The recent ban on the niqab in the French parliament and the attempt of Conservative MP Philip Hollobone to initiate a ban in the UK, coupled with the subsequent media furore, has exposed some glaring contradictions.
If politicians, the media and social commentators care for women and believe that their world view facilitates the emancipation of women, then why have they focused on a cloth that covers her body rather than focus on the contemporary facade effecting women in the west. In Britain, for example,
1 in 4 women will be a victim of domestic violence.
Two women are murdered every week by a current or a former partner.
In any one year, there are 13 million separate incidents of physical violence or threats of violence against women from partners or former partners.
1 in 5 young men and 1 in 10 young women think that abuse or violence against women is acceptable.
Empowerment and Self-esteem
66 % of women in the UK would consider plastic surgery because of concerns about their looks.
63 % of young women aspire to be glamour models or lap dancers.
54 % of women became aware of the ‘need’ to be attractive between 6 – 17 years of age.
Unequal Pay & Employment
In 2006, female graduates earned, on average, 15% less than their male counterparts at the age of 24; with this gender pay gap widening with age increasing to 40.5% for women graduates aged 41-45.
There are estimated to be around 80,000 people involved in prostitution in the UK. However, many people believe that this figure is an underestimation.
A 2002 study found that 74% of women involved in prostitution cited poverty, the need to pay household expenses and support their children, as a primary motivator for entering sex work.
The NHS reported in 2009 that more than one in five of the adult female population experiences depression, anxiety or suicidal thoughts.
Many older people, especially women over 75, experience severe poverty due to institutional failure, as levels of state pensions are determined according to years of employment.
One in five single women pensioners live in poverty. In 2004, almost 1.3 million older women lived below the poverty line and suffered significant financial disadvantage – compared with men of the same age.
Research published in 2006 identified that women aged 16 or over are 5 times as likely as men to feel very unsafe walking alone in their area after dark.
An NSPCC prevalence study in 2000 found that around 21% of girls surveyed experienced some form of child sexual abuse. The majority of children who experienced sexual abuse had more than one sexually abusive experience.
I acknowledge that certain western ideologues have lost the debate concerning women and Islamic values. This is proven by the fact that they have failed to persuade Muslim women to reject manifestations of Islamic values such as the niqab. The insistence on banning these symbols of Islam exhibits their inability to articulate a positive case for their world view and indicates their unwillingness to engage in a productive debate. Therefore I conclude that these commentators and ideologues should start to think about how to fix the miserable situation for many women in the UK. And I suggest that looking at Islam is a viable and positive solution.
“Muslim men and Muslim women, and Believing men and Believing women, and devout obedient men and devout obedient women, and truthful men and truthful women, and patient constant men and patient constant women, and humble men and humble women, and charitable men and charitable women, and men who fast and women who fast, and chaste men and chaste women, and men who remember God much and women who remember God much – God has prepared for them all forgiveness and a great Reward.” The Noble Qur’an 33:35
Let the positive discussions begin!
Copyright © 2013 - Hamza Andreas Tzortzis - All rights reserved.