caused by wars, famines and floods. Africa is home to 70% of the adults and 80% of the children living with HIV in the world.
    http://www.salaam.co.uk/themeofthemonth/october02_index.php?l=4

    And can you please show me a study linking human freedom-of-sexuality with rape and incest.

    You rarely hear these cases in a proper muslim community.

    Then they aren’t being reported, or taken seriously by the authorities. If you don’t think every society suffers its share of sexual abuse, you are living in a fantasy.

  207. arkizzle / Moderator says:

    Abu Som3a @ 213

    Did you even bother to read the comment (and conversation) that link was posted in, before typing up a knee-jerk defense?

    I didn’t post it to promote the content, I was providing evidence to Lobster@203, to show that the burqa isn’t banned in Europe.

    Slow down, read the conversation.

  208. GuidoDavid says:

    “Anyway, I wonder how many women who have to wear a burqua are laughing?”

    I visited Trindad and Tobago once, and saw some women in burqa at the airport, they were with some guy that I think, was a cleric, his beard was dyed in bright red, I do not know anything about that. I know that several men with long beards and quite unpleasant smell were all gloomy, talking dryly among themselves, but the women, even if they were covered from head to toe, were radiating happiness, laughing with delight, I could hear that, even from several meters.

    I looked to their eyes and they were lit with joy, bright and big black eyes on chocolate skin.

    I supposed those women should be miserable, sad, shy, but they were not, they were happy that night. Maybe they were just happy because they got out of their house, I do not know, but that night taught me a lot about my own prejudice. If they want to wear burqa, let them, as long as they do not require me to cover my chest or legs or they want my female friends to cover their breasts. I’d be happy about that, a beach with nudity and burqini.

  209. pjk says:

    Yeah, burquas are hilarious. You know what else was hilarious? Jim Crow laws! It was OK, because they installed EXTRA drinking fountains, so the black folks wouldn’t feel left out! The black folks liked it! And anyway, it was for their own good!

  210. Hal says:

    Couple of things:
    The rules about swimwear at public pools in Paris extend to banning anything that isn’t form fitting including board shorts for guys – not just burqinis. I have never heard of Burquini being forbidden at a beach – although I can see why they might not be welcome at a nudist beach.
    Some Muslim, some Jewish and some Christian women dress modestly for religious reasons and there is very little difference imho. I wonder if Amish women get to go swimming?

  211. Pipenta says:

    I have mixed feelings about this. You have to admit that real bikinis, in many contexts, aren’t exactly neutral either.

    Would that we had a world in which every person could wear what they liked without fear or judgment.

    That passage has some unexpectedly disturbing connotations. Hiding the female body means that when it is seen, it is in a highly sexualized context. Taking that into account, this passage almost guarantees sexual abuse in families. Seems to imply it’s open season for brothers or fathers-in-law. Ugh. And what’s the deal with these “male attendants who lack vigor”? I don’t even want to go there!

    Fundamentalism is abusive.

    On the flip side, for the women who are stuck in this system, the more free they can be the better. And until that happy day when everybody is an atheist, there are going to be compromises.

    And I have to admit, when I’ve had the chance to be in tropical and subtropical areas with beaches and reefs, I wear something not unlike this to snorkel. I’m covered head to toe. Actually I expose less skin because I wear gloves and scuba booties. I also accessorize with mask, fins and sometimes add a layer of neoprene. The skin is form-fitting, which is a bit different from this.

    Diveskins don’t keep you warm, but they do protect against the stings of jellyfish and other planktonic surprises. Wearing a skin also protects against sunburn. With this in mind, I wear my skin as a beachcomb too. (I’m all about the shells. I don’t usually just bask on a beach, not a really good one. I’m too excited to be there. There’s always way too much to see and do.)

    I got teased once for coming back from a week on a Bahamian out island paler than when I left. But I’ve no interest in letting sunburn or even the fatigue of too much sun exposure cut down on my snorkling or diving or beachcombing.

    So I’m giving a thumbs up to the Burkini. Swim, swim, swim, my sisters. Get out into that beautiful ocean and celebrate life.

  212. Anonymous says:

    How come a woman is not allowed to wear a burqini to a pool, but there’s no law saying she can’t wear a giant panda suit?

    Actually… The pool cited a health regulation against swimming while clothed. I’m pretty sure swimming in a panda suit would violate the same rule.

  213. BlindKarma says:

    The one in the black… Her ankles are showing.
    Sexy.

  214. agger says:

    It’s predictable and sad that this burqini post should turn into prejudiced hijab-bashing.

    The veil and/or modest dress is very definitely actively chosen by millions of Muslim women, and many regard it as a highly personal choice which is not imposed on them. Some places, it’s a mandatory part of the culture (as is wearing a bra many places in the US, last I checked) but other places it remains very much a choice. Here in Denmark, many parents actually try to convince their daughters NOT to wear the hijab …

    This article contains a good sketch of the cultural background of veiling and why Muslim women want and need the FREEDOM to wear a veil (or not) as they choose:

    http://www.therevival.co.uk/static/women/freedom_to_wear_veil.php

  215. RikF says:

    TP1024 – sorry but I’ll have to respectfully agree to disagree. Both emic and etic observations have value. My MA thesis touches upon areas within which I have no personal experience. It doesn’t make my thesis any less valid.

  216. Anonymous says:

    I think to some degree we are all living under the constraints of our own culture. That another culture’s dictates infuriate me shows how powerful my own culture’s constraints are.

  217. Anonymous says:

    I saw an article recently stating that a woman in Paris was denied admission to a pool because she was wearing this, and I find THAT shameful, not the outfit. Why are people so offended by Muslim dress?

    Yes, I am confident in my body, but I do sometimes with that our swimming fashions were more modest than they are. Most of the women I see wearing itty bitty bikinis really shouldn’t be wearing itty bitty bikinis.

    And, as a young woman who’s had melanoma, that’s way better than any sunscreen.

  218. Anonymous says:

    Not to bring down the thread, but does anyone else see a fantastic piece of jogging wear, here?

  219. mindysan33 says:

    I have to say, I agree with Aman. I may not necessarily agree with this sort of seclusion, but what good does banning it do? None, really.

