Ban the Burqa!

Elizabeth Jane, one of Liberty GB's many Australian supporters, wrote this impassioned letter to ABC Television's Lateline programme:


Dear Lateline,

Malcolm Roberts was so right last night when he said that the burqa is a symbol of female oppression all over the world.

The burqa is the most potent symbol of female oppression that exists. While symbols of racial oppression in the United States such as in Charlottesville are being removed and creating outrage from the left and right for different reasons, the greatest symbol of sexual oppression is being defended in Australia. It is being defended by 'Lateline', by the ABC on 'The Drum' (through its selectivity of anti-female guests), by the Attorney General on the right of politics in the Senate, and with a standing ovation on the left of politics of Senator George Brandis' emotional condemnation of One Nation leader, Pauline Hanson, for wearing the burqa to the Senate. I do think there is more to the burqa than security in banks and Parliament House etc., as Pauline Hanson said, but she made an excellent point in wearing this dark, offensive, and threatening symbol of misogyny into the Senate, because it was so out of place. Who would want to see the burqa being worn by our representatives, so that we could not even see their faces, because they were required by Islam to be censored as human beings for their gender?

Why are symbols of racial oppression, statues of Confederate soldiers, torn down while at the same time the most potent symbol of female oppression is defended - to avoid offending Muslims? These double-standards underline how women are put down with impunity in a patriarchy-ruled world!!! We should be banning the burqa and condemning it as a symbol of female oppression, and the niqab, and the chador, and the hijab, and all the other sexist symbols of Islamic oppression instead of applauding them and the sexual objectivisation of women and girls that they signify. Where on earth did the argument go that women are not responsible for sexual assaults upon us and for being raped by what we are wearing? Because that is the sexist defence in Islamic countries of these patriarchally-prescribed female coverings. That is an insult to women and sexual degradation - to say that women are responsible for being raped, and not the rapist. Have you become so accustomed to pandering to Muslims that you have forgotten that in supporting this patriarchal covering that you are victim-blaming women for rape?

I am glad that Senator Malcolm Roberts so clearly won the argument against Emma Alberici on 'Lateline'. It earned him respect from me for doing that, and I do not generally support Malcolm Roberts, especially his statements on climate change. To see a usually feminist woman like Emma Alberici staunchly defending the burqa was a role-reversal that makes me wonder what a shameful world I am living in where women are so publicly pilloried and denounced for standing up in support of the dignity and human rights of women and against the most miserable and offensive symbol of female degradation that exists, that was not for no reason embraced by Islamic State and the Taliban, a closet which renders women invisible in society, symbolically murdering our public selves and proclaiming that we belong to a male relative as sexual objects and male-owned property in the home. My God how wrong you are, how misguided are your sympathies, and how little regard you have for the dignity and freedom of women all over the world, including in Australia where this symbol is so vociferously defended!

What next? Will you defend the stoning of women to death in the name of religion? Perhaps Pauline Hanson should be stoned for insulting Islam?! That would be absolutely in accordance with ABC values when it comes to Islam: just as in Islam, the ABC only pays lip service to the dignity of women, and, in fact, women don't matter when it comes to the darkest form of patriarchy that is Islam!

Elizabeth Jane