Last effort for the Offence Seeking Twat of the Year Award?

Needless to say I haven’t actually seen Top Gear’s “Three Wise Men”, and being a Christmas special I expect it’ll air here between Easter and late June, but it has already made some news here. And it’s all thanks to James May, a rock, a few square yards of black cloth, and bloody Anjem “Is-It-‘Coz-I-Is-Slamic” Choudary. It seems that James May brained himself with a rock somehow and that when he came out of hospital, for reasons I don’t pretend to understand, this was what he was faced with.

Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond disguised themselves as women by wearing Islamic face veils which only revealed their eyes in a Christmas show filmed in Syria.

Don’t fancy yours much.

Two middle aged men, one short and thin and one tall and fat, wearing what look like painter’s masks and some blackout material? Not much of a disguise I’d have thought, and possibly the worst one since all those women in Life of Brian disguised themselves as men with the world’s least convincing fake beards. Okay, they fooled the Pharisee and at least one of them really was a man, but that’s by the by. In any case, that Hammond and Clarkson looked like they were in a Middle East remake of Some Like It Hot was not going to stop the legions of the professionally offended and their spokestool of the day.

Controversial Islamic activist Anjem Choudary told the Daily Mail the burqa was a “symbol of our religion and people should not make jokes about it in any way”.

A symbol of your religion, Anj? Really? Then how come so many practising Muslim women don’t wear it? There are, what? A billion and a half Muslims, and even assuming an unrealistically low quarter of them are women the world would notice 375 million women dressed up like a cross between Demis Roussos and a ninja. Where are they all, Anjie? Why is this symbol not far more widespread? Perhaps because, as Cracked.com point out, only an insignificantly small number of women actually choose to wear it.

So for instance, in France they have about 3 million Muslim women. French police decided to figure out how many of them wore burqas and/or niqabs and found the number to be … 367.

Not 367,000, but 367, a number so small that from a statistical point of view, it’s barely enough to register as a margin of error. As for the rest of Europe, the numbers are even more disastrous for the burqa business (for instance, Belgium has 500,000 Muslims, a couple dozen wear the burqa).

Yes, there are Middle Eastern countries where the veils are required by law (namely Iran and Saudi Arabia) and combined those countries have less than 5 percent of the world’s Muslims. There are actually more Muslim countries that outright ban the wearing of the veils than there are that require them. They can do that because wearing a veil is not required in Islam but is more of a custom, depending on where you live and who’s in charge.

They go on to point out that several women have become leaders of Islamic nations and a cursory Google image search shows that none of them wore burqas all the time, so as religious symbols go it’s somewhere between incredibly underused and practically unknown. Or simply not a religious symbol at all.

The veil itself predates Islam by many centuries. In the Near East, Assyrian kings first introduced both the seclusion of women in the royal harem and the veil. Prostitutes and slaves, however, were told not to veil, and were slashed if they disobeyed this law.

Beyond the Near East, the practice of hiding one’s face and largely living in seclusion appeared in classical Greece, in the Byzantine Christian world, in Persia, and in India among upper caste Rajput women. Muslims in their first century at first were relaxed about female dress. When the niece of Aishah Bint Abu Bakr (the Prophet’s wife), Aisha bint Talha was asked by her husband Musab to veil her face, she answered, “Since the Almighty hath put on me the stamp of beauty, it is my wish that the public should view the beauty and thereby recognized His grace unto them. On no account, therefore, will I veil myself.”

And:

It is thought that the burqa predates Islam, and was introduced by Assyrian kings Ωnstead. There is also evidence of veiling in classical Greece, the Byzantine Christian tradition, and in ancient India. In fact, the burqa did not appear as a rule of Islam until the 10th century.

And:

It is believed the burka’s origin dates back to the Achaemenid dynasty of the Persian Empire founded by Cyrus II (6th century BC). And according to some writings dating back to the 13th century BC, (which were discovered in Assyria) mentioned the wearing of the Burka. At that time the Muslim religion did not exist.

From where I sit that makes it sound like either Islam has adopted the tent look for women from local cultures into which it spread, or that people from those areas began using Islam as an excuse for their long standing tradition of dressing women that way because, fuck it, we always have. Either way a religious symbol it ain’t, except perhaps for it’s adoption by some individuals as a personal symbol of their belief. However, this no more makes it an Islamic symbol than a child’s drawing of a fish has anything to do with Christianity unless it cost $20 including P&P and is stuck to the boot of a car.

So in short what we have here is an excuse. An excuse to get offended by white westerners yet again, which is something the likes of Anjem Choudary will never pass up because it helps them maintain their victim status. Or their levels of anger and irrational hate:

Viewers also expressed their disgust at the wardrobe choice online, with one viewer writing “Death to America” on a Yahoo! forum.

See? A British Broadcasting Corporation TV show upsets someone and the reaction is “death to America”. With that kind of grasp of elementary geography the WTC attackers would have missed by three thousand miles.

There’s no F-ing A in the BBC
(apart from American Dad and Family Guy, obviously)

But that’s really not an important detail when the true object of the exercise is to strengthen your hand in a game of victimhood poker. If Choudary really had a problem with offending deeply held religious beliefs he’d be as quick to condemn something like, oooh say, this:

So there we have it. It’s wrong, very wrong, to make light of clothing chosen by a tiny, tiny minority of the members of one religion, but judging by his silence presumably it’s quite alright to brand as evil one of the two most important festivals of another religion and to suggest that its two billion plus believers are promiscuous, violent, druggie, kiddy fiddlers who beat up women and who are somehow also pagans (hilariously contrasted with the mention of women’s rights in Islam – I’m sure many Muslim women have rights but like the burqa it seems to depend at least as much on where they are and what the local men think as anything else). It might seem dribbingly mad to the rest of us but I don’t doubt that on Planet Choudary this makes perfect sense.

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Posted on December 31, 2010, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Last effort for the Offence Seeking Twat of the Year Award?.

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