The Niqab and the Islamization of Europe

By: Alexandra Kinias

European countries finally woke up from the bad dream that the Bedouin culture, represented in the niqab (face veil), is methodically growing within their societies. Parliament members met, laws were drafted and quick actions were taken to stop this growth, or at least to slow it down before the jinni escapes from inside the magic lamp and transforms the bad dream into an uncontrollable nightmare. Belgium was the first country that issued a ban on the niqab and France followed in its footsteps. Bills banning it are being prepared to be introduced in the parliaments of the Netherlands, Austria and Italy (which already had passed a law to fine women who wear it). Denmark is still debating on whether to pass a law or not and so is Switzerland that earlier in the year passed a law that banned the construction of minarets for mosques built on her soil.

It is so intriguing that this small black piece of fabric is causing so much heated debates, controversies and raising the tensions that already exist between the Islamic countries and the West.  But in spite of all the criticism that European countries have been subjected to from human rights organizations and opposition groups within their own societies, their decision is unlikely to be reversed. The issue of banning the niqab has also contributed to friction between the Europeans and the Muslim immigrants, who are physically living in the western societies but in reality they have not left home yet and are still clutching to their own cultures and traditions.

Banning the niqab in Europe and the referendum against the construction of the minarets in Switzerland have given Islamic Scholars and Clerics the opportunity to attack Europe’s intolerance of Islam. That was quite a humorous accusation giving that the accusers are ignoring the fact that foreign women in countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran have to follow the religious dress code of these countries. And those who disapproved the Swiss referendum for constructing the minarets for the mosques forgot to ask themselves when was the last time that a church was built in Egypt, or when would Saudi Arabia allow churches to be build in the Kingdom.

Women in the Middle East have been governed by Bedouin laws that were drafted in the deserts of Arabia centuries ago. The inequality, discrimination and mistreatment that these women are subjected to because of these laws are dehumanizing and humiliating. The face cover they are forced to wear is a simple demonstration of how women are categorized as second class citizens denied the right even for a breath of fresh air.

And the desert storms blew from the Arabian Sahara. Together with the sand grains, these nomadic cultures and traditions landed in Europe with the Muslim immigrants. These sand storms, sponsored by the petrodollars, are exporting the radical Wahabbism creed to every corner of the globe, with the promise of eternal paradise. Its symbol became the faceless women shrouded in black, which, by the way, has no scripture in Islam to support it. These cultures and traditions are alien to the European values and beliefs especially toward their women, who their laws guarantee equality, respect and freedom.

The vast majority of immigrants who arrive to Europe, from the Islamic countries, seeking a better life hardly integrate into their new societies because they are either unwilling or unable to. And in either case, they despise the values of their adoptive countries, separate themselves from the new society, and drown in the rigorous creed preached in their neighborhood mosques, thus widening the gap that already exists between them and the European natives.

Controlling the women is always a top priority for preachers as that paves the road to the control of societies. What Europe is going through is not a separate incident. It is a reflection to what is happening in Muslim societies elsewhere. The veil and niqab are becoming more of a political symbol than a religious costume. Through it, the Islamization of the world is closely monitored.

There is no doubt that the European awakening to resist its Bedouinization has indeed started. It will spread even further and new measures will be adopted. Europe’s face—integration of the multi-ethnic, multi-cultural society— cannot be completed with faceless women.

6 thoughts on “The Niqab and the Islamization of Europe

    1. That’s a very good question Riham. I seriously don’t know. Egypt is walking on a very fine line and it can fall on either side. Deep inside I hope that there will an intellectual awakening that would eventually pull the country back to where it was during the times when i was growing up.

  1. I am personally opposed to the niqab, but I really don’t know if Europe is dealing with it properly. A law passed in Belgium that targets thirty-something women wearing the garment is certainly seen as persecution of a minority. How often do countries pass laws like this to target a select few?

    I think the problem with integration is not entirely the Muslims’ fault. I have friends who have emigrated to Canada and America and have integrated in those societies much better than those who moved to Europe. I think it’s because America is still by nature a nation if immigrants with no single race. Europe, on the other hand, wants to preserve its “European race” from immigrants.

    Yes, it was hypocritical of Egypt to speak out against the minaret ban, but that doesn’t change the xenophobic, racist and unnecessary nature of the ban. Restrictions on church building need to be eased in Egypt, just like renovation restrictions have been recently eased (a Christian friend tells me this). President Mubarak issued a permit for a new church to be built when he was undergoing treatment in Germany.

    About Saudi Arabia, I can understand their insistence on not allowing any other houses of worship to be built. It is the site of Islam’s holiest sites, and, as King Abdullah (I think) put it, a church in KSA would be like a mosque in the Vatican. Saudi Arabia is a religious state, a theocracy in every sense of the word, not a secular country. However, I have read that there are several unofficial places of worship springing up.

    If it were up to me, I’d place restrictions on the building of all worship houses in Egypt. Leaving it open would allow things to escalate into a religious turf war where mosques would be deliberately built next to every church and so on. A certain number of worship houses for every square kilometer would be the best. Then we could get rid of all the tiny mosques in alleys that result in a cacophony of noise 5 times a day.

    Also, I don’t believe Europe is being Islamized or anything the scaremongers are trying to make people believe. There are votes in racism, and many politicians like Geert Wilders and Nick Griffin thrive on controversy and nothing more. I doubt any of these countries would ever become Muslim majority countries any time in the near or distant future.

    The governments of these countries should do more to help integrate these communities, especially the women. Forcing them to change what they wear will only isolate and radicalise them more. More government efforts at integration of the new communities and arousal of a sense of citizenship in them will certainly help. It’s just that immigrants or their children often feel threatened by racists and this creates a backlash whereby they retreat more and more in their archaic customs and traditions.

    This has been a long post, so sorry for that 🙂

  2. Hello Egyptian,

    Great argument. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I really enjoyed reading your comment.

    However, in my humble opinion I believe that how the European countries are dealing with the Niqab is strictly there business, whether we agree with them or not . As the Middle Eastern countries request non interference from the west in their internal issues, and as they keep seeking certain measures to protect and preserve their culture and identity, I believe the rest of the world should be granted the same right. If someone doesn’t like it ther, they can go back from where they came. No one is forcing them to stay.

    Get Saudi Arabia away from the discussion, even though I disagree with your point that building a church there is like building a mosque in the Vatican. The Vatican is not a country. It could be compared to Mecca, but not to the whole of the Saudi land. Outside the Vatican, mosques are built everywhere else in Italy. Also to my knowledge, Profit Mohamed allowed the existence of churches while at the same time he demolished the temples of the non-believers. And as he destroyed all the idols, he did not destroy the statue of the Virgin Mary and Jesus.

    As I mentioned, let’s take Saudi out of the equation. How about Iran? All non-Muslim women, even reporters for international news media, are forced to cover up when they go there. If Iran forced this dress code on the women who are living there, why European countries are criticized for doing the same? And please compare the penalties of Europe vs. Iran when it comes to those who don’t comply with the dress code.


  3. Thanks for this interesting subject touching us Egyptians believing in modern times and not going back to the ones of desert life in a tent !! If those ladies wants th wear the Niquab, let them remove themselves from our society and go back live in the desert. They cannot oblige our world and civilisation to adapt ourselves to their ridiculous customs. Go back from where you came and live the life you want to live. Let us enjoy a tolerant modern life in the middle of a society open to civilisation.


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