Do Clothes Make the Muslim?

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Last week, Newsweek published yet another liberal opinion piece: Superficially but falsely even-handed, optimistic, pro-Arab and Muslim culture, pro-Judeo-Christian Western culture—safely middle-of-the-road. So “middle” that the reader does not really know what road she is on or where she is going. The journalist, Christopher Dickey, is writing about the new winner of the Miss America contest, Rima Fakih, who is an Arab-American Shiite Muslim with family roots in Lebanon.

And they say that Americans are “Islamophobic?”

Speaking out of all sides of his mouth, Dickey tells us that the French Cabinet has drafted an anti-burqa/anti-niqab law; that the new Miss America has been accused both of having “family ties to Hezbollah terrorists”—and of being too-sexy a pole dancer; that in 1985, Lebanon was filled with “bearded radicals holding Americans hostage at the Beirut airport in 1985” and, at the same time, with women “tanning in their bikinis at a beach club just a couple of miles away.”

This continues for another ten-eleven paragraphs. All things are true. Opposites exist. Contradictions abound. Therefore, nothing is true, there are no objective or universally moral truths. What exists is Dickey’s and the mainstream media’s point of view: He writes: “The fact is that most Arab and Muslim women, like people anywhere, are basically just trying to get by in the culture that’s been handed to them, looking to make a little space for their ambitions, take advantage of opportunities, and find freedom where they can.”

Does he include Al-Qaeda, Al-Shabaab, Islamic Jihad (in Palestine and Egypt), the Muslim Brotherhood, the Taliban, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jemaah Islamiya or the Islamist terrorists who perpetrated 9/11, 3/11, 7/7, 11/25 in this happy-go-lucky description of Muslims who are just like us? He mentions the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah, but he does not seem truly worried about them. Alright, Dickey and his supporters might say: C’mon, these terrorists are national and supra-national players. They have hijacked the true, peaceful Islam and have nothing to do with the large majority of Muslims who are peaceful and pro-modernity. A good point—and I believe in supporting anti-Islamist Muslims: the dissidents, the feminists, the pro-democracy activists, the secularists, etc. Alas, they are an endangered minority both in the West and in their countries of origin.

But really, how can Dickey so totally overlook the local, indigenous, tribal, cultural, and/or religious customs that define Islamic gender apartheid? How about those Islamist men who throw acid into the faces of young Muslim schoolgirls because they are wearing their Islamic Veils improperly? How about those civilians who honor-murder their daughters, sisters, and wives when they refuse to wear the Islamic Veil, who dare to leave a dangerously abusive husband, who are seen as too “Western?”

Dickey avoids these questions entirely. Instead, he focuses upon the false moral equivalence between the burqa and the bikini. He quotes Amal Gandour, a Stanford-educated Shiite (unveiled) woman who says that “the very educated and professional—but veiled—woman in the southern suburbs of Beirut may have a stronger claim on the cosmopolitan vision than the bimbos with bare stomachs, big lips, and fake eyelashes walking downtown on Rue Foche.”

Just a minute. While I may not like the pornographication of the female body that has taken over Western culture, neither my family nor the state will ever force me to wear a bikini—or kill me if when I refuse to do so. Increasingly, the Islamic Veil has become either a life—or a death sentence for Muslim women. The veiling of women is also related to fundamentalism and terrorism. Bin Laden’s wives are all fully veiled. Follow the chador or the burqa, in Muslim lands and in the West, and soon enough, you will stumble upon an anti-infidel, anti-Zionist den of extreme haters or terrorists.

Dickey is right to say that “The real test of modernity, including our own, is tolerance.” But to suggest, as he does, that the more a person is willing to tolerate, the more modern you are, is just as mistaken as suggesting that the more nakedness you reveal, the more liberated you are. Tolerance and liberty without limits will eventually lead to their opposite.

When President Sarkozy calls the Islamic Veil a threat to France and to democracy, he may be exaggerating but he is also taking a legitimate moral stand. Dickey scoffs at French Justice Minister Michele Alliot-Marie who insists that burqa wearers are “a threat to the values of the Republic and democracy.” Dickey finds it hard to “take her seriously.” Two thousand burqas in France (Dickey’s estimate) may not be an epidemic, but what Dickey misses is that this is the just the tip of the iceberg of Islamic misogyny. He also completely misses a larger truth: that burqas are a health hazard to women, a violation of their human and civil rights.

