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The See-Thru Burkha

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There has been a lot of controversy in the UK recently regarding the wearing of burkhas. An MP is requesting that muslim women remove their veils when meeting him. The newspapers are full of peoples opinions about what is right and what is wrong. It's madness. I think I've found a loophole in Islamic law, which could be the perfect solution, as it keeps everyone happy : The See-Thru Burkha. Islamic law states that women should cover up. OK, but it doesn't say with what though. If the burkha is made of clear plastic, the woman would be fulfilling her duty of covering up, but at the same time she would not be perceived to be "concealing" herself, thus showing that she is willing to comply with the request of the MP in question. Discreet air vents would have to be integrated into the design, as the woman's breath would cause misting, which would leave you back at square one.
jtp, Oct 14 2006

Full-length verison of this? Visi-Hoodie
[m_Al_com, Oct 15 2006]

somehow I don't think this is gonna work... http://www.pinktink..._files/image026.jpg
[normzone, Oct 16 2006]

[zen_tom]'s 'Burqini' gag has been implemented... http://www.islamonl...asp?service_id=2735
But do they still run in slow motion? [theleopard, Jan 18 2007]


       Stupid question here, regarding "covering up". Will a skintight full body spandex suit (spiderman style) do? What about form fitting and sexy motorcyle leathers with a motorcycle helmet with tinted visor?
vmaldia, Oct 14 2006

       you made me smile, [jtp]. I can tell you must be a religious scholar of some sort.
bungston, Oct 15 2006

       Oh you tease, you.
methinksnot, Oct 15 2006

       An application of the visi-hoodie? (link)
m_Al_com, Oct 15 2006

       I think it would be better if the MP in question was covered up. Preferably in an airtight box with the lid firmly nailed down.
DrBob, Oct 15 2006

       Many people would find this idea highly offensive. I'm not one of them. [+]
wagster, Oct 15 2006

       <failing to join in the joke>   

       If you read what Straw was saying about this, it comes down to verbal vs. non-verbal communication. His reasoning was that he couldn't really understand his (female muslim) constituent unless he could see her face while she was talking to him.   

       Unless this is just random bullsh*t (which it might be), it reflects a western cultural assumption about non-verbal communication, namely, that it conveys a large proportion of meaning. This assumption is gender-based, to the extent that it is significantly more true of women than of men.   

       In a patriarchy, I would expect non-verbal communication to be proportionately much less important than in our society. This would tend to make Straw's reasoning opaque to a Muslim audience.   

       It is a cliche that Muslims are especially uncomfortable with female sexuality. It has also been observed that Muslim culture is generally uncomfortable with ambiguity and multiplicity. (An example I have seen quoted is that there is no polyphony in Muslim music).   

       It looks as if this matter touches on both these sore points at once; on the one hand, Straw is asking for something non-verbal (and, to that extent, ambiguous, and therefore alarming), on the other hand, he's asking it of a woman.   

       Are there any muslim readers of this site who might comment on whether this analysis is fair?   

pertinax, Oct 16 2006

       //I think I've found a loophole in Islamic law//   

       This line says it all.
zen_tom, Oct 16 2006

       //Let's say you go to live in a Moslem country. Would you willingly adopt all of their customs and strictures?// No, [UB], it's fair to say I wouldn't, but whilst out and about in town I would try to follow local customs related to dress and behaviour so as not to give offence. You would not find me walking down the main drag wearing a thong and eating a bacon sandwich, for example.

I find it instructive in this matter to consider the dress code adopted by Muslim women elsewhere in the world. Having spent some time in the Middle East and in various parts of Asia it seems to me that the headscarf, and not the full mask with eyeslits deal is the most common choice. The full burkha is more common on the streets of the UK than it seems to be in many countries with a Muslim majority. Couple this observation with the fact that the wearing of the burkha in the UK has risen in popularity post 9/11 and I think the conclusion is that this mode of dress is a defensive statement of identity rather than a genuine religious observance. It is having the unfortunate consequence of further isolating a community who are causing a lot of trouble for themselves by their refusal to integrate with the rest of UK society as have many other immigrant groups before them.
DocBrown, Oct 16 2006

