I understand the controversy. My issue is that it's not for us to decide who has been oppressed versus who is just practicing her own beliefs. Women wearing burkas on the street have every right to do so.Okay...I do believe that what I am going to add is - should be in hyde park....and I'm not trying to stir the pot - I'm just late..but..honestly..
Ayaan Hirsi Ali has written on this topic and has shared her story - she has spoken out against women wearing the burka as it is a symbol of female oppression (sexual, socially and education). She lays out in "The Caged Virgin: An Emancipation Proclamation for Women and Islam" that many western liberals try to support the wearing of the burka in a valiant effort to show they support freedom of religion, but, we do not truly comprehend what we are supporting and are causing more harm than good.
She has shared her story of female castration, her story of being smuggled out Saudi Arabia, where honor killings (like the horrible story out of Canada where the father, mother and son killed his other wife and 3 daughters) are still occurring legally. She tells the sad story of how her friend, Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh, was brutally murdered in broad daylight while riding his bike to work by a Muslim extremist for questioning Islamic beliefs.
After publicly denouncing Islam, calling for an enlightenment (her argument is that major religions have all grown due to the questioning - however, if you dare question Islamic beliefs - you can be murdered.), the public death threats - she does not travel anywhere without body guards - even when staying in the US.
Sorry it is long. I do not paint one person as being representative of an entire group of people. However, more and more people inside the Islamic faith are saying what Ali has said...and after reading her I had a far greater understanding of what the burka represents. Countries such as France are banning the wearing of this in public and Ali and others support these efforts.
I do believe this is a far more complex issue than just rights of a religion. In one sense it is the woman's right to cover her face and body if she chooses, however, the reality is becoming clearer that she has no real choice. From how she is raised, to the female castration at the hand of her mother to the systematic oppression of women in some Islamic countries - such as denying an education to women...so, to many the burka is not a symbol of religious freedom, but, of the still on-going oppression of women.
Sorry to rattle on and on - it will probably be removed and deleted.
Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.