Wednesday, 27 August 2008

The Veil Unveiled


The Guardian's religion correspondent Riazat Butt has certainly stirred up the proverbial hornets' nest with her article about the abusive remarks her sister has encountered while wearing a full-face veil. She was out and about in Southampton recently when someone was heard to call her "ninja woman".


We challenged the man who made the remark, he denied saying it, even though he said it as I was passing him. My sister called him "a lying bigot", which is all she could muster on a Sunday afternoon in Primark, en route to Clark's to have her children fitted for new shoes, but she delivered it rather splendidly, to the bemusement of shoppers who, if they hadn't noticed her before, suddenly found her rather interesting. Her children asked why mummy was shouting at a man.

She left Primark in a foul mood, and sitting in Clark's with three children who kept complaining about being bored/tired/hungry was not the best way for her to calm down.


Riazat wondered how her sister ought to respond, "next time someone calls her a name."

A predictably lively thread followed. Here was my initial reaction, in a comment that by the early evening had attracted 160 "recommends", a record for me (I don't know who holds the all-time record: if any Cif nerd is able to discover, I'd love to know):

How should she respond? By taking it off.

I'm sorry your sister has been abused, but the veil not only gives many people the creeps (and that is only natural, given that it is utterly alien, not just to western culture, but to western conceptions of human dignity) it is also extremely rude. So it's something your sister wants to do? I might want to walk down the street stark naked. I don't, as it happens, but I might. If I did, I would run the risk of being arrested; but even if walking around naked were not illegal, it would still be an act of selfishness, even self-absorption, displaying a complete lack of regard for other people and the common proprieties. Wearing a face veil is exactly the same.

If your sister wishes to go about her business like everyone else, then she should prepared to meet society at least half-way. She should accept that, far from being "modest" (it is, surely, as immodest a garment as it is possible to imagine) the veil is a proclamation of difference, even of superiority. It is (in an unveiled society) an assertion of not wanting to belong. Well, that is her right in a free society. But it would be wrong for her to imagine that it is or should be cost-free. If your sister has a right to passive-aggressively insult the culture in which she lives, then, sadly, rude ill-bred people have an equal right to be rude to her. Most people will be silently pitying her.

I half-expected that comment to get "moderated". Perhaps it will be. It was, however, one of the milder expressions of unease, distaste, or opposition. As Jack Straw discovered a couple of years ago, the veil stands proxy for much about Islam that non-Muslims (not just westerners) find disorientating or even threatening. Most people are too polite openly to abuse a woman wearing a Niqab; the strange mixture of pity and anger it arouses cannot, however, be simply dissipated by calling for "respect". What is to be respected? The woman, certainly. But an interpretation of religion that has such a perverse view of "modesty"? Might respecting the veil - historically, and in some cultures today, an instrument of oppression - risk piling pressure on the unwilling to adopt it themselves?

After the fold, a thought-provoking and well-informed critique posted by Noor Aza Othman of the Women for Justice Support Group Project, Malaysia. It was, perhaps inevitably, "deleted by Moderator". But fortunately I'd saved it. It's well worth a read.

The Veil and Violence against Women in Islamist Societies by Maryam Namazie (born in Iran, which her family left after the Iranian revolution. She now lives in the West, where she has worked ceaselessly for human rights, particularly on behalf of refugees. She was recently involved in setting up the Council of Ex-Muslims in Britain).

7 August, 2007 - 09:17.

Recent reports on the Islamic regime of Irans crackdown on women who are ‘badly veiled (bad-hejab) and their resistance to the regimes campaign of arrest and harassment has been reported quite extensively in comparison to other similar events over the years. This is partly due to amateur video footage taken via mobile phones by passers-by uploaded on YouTube for the world to see.

There are two pieces of footage that everyone should take a look at. One is of an unveiled woman shouting ‘we dont want the veil; we want freedom. The other is of a young girl who is being questioned by security agents for being ‘badly veiled; she pulls off her veil in front of them and is kicked into a waiting car to be driven away.

