Deborah Orr in the Independent today (why the sight of veiled women offends me) has made it her personal mission to offend me with a three quarter page diatribe against the woman's right to choose what she wears.
She describes a veiled woman that she saw taking her kids to school as "dressed outlandishly in an outfit that proclaimed her adherence to an ancient religious code that contradicts the law of this land in its denial of equality of opportunity to women and men, and advocates a life for women so circumscribed that even a small measure of independent life outside the home is impossible."
Dressed outlandishly? Do you mean she's not from round here? Well I can see how that might offend you...
As for adherence to ancient religious codes I look forward to her equally vitriolic piece attacking those who wear Stars of David or the Crucifix. The fact that the Koran does not require the veil or that countries that have 'Islamic Law' are far more complex than Orr makes out is beside the point.
The point is that Orr is a moron. She characatures foreign countries and cultures. She says that because a woman wears the veil she is opposed to the laws of the land - really? The evidence for this is what exactly? Contorted logic that says because she is dressed in a way I associate with Islam she must adhere to every prejudice I have and support all the bad things that I can look up in the history books.
She then goes on to say how this woman is a bad mother - she describes a woman eating in a restaurant as "bizzarre" because she is wearing a veil and eating - exactly who is telling these women to go back home? Not this woman's husband with whom she was enjoying a family meal but Orr who says she should not leave the house dressed like that. Well gee, you're a real fighter for women's rights aren't you? Let's pin a medal on you.
Who the hell is she to tell people how they can and cannot dress? The fact that she says "I find... these sinister weeds to be deeply offensive" says far more about Orr's bigotry than the state of these women's lives.
She says "these garments are physical manifestations of outdated, cruel and degrading traditions." No, actually the Saudi Arabian regime, and others like it, are the physical manifestation of the worst aspects of these traditions, but Orr chooses to focus all her bile on female immigrants.
Even in Orr's own terms she is blaming the victim, perhaps if she lived in the thirties she would have written articles attacking all those people wearing yellow stars. I can't help feeling that Orr doesn't see these veiled women as people at all because they do not make the choices she insists they make, and come from countries she does not like.
So the day after July 7th she writes a piece about how the sight of Muslims is offensive to her, about how foreign and weird they are. That'll move society forwards won't it!
Who is she talking to? What is her audience for this racist diatribe? How many Muslim women does she think will read her article and go "do you know what, she's right! I will stop being foreign at once!"
It's pretty clear she finds these women to part of "the other" and is more offended by the fact they *can* make choices about their lives than any actual instance of women oppression around the world (of which she sites absolutely none).Link: Islamophobia Watch
Link: Lindsey German in the Guardian
Link: Why did the Banlieues burn? Colin Falconer at Socialist unity