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New-Zealand PM lauded for wearing hijab, is this ok?
in Religion

By PlaffelvohfenPlaffelvohfen 944 Pts
New-Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is praised for her handling of the aftermath following the Christchurch terrorist attack that left 50 dead, with good reasons I think...

But there’s something I find peculiar; The praises about her wearing a hijab when interacting with the Muslim community...

I mean, I get the visit and the greeting in Arabic sure , I applaud that... But was wearing a hijab the right thing to do? More so when not in a mosque and meeting with non-clerical Muslims... I mean, non-Catholics are asked to wear one when meeting the pope in the Vatican, ok fine, it may be "decorum" but women are not asked that when meeting him at a public event, right?

The hijab is not an Islamic requirement, not all Muslim women wear one, right? Iranian women are protesting and want to remove it, if Saudi women had a say, many probably would remove it too... If wearing the veil was a faith-oriented right, every Muslim woman should be striving for it and it’s clearly not the case...  A Muslim woman is a Muslim, with or without a hijab, right?? It shouldn’t even matter, correct?? It’s HER choice (in theory...).

So, why did Ardern assume that wearing one was the right thing to do?? To me it feels caricatural of Muslim women, thus my questioning about this being appropriate...  I feel like this sends the fallacious message that “real Muslim women” are veiled and that unveiled ones are somewhat less Muslim... I’m not a supporter of the concept but, couldn’t it be perceived as “cultural appropriation” and if not, how is it different? 
" Adversus absurdum, contumaciter ac ridens! "

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  • edited April 5
    We are oft to blame in this - 
    Tis too much proved -
    That with devotions visage and pious action we do sugar o'er the devil himself.    
                                                                                         Hamlet - Act III, Scene I 

    I'm of absolute certainty that this quote need not be done injustice with an explanation of its implication. 
  • MayCaesarMayCaesar 2266 Pts
    First, praising someone for their choice of clothes, in my view, only makes sense when this choice is somewhat original and brave. Someone putting a hijab on is nothing special, since hundreds millions people around the world do that all the time.

    Second, judging someone based on what they wear is pretty bizarre, for such a developed society as the New Zealand one.

    Third, at the same time as she puts a hijab on in a developed democracy, millions women around the world dream of gaining the right to not wear one. As such, if she wanted to contribute to some sort of worldly tolerance, then she accidentally stepped on a mine on this one.

    Finally, in my view, public servants are paid to do their job, not to make political statements. If I were a resident of New Zealand, I would not care about her stunts, but I would care about what she does as a prime minister. And from what little I know, her job has not been terribly impressive so far.

    And a personal note: I would welcome the step in the opposite direction, towards legalised and accepted full nudity. She puts on a costume hiding everything, which is pretty retrograde. Now, if she did the opposite and, say, started walking topless in order to promote people's freedom to wear whatever they want, including nothing at all - that would be, indeed, impressive.
    There was a British woman who walked across the country barefoot. In my view, this is a much more significant and useful gesture, than what the New Zealand prime minister's stunt.
  • @Plaffelvohfen It was pandering and a supremeley ironic thing o for a feminist to do , as that scarf is a sign of female sujegation they should be banned
    The passion for destruction is also a creative passion. Mikhail Bakunin

  • @Plaffelvohfen It was pandering and a supremeley ironic thing o for a feminist to do , as that scarf is a sign of female sujegation they should be banned
    Don't know about an outright ban on the hijab... Completely agree with a ban on niqab and burka in the public space, but the hijab which doesn't cover the face was a fashion item in the 50s, I've got clear memories of my grand-mother wearing some, I don't really mind it... 

    That said, my newly elected provincial government (Quebec, Canada) is about to pass a bill that would ban/prohibit all public employees in position of authority, including teachers, judges and police officers, from wearing any symbols of faith. Needless to say, it's causing quite a stir, not really in the general population which is largely in favor (over 80% approval in polls) but in the more leftist crowds and obviously in religious circles too... 

    What is interesting from my point of view in this debate is that Quebec is quite unique in north America, it's a french enclave in a sea of anglo-saxon culture. Our system of justice in Quebec is based on the Napoleonic Civil Law (inherited from the French) where the rest of Canada and the US is based on the Common Law... The concept of secularism is also different in Quebec, here we talk about laïcity which unlike secularism under the U.S. Constitution, does not interpret laïcité to include a right to the "free exercise" of religion, which would be scandalous in the US...  In Quebec, it would be inconceivable for a government employee to refuse any service based on their individual religious beliefs like what happened with Kim Davis a few years back... And many people living in Quebec right now, don't know these particularities of our system... 
    " Adversus absurdum, contumaciter ac ridens! "
  • MayCaesarMayCaesar 2266 Pts

    Banning religious clothes is a very backwards way to go about it. Burqa and other similar clothes can be viewed as a symbol of oppression, of people telling other people what to wear - yet, in order to combat it, we are going to tell people what to wear? This seems to be substituting one manifestation of the problem with its other manifestation, without actually addressing the problem.

    It is not a good thing that people wear burqas as a result of their religious convictions. Nor is it a good thing when they do not wear burqas as a result of not wanting to be fined/jailed. What is a good thing is when people are free to wear whatever they want and choose to wear what they like based on what their personal convictions tell them to, and when this choice is not influenced by either totalitarian ideologies or totalitarian governmental policies.

    I do not wear religious clothes. I am free to wear them where I live, but I do not, and not just because I am not religious. I am a libertarian, yet I do not wear clothes with libertarian slogans on them either. I simply do accept the concept of clothes being an extension of my beliefs; clothes are clothes, they exist to protect me from the unfavorable weather conditions, and nothing else.

    When the entire population sees it that way, it is then that the problem will be resolved. But you do not arrive there by introducing restrictive laws. You arrive there through gradual evolution of societal views, and that process requires a far more delicate approach. Manual guidance is not going to work here.

    On a side note, this seems to be a cardinal difference between the French and English legal cultures. French legal culture sees the law as an instrument in the hands of the society towards achieving a desired outcome. English legal culture, instead, sees the law as a way to create the environment in which then the society can achieve whatever outcome it deems desirable. The French lawmaker takes a hammer and carves the sculpture that the society wants; the English lawmaker takes a hammer and puts it down, so anyone in the society can then pick it up and contribute to the creation of the sculpture.
    The French approach seems wrong to me, as it focuses on the end and uses any means necessary to achieve that end. Yet the means are important. More so, the means are our life: once one end is achieved, we simply pick another end, and so we stay permanently on the stage of means. Focusing on the end seems to miss the very core of what it means to live.
  • PlaffelvohfenPlaffelvohfen 944 Pts
    edited April 10

    Well, we already have a ban for public servants from wearing political symbols too, it's been effective since the 70s... Both bans (political symbols and religious symbols) are only effective when "on the job". Any public servant in position of authority can wear whatever they like but outside of work time, when not representing the State... French culture thinks of this as "Secularity" rather than "secularism", we think of it as an attribute of the state rather than a philosophy about it... It has implications many people here (In Quebec) are not aware of...

    There's an historical context in which this whole debate must be placed too. Before the 60s, Catholicism was de facto the State's religion, we went through a rapid secularization starting in 1960 where we rejected the clergy's hold on the people and institutions, we fought hard to get the church out of schools and government's affairs, so we are still very apprehensive regarding religions and we generally mistrust anything religious... This explains the sometimes "allergic" reactions to religions here (any)... With a new flow of immigrants coming in (most with religious backgrounds), these tensions are being brought back to the surface...  
    " Adversus absurdum, contumaciter ac ridens! "
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