    I notice how no one so far is really talking about what the woman wants or believes. Who’s to say that all women who wear varying degrees of the veil are all forced to do so, especially here in the states? I’ve seen varying degrees of the veil, from the one that just has the eyes, the completely uncovered Muslim women. I find laws banning such clothing just as offensive to women. As always, it’s a bunch of men fighting over what they think is best for us… HELLO!!! We can decide, thanks! It’s clear that many of these laws are enforcing some people’s perception of how women should be, and that is not exactly free and equal (what is Michelle Obama doing this week during the g20, teas and chats? Really? No men allowed? Really? So much for an empowered first lady, the ones we get who are are constantly denigrated in the media – Hilary Clinton and Eleanor Roosevelt, for example, while Jackie Kennedy didn’t do much and was much celebrated…). I find women’s rights to be slipping quite far away lately, at least rhetorically.

    The veil seems to have an odd and strange history, and was once actually a mark of class distinction, as was seclusion in general. Not that these women were equal of course, and I’m not arguing they were. I should remind however, that women had property rights, pretty much up until the West got involved in the Middle East in a big way (at least under the Ottomans). Women of the lower orders never stayed home, because they were too damn busy to do so. Our modern view of the veil and in fact of Sharia law (which is really a wide range of codes in both Sunni and Shia traditions), those enforced by regimes like Saudi Arabia (may I remind you all, our staunch ally) and Iran (or most hated enemy) all seems to come from that all important period where the Ottoman’s were broken down by the imperial powers (first financially, for the second half of the 19th century, where they were increasingly indebted to the West and finally really with the chipping away in the balkans, and the war). Empowering the Islamist (Elizabeth Thompson argues in her book on Syria and Lebanon under the French) allowed the French to “divide and conquer” and further empowered the Islamist as well. Also, go read the article by Frantz Fanon about the veil. It’s a somewhat problematic, but pretty thoughtful article on the role of the veil in national identity and resistance.

    Okay, I’m done with my rant… Keep in mind, I’m coming from a agnostic perspective, so I feel about the same about all three of the Abrahamic religions – I don’t believe them, but I don’t necessarily find them all bad… I’m sure no one will agree, but hey, that’s life right. It’s none all too popular now to defend Muslims in America, is it?

  220. arkizzle / Moderator says:

    I’d like someone with more experience of actual muslim women’s opinions (like a muslim woman) to speak to this.

    Besides that, I’d like to hear from muslim women in different societies; Americans, Saudis, Pakistanis..

    All the presumptions “we” make (as westerners, or men, or non-muslims) are probably wrong.

    • Xeni Jardin says:

      As far as I can tell, all of the voices in this thread bashing this funny post are white males.

      I am a non-Muslim female. I fully support the notion that women of various faith — Christian, Jewish, Muslim, or other — might adhere to a more conservative, modest forms of presenting themselves.

      You know what else is oppressive? Presuming that every woman wants to be practically naked in order to enjoy the sea or the pool or whatever. Some women, faith or no faith, would prefer for that experience not to be sexualized, or involve physical exposure.

      The vitriolic comments in this thread, and the “we’ve got to save the women” hysteria that caused the silly Burqini to be banned in some places — I doubt there’s much true compassion and understanding behind any of that.

  221. Sciurus says:

    When I went through high school I remember more girls being teased and harassed for wearing too much clothing and that only alleviating when they chose to wear shorter skirts, tighter clothes and the like. The boys too were teased for what they wore, albeit not about showing skin but still based on sexual pressures.

    But at least they were free to make that choice right? It’s not like from an early age we are pressured by our peers to dress a certain way by our own societal standards at the time.

    Directly on topic; when I go swimming I like to wear longer shorts and a T-shirt to cover up and my wife enjoys wearing less revealing clothing. This is our prerogative and should bear no weight on how anyone else lives their lives. Stop being offended by what someone else does.

  222. SeattlePete says:

    Women in the US, for the most part, need to wear shirts, not bras.

    Either way, doing things because some old, religious and incorrect book tells you to does nothing to advance us as a species. The Burqini may be a wonderful thing for people who mistakenly believe in this ages-old mumbo-jumbo, which is itself very far from a Wonderful Thing.

  223. danlalan says:

    @Abu Som3a

    Few, I think, would argue that the west is free of problems. But the picture you paint is inaccurate. STDs, while too frequent, are in less than 1% of the population. Incest? It happens, but a very low rate. Sexual Assault, while again too frequent, is hardly the norm. Bastardy is a concept almost without meaning in the west today. The idea that a child of unmarried parents is a pariah in society does not exist here. Infidelity, both by men (a concept I notice you do not mention) and women is simply not viewed in the same way they once were thought of here. So while fairly common, it is not seen as the kind of societal problem that it is seen as, I assume, in muslim communities.

    I think that most westerners would view the idea that a woman must cover herself to earn the respect of men as incredibly offensive on multiple levels, and that a man seeing some portion of a woman uncovered leading inevitably to a man acting on some uncontrollable sexual urge as simply absurd. It sounds as though you are saying the male impulse control rightly lies in women not tempting men to improper action. In the west, the burden of male impulse control lies with the man.

    And I think the fact that there are children is sufficient assurance that sex happens, I don’t think anyone ever thought otherwise.

    Peace

  224. 2k says:

    uh. I might be coming in a little late with this but…

    All thinking is magickal.

    With or without the ‘k’.

  225. Abu Som3a says:

    arkizzle / Moderator
    “You do realize women (as men) have the choice to do (or not do) any of those things you mentioned, yes? The freedom part is the choice.”
    Islam is also a choice. But once you embrace it you abide by its rules.
    This is the same logic why your western world is a zoo. Your morlity is subject to your personal preference. The only external factors affecting your decisions are the federal laws and how the community accepts your actions if detected.
    So no. You are not free to do anything you want. Having underage sex or STDs is harming yourself. Having bastard children will harm the born child. Being a prostitute harms your community.

    “The Muslim population in Africa represents about 65% of all the African people. AIDS kills some 6,000 people each day in Africa, which amounts to more deaths than caused by wars, famines and floods. Africa is home to 70% of the adults and 80% of the children living with HIV in the world.”
    http://www.salaam.co.uk/themeofthemonth/october02_index.php?l=4
    That’s why I said “a proper muslim community”. If islam practices were realy being applied, it wouldnt have become this serious in Africa.I can only talk about my own country (Egypt), and according to this map from wikipedia, we have the lowest possible percentage (<1%).
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d7/HIV_Epidem.png

    Morocco is a supposedly a muslim country yet it ranked #2 in sexual tourism after thailand (READ: prostitution). Prostitution is forbidden by islam. Prostitutes don’t wear veils. So it turns out they aren’t a proper muslim community after all.