Given that veiling is compulsory in Iran, these acts of defiance are all the more heroic.

This ongoing battle between the Islamic authorities and women over the veil clearly reveals why it has become a symbol like no other of the violence women face under Islam and why ‘improper or ‘bad veiling and unveiling have become a symbol of resistance to Islam in power and its violence against women. It is for this very reason that the slogan ‘neither veil nor submission has become a rallying cry ever since the regime imposed compulsory veiling on women after expropriating and crushing the revolution to consolidate its rule.

With the myriad examples of violence against women in Islamist societies – from stoning to legally sanctioned domestic violence – the ‘fuss over veiling may seem overboard for those who have heard about the ‘right to veil and ‘freedom of clothing from Islamists who deceptively use rights language in an effort to make the veil palatable to a western audience.

But the veil is anything but a piece of cloth or clothing. Just as the straight-jacket or body bag are anything but pieces of clothing. Just as the chastity belt was not a piece of clothing. Just as the Star of David pinned on Jews during the holocaust was not just a bit of cloth.

The veil is a tool for the suppression and oppression of women. It is meant to segregate. It is representative of how women are viewed in Islam: sub-human, ‘deficient, ‘inferior, without rights, and despised. Trapped in a mobile prison not to be heard from or seen.

The veiled woman is veiled to prevent her from being seen or touched by anyone other than those who have some form of ownership over her – her father, husband or brother.

In many instances it is a matter of life and death. In Iran just recently paramedics were denied access to two sisters who needed emergency assistance because their brother deemed it sinful for the paramedics to touch them. They died as a result. And we have all heard of the example of Saudi Arabia where girls schools are locked as usual practice to ensure the segregation of the sexes. In 2002 when a fire broke out at a school in Mecca, the guards would not unlock the gates and religious police prevented girls from escaping – to the point of even beating them back into the school – because they were not properly veiled; moreover they stopped men who tried to help, warning the men that it was sinful to touch the girls. Fifteen girls died as a result and more than fifty were wounded.

As I said – a matter of life and death.

Moreover, the veil imposes sexual apartheid and the segregation of the sexes very much like racial apartheid in the former South Africa. But in this instance, in addition to the segregation that is carried out in society, such as separate entrances for women in certain government offices, separate areas for womens seating on buses, the banning of women from certain public arenas like sport stadiums, a curtain dividing the Caspian sea for segregated swimming and so on, woman are forced to carry the divide on their very own backs.

And dont forget the more subtle aspects to it, though just as detrimental, like the sun never touching a womans hair or body and the adverse health effects of that. And how depressing it must be to be deemed so vile and dangerous as to need constant cover…

And imagine the effects of the veil on girl children. Sexualized from age nine, kept segregated from boys, taught that they are different and unequal, restricted from playing, swimming and in general doing things children must do – nothing short of child abuse.

At least in Iran, there is mass resistance in the form of a social protest movement. The veil is also imposed on many women in Europe via threats and intimidation. But because of the respect the veil and religion are granted due to racist cultural relativism, women and girls are often left to the mercy of regressive Islamic organisations and parasitical imams.

A mullah in Green Lane mosque in Birmingham has said, for example: 'Allah has created the woman deficient' and a satellite broadcast from the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh, beamed into the mosque suggested that children should be hit if they don't pray and don’t wear the hijab. Then there is Australia’s senior Islamic cleric, Sheik Taj Aldin al-Hilali, who has compared unveiled women to ‘uncovered meat’ implying that they invite rape and sexual assault. ‘If you take out uncovered meat and place it outside ... without cover, and the cats come to eat it ... whose fault is it, the cats' or the uncovered meat's? The uncovered meat is the problem. If she was in her room, in her home, in her hijab, no problem would have occurred.’