       [UB] - Straws' original comment was that when veiled women came into his office to talk to him, he politely asked them to remove it as he felt uncomfortable talking to a veil (they all did). He followed this up by saying that there should be an open debate about the veil, under what circumstances it is appropriate/inappropriate and whether it is isolating certain muslim communities. The press (unable to grasp such complex reasoning) reported this as "Straw calls for ban on veil".
wagster, Oct 16 2006

       I once worked with a Muslim woman from Bahrain when I was in Qatar. She told me that Islam says that woman should cover their head, not necessarily their face, or body. She also told me that the full burkha is the cultural tendancy of more chauvanistic locales, i.e. Saudi Arabia.

       I think that the degree of adherence to such an austere practice has more to do with local custom. I liken it to the opinion that a properly dressed woman should wear a skirt of at least knee length, also a blouse that covers the bosom, etc. That being said, I was once in a mall in Doha, going up the escalator while a group of women, all fully clad in burkhas, were riding the down escalator opposite me. As they got closer, one of the women (probably twenty-something) lifted up the front of her burkha to show the other women her new t-shirt which had some kind of funny slogan. I didn't notice what the slogan said, because I was too busy noticing that this woman had amazing, amazing tits. Here was a group of women all fully clad in black burkhas, and one of them is flashing me girls-gone-wild style. Needless to say, I'm somewhat partial to the old-style black burkha, if only because I'm a western-style pervert.
xrayTed, Oct 17 2006

       Page 14 of "Eaters of the dead".
Zimmy, Oct 17 2006

       I think everyone should be free to wear what they want, and to cover themselves up from head to foot if they want, or wear nothing if they want.   

       //An MP is requesting that muslim women remove their veils when meeting him// that MP should think about his fellow MP David Blunkett who is blind, and has muslim women to meet as well. Should he be asking his veil wearing consitituents to be uncovered?
xenzag, Oct 17 2006

       Burkh-ini anyone?
zen_tom, Oct 17 2006

       "Burkh-ini"!!! (snork. giggle. etc etc etc) D'you see what he did there? Eh? Brilliant!The world needs humour like this, just as it needs insight like "I think I've found a loophole in Islamic law". No you haven't, you clown.   

       And as for being "too busy noticing that this woman had amazing, amazing tits" xrayTed, keep that stuff to yourself and your tissue-strewn bedroom.   

       How grumpy am I today?
Murdoch, Oct 17 2006

       All this political religious madness is really starting to get to me. The problem is, as an atheist, I have an utterly naive inability to empathise with religious people who are offended by things that I wouldn't glance twice at. And before you throw a big Atheist book at my face, I’m sure there are many Atheists that can empathise. In my eyes, if a veil impedes your ability to do a job - which can be argued for a TEFL assistant, visibly showing how to make the sounds with your mouth being quite useful - then the veil can come off. In all other situations, if the woman wants to wear it, I got no problem.   

       On top of the outcry regarding the Danish cartoonists' drawings of Mohammed, this whole veil controversy, and the latest rant at Apple's new outlet store in New York looking similar to the sacred Ka'ba, situated in the Masjid al-Haram mosque in Mecca (i.e. their both cubes), a friend's company had to spend thousands of pounds recalling and remaking an advertising campaign that depicted a man on a trampoline jumping in such a way that in the photograph you could only see the soles of his feet. The recall will replace the man's bare feet with a sock-adorned variety to appease those that found it insulting.   

       And then there's that woman who got suspended form her job for wearing a small cross on a chain! G'ah! Where's my Daily Mail?!   

       Right, sorry. The idea: It’s still see-through, rendering the point of having a veil completely redundant. How about a kind of veil curtain? Or veil blinds? With the twist of a plastic rod the veil can open for necessary visual interaction, say charades etc. and if a man walks in the room can be quickly closed.
theleopard, Oct 17 2006

       [21Q] MP = Member of Parliament (and I don't mean George Clinton)   

       [Murdoch], I'd say.   

       Point taken re the 'ini' gag - obviously not to everyone's taste - I had posted that same thing on this idea before, and subsequently deleted it - later reinstating the comment because I couldn't resist. Perhaps I was right the first time round.   