    “And can you please show me a study linking human freedom-of-sexuality with rape and incest.”
    I don’t need statistics to back up this obvious assumption. If not, then you can’t deny it leads to the other problems I mentioned (STDs, bastard children, etc).

    “Then they aren’t being reported, or taken seriously by the authorities. If you don’t think every society suffers its share of sexual abuse, you are living in a fantasy.”
    In a proper muslim community, you wouldn’t hear them as much as you would in a foreign one. If women are dressed conservatively, and men have a moral and religious obligation not to mess with them, and they don’t eat a lot in Ramadan (hunger reduces sexual desire), then chances are these incidents won’t happen as much as in a western community. And even if we exclude crimes, sexual freedom by itself leads to many other problems like I mentioned before.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      If Islam practices were really being applied

      But in reality, nobody applies their principles very strictly to themselves, whether they’re Muslims or members of any other religion or political movement. I’ve seen too many Saudi patients in for alcohol-related liver transplants and seen too many conservative US Senators get caught with male prostitutes.

  226. mindysan33 says:

    Thanks Arkizzle… I agree completely. I was of course speaking from a broader perspective as a woman and a historian, but I can’t speak for Muslims, specifically, as I’m not one. I just wanted to point out some historical context regarding the veil which might redirect the discussion to a more useful area that isn’t just straight Muslim bashing…

  227. Anonymous says:

    Hey, guys, come on. I get that this was designed with Muslim women in mind, but really, there’s plenty of non-Muslim ladies out there who wouldn’t mind the extra coverage.
    I was looking for a new swimsuit this summer, and I can not begin to tell you how tricky it is finding a suit if you don’t have a bikini-wearing-level of body confidence. If I want a top that actually supports me, let alone a pair of swim shorts, I have to look in the “athletic section.” There’s some parts I don’t mind showing off, and there’s some I do.
    Frankly, I think the whole argument about whether Islam creates a sense of shame about one’s body is a little ridiculous. Everyone’s got SOME shame – there’s just different levels. And it’s not right to impose Western levels of modesty on those whose levels might be higher. Do you guys remember that whole debacle where the male police officer asked a Muslim woman to uncover her hair so he could check her identity? It’d be like having a male officer request that you take your top off to see if your cup size matched what it said on your ID. Even if everyone else were okay with it, you’d be humiliated. And that’s what counts.

  228. kilowatt3544 says:

    In regards to the burqini, it is a nice piece of clothing for those who CHOOSE to wear it. It is a horrible piece of clothing for those FORCED to wear it or any other item. There is something seriously flawed with the Muslim faith. At least in regards to how they perceive and execute it. Executing being the operational word here. If the muslim women choose to wear burquas, burqinis, etc., that is fine; if some idiotic fool of a man tells them they must or be killed, thrashed, stoned or whatever, then there is a very big problem here. No man should be allowed to tell a woman how to dress or undress her own body. If it bothers the men, then put themselves in seclusion where the rest of the world doesn’t have to listen to their hypocrisy and ridiculous doctrines. That way they don’t have to look at women who dress against their beliefs, and the rest of the world doesn’t have to hear them bleating that it is sinful of the woman.

  229. Anonymous says:

    ***PLEASE READ***

    you are free to have your own beliefs on religious laws (no matter how judgmental, perhaps out of arrogance, or even biased, maybe based on your personal cultural upbringing) but I think when it comes to laws and mutual respect, it is only fair that you assume it is a choice that has NOTHING to do with religion and most certainly, nothing to do with you!

    meaning….stop and think, is my comment about bashing the idea that covering up for women is liberating? is my comment that a bikini is demeaning? is my comment that religion is dumb? etc…..if you answered “yes” to any of these then you have really avoided the issue hand, have you not??

    (1) A POOL IS A POOL: no matter what your dress code, sadly, you can not ensure it is super clean…if you know what I mean.

    (2) RULES ARE RULES: facilities have the right to implement a dress code based on health/safety even if it doesn’t rule out ALL other health hazards anyway. is it fun for everyone?? nope! but swimming was not okay for those who choose to cover as much as the burquni does, before it was made! maybe they can work with managment and design a suit that would be more acceptable to the rules and still be cover as much as they’d like….that is how the burquni was made anyway. certainly growing up I was not allowed to wear a tshirt over my suit in gym class….I could have worn something like the burquni or surf shirt because of the material and tighter fabric.

    (3) RIGHTS ARE RIGHTS: if no rules forbidding the slightly looser fabric and coverage are in place, then get over it! Judge all you want but, like I said, when it comes to creating new rules and when it comes to mutual respect you can only assume a persons dress is purely their PERSONAL CHOICE (i.e. you have one, I have one, everyone wins!). I think this was meant to be a debate of choice vs. less choice. Those that support “modesty” should step down from the pedestal of purity by trying to convince others that in fact, the opposite of their desired dress code is demeaning to women – just because a women has not decided to dress exactly as you do doesn’t necessarily mean they lack a belief system, modest demeanor, let alone their own self respect. Likewise, those that support women with “free spirits” instead need to allow room for others to be FREE to make their own choice of expression – just because they don’t choose the identical form of expressing their own free spirit doesn’t lessen their individuality, just as you feel your outfit is rebellion against an “oppressive” belief, one who covers may see it as their own rebellion against the more popular practice of exposure.

    (4) WHAT WOULD I DO? Many want to hear from Muslim women – since, unfortunately, they have become the subject of this debate as opposed to the bathing suit itself. But, what would that prove anyway? People do different things for different reasons! People also have different reasons for doing the SAME thing (i.e. one in burquni, one in bikini…both feel liberated and are trying to make a statement OR both have different skin conditions! Who knows!! Who cares??)….

    For what it is worth, I have been on both sides of the fence. I have been someone that chose to cover everything but my face, hands and toes….I have also been someone who dressed in a more relaxed fashion (albeit, never spending much time on the beach anyway). My point is I have been on both sides and have been judged (negatively and positively) for being on either side. It is beside my point to state my current practices – I am not making a pitch for one or the other. I am making a plea for common decency and mutual respect to prevail over our inner judgments of each other as human beings. It is about the freedom to choose despite the right to disagree.

    hmmm…and all of this over a bathing suit :P
    but on a serious note, the discussion clearly implies a much more important issue: respect for all.

