Norwegian Schools Preach the Wonders of Niqab

Bruce Bawer is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center and the author of “While Europe Slept” and “Surrender.” His book "The Victims' Revolution: The Rise of Identity Studies and the Closing of the Liberal Mind" is just out from Broadside / Harper Collins.


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The news came three days before Christmas:

The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) has announced that the Department of Defense will now allow Muslim and Sikh students participating in Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) to wear headscarves and turbans while in uniform.

When I read this, the first thing I thought was: What?!  And the second was: Since when does CAIR make announcements on behalf of the Department of Defense?

The background was as follows: a Muslim girl in Tennessee was told by her JROTC commanding officer that she could not wear her headscarf, or hijab, in a homecoming parade.  She contacted CAIR, which in turn contacted Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, asking for a change in policy.  And instead of informing CAIR that the Department of Defense does not take its marching orders from fronts for terrorist organizations, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army Larry Stubblefield fell right into line, writing a letter to CAIR assuring that henceforth JROTC policy would be different.

France and the Netherlands have banned the niqab, the face-covering veil, in public; the hijab is also prohibited in certain venues (such as classrooms and government offices) in a few European jurisdictions.  But in most of the Western world, there are no laws against any Muslim garments.  In many Western cities, there has been a visible increase in the number of women wearing these things in public.  And there has also been an increase in the number of Muslims who demand their right to wear them in institutions ranging from the armed forces and police to schools and universities.

Case in point: a twenty-year-old woman named Aisha Shezadi Kausar.  Kausar wears niqab.  Last year her name appeared on an essay, “You, Me, and Niqab,” which was included in Utilslørt (Uncovered), a collection of essays by and about Muslim women.  On December 20, she was featured in a news report on Norwegian public television (NRK) about a nationwide project aimed at Norwegian children and teenagers. Kausar, NRK reported, is making personal appearances at various schools around Norway, where she presents her use of the niqab as a feminist choice.  In the report, she was seen in front of an auditorium full of students, first praying, then talking about Allah, and then making her case.  She’s engaged in a “struggle for freedom” and “fighting against xenophobia.” The only reasons for opposition to niqab are “prejudice” and “fear of foreigners.” At the end of her talk the students gave her a big round of applause, and the kids interviewed by NRK said all the “right” things about diversity and tolerance.  Plainly they had not learned anything about Islam, the place of women in Islam, or what niqab actually represents.  Their teachers had taken them away from their studies to be propagandized.

Who’s sponsoring this promotional campaign for symbols of female submission and subordination?  The Muslim Students’ Association?  The Norwegian Islamic Council?  No: the Norwegian Non-Fiction Writers and Translators Organisation (NFF) and a group called Foreningen !les (the exclamation point and the small “l” are part of the name) whose official goal is to promote reading and literature.  The premise of this sponsorship is that Kausar (the author, as far as I can determine, of exactly one essay) is an author and that they are sending her around to talk about her work.

In other words, Norwegian schools are setting aside time to allow their students to be fed pretty lies about Islam and niqab – and the country’s major organization for writers and translators is helping to foot the bill.

(If I were still an NFF member, I’d quit in protest.  Alas, I already quit in protest years ago over something else.)

Who is Aisha Shezadi Kausar?  Pretty much the only things I could find about her online were articles about hijab and niqab.  The author of a May 2009 article on Nettavis, entitled “A hijab – is it really worth making so much of a fuss about?”, interviewed Kausar, then nineteen years old.  At the time, according to the article, Kausar was not a wearer of hijab.  Nettavis, which is a news website for young people, quoted Kausar:

“It speaks for itself that it’s wrong that my belief should put a stop to my career choice.  After all, we have religious freedom in this country,” she says with a certain bitterness in her voice.

A little over a year later, in August 2010, the newspaper VG ran an interview with Kausar. Though in the May 2009 article she had been represented as a Muslim girl who chose not to wear hijab, in the August 2010 VG interview she was described as a wearer of hijab and was quoted as saying she had begun wearing it three years earlier.  She said that her motivation for doing so was, in large part, “[t]o show the Islamophobes that Muslim girls can choose.” She insisted, moreover, that nobody had pressured her to wear hijab. On the contrary, she called herself a “feminist in a religious head covering” and said that she “identifies with the tough Muslim ladies who have fought for women in hijab to be accepted.”

