Thursday, May 10, 2007

Hijab Wars: Dateline Denmark

I don't know how I missed the hijab-o-drama currently playing out in Denmark. (You know Dinah loves the Denmark, especially after conducting last year's "Sammenhold Tour" where she got to show her solidarity with the Danes. And to drink their fine Carlsberg beer in their charming city, Copenhagen. Read here and here and here and here.)

I stumbled across this piece,
Danes Battle the Veil in the Guardian yesterday and while it contains most of the multi culti mumbo jumbo you've come to know and expect from al-Guardian, it is something any infidel worth her pork rinds should be paying attention to.

The backstory:
Last week, a young Danish politician of Iranian descent, Asmaa Abdol-Hamid, was selected as a potential candidate for parliament by Enhedslisten (the Unity List), a leftwing Eurosceptic (what a name for a political party!) party. Ms Abdol-Hamid, who is Muslim, insists she will wear her hijab (religious veil) if elected to parliament, and would refuse to shake hands with male colleagues in compliance with her religious beliefs. This has produced an outcry in Denmark from rightwingers fearful of allowing politicians into parliament who put the Qur'an above the Danish constitution, as well as leftwingers who feel hijacked by a Muslim agenda. The Danish Imams have unanimously endorsed Abdol-Hamid and advocate that the Muslim community vote for her in the next election.

Before Abdol-Hamid became a member of Enhedslisten, she was a member of
Socialdemokraterne (the Danish equivalent of New Labour), but she was refused a candidacy to run for the local council on the grounds that her insistence on wearing religious headwear that symbolises the oppression of women was irreconcilable with the party's official policy. Socialdemokraterne are probably pleased that she's gone. With the present focus on her person, there may be many votes in having Abdol-Hamid in the party, but more votes could be lost as the Danes, according to polls, continue to be sceptical about Islam's role in democracy.

The hijab: New political cause celebre, Oh brother:
A former minister of culture from the social liberal party, De Radikale, Elsebeth Gerner Nielsen, recently put on a hijab to sympathise with her colleague, claiming her action symbolised freedom of speech.

The fallout:
Popular MP to Form New Party.
Neither Khader nor Samuelsen would comment specifically on the reasons for their departure from the Social Liberals, but the rift between Khader and the party's leadership - in particular party head Marianne Jelved and immigration spokesperson Elsebeth Gerner Nielsen - had been apparent for some time.

That rift began to grow wider last week after Nielsen made a public appearance in a Muslim headscarf. She called the appearance a show of support for Muslim women, but the Syrian-born Khader saw the move as a kowtow to the religion's conservatives.

The relativist mumbo-jumbo:
Interestingly, although the Danes talk about religious symbols in general, it is only Muslim symbols that are referred to. No one seems to have any problems with crucifixes, Buddhist symbols or Jewish yarmulkas. The underlying tension is indeed the tension between Christianity and Islam. (This is the biggest lie. Remember the Crucifixes removed from the Italian hospital to avoid offending Muslims here? Plenty more examples exist.)

The self-blame angle:
Religious tolerance and acceptance of diversity seem to sit uneasily with many Danes. People who want to live in Denmark need to share our morals and beliefs, the argument goes, and since the public sector plays a significant role in Danish society, it is expected that the public sector will find a way of integrating or even assimilating foreigners. The Danish integration process has been notoriously bad, not least because there has never been a consensus about what we want Denmark to be. Accordingly the immigration issue continues to be used by extremists and nationalists as an easy way to attract voters and therefore the tone and language of the debate is often harsh and ugly.

The self-loathing. Boo! We're just as bad!
Religious symbols all carry a tag of oppression. Many misdeeds and murders have been committed in God's name. Christianity has at least as much oppression to its name as Islam, but we don't ban the right to wear a crucifix.

Hold up.

Symbol of oppression? I used to think that, too. But that was before I heard mullah after mullah calling on good Muslimas everywhere to take to the veil like jihadis were taking to the IED's.


As such it is fair game in the culture wars.

Before 9/11 you could wear the veil all day long and while it bothered me (that oppression business) I didn't feel that it was any of my business. You fly airplanes into buildings and start blowing up my friends, the Brits? You threaten to wipe my friends the Israelis off the face of the earth?

It's my business.

It's silly I know but I've been thinking of buying small American flag lapel pins and everytime I see a woman wearing a hijab going up to her and offering her one to wear to show that she stands against Islamic terror. Then I would ask her to join me in pledging allegiance to the flag.

What do YOU think would happen?