That women transgress the veil daily is a testimony to their humanity and not the laws, states or groups that impose it by force or intimidation.

No apology, justification, appeasement or cultural relativism can deny the indignity and violence that the veil is and represents.


Another somewhat overwrought post which didn't stay up for very long came from "Clare London" (I presume that's Clare in London). Clare had posted a strongly-worded comment in which she finished up by saying, "I don't care even if she is verbally abused, frankly. She deserves it." This prompted a pithy response from Ms Butt ("fuck off") and a longer, somewhat sarcastic aside during which it emerged that the sister's husband had in fact died. At this, Clare went slightly off the handle:

I find your comment extremely stupid.

By using the term 'husband' I obviously intended it to be taken in the generic sense. My comment described some of the commonly-held views from 'our side' as to why women like your sister shroud themselves in an offensively extreme way. The exact personal circumstances of your sister's life are not, of course, known to me. The specifics are irrelevant.

If your brother-in-law has died, I'm sorry to hear it.

I'm a committed reader of these pages and I have the right to my views. I pity your poor sister for the lifestyle which she, in her delusion, and you, in your delusion, thinks is a 'legitimate choice'. Your high irritation at my stance proves to me you are a thorough bigot - not only FOR prejudiced behaviour but AGAINST the free assertion of contrary ideas.

I am hardly going to take such sarcastic abuse from you without demur. I realise you are writing a 'problem letter' and not a serious piece of journalism. However, what on earth are you doing, as a Guardian contributor, stooping to write such a sarcastic, emotionally illiterate response to me? You are SO steeped in the in your religious habits of thinking that you lash out in an immature way at me. Are you not embarrassed? What has been your training as a journalist?

I note you have written pieces which fall into the category of 'journalism' before now and I would have thought the Guardian has standards of objectivity to which it requires its writers to mor eor less adhere. I wonder when you write about mediaeval customs in the name of 'religion' whether it might be better keeping a civil tongue in your head when replying to people like me who don't like your stuff.

Because, as I said, I don't LIKE seeing women like your sister shrouded from head to toe. I don't like it very much indeed. And I'm going to say so without any effort to restrain from causing you offence. Because god is not real and your cultural past includes enough savage repression of women for me to find it a mind fuck to see it in evidence in 2008 in Central London, where I encounter it every day.

Let's put this more succintly in the time-honoured phrase: if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

Don't write in girlish, wide-eyed Elizabeth- Violet Botts-like innocence, pretending the problem to be the fact your sister was verbally abused "Oooh, someone spoke nastily to my poor sister, what on earth should she do" - without acknowledging that your sister's choices are literally brain-damaged so it's pretty amazing when people DON'T abuse her.

You're been got at thoroughly by your religious culture and social customs from a too early age. That you aren't willing to acknowledge this only goes to show you're brain damaged as well.

Poor chick. So sorry. Maybe journalism is not the trade for you if you can't face not continuing in your childish fantasies.

Oh yeah - shroud a woman from head to foot in black so only her eyes are showing and then she is 'liberated'.

And I'm a purple 20 foot high octopus.


Well, no surprise that this was deleted. But it does go to show just what strong passions can be aroused by a woman who chooses to hide herself from public gaze and, by so doing, ensure that she is in fact extremely visible.

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

Some women wear the veil because they know it pisses people off. They like the attention - but they can claim to be doing it for high-minded religious reasons.

Edwin said...

Hi Heresiarch. Thank you so much for saving the post by Maryam Namazie - an excellent piece,and also for saving ClareLondon's piece - glad it's been preserved, a very fine piece I thought.

Like most people I'm absolutely fine with the hijab. I have a Muslim friend who wears the hijab in public - she never puts it on in the house, except when she or her husband have relatives in, then she puts in, cos they will talk about her otherwise.

I suppose this is what we call social hypocrisy but hell it's just part of the way we all get along now.

