Sunday, January 29, 2012

Do The Burka!

So this post requires me to dive into the messy world of politics for a bit. As a tourist though, not as a resident, as I've made clear again and again that I don't like to get involved in it. But I can describe it. Or at least try to.
You see, in Europe the debate about Islam has been building up. There are those that feel that Islam doesn't belong in Western society. They feel that it is backward, that it oppresses women, that it is a cruel system that not only condones but even encourages violence. Our own by now famous and infamous politician Geert Wilders even went so far as to call it not a religion at all but nothing more than a political ideology.
On the other side of this discussion are those that say that Islam cannot be reduced to a fixed set of characteristics like that. They argue that a fringe group of radicals is being mistaken for the largest group of members. They even say that this "mistake" is intentional, so as to create an idea of an enemy that needs to be defeated. It is thought that this imagined enemy can then function as a way to bring together people to persecute members of this perceived threat as a scapegoat.
It can all get complicated, where sometimes the allegations of those who try to fight Islam are actually being reinforced by representatives of the religion itself. When its enemies claim that it is a violent ideology they might use video footage of Muslims that say themselves that it is the sacred duty of all Muslims is to fight the infidels. This makes it very easy of course to mistake the testament of a few for an absolute statement. This, in turn, gives the anti-islamists some empirical ammunition again.
Embedded in this discussion is also the question about what Islam really is. Is there truly an absolute Islamic tradition or are there only Islams existing side by side? In the case of the burka, a piece of cloth that is supposed to cover the entire face of a woman save most of her eyes, this is being highly debated. Is it part of Islamic tradition or is it just a cultural practice that got picked up somewhere along the way? Recently in the Netherlands the anti-islamists approved a law banning the burka from the public space. Officially the reason was mainly safety. But the message underneath might be that Islamic tradition must always be subject to state interests. This however assumes that the burka is indeed a part of Islamic tradition, even though it is deemed such by outsider political forces.
This is a very very long road to what I want this post to be about. It’s also a long way to justify it’s religious significance, since arguably this is about culture and not religion (from a secular point of view, I'm actually not sure if the difference between the two can accurately be upheld). Where there is political and religious controversy of course there is also mockery. And this mockery is also bad. Very. Very bad. Oh Lord how you spoil me with such sweet suffering! So delightfully unbearable! Ladies and gentlemen, with great pride do I give you this golden turd of a video from my very own country: Do the burka!

I must once again thank Roel for bringing this to my attention. May Allah bless you my friend! ;)

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