There may be many women like Rima Fakih in the Muslim World, but they are increasingly endangered. The once modern, educated, unveiled women of Turkey and Egypt have been re-veiled. The once emerging women of Afghanistan and Iran have been sent back to the tenth century. The women of Saudi Arabia have not yet left the seventh century—although some women are feminists and are actually fighting back against the dreaded Muttawa’a, the religious “vice and virtue” police. Muslim girls and women in the West are veiling too—as if it’s a form of “resistance” against “Islamophobia” or a statement of jihad. Some are veiling in order to show solidarity with their family or religion and in order to remain marriageable—or simply in order to avoid being beaten or killed.

I am really tired of these politically correct multi-culturally relativist pieces on this important subject. And, I do understand that a) there is absolutely no religious imperative for Muslim girls and women to veil; b) a secular state ban against the burqa is as problematic as a family who forces a girl to veil against her will. And yet—we live in treacherous times. This is not the time to sue for the right to wear this barbaric, anti-woman clothing as if winning such a “lawfare” lawsuit represents a victory for freedom. This is the time to end the practice of veiling women on behalf of women’s freedom.

Clearly, this battle must begin in the West.

Mr. Dickey: You begin your article by asking: “Do clothes make the Muslim?” My answer: Buddhists don’t wear burqas. Mr. Dickey: The ball is now squarely in your court.

  • Gary Rumain

    Buddhists did have their statue of Buddha blown up in Afghanistan, however. And arselifters flew planes into the Twin Towers. Perhaps Mr. Dickey could address those aspects of hislam too.

  • john sharp

    we should all be naked
    clothes should be banned
    back to nature

  • betty boop

    Uh, yeah, I'd like to know how the Miss America pageant, CMT, (or whoever) is financing the security detail they must have on this girl. Talk about cartoons of Mohamed… a bikini'd, pole dancing Miss America must be the worst nightmare Muslims have had yet… how long can this last? All we have to do is watch and wait… I wonder how they'll spin THAT in Newsweek?

  • Cherif El-Ayouty

    At the time of Muhammad, Arabic was not a written language. Syro-Aramaic or Syriac was the language of written communication in the Near East from the second to the seventh centuries A.D. Thus the Koran must be interpreted by analyzing the real language of Muhammad’s era and the correct translation of the worlds’ meaning at that time is to be used. An example of translation to the probable horror of all Muslim males dreaming of sexual bliss in the Muslim hereafter, the wide-eyed houris (beautiful virgin women) promised to the faithful (44:54 – 52:20 – 55:72 – 56:22), yields "white raisins" of "crystal clarity" rather than doe-eyed, and ever willing virgins. It is food and drink that is being offered, and not unsullied maidens. Similarly, “khomourihenna” meant: straw skirts and “goyoubehenna” meant: thighs (tell your women to cover their thighs with their straw skirts). These are the only two words in Koran (24:31) that are today wrongly interpreted as “veil” and “breasts” in order to justify the veiling of women.

    It must be remembered that the Koran explicitly says that women are to cover their attributes except for the parts that are naturally apparent. Taking this into context, it means that only the parts that are naturally hidden in a woman’s body are not to be exposed to the sight of others. The only parts that are naturally hidden in a woman’s body are her genitals and rectum. These are the only two parts required to be covered. All the rest of the body has no restrictions placed upon it whatsoever.

    How will Muslims integrate into their communities when their women do their best to show how different they are from the non-Muslim women by wear the veil, which signifies in the West that a woman with a headscarf is not an ordinary woman who is just symbolizes or simply exercising her faith. Such a woman says implicitly:

    – My morale is better than the uncovered women's morale.
    – I will not shake hand with men, or show them my hair because they are uncivilized wild animals that cannot control their sexual drives.
    – I would not even consider marrying a non-Muslim.
    – I will not help a non-Muslim unless I am forced to do so.
    – I put myself at a separate table in school and work place canteen.
    – I do not want to sit with men in the cinema, the bus or the train or while learning.
    – I will not swim while men are at the beach or pool.
    – I shall give priority to my religion over my life’s tasks.
    – I will not have men as friends.
    – I will not be alone in a room with a man I am not married to.
    – I am insulted if others eat pork or drink alcohol in my presence.
    – I do not recognize Christianity as a religion since Islam has replaced all other religions.
    – I want to live among Christians in a parallel society, without absorbing my host country's customs and values, until they are all converted to Islam.