I was told a while back that covering the face so that just the eyes are visible frightens children and goes against nature - indeed goes against Islam's claim to being rational. That's what a good Muslim told me.

Oh and I've read all of the thread now - congratulations on getting 168 recommendations on the 1st day (one of them is mine of course)! Is that a record?

Anonymous said...

what happened to freedom of expression?

Does that not include the right to dress as you please?

What about wearing a turban as some sikh men wear?

Should they take it off as it is a symbol of their religious identity and the host culture do not wear turbans?

The Guardian thread has closed but the comment by the poster Eccentrix is interesting.

Eccentrix
Aug 27 08, 8:03pm (14 minutes ago)
@peitha

Aug 27 08, 4:16pm

"Really? Well, I have been on the receiving end of insults as a result of perfectly legal personal decisions and I did and do exactly the same as I suggested Riazat's sister do, i.e. I ignore them."

How many people on Cif would ignore an unprovoked insult? If Riazat's sister had been proselytizing then the reaction could possibly have been interpreted as provocation. She was probably chatting with her sister and her children when someone (let's assume that the incident did take place) muttered "ninja woman". The right response would be to ignore them. How many of us would actually pull that off?

"So, other than lazy stereotyping and assumptions about those of us who think that she handled it badly, what was your point?"

LoL. No part of my post is addressed towards those who think she handled it badly. My post IS addressed to those who think she should accept the abuse because she dared to dress differently or those who defend the rights of a stranger to insult a woman who has no dealings with said stranger.

You've ASSUMED that my post was addressed towards those who suggested she handled it badly. Food for thought.

"Strange, though predictable, that the Guardian pick your comment to highlight"

The mods can pick whatever comment they wish to highlight. On this occasion, it just happened to be mine. This is Cif. You're perfectly within your rights to disagree both with the comment and its selection.

"whilst ignoring heresiarch's much more recommended comment and, one might observe"

I actually had heresiarch's comment in mind when I wrote mine. It definitely influenced me. Wearing a veil in the UK is legal. Unless it becomes illegal, I see no reason why its use should be restricted (except in situations where it is impractical). Unless Heresiarch is interacting with Riazat's sister, it is not his/her place to define what is practical. If he/she does not like veils then he is under no compulsion to speak to people who wear them.

Heresiarch would have us believe that because significant proportions of the host country are unhappy with it then it should not be worn. This goes against the concept of a liberal society and not for the first time, I find myself wondering why Heresiarch takes up positions that are ideologically inconsistent with what he professes.

Freedom of choice must include the freedom to make choices that others may not agree with as long as no laws are broken. Any less turns the most vociferous sections of society into self-appointed guardians of public/(sometimes) private behaviour. It may be acceptable in Saudi Arabia. If the UK is classed as a liberal society then it should not be acceptable here.

"apparently being perfectly happy with the regular abuse thrown at the religious here on CiF."

Anyone with religious beliefs and thin skin enters Cif at their own risk. Its a shame that people can't disagree without being disagreeable but such is life.

"Bit hypocritical of the mods, wouldn't you agree?"

I don't know if that statement is rhetorical or conspiratory. If it was meant as some sort of inside joke, sorry but I don't get it......

@ClareLondon

Your post is an example of the dangers of ill-informed presumption.

It's long-winded and is based on the assumption that Riazat's sister wears the veil to please/avoid offending the men around her.

You don't know her. You have no clue as to her motives and what incident was the turning point in her life and yet you are so confident in your assertions.

Your inability to see the veil as anything other than a tool of subjugation is at the root of your mindset. That's your problem not the problem of those who CHOOSE to wear the veil.

I put that in capitals for emphasis. Their choice. Women have the right to wear mini-skirts or veils in the UK. They can choose to become porn stars or nuns. They can join the army, become housewives or travel the world selling flip-flops.

You may not support some of these choices. Regardless, as long as they are legal and they are those of the women, you have to defend their right to make their choices.