       However, it has to be said, that this, the latest of a string of Islamocentric news stories almost *requires* a less than serious approach. The media (and perhaps even the Government) appears to have gone Muslim crazy, for almost no apparent reason at all.   

       I care little whether someone wishes to wear an item of clothing or not. If it makes their job difficult, let them make it hard for themselves - but judge them on their results, not their fashion sense. If the teaching assistant in question can do her job and wear her veil, then good for her. If she fails to meet expectations for that role, then do as you would for anyone else who didn't meet the requirements of the job. Similarly, I prefer to take my shoes off at work - some might feel this a sackable offence, but I say, judge me on my results, (at which point you might be perfectly entitled to consider giving me the sack) but you get my point.   

       If someone wants to make life harder for themselves by adopting a funny walk, then by all means let them. If they want to make a statement by adopting a certain style of dress, by all means let them. If we get all serious and attempt to stop people from doing a certain thing, it will only encourage them to do it more, that thing becoming a more poignant and meaningful statement of identity. Not that I particularly want anyone to stop doing anything that they are happily doing already.   

       But, having said that, why do I have to treat something with reverence, because a group of people, without my consent or consultation, have decided to make a big deal out of it? Why can't I adopt the same level of silliness and absurdity that I might use for any other day-to-day occurrence?
zen_tom, Oct 17 2006

       I find all of this slightly ridiculous. In a free society and individual should be allowed to wear whatever they choose. If this impedes their ability to communicate effectively then it is them that have to deal with this effect.   

       If someone is unable to communicate effectively in a communication job, that persons employer is entirely welcome, within the bounds of employment law, to deal with this however they see fit. The issue here is the non-effective communication. The wearing of the veil never has to be mentioned.   

       Whatever happened too "we don't feel you are suited to this job as we feel you do not communicate effectively enough?"   

       Also, presumably, the woman who has been in the news wore a veil during her interview for the job. If her employers are now saying this is unaceptable then surely this is their responsibility, having already employed a veil-wearing individual.
webfishrune, Oct 17 2006


       It appears we agree and both posted at the same time!
webfishrune, Oct 17 2006

       "I find all of this slightly ridiculous. In a free society and individual should be allowed to wear whatever they choose. If this impedes their ability to communicate effectively then it is them that have to deal with this effect."   

       Not necessarily. Just because it's a "free society" doesn't mean you can go about pleasing yourself in your every action without consideration for everyone around you. If people started walking around naked in the streets they would be arrested and rightly so, as regardless of your moral right to nakedness, this has a detrimental effect on people around you and if you want to live in an integrated society you need to take other peoples feelings into account. In a Western society having a covered face induces feelings of unease, discomfort and even fear in other people and this is what is being called into question. No-one would have a problem if they just wore their Burqas in the privacy of their own home.
HowardMarks, Oct 17 2006

       [HowardMarks] I was going to argue with you, citing tattoos, peircings and extreme haircuts as examples of alternative dress/behaviour that might make some people feel uncomfortable - until I suddenly realised I agreed with you. Damnit.
zen_tom, Oct 17 2006

       Another ninja-engrish dictionary, I see.
methinksnot, Oct 25 2006

       It should be borne in mind that large sections of the British media are utterly incapable of reporting a story without presenting it as a controversy.
egbert, Oct 25 2006

       [zen_tom], saw this in the Metro the other day. I wonder what Hasselhoff thinks of it... (linky)
theleopard, Jan 18 2007

       These news papers are called The Daily Mail and Telegraph. Maybe the Sun too. But anyway:   

       Isn't the point of a Burkha for modesty, they are commanded to cover up so men aren't tempted. I suspect this doesn't follow all Islamic Laaw. Besides, Sharia law is interpreted by a local islamic court, so it would be smashed by them.   

       As for my political views on the Burkha, I basically agree with the other Atheist. People can do whatever they want, as long as they don't harm others. If the Burkha stops her from teaching (if, I don't know if it does) then the Burkha, or at least face part, must come off. Otherwise, she can keep it.
Germanicus, Jan 18 2007

       great idea
evilpenguin, Oct 05 2007


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