    – The Hijab or head cover is not a divine obligation for Muslim women. In the Koran, which is the only reference for Muslims, it is never mentioned that women must cover their hair. If hijab supporters are on an intellectual level, so that they can and dare go into linguistics, then they will know that the correct interpretation of the words, according to current use in the time of the Koranic revelation, is actually an order from God for women who were sitting at home, to cover their thighs with their skirt. In that era, women of the Arabian Peninsula went around with uncut, soft and very long hair, bare breasts, without panties but with a skirt, which consisted of straw in knee length that was held together by a cord at the waist. Hijab supporters can now imagine how these women looked when they were relaxed indoors.

    • Ayouty is gay

      I dont know Cherif your references on this crap- i think the bare breasts straw skirts is your hawaii dream girl instead, besides you have a hilarious name -El-Ayouty! which means – Gay – being the receiver of course, cheers mate!

  • Gamaliel Isaac

    The problem with Burkas besides the fact that they are a convenient way to hide bombs, is what happens when an Islamic enclave is full of women wearing Burkas and a Christian woman who still lives there tries to walk on the street without a Burka.

    • Gamaliel hypocrite

      Gamaliel -your statement convenient way to hide bombs- do you mean the hiroshima or nakazaki bombs? or are you refering to the Bombs thrown at Beirut in 1982 or on Gaza in 2009? or the ones thrown on Baghdad, Iraq and Pakistan everyday?
      get real and stop being a hypocrite

  • Aria

    Fake eyelashes are more so accepted and widely used these days. I saw the history of fake eyelashes @ very interesting how all movie actress wear them now.

  • Kristen

    She is Not Miss America…..she's Miss USA. To me there is a big difference! Miss USA contestants are "hoochie" and lack class. They are not rolemodels. If you ask me, they are a bunch of train-wrecks!

  • M Rob

    The Miss USA pagent is a joke – this woman was picked by the multi culti nut jobs to make a statement – look at us we love Muslims – who can even take this pagent seriously – did you see this woman answer questions – she responded like she doesn't have two freaking brain cells to rub together – she certainly doesn't represent my country – Boycott the Miss USA pagent until they actually start picking a an American!

  • georgerekers

    like it or not burqas actually serve a purpose . of course ugly women will love them but how many women would actually wear one simply having to avoid wearing makeup.?? come on now girls be honest now. you don't always want to spend time making yourself presentable when you could slip one of these babies around your face. think about it. i am sure some clever person some day will try to market them in this manner. lose the religious aspect and replace it with the right to privacy. it is non of our business what your face looks like.

  • Guest

    Miss USA is a Muslim pole dancer?!? How religious is she?

  • The Hammer

    Thank you Cherif, for the educational post. I have heard elsewhere that it is just white raisins offered for martyrdom – this would be hilarious if it wasn't so deadly. But Phyllis' post and your reply both point up the biggest issue facing the West ( and to some extent Muslim countries) – the almost total ignorance of the history of Islam, its mythology and traditions, and its goals. Western societies lack the deep understanding of Islam which is required in order to stand against its encroachment into virtually all cultures. Islam is unreformed, cannot reform, and has no tolerance or respect for any other religion (culture); combine these elements with a temporal and historical violence and we have what we have today – an jihadist, expansionist Islam with a goal of establishing a worldwide caliphate. The burga symbolizes this, and more importantly, the politics around the burqa exposes the anti-West agenda of liberals and progressives who have no idea of the danger they foment with their pro-Islam agenda. These writers are almost unopposed in mainstream media, which is very frightening indeed.

  • USMCSniper

    Hay, she is hot!!

  • Ernie Stoner

    Yes he really is unique in a very bad way, I don’t think there will ever be a person like him and get away with something for such a long time.