Muslim women say burqa is affront to human dignity

Lincoln Tan at NZ Herald reports:

A Muslim women’s group is expected to tell a public forum tonight that the is not a requirement in and it is “an affront to human dignity” for women to be forced to wear it.

Excellent. Meaningful change should come from within.

The group’s founder, Zainah Anwar, said on its website: “I find the burqa really disturbing.

“There is enough literature to show that the face veil is not a requirement in Islam.

“In a conservative, patriarchal Muslim context, face veiling really symbolises women’s invisibility and inferior status.

“That a woman should not be seen and heard, and should she venture into the public space she must be as invisible as possible, is an affront to human dignity.”

It is also quite unfriendly. If you are looking for a location and want to ask someone for directions, you won’t be asking someone who won’t even show you their face.

Note I have absolutely no issue with head scarves – just those which cover the face so you only see eyes.

The view was supported by the head of Islamic studies at the University of Auckland, Zain Ali.

He said the burqa was more a cultural requirement than an Islamic one.

“The Islamic requirement is for modest dressing, but what has happened in many parts of the Muslim world is that the burqa has been accepted as a norm for that modest dressing,” Mr Ali said.

“But the burqa is almost dehumanising and it robs the personality and the ability of someone to express themselves.”

Again it is good to see the debate happening amongst the Muslim community.

However Malaysian businessman Zulkifli Hamzah, who is in Auckland to help set up a Muslim “Obedient Wives Club” branch, said followers of Islam understood “women and men are not equals”.

“Everything has a structure and for a Muslim, the man is seen as the leader of the family or household.

“If a woman is told to wear a burqa or hijab so she does not tempt other men, then she should obey.

Oh my God. thank goodness he is not a NZ citizen is all I can say.

“The issue is not whether it is a cultural law or religious law, it is the husband’s law.”

My advice to Kiwi men is to not try that line to settle marital arguments.

The club’s founders, Malaysian-based business group Global Ikhwan, support polygamy, and claim their moral attitude is in line with Islamic teachings for building strong families.

The club encourages women to submit to their husbands and meet all their sexual needs because it believes sexually fulfilled men are less likely to stray so marriages are less likely to break down.


The Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand said it did not support the movement and that the club’s views were “interpretation of Islam to the extreme”.

They are, and that is why it is good more moderate views will challenge those extreme views.

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