  230. hubbledeej says:

    this seems to be on par with what the Duggars et al wear. http://www.modestswimwearsolutions.com/

  231. agoodsandwich says:

    Wow, way to be overly concerned with someone else’s business. Some of you sound a lot more Republican than I think you would like, wanting to legislate other people’s lives.

    Just let them wear the damn swimsuit in peace, geez.

  232. Abu Som3a says:

    “STDs, while too frequent, are in less than 1% of the population. Incest? It happens, but a very low rate. Sexual Assault, while again too frequent, is hardly the norm.”

    Again. I’m comparing a proper muslim community to your own. I’m using logic and common sense. You are trying to use statistics
    By the way, HIV alone is in 0.5-1% of your population. And I believe HIV is one of the less common diseases.

    “Bastardy is a concept almost without meaning in the west today. The idea that a child of unmarried parents is a pariah in society does not exist here.”

    Unmarried couples are something. Bastardy is another. If not knowing your father has become the norm where you are, then I feel really sorry for you.

    “Infidelity, both by men (a concept I notice you do not mention) and women is simply not viewed in the same way they once were thought of here. So while fairly common, it is not seen as the kind of societal problem that it is seen as, I assume, in muslim communities.”

    I can assure you religion is not a social problem.

    “I think that most westerners would view the idea that a woman must cover herself to earn the respect of men as incredibly offensive on multiple levels”

    I didn’t say that. I meant covering herself with a veil will earn her more respect from her society. She doesn’t need to cover her hair to be respectable.
    But if you mean that half-naked women walking in the streets, or women posing nude should earn respect, then I disgress.

    “It sounds as though you are saying the male impulse control rightly lies in women not tempting men to improper action. In the west, the burden of male impulse control lies with the man.”

    In the animal kingdom, impulse control lies in the woman. She attracts. She deters. Not the man.
    It is also well established that men get sexually stimulated by sight, and therefore man shouldn’t be liable of controlling himself when there are half-naked women around him. It is the women’s responsibility to dress properly in the first place.

    “And I think the fact that there are children is sufficient assurance that sex happens, I don’t think anyone ever thought otherwise.”

    I have met lots of people in my country. I haven’t met anybody who didn’t know who his father was, or was from an unholy relationship (unmarried couple). I don’t know anybody who is having an unmarried relationship. I don’t know anybody who got assaulted. And my social circle isn’t small. Muslims are free to have as many children as they want, as long as they are married. And if anybody does any of these actions, his social life will be ruined before even getting perscuted legally. We don’t tolerate these actions.

    If you haven’t noticed, we are going waaaay off-topic.

  233. nerak says:

    This should be marketed towards men as well.

  234. Antinous / Moderator says:

    check some local facts and please don’t go and declare that everyone there is anti-muslim

    “Headscarves and skullcaps will be banned by the law, as the French government says they separate people.”

    ‘Separate people’? If that’s not barely veiled chauvinism, I don’t know what is. Seems pretty racist to me.

  235. Abu Som3a says:

    “But in reality, nobody applies their principles very strictly to themselves, whether they’re Muslims or members of any other religion or political movement. I’ve seen too many Saudi patients in for alcohol-related liver transplants and seen too many conservative US Senators get caught with male prostitutes.”

    If a woman drinks alcohol or does drugs, or has unmarried sex, or eats pork, then she probably won’t be wearing a veil or believe in islam. Unless of course she is forced to wear it, which is another story. Seriously speaking though, you can’t force a woman into wearing something. She will take it off once you are not around, and there’s nothing you can do about it.
    Unless of course you are in an extremist society monitored by extrmist organizations like taliban.

  236. bcsizemo says:

    I’ve found the comments to be quite polarized into what could be seen as non-religious and other.

    From a males perspective I see this more as an addition to a life style that many people in the world choose to follow. I don’t need any rhetoric BS about how they have no choice ect ect… The choice is choose your country and upbringing or leave. That’s not a choice most people will makes. But I digress back to my original thought:

    Not many years ago back in college it always made me feel ashamed to be a guy when spring time rolled around. The women of campus went from wearing jeans, sweaters, and jackets to shorts and t-shirts. More skin, more revealing and more jack asses hooting and hollering at them. I know a few women like the attention, but 99.9% think guys that do this are asses. I think guys that do this are asses too. I find the female form highly sexual, but that doesn’t mean I need to let the entire world know that I have no self control or respect for others.

    I think the world might be a better place when men would stop acting like 15 year old hormonally driven teenagers.

  237. vettekaas says:

    @#125 posted by Tzctlp,

    “A.- Yes. In civilized countries they can do that as they see fit.”

    In “civilized” countries, people who do not conform to gender norms can certainly do as they see fit. They are also systematically marginalized and targeted for violence. Yeah, I can wear whatever I want, but society will be swift to correct me if I stray too far from the norm, by keeping me out of a job, out of an apartment, and constantly watching my back while walking down the street.

    “A.- In no civilized country such an excuse is acceptable, so frankly I don’t understand why you bring that up.”

    A housemate of mine was raped. Of course, in court the “she was asking for it” defense won’t fly.. but I’m talking about our culture and not our judicial system. Know what people said about this young woman who was the victim of sexual violence? “She’s a slut anyway, she was asking for it.” “She sleeps with guys all the time, why is she complaining now?” “She was saying all night how she wanted to get laid.”

    We still have a long way to go in the Western world before sexism becomes a non-issue, so let’s stop ignoring its existence. I agree that other countries have a lot of catching up to do to get to our standards of equality between the sexes. However, freedom isn’t going to start by giving women bikinis. It’s going to start by giving them access to education and employment. The bikinis will be soon to follow.

  238. freeyourcrt says:

    #24

    Well said.

  239. mgfarrelly says:

    Hey Aman,

    Oy, 150 odd posts and too many of them seem to be from folks who have undergone a radical removal of their both their sense of humor and tolerance.

    I saw Queen Rania of Jordan speak a couple years back. When someone asked about the veil and hijab her response was really impressive.
    “It should always be about choice. When anything is forced upon you, it is not true to Islam. Being a full person is about being able to choose.”

