No place here for burqaBy Paul Holmes
Mask wearers want no part of the West except our privileges.
To hell with the burqa. It has no place here. This is my considered opinion after giving the matter extensive thought. It really is an offensive piece of medieval kit that speaks of medievalism and religious extremism.
Actually, I use the word burqa loosely. Everyone does. The burqa is actually the entire - generally black - covering enshrouding the clothes a woman has underneath it.
And in fact, in the countries where Islam reigns, they tend to have stalled in their development several hundreds of years ago so the general cleanliness of their communities - and by that I mean the dust flying round and the rubbish people discard - and the burqa helps keeps your clothes cleaner for longer. This was my observation in Yemen.
But in this country the burqa seems to be an imprisonment of women. It just seems mad. You know it's about women having to hide themselves. It's nothing to do with Allah, either. It predates the Koran. It just suited the men who adopted the teachings of the Prophet to keep the woman subjugated.
So I'm not actually bothered too much by the burqa. It just looks silly, antiquated, foreign. What bothers people in New Zealand, and what bothered our two bus drivers, was the face mask or niqab.I don't think we mind too much the head scarf, the hijab, though I'm sure most of us think it silly, in the same way we think Exclusive Brethren women silly with their inevitable covering of the hair. You see head scarf and you know you're looking at bigotry.
No, it's the mask. The scarf wrapped round the head and underneath it, just below the eyes, the niqab. What's more, it is intimidating.
It says: "I am not part of your filthy heathen community. I'm here enjoying all of the privileges the enlightened West can provide, but I don't really approve of you all and have no desire to be part of you. I am happy to be a long way from the atrocities, monstrosities and medievalism of the country I fled, but still, I cannot be part of you."
Culturalism, schmulteralism. Muslim women in this country have to get real. This is where you live, and as the timeless saying puts it, "When in Rome..."
Look, if one of us is going to a Middle Eastern or Muslim country we make sure we take suitable clothes. So New Zealand women will take clothes that cover their body and they'll take a headscarf. We know it. Wear a pair of cut-off jeans in Morocco, for example, and get spat on and mauled by the men. That's what happens. I've seen it.
In our communities, we expect to see the face of the person we are meeting or trading or interacting with. We don't like seeing a face covered. Simple as that. To us it seems deceitful, weird, untrustworthy. Want to get ahead in New Zealand and Australia? Take off your stupid niqabs.
I venture to suggest that even the most reasonable New Zealander - even the most pro-immigration as I am - will tell you they hate the Muslim face mask.
The French, in overwhelming numbers right through their legislative process, banned them in April.
Said Nicolas Sarkozy, "In our country we cannot accept that women can be prisoners behind a screen, cut off from all social life, deprived of all identity." That says it all, really. And the legislation simply "forbids the concealment of one's face in public". Which is the objection most of us would have here. It ain't right to cover your face. And it ain't right to try and get on a bus with your face covered up because of some old medieval claptrap. It ain't how we do things. It is, as Sarkozy says, all about imprisonment.
What was also awful this week was the mauling of the visiting Australian women's guide dog, Perry, by a rampant, murderous pitbull in Hamilton. The Labrador looking after his mistress suddenly found himself under attack by the monster owned, probably, by someone who does not seek work. The most moving part of the story was that the Labrador stayed on the job. He did not retaliate. The filthy pitbull has been impounded. The cops should have shot it in the head.
And that 6.5 earthquake this week, west of Taupo. It knocked us very rudely in Hawkes Bay in the middle of the afternoon just as we were ensconced in a riveting Crime Channel saga about a woman who murdered two husbands with anti-freeze and was trying to do the same to her youngest daughter.
I realised, perhaps for the first time if I'm honest, how awful it must be living in Christchurch with that terror every day and night.By Paul Holmes | Email Paul