It's not your place to psycho-analyse people you have never met and tell them what their motives really are.

WeepingCross said...

I can quite see how a woman in our highly-sexualised culture can achieve a sense of liberation by covering herself up. And yet, there are ambiguities. Being a priest doesn't stop me being a heterosexual man as well, and I have to say that when it's clear that the figure under the hijab is slim and shapely, as it sometimes is, it can be strangely alluring. In that context, 'Ninja woman' isn't so much an insult as a declaration of a mild fetish.

Perhaps I shouldn't have said that.

The Heresiarch said...

I spotted Eccentrix's post and was, of course, unable to respond to it. But in never ceases to amaze me how people manage to misread what I wrote extremely plainly in that first post. I take a thoroughgoing Millsian liberal approach. Of course she has a "right" to wear the veil, but she must also be fully aware of the reaction it is likely to provoke. That wasn't my concern; rather, I sought to identify why that reaction (NOT the rude expression thereof, which I condemned) might be more than simply "bigoted" or "illiberal", and why there are good liberal reasons for discouraging - not banning, discouraging - the veil.

I agree with Mill that you should be allowed to do whatever you want as long as it does not harm others. But you must also be prepared to live with that decision. Many people find the veil offensive. Fact. It's not hard to see why.

The Heresiarch said...

@ Weeping Cross.

You raise a whole set of new issues. But then as Yasmin Alibhai-Brown (I think) says, a burqa is just as much a sexualised item of clothing as a bikini. Perhaps more so, depending on the wearer. But don't worry, your secret is safe (unless any of your parishioners read this, of course...)

WeepingCross said...

Of course I encourage them to!

Anonymous said...

"Many people find the veil offensive. Fact. It's not hard to see why."

How do you claim such and to be a fact?

Can one claim that many people found the dress codes/hairstyles of the punks in the 1970s offensive?

My understanding of freedom of expression includes the right to wear what you want as long as it does no harm or break the law.

So if people find it offensive then what should happen?

It should not be allowed?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

"My understanding of freedom of expression includes the right to wear what you want as long as it does no harm or break the law."

Correct. It doesn't, however, imply an obligation on everyone else to pretend to approve or even, as long as it doesn't break the law, hide their disapproval.

Politeness and consideration for the feelings of others is what should stop people making rude comments but, then again, politeness and consideration for the feelings of others is what should stop people wearing cloths that cover their faces.

Anonymous said...

"Politeness and consideration for the feelings of others is what should stop people making rude comments but, then again, politeness and consideration for the feelings of others is what should stop people wearing cloths that cover their faces."

SO freedom of expression is limited to and subject to politeness and consideration for the feelings of others.

How does this fit in with Mill that you should be allowed to do whatever you want as long as it does not harm others.

mira said...

The thread was closed by the time I got to it but I recommended your comments, Heresiarch. Several of them.

I do want to ask Ms Butt something though. She more or less admitted to getting abused - as a 'hindu bitch'-by british muslim men on the streets because she doesnt wear the hijab. Here's the post, another of those typical attacks on Ed Husain: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2007/may/09/thereismuchexcitementabout

She seemed to have taken that abuse pretty much in stride and it was not something she dwelt over nor solicited readers for help with appropriate putdowns. How is her sister's experience different or worse? Perhaps her sister chided muslim men in mosques and in the muslim media for demeaning non-hijabis and hindu women? We should be told, we might have more sympathy for her and Ms Butt need not cry so much.

Anonymous said...

"She seemed to have taken that abuse pretty much in stride and it was not something she dwelt over nor solicited readers for help with appropriate putdowns. How is her sister's experience different or worse? Perhaps her sister chided muslim men in mosques and in the muslim media for demeaning non-hijabis and hindu women? We should be told, we might have more sympathy for her and Ms Butt need not cry so much."