    Most of the Muslims I’ve known, which is mainly here in the US, have that choice. Some choose to embrace their religion, other’s are as lapse as any “Easter and Christmas” Christian. Some are just culturally observant.

    The panicking, Hitchen-quoting lot want to see Islam as this single cognitive mass out to roll humanity back to the dark ages. That’s not only historically ignorant and shamefully uninformed, it teeters on bigotry.

    I’m glad you’re guest-blogging here and I’m going to follow your other projects as well. I wish you nothing but success and thank you for shedding some much needed light (and humor) on your faith.

  240. Anonymous says:

    I fully intend on buying a Burqini this spring. I’m not a Muslim (I’m Jewish) and I’m not even Orthodox (I’m very liberal) but I don’t like to show a lot of skin. I’m already shopping for the various colors (I’m leaning towards navy blue). Burqini, you have made me more comfortable at the beach! :D

  241. jpollock says:

    I think everyone’s forgotten something.

    The barring could be unrelated to the religion, and completely related to the fabric used to make them.

    When I originally read the story, they didn’t make any mention of what they are made of, neither did the official site (that I could see). I see now, that they advertise that they are 100% polyester.

    Cotton clothing and other non-man made fabrics cause problems in pools. They clog filters and carry more contaminants. That’s why you can’t swim in just any pair of shorts.

    I remember back to high school swim team, we all had to bring in shirts to swim in. The pool ended up closed for a couple of days until they got the chlorine back to normal.

    It can be pretty obvious when a suit is lycra and when one isn’t. Since the burqini is loose fitting, (and the first time the guard had seen it), they didn’t allow it.

    It probably started as a minor education problem (in both directions) and ended up as a religious freedom fight. I’m pretty certain the lifeguard didn’t intend to start this!

  242. danlalan says:

    And if anybody does any of these actions, his social life will be ruined before even getting perscuted{sic} legally. We don’t tolerate these actions.

    This is exactly the point, and is exactly why the objections to the burqini that have been raised were raised.

    Tolerance is highly valued here, whereas you show a perverse pride in intolerance. You speak of freedom of choice, but it seems that the choice is to accept a set of archaic, brutal and sexist rules or be ruined, socially and legally.

  243. Xopher says:

    Wow, Abu Som3a, I don’t think I want to know what you’d think of me. I know that I could be executed in Saudi Arabia for either being gay or being a polytheist. Fortunately I have no intention of going to such a barbaric country.

    My Moslem friends in the US have no problem with either of those things about me, by the way. Perhaps that’s because it’s easier to be tolerant of other ways when you’re in the minority yourself, or perhaps it’s just because they’re Americans, and Americans understand why being tolerant of all religions benefits everyone.

    Perhaps it’s just that diversity is a positive benefit. Whenever a single religion dominates an entire nation, it becomes oppressive; that’s borne out by history, and it’s what the Christian Right is trying to do to this country. I will fight them to my last breath.

    And I pity the gay people in your country, Abu Som3a. I hope they can all escape the brutal oppression they must live under.

  244. Kelly says:

    As a woman who converted to Islam, wears a veilkini (burqini is a namebrand, kinda like kleenex) and founded my own company to allow women to purchase the item more affordably, I have to say that modest swimwear which is Islamically appropriate is awesome.

    No one made me wear it, and no one forces anyone to wear it. If you don’t want to swim, fine. There are some Muslim women who swim in bikinis (not rare at all).

    In fact, if you go to many middle eastern countries you will find pork, alcohol and most other western things. You will find people sunbathing nude some places even.

    Anyhow, I chose to wear hijab. I’m very happy with my choice. I guess I don’t understand what the hype is if someone chooses to cover. It’s a sad day for women’s rights when we’re ridiculed for not showing off our bodies.

  245. wizardofplum says:

    #80-FOETUSNAIL.
    ” I sent my Soul through the Invisible,
    Some Letter of that After-life to spell:
    And by and by my Soul returnd to me,
    And answer’d “I Myself am Heaven and Hell.”
    T’would seem you have a kindred soul in Omar the Tent Maker.Then came the double-whammy, fodder for the atheists:-

    ” The Revelations of Devout and Learn’d
    Who rose before us, and as Prophets burn’d,
    All are but Stories, which, awoke from Sleep
    They told their comrades and to Sleep return’d”

    Nothing is new under the sun.Burkas or Berets, Tams or Turbans, are an expression of choice and should be respected as such. I am particularily sensitive to this matter, ‘cos I hear a lot of snickering about my purple pointy conical hat. Crikey, it’s a symbol of our Guild, nothing more!

  246. arkizzle / Moderator says:

    MindySan33

    I started writing my comment way upthread, and by the time I hit “Submit”, yours was above it. I meant no specificity.

    I was really pointing out what Xeni said clearer @20; most commenters on this thread seem to be white, non-muslim, males, whose opinion (like mine) doesn’t really come into it.

    The only opinion that really matters, and the one we seem to be lacking, is that of Muslim women.

    Yes, all opinions are valid, but not necessarily pertinent.

  247. lauriok says:

    Greetings from Finland. The prevalent culture here is far from perfect, but the good thing is we seem to acknowledge each other’s personal space. I don’t really know what to think about the burga issue – don’t really buy the over-public-sexuality of the modern western culture, which i’ve pretty much choose to ignore regarding these things, but how come women couldn’t wear what they wanted to?

    To the culture that I grew up in, school uniforms seemed a funny & foreign idea.

  248. jere7my says:

    Abu Som3a @ 235 wrote, By the way, HIV alone is in 0.5-1% of your population. And I believe HIV is one of the less common diseases.

    There are about a million cases of HIV in the US. Our population is about 300 million. That puts the infection rate at about a third of one percent.

    http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/surveillance/basic.htm

    But if you mean that half-naked women walking in the streets, or women posing nude should earn respect, then I disgress.

    Funny — I believe all human beings are worthy of respect, including women who pose nude.

    therefore man shouldn’t be liable of controlling himself when there are half-naked women around him.

    Congratulations! It took over 200 posts before we got comments by a theist equal in ignorance to the comments by atheists. You’re giving your religion, which I have defended here, a worse name than it already has.

    Sura 24:30 says, “Tell the believing men that they shall subdue their eyes (and not stare at the women), and to maintain their chastity. This is purer for them. God is fully cognizant of everything they do.” In other words, the Prophet agrees with me: it’s a man’s job to control his dick, not the other way around.