And now, just over a year later, here she is wearing and promoting the niqab.   And she’s still presenting herself as a feminist, a believer in freedom and diversity, and as somebody who, aside from her faith and her fashion choices, is not really all that different from the young people whom she addresses in Norwegian schools.

In addition to the Nettavis and VG articles, I did find Kausar’s Facebook and Twitter pages.  Judge for yourself.  On her Facebook page, under “People who inspire Aisha,” there’s precisely one name – the Prophet Muhammed.  Her favorite books?  The Koran, Hadith, and Sunnah.  Under “Favorite Movies” there’s a single entry, “Bollywood is Haram,” which is not the title of a movie but a statement, meaning of course that Bollywood films are against Islamic law.  If you click on “Bollywood is Haram” on Kausar’s Facebook page, it’ll take you to another Facebook page entitled “Bollywood is Haram,” at which you can read this explanation of the page by whoever set it up: “Bollywood is haram, people. We have to work against this beast that is spreading itself through our homes.  The filthy half-naked hags who dance on the TVs in our living rooms must be removed forever!”

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  • http://www.boycottscotland.com Edward

    Norway is going to Hell in a handbasket.

    Couldn't happen to a more deserving quisling nation.

    • Alvaro

      The problem in Norway and most of the Western world is that leftists have entered into a de facto alliance with conservative Muslims. Practically all teachers and journalists in Norway are leftists, who preach about the wonders of making Norway into a happy "multicultural" society, and have no qualms about using schools and mass media for propaganda purposes. Part if that very same problem is that quite a few conservatives seem happy with immigration themselves because of cheap labor.

      Unlike the people above, Quisling always worked for the interests of the Norwegian people, and only in a narrow nationalist view can what he did be described as treason, and the people who formerly were members of Comintern and wanted to abolish the army as late as in 1930, be regarded as patriots.

      • KarshiKhanabad

        Vidkun Quisling was hanged for being a Nazi sympathiser.

        These Norse dhimmi jihad-enablers are just as evil and just as nazi-like only they are applauded for their `openness', `diversity & multiculturalism' and `tolerance' (very narrowly defined, does not include Jews).

        Thank G-d, I'm an American! We at least still have a chance against the beard & burka crowd. They haven't yet figured out how to disarm us, if you get my drift.

        • Alvaro

          Wrong. He was shot for landssvik (treason) in 1945. The real traitors ran away in 1940 and tried to drag the country down with them; telling the people to fight a war they could not possibly win, while they and their families ran off to safety, and leaving Norwegians over to German rule, like in Poland. Quisling was responsible, just like the king and government of Denmark. He tried to prevent bloodshed in a war were Norway tried to stay out of, and protecting Norwegian interests. That is the job of every responsible politician.

          Comparing these traitors to Quisling is an insult to Quisling.

          "Thank G-d, I'm an American! We at least still have a chance against the beard & burka crowd. They haven't yet figured out how to disarm us, if you get my drift."

          This is just the beginning: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mosques_in_t

        • http://www.contextflexed.com Flipside

          It’s fun to see you guys cheering for Anders Breivik again.

          • Ted G

            While you secretly cheer for the genocide of the Jewish race, you deceptive POS. Don't try to throw around your attempts at moral equivalency, you don't have the qualifications.

          • http://www.contextflexed.com Flipside

            No. If I wanted that, Ted, I’d cheer for it openly.

          • KarshiKhanabad

            In that case, Herr von Flippy, go ahead and cheer openly for exterminating the Jews, because that's what you really believe, you little worthless Nazi bastard!

          • Fnord

            Says the guy who has no problem seeing Quisling celebrated as a protector of the norwegian people. You guys have lost it, and mr. Bawer seems to have become insane as well.

    • http://libertyandculture.blogspot.com/ JasonPappas

      Unfortunately, the rest of the West is following. I'm still amazed that the left has found a religion it could love–far more fundamentalist and repressive than any variant of Christianity.

  • tanstaafl

    The simple defense of Kausar and her fellow travellers is that Islam is not a religion. Islam is a militant political party, not unlike the Nazi Party.

    The only reason Muslimahs wear Islamic dress if to cover up the bruises and scars they receive from their masters, It is a symbol of oppression and should be banned world-wide.