What relevance is your Psychoanalysis/mindreading of Ms Butt or her sister?

The Heresiarch said...

Thanks for the comments. But do so many people have to be "anonymous"? It's very confusing. Let me have your cif name at leat.

lost causes said...

Why on earth would the Guardian feel it has to censor and delete any of these perfectly rational (though passionately delivered) comments? What does it hope to achieve by stifling debate? They just don't seem to "get" the web or blogs at all. It's a forum, it's not the letters page. Surely the only comments to moderate are those which break the law, for example by encouraging violence? To moderate an opinion for not fitting your ideology seems more than hypocritical from a publication so quick to criticise censorship in China.

The only conclusion I can draw is that the Labour/Left establishment that still exists within the Guardian are neither liberal nor libertarian and believe in freedom of speech only as far as it serves their ideology.

On reading this post, these acts of censorship are what jumped out of the screen, not the debate around the veil at all. As for that, well, should it surprise the woman that somebody made a nasty comment? No, of course not - bullying is a sad part of daily British life :(

WeepingCross said...

Some of the comments here are very frustrating. They seem to take any criticism of a particular form of behaviour - manners of dress, in the present case - as tantamount to saying that behaviour should be outlawed. This is not the case, and it is of course the very instinct the Heresiarch wants to counter. There are many sorts of behaviour I would rather people did not engage in; but neither would I wish them to be forced to desist, because if human beings, including the law of the State as an expression of social will and custom, are allowed to compel others to conform to their own tastes there is no end of it, and civil society collapses into violence and fear. Why is this simple idea so hard to grasp?

I occasionally see a black-clad figure at a distance, and thinking they are a Goth, warm with recognition and fellow-feeling. I then discover it's in fact a Muslim girl and am disappointed. But there's a connection: both dress styles, in particular the use of black, in this culture call attention to the wearer, accentuate a sense of difference, and suggest a dramatic dimension to everyday human life. Both are likely to arouse a certain degree of comment; and my impression is that Goths have an equally complicated relationship with the way they get treated as women in the hijab do. But I may dilate more on another occasion.

TooMuchTime said...

So this is the section to write comments on a blog piece that is full of comments that were originally posted as comments on a blog piece?

THE INTERNET IS EATING ITSELF

Anonymous said...

"Some of the comments here are very frustrating. They seem to take any criticism of a particular form of behaviour - manners of dress, in the present case - as tantamount to saying that behaviour should be outlawed."

So please clarify here the following:

"why there are good liberal reasons for discouraging - not banning, discouraging - the veil.

I agree with Mill that you should be allowed to do whatever you want as long as it does not harm others. But you must also be prepared to live with that decision. Many people find the veil offensive. Fact. It's not hard to see why."


Again I ask is freedom of expression, which in my opinion includes the right to wear what you want as long as you dont break the law nor harm others, limited when it come to someone wearing a veil?

Why the need to discourage someone when you respect their to right they have freedom of expression.

Is not discouraging someone a form of restriction and hence a limitation to their freedom of expression?

Now someone mentions about being different, the sikh males wear a turban on their heads as part of their religious identity.

Are they also being seeking to be different from rest of society?

I find a number of things offensive and even painful. For example everytime I see someone who has metal studs in their eyebrow, lips, chin... it gives me pain but I am not going to discourage these people form have parts of their body pierced and studs put placed.

So I am sorry if my comments are frustrating , for I do not intend them to be.

I ask some questions in regard to freedom of expression.

I dont believe freedom of expression is subjective to people being offended and therefore if it is such limited freedom of expression does not meet Millsian liberal approach.

I echo what the poster Eccentrix states:


"Freedom of choice must include the freedom to make choices that others may not agree with as long as no laws are broken. Any less turns the most vociferous sections of society into self-appointed guardians of public/(sometimes) private behaviour. It may be acceptable in Saudi Arabia. If the UK is classed as a liberal society then it should not be acceptable here."