  249. FoetusNail says:

    Again, there are many obvious degrees of modesty, practicality, and personal choice.

    The line I draw is religious law and indoctrination.

    What is the real freedom of a person, male or female, who has been taught from birth the shamefulness of their body and procreation?

    Is their resulting ‘modesty’ their own choice?

  250. 2k says:

    I want to make a comment about the nature of soceity being androgenous and that it’s not the men that are forcing the women but rather the culture but when the men are the ‘benefectors’ and enforcers it might come across as a little crass.

  251. danlalan says:

    I think to some degree we are all living under the constraints of our own culture. That another culture’s dictates infuriate me shows how powerful my own culture’s constraints are.

    Anon#15 nailed it exactly on the head, in my opinion.

    For all of you who are jumping all over this “strange custom”, try walking through the downtown of your city wearing nothing covering your nether regions. It is nothing more than custom that makes the non-display of our genitals the order of the day, yet when someone does so it gets a lot of negative attention. Ethnocentrism is a powerful thing, and it is good to be aware of our own.

  252. Antinous / Moderator says:

    There were very few Jews in Linz. In the course of centuries the Jews who lived there had become Europeanised in external appearance and were so much like other human beings that I even looked upon them as Germans. The reason why I did not then perceive the absurdity of such an illusion was that the only external mark which I recognized as distinguishing them from us was the practice of their strange religion. As I thought that they were persecuted on account of their faith my aversion to hearing remarks against them grew almost into a feeling of abhorrence. I did not in the least suspect that there could be such a thing as a systematic antisemitism. Once, when passing through the inner City, I suddenly encountered a phenomenon in a long caftan and wearing black side-locks. My first thought was: Is this a Jew? They certainly did not have this appearance in Linz. I carefully watched the man stealthily and cautiously but the longer I gazed at the strange countenance and examined it feature by feature, the more the question shaped itself in my brain: Is this a German?

    — Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf

  253. Aman Ali says:

    Ay dios mio, looks like I created a mini firestorm lol. I genuinely believe everyone has the right to express their opinion, you all have very valid points.

    I’m going to piggyback off what Mindysan33 and Xeni wrote. This is a way that some women choose to dress, and why does that affect other people?

    This is a bit of a stretch, but I can compare this argument to gay marriage. How come we strongly defend the rights for gay people to live their lifestyles (rightfully so), but we slam Muslim women for living a lifestyle that they have chosen.

    Of course if it were oppressive men that forced a woman to dress that way, then thats different. I stand beside you all in condemning that.

    But this swimsuit is something designed by Muslim women, for Muslim women (or any woman who wants more comfortable swimwear really)

    Yes there are cases were Muslim women are forced by males to dress a certain way, and I strongly condemn that. But I can safely say a vast majority of Muslim women choose to dress the way they dress because they want to.

    If you don’t believe me, try this social experiment. Go out and ask a random Muslim woman why she dresses like that. Don’t feel awkward, we love to answer questions. The results may surprise you.

    And Arkizzle is right. I’m a dude so hearing these comments from me is like Larry King giving marriage advice. But this post has generated a lot of conversation, so what I’ll try to do this week is get one of my Muslim female friends to share her take on the issue

  254. Abu Som3a says:

    “Tolerance is highly valued here, whereas you show a perverse pride in intolerance. You speak of freedom of choice, but it seems that the choice is to accept a set of archaic, brutal and sexist rules or be ruined, socially and legally.”

    Yes. We don’t tolerate rape. We don’t tolerate underage sex…etc…just like any other sane community.

    And if an unmarried couple wants to have sex, they will have to find another religion first. And if they do, we won’t be able to hold it against them. Premaritial sex AFAIK is also banned and not tolerated by christianity, so we are not alone.

    AFAIK, you can convert from islam if you were born muslim. You didn’t have a choice in the first place. The “death” part should only occur if someone embraces islam on his own then reverts from it. And for a good reason.

  255. MrMonkey says:

    Antinous@87 – “Mod note: Circumcision is off-topic. If you keep… …I’ll trim the redundancy.”

    Too funny. :) Maybe next time you can tell ‘em to just cut it out.

  256. Anonymous says:

    I’m a muslim male, born in the UK… We were like most people here – nominally something but never in our place of worship, celebrated Xmas etc.

    It’s been almost an irrelevance to me growing up here, though I can’t help but react to the prescriptive dictator-like edicts handed out to oppressed muslims everywhere, from Somalia to Checnya to Palestine… That, above all else, has made my muslim identity more important to me in recent years.

    Give cultures a chance to evolve themselves. Stop preaching, and read Xeni’s comment above. If things were black and white as you all seem to think, the alternative is to force oneself to look like some outlandish but now accepted image out of the pages from Cosmopolitan…

    (Sadly enough, growing up in the provinces in the ’70s we all too easily began to fit in socially – my sis had two abortions not even out of her teens, I got way too into narcotics blah blah blah. Who are you to say we weren’t a typical muslim family, both parents working in an effort to live a decent life, and kids being kids… Can’t wait until we actually capable of decent debate on these things. Perhaps then we’ll rationally debate god out of the picture too :-)

  257. sobreiro says:

    Damn, back as #74 I meant “reminded” and not “remembered”!

  258. np says:

    ANTINOUS/MODERATOR@230: I am no fan of Sarkozy, but I do not believe that he wishes a massive murder of jewish and/or muslim people.

    Do you?

    You may want to cool down on the WWII references.

    Oh, and Godwin’s law seems to apply just fine, thanks.

  259. mindysan33 says:

    No, no, Arkizzle,… I was totally agreeing with you. I just wanted to clarify that I was not trying to speak for others, just put in some important historical context. And Xeni hit the nail on the head. When I started writing this, I was just going to say “Xeni, FTW”, but then I read your comment and wanted to respond to that as well.

    It’s funny, but I find the same in the pro-life/promise keepers/Quiverful crowd as well – seems to be a bunch of men making decisions/speaking for “their” women, doesn’t it? What’s the difference between Muslim men who force the veil on “their” women, and Christian men who speak for “their” women? Is there one?

