Muslim’s Veils Tests NYTimes Grasp of 9/11 and Iraq

In a breathless article on conflicts arising from adherence to a particular dress code, the New York Times drops a real gem (emphasis mine):

Some who wear the niqab, particularly younger women who have taken it up recently, concede that it is a frontal expression of Islamic identity, which they have embraced since Sept. 11, 2001, as a form of rebellion against the policies of the Blair government in Iraq, and at home.

This is a poorly constructed sentence.   It doesn’t make sense.  Even if there were some link between 9/11 and Iraq (which has been thoroughly discredited), the two events were pretty far apart in time.  In fact, the predominant attitude immediately after 9/11 was one of profound sympathy.  We may have forgotten this given how quickly we squandered that goodwill (Iraq having played no small part in that), but given that response, 9/11 does not make sense as a starting point for said rebellion.

“For me it is not just a piece of clothing, it’s an act of faith, it’s solidarity,” said a 24-year-old program scheduler at a broadcasting company in London, who would allow only her last name, al-Shaikh, to be printed, saying she wanted to protect her privacy. “9/11 was a wake-up call for young Muslims,” she said.

The response to 9/11 by Britain and the US, that I can see as a wake up call.  But 9/11 itself?  It is only a wake up call insofar as it points out the horrible suffering that comes from extremism and violence.  Certainly a wake up call, yes, but not the kind I think al-Shaikh and the NYTimes are referring to.

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3 Responses

  1. AT least the NYT is being more subtle in their continuing connection between 9/11 and Iraq.
    Good catch.

  2. Muslim women wear the veil because a woman is worth half a man in conservative Islam and a husband can beat his wife with impunity man.

    The rest is al takiya, the Islamic tradtion of dissembling to non-believers if they feel it advances the cause of Islam.

    An Islam is nothing if it’s not patriarcal.

  3. Mirth, Thanks. Although a more subtle approach on that connection is in many ways more insidious.

    Joe,
    Most major religions are highly patriarchal.

    What is interesting, from the article, is that many women are choosing to do this quite independently, as a way of feeling closer to their religion and their heritage.

    There is much to be said for legitimate criticism of religion, and how it influences society. But much of the criticism of Islamic garb has been intensely phobic and bereft of any sense of practicality. For example head scarves. As if wearing a yamulke is any different?

    And much of this “controversy” has the same feel. Blair could just come out and say “you guys are being too ethnic” and be done with it.

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