  • Stephen_Brady

    When will people realize that multiculturalism will destroy Western Civilization and usher in decades … perhaps, centuries … of oppression and tyranny?

    I've been accused of being a "PC Multiculturalist" at this site, and nothing …. NOTHING … could be further from the truth. The fact is that I hate multiculturalism and I'm not exactly thrilled with the people spreading it, either.

    I foresee a time when people will have the fight against it, if their governments continue to fail them, and make no mistake … our governments are failing us. Let me be blunt as possible. No one is going to put one of these muslim garbs on either of my daughter's heads, or on my granddaughters' heads, without facing me ….

    … with extreme prejudice …

    • WilliamJamesWard

      It is interesting that youth love something new or different but to want to wear
      death robes, that is just to much of a stretch. It may have to do with hiding
      behind a mask, many youthful people are not in touch with what they have
      for a face and general appearance and would fall for the idea of concealment.
      Otherwise all of the young people I know laugh at Muslim dress and anyone
      involved with it. Norway is a mystery to me, I would never have thought that of all
      people they would allow Muslims to destroy their culture. Multiculturism is
      actually the destruction of multiple cultures to create one can of worms.
      Looking at what some kids are wearing I wonder if it is not designed to make
      us want a tent to cover them but Islam and Muslim, no way…………..William

      • Stephen_Brady

        I'm confused about all of the Scandinavian countries, also. These lands were, after all, the home of the Vikings, and I see less and less of that spirit among these people.

        I agree with your assessment of multiculturalism. When I was young, we were taught pluralism … the idea that from many cultures, nations, and races come one people. When I looked about me, I could see many different faces, religions, cultures, but only one nation. E pluribus unum.

        • Alvaro

          "I'm confused about all of the Scandinavian countries, also. These lands were, after all, the home of the Vikings, and I see less and less of that spirit among these people."

          The Vikings lived hard lives and were used to fighting. The current generations have lived comfortable lives and are for the most part not used to fighting or even protesting. In addition they have suffered from leftist brainwashing since kindergarten. The Viking spirit is a spirit that can be gained or lost. It is not genetics.

          • Stephen_Brady

            Well, I agree with you, of course. I was just trying to draw a comparison between Scandinavians of other times and those of today. The same can be said of the US, today.

  • Morty62

    Another brainwashed tool. It's like saying "I love freedom" and then locking yourself in a jail cell for life in order to show you have the freedom to not be free. Insane.

  • Marty

    Nothing beneficial comes out of islam. It is a death cult possessed by a sociopathic ideology incapable of acknowledging individual freedom and western civilization. islam should have disappeared centuries ago. Its continuance is a testimony to the masochistic side of human nature. Happily, 80 percent of the human race remains uninfected. Vigilance will be continually required to contain islam and there is nothing undemocratic about limiting its pernicious influence as much as possible in our society.

  • g_jochnowitz

    Despite the fact that Orthodox Jews and fundamentalist Christians are becoming more religious every day, Marxism and Islam remain the only doctrines that are accepted with absolute blind faith. Christians and Jews, as I always say, no longer advocate the execution of witches and homosexuals, despite Exodus 22:18 and Leviticus 20:13. The reason for the strength of the Marxist-Islamic Alliance is the power of their faith. The atheism of Marxism in no way interferes with its demand for total faith in the words of Marx.

  • Islam is Haram

    On the contrary, she called herself a “feminist in a religious head covering” and said that she “identifies with the tough Muslim ladies who have fought for women in hijab to be accepted.” Accepted for what? She wouldn't know feminism if it walked up and slapped her. Feminisim is all about equality of the sexes, the niquab and mores specifially, Islam is not. Feminism is not about allowing a man to define you, but that is exactly what she is doing. Might as well have her head in the sand – the effect is the same – the head is covered and you don't know anything thing else!

    Thanks for pulling back the niquab and exposing Kausar's lies!

  • guest

    Can I wear a black uniform with swastikas? That is MY religion. SO I would be allowed? If not why tolerate this abuse of our tolerance?

  • A free woman

    Although moslem garb in particular isn't prohibited covering one's face is illegal in many states and for good reason. Yet in the D.C. suburbs I have seen several fully covered women in the past 18 months. Can I make a citizen's arrest?