  260. PaxVobiscum says:

    “Incredible how the top dog always announces with such an air of discovery that the underdog is childish, stupid, emotional, irresponsible, uninterested in serious matters, incapable of learning — but for god’s sake don’t teach him anything! — and both cowardly *and* ferocious. [...] The oppressed is also treacherous, incapable of fighting fair, full of dark magics, prone to do nasty things like fighting back when attacked, and contented with his place in life unless stirred up by outside agitators. [...] Once I learned the tune I stopped believing the words — about *anybody*.”

    – James Tiptree, Jr., male persona of author Alice Sheldon.

    Hiding behind words like Tradition, Conservative Religion and the like mean either “Not my concern” or “This is as it should be”. A cage can be constructed to be almost invisible, even desirable. Dosent make it any less of a cage, just ask that women who was arrested for wearing pants (http://abcnews.go.com/International/story?id=8202307&page=1)

  261. regularfry says:

    Abu Som3a@235:
    “And can you please show me a study linking human freedom-of-sexuality with rape and incest.”
    I don’t need statistics to back up this obvious assumption.

    Yes. Yes you do, because the reverse assumption, that lack of sexual freedom would lead to a higher rate of sexual crime because of the lack of licit outlets, sounds at least equally obvious to me.

  262. arkizzle / Moderator says:

    ..what I’ll try to do this week is get one of my Muslim female friends to share her take on the issue

    Perfect! :D

  263. Abu Som3a says:

    “There are about a million cases of HIV in the US. Our population is about 300 million. That puts the infection rate at about a third of one percent.”

    I quoted the percentage from a chart posted at wikipedia. I stand corrected.

    “Funny — I believe all human beings are worthy of respect, including women who pose nude.”

    Respect as human beings yes. They do have human rights alright. But socially I can’t think of anything less respect-worthy than a prostitute.

    “Congratulations! It took over 200 posts before we got comments by a theist equal in ignorance to the comments by atheists. You’re giving your religion, which I have defended here, a worse name than it already has.”

    “Sura 24:30 says, “Tell the believing men that they shall subdue their eyes (and not stare at the women), and to maintain their chastity. This is purer for them. God is fully cognizant of everything they do.” In other words, the Prophet agrees with me: it’s a man’s job to control his dick, not the other way around.”

    It’s obvious the quran didn’t say “women have to wear the veil, but in case they don’t men can do whatever they want”. If a woman wears a veil, we won’t find anything to look at in the first place.
    If a man, no matter how religious he is, sees a nude woman, it will be extremely difficult for him not to look at her.
    Therefore it is much more difficult to men to avoid looking at women than it is for women to wear a veil, or at least dress decently. I apologize I didn’t make this point clear.
    Men and women are not denied from having unallowed sex. They are denied from approaching it (putting themselves in a situation where it might happen). Because it is difficult for them to control their sexual desires once they actually find a chance to do it.

  264. Ito Kagehisa says:

    I’m just horrified that anyone would quote Hitchens in a thread about women’s swimsuits. Hitchens poisons everything.

    http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/features/2007/01/hitchens200701

  265. lyd says:

    @ #16

    You said, “I saw an article recently stating that a woman in Paris was denied admission to a pool because she was wearing this, and I find THAT shameful [...] Most of the women I see wearing itty bitty bikinis really shouldn’t be wearing itty bitty bikinis.”

    That last sentence is what I find shameful.

    I have a problem with the woman in Paris being refused as well, but no more of a problem than I have with disparaging comments like yours. You are showing no more acceptance than those you are criticizing.

  266. Pipenta says:

    Abu,

    If you think, for a freakin’ moment, that women are sexually assaulted because of what they are wearing, then you are an uneducated troglodyte.

    Talk to a rape crisis advocate and she’ll set you straight. Grandmothers wearing cardigans get raped. Babies in pampers get raped. It has NOTHING to do with what you are wearing or how attractive you are or are not. Rape is violence, not sex. Rape is about harming someone.

    And if you think that rape is less common in cultures that practice patriarchal fundamentalism than it is in the west, you are at best kidding yourself, more likely simply willfully ignorant. Rape is simply not reported. Why? Because women in cultures like that are even less likely to get justice than in our admittedly flawed western cultures. Women in oppressive fundamentalist cultures, if they so much as admit that they have been raped, are likely to punished, like the fourteen year old girl who was recently buried up to her neck and stoned to death.

    In cultures where women are limited in their movements, those who have access are the ones who do the sexual abuse. There, as here, as everywhere, rape is most likely to be committed by someone that the victim knows.

    And the type of person who rapes, is the type of person who does what he (or she) thinks they can get away with.

    NONE OF THIS HAS ANYTHING TO DO WITH MODESTY.

  267. Anonymous says:

    As soon as these kind of swimsuits preserve femininity and religious women want to adopt them, I don’t see why women should be denied to wear them. A good example of beautiful collection of modest swimwear:
    http://seasecret.biz

  268. Anonymous says:

    There’s just nothing quite like a religion that tells you that 51% of the populataion is (always automaticall)evil, and that evil things done to that segment of the population are their own fault for dressing or behaving in a certain way. Of course I’m talking about Christianity (and Islam and Judaism). I just hope one day we can live in a world without opressive religions like the big three of the book, or even better, without any religion at all.

  269. Volker says:

    I always thought that the U.S. swimwear is ridiculous, why do American men insist on swimming in knee-length Bermuda shorts? Just wear nothing or speedos if the local regulations require them.

    For the record, TFA article states that the pool rules forbid “swimming while clothed”. This certainly rules out giant panda suits. Should the fascist pool rules be relaxed? Probably. But backlash from EU governments over a piece of swimwear? Geez :-)

  270. Abu Som3a says:

    “Yes. Yes you do, because the reverse assumption, that lack of sexual freedom would lead to a higher rate of sexual crime because of the lack of licit outlets, sounds at least equally obvious to me.”

    Two reasons.
    1) We can get married.
    2) We don’t have the temptation. People in the army for example, when stuck far away from females generally, don’t feel horny as much as they do with women around.

    Even if we exclude crime, like I said before, sexual freedom in itself has many other problems. You have failed to address that.

  271. dequeued says:

    On topic, you may want to check out Pat Condell’s thoughts on the Burka.
    Not directly related, but meh

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TlkxlzTZc48

  272. patricio says:

    I think the main question is whether the burkini, the veil and the burqa create a culture where you are “free” to use ONLY the burkini, the veil and the burqa. Whether the peer pressure makes it impossible to wear anything else. From a western christian male perspective, it’s not an issue of faith, it’s an issue of individual freedom.