Anonymous said...

Ryesmile

Has anyone mentioned the fact that they do look like ninjas, I'm a guy but if I went out dressed like a ninja I'd expect to be told I looked like one. If a moderate Muslim man had been the one calling her a ninja would that be different. I don't see how the person in question is a bigot unless you know how they feel about religion and race. It’s a fact that women wearing the full veil look like ninja’s.

therealalekid said...

Hmmm, the wat this thread is going is why I'm not keen to post regularly on CIF. However, going to the main page Ecentrixx comment is listed as one of the best of teh comments. When I click on his icon then I see that he is recommended by ten people, when I scan further down I see that the Heresiarch is recommended by 255 people.

I would of thought it was an idea to make the best of the comments the comment with the most recommends. However it seems that CIF wants to push their narrow ideological line and if they do feel that is the best comment in the whole section then I', worried for them.

The Heresiarch said...

Is it only 255? Let's see if we can make a full 500. There's a couple of days left (if the thread stays open that long).

Anonymous said...

The best of the comments are selected on the quality of the posts.

Eccentrix has made some valid points.

Anyone can press the recommend button again and again without signing on CIF and increase the tally.

Anyone notice the number of recommends on the I/P threads where you have some hardcore posters from both sides?

Number of recommends may have some relevance to quality of posts but there nothing to stop the authors of their own posts and also others from increasing the tally if they are determined to do so.

therealalekid said...

Point 1, Read through the thread now and see that Peitha has made the same point.

Point 2, I don't post on CIF and never have recommended anyone so I don't know how the system works. However I'm still woried if CIF feels that is the best of all the comments made available.

Point 3, Heresiarch you have had a posted deleted, which you made 4 hours ago. What was it?

Anonymous said...

"However I'm still woried if CIF feels that is the best of all the comments made available."


Why?

Sometimes the best comment is the one we dont agree with.

I dont agree with the veil but I do feel Eccentrix has made some good points in the post.

I also feel Heresiarch has also.

The Heresiarch said...

As far as I can tell, it was the link to this page that was removed. I invited people whose comments had been deleted to post them up here. Clearly this was interpreted as subversive.

Edwin said...

Heresiarch you are on 267 recommendations I think now - I've never seen anything like that figure before.

Roger Hicks said...

The number of recommendation for Heresiarch's first post on the Cif thread now stands at 275.

Congratulations, Heresiarch! That must surely be a record.

I reckon it must have unsettled the editors at Cif somewhat. It would be nice to get a response from them, but I doubt that we will.

This demonstrates, to me at least, the potential of the internet to undermine the power and control that the state, business and the media has over its citizens.

The next step, I suggest, is to organize some grassroots political networking. Never mind the political parties using the Internet to organize us. We need to turn that idea on its head.

WeepingCross said...

"Is not discouraging someone a form of restriction and hence a limitation to their freedom of expression?"

In a word, unless you use the law to back up your opinion, no. It's called 'debate'. Otherwise there is nothing that can be said about anything.

"I dont believe freedom of expression is subjective to people being offended and therefore if it is such limited freedom of expression does not meet Millsian liberal approach."

No, neither do I. That's what I find frustrating!

Anonymous said...

@heresiarch,

Just dropped by to offer congratulations, not only your first century of recommends on CiF (I think the final total was 341 (!) wasn't it?) but I note a second century as well in the now closed piece about Shia self-flagellation ...

My, you're on a roll at the moment aren't you?

I wonder why it is so often the threads about Islam that CiF closes down overnight?

Regards,

'Peitha'

John The Drunkard said...

I'm not sure of their current status, but in many states of the US, public masking/veiling is illegal.

These laws were inacted in the campaign against the 'First' Ku Klux Klan (1869-75). Public face-covering was recognized as a tactic of deliberate intimidation, a declaration of hostility to society combined with a simultaneous 'anonymizing' of the wearer