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.