  273. mindysan33 says:

    Aman – that would be great, hearing from Muslim woman.

    I think part of the problem is that people want to assign a single idea on a very complex social group. We’d never assume that say Pat Robertson or James Dobson, or even the Pope speaks for the whole of Christiantiy, would we, NO… why can’t we see the same complexity in the Muslim world (sunni, Shia, and Sufi). Let’s face it, there is no “Islamic world” per se, not as we often talk about in the west… the only thing that brings all Muslims together is Islam. No one practices the same way (despite the attempts by the Wahhabis to make it so). A Kosovar Muslim practices his or her faith in a completely different way than a Saudi Muslim, who is different from a Muslim in Iran, who varies from a Muslim in Pakistan… you get my point. Islam, unlike Catholicism, has never had a top down structure, even during times of a caliphate.

    Look, more context! I do so love context…

  274. Anonymous says:

    I just came back from a weekend at the beaches in Alexandria, Egypt and I saw a lot of Burqini’s out there. But what surprised me was that their husbands mostly wore Speedos. Why the difference in modesty between the sexes?

    At the very least, I am pleased with the ingenuity of the fashion designers in creating a product that allows conservative Muslim women to enjoy the same ocean pleasures as their husbands.

  275. jere7my says:

    Abu Som3a, I interpreted your statement “man shouldn’t be liable of controlling himself” to be a justification of sexual assault — it is a common defense of rapists in this country. My apologies, then, if you intended it to refer to minimizing opportunities for consensual sex. I still disagree with you, but I am not outraged, and I shouldn’t have responded with anger.

    In fact, I must commend you for your patience in explaining your perspective here. We do disagree, but you are doing so politely and without anger. That makes it more jarring, perhaps, to hear arguments from you that come from a debate that happened in this country ninety years ago, and which have seemed decisively settled for as long as I’ve been alive.

  276. Anonymous says:

    Does it come in red? Or is it blue-only ?
    I like it. pretty cool for the swimming-pool but have to be perfect for moutain skking.

    How did all of this come too far? How long we have to wait until the burkithong will show up!

  277. Abu Som3a says:

    “Talk to a rape crisis advocate and she’ll set you straight. Grandmothers wearing cardigans get raped. Babies in pampers get raped. It has NOTHING to do with what you are wearing or how attractive you are or are not. Rape is violence, not sex. Rape is about harming someone.”

    Yes. Crime is present everywhere. But you can’t argue that removing the temptation doesn’t help reduce it.
    And you can’t deny that rape doesn’t mostly occur with young beautiful women, simply because they are more desirable. A rapist will be happier to inflict physical and psychological damage on a beautiful young woman rather than an older less desirable one.

    “rape is most likely to be committed by someone that the victim knows.”

    Good thing you don’t know how veiled women look like then, and don’t interact with them as much as you would with a regular woman.

  278. Jonathan says:

    Men and women in Islam are both asked to dress modestly

    This came across as a stretch to me, but, admittedly, from a position of limited knowledge of Muslim culture.

    I’d be very interested in hearing more female Muslim voices here, especially in a guest blogging capacity.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woman_Is_the_Nigger_of_the_World

  279. PaxVobiscum says:

    @151
    “The panicking, Hitchen-quoting lot want to see Islam as this single cognitive mass out to roll humanity back to the dark ages. That’s not only historically ignorant and shamefully uninformed, it teeters on bigotry.”

    That may be true in some cases. Not all though, which is frightning, believe me, I know. I’m danish and we’ve had the single cognitive mass experience recently, concerning some drawings. Didn’t seem like much to me, but still hundreds of thousands took to the streets across the muslim world, burning, killing and destroying anything even vagely danish related by origin or geography.

    Every muslim? ofc not, but enough to make a really scary picture. Enough that if a significant number of muslim religious leaders said “go punish the infidel” things would get real bad real fast. Thats the fear and, in my unfortunately informed opinion, its a justified one.

  280. theawesomerobot says:

    Why do so many people immediately assign nudity to sex? I bathe nude way more often than have sex, so why isn’t the idea of my nudity assigned with bathing? Hmm… or maybe I’m just not having enough sex or I’m bathing too often.

    Trust me, if someone is thinking about you sexually while in public – it really doesn’t matter how nude you are, it’s going to happen.

  281. FoetusNail says:

    By all means let’s have a listen to the sufferers of Stockholm Syndrome.

    Ito, did you read his article?

    Wit, after all, is the unfailing symptom of intelligence. Men will laugh at almost anything, often precisely because it is—or they are—extremely stupid. Women aren’t like that. And the wits and comics among them are formidable beyond compare: Dorothy Parker, Nora Ephron, Fran Lebowitz, Ellen DeGeneres. (Though ask yourself, was Dorothy Parker ever really funny?) Greatly daring—or so I thought—I resolved to call up Ms. Lebowitz and Ms. Ephron to try out my theories. Fran responded: “The cultural values are male; for a woman to say a man is funny is the equivalent of a man saying that a woman is pretty. Also, humor is largely aggressive and pre-emptive, and what’s more male than that?” Ms. Ephron did not disagree. She did, however, in what I thought was a slightly feline way, accuse me of plagiarizing a rant by Jerry Lewis that said much the same thing. (I have only once seen Lewis in action, in The King of Comedy, where it was really Sandra Bernhard who was funny.)

  282. Antinous / Moderator says:

    Enough that if a significant number of muslim religious leaders said “go punish the infidel” things would get real bad real fast.

    So the best way to world peace is to outlaw their outfits? Were you in the Bush diplomatic corps by any chance?

  283. Abu Som3a says:

    “Abu Som3a, I interpreted your statement “man shouldn’t be liable of controlling himself” to be a justification of sexual assault — it is a common defense of rapists in this country. My apologies, then, if you intended it to refer to minimizing opportunities for consensual sex. I still disagree with you, but I am not outraged, and I shouldn’t have responded with anger.
    In fact, I must commend you for your patience in explaining your perspective here. We do disagree, but you are doing so politely and without anger.”

    With enough patience and a little logic, you can win any argument. But even if I’m proved wrong it doesn’t matter. I’m just using my average knowledge about my religion and simple logic, which apparently may not be enough, lol.

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