Dubai court annuls marriage to ‘bearded lady’

BBC News – Dubai court annuls marriage to 'bearded lady'

This item will be picked up for novelty and curiosity value.

But actually, the episode raises all the problems in the philosophy of the person presented by the full veil. Some of the French objection to it is precisely that in a Republic, all citizens have a responsibility to present themselves in public with a full identity. And, obviously, the modern Republic does depend on facial identification for political and administrative transparency (driving licenses, voting at polling stations, etc.) The Mufti (chief Muslim jurisprudent) of Egypt rejected it as not required in Muslim law, and one suspects security concerns are part of the rejection.

One thing about the full veil many Western observers do not stop to think about is the ways the anonymity it confers can be used. Algerian revolutionaries used it to hide themselves and smuggle bombs. Girls sometimes use it to sneak out and meet their boyfriends; it is perfect– their fathers trust them more because they are dressing piously, but once they leave the house no one knows who they are. And,if a fully veiled woman sat in parliament, how would you know it was really she who cast a vote? A full, ‘shuttlecock’ veil of the type the Taliban demand would probably even defeat a retinal scan.

I think the current Western obsession with women who wear headscarves is bizarre and just bigoted. (Nuns and Amish women don’t typically excite the same negative emotions, you’ll note.) But full veiling, it seems to me, is a legitimate object of debate precisely because it raises the question of fraudulent personhood– as the hapless, if rather superficial, diplomat in the UAE discovered.

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Posted in Uncategorized | 9 Responses | Print |

9 Responses

  1. Both the Hadith & Islamic law allow the man to see the body of a woman he is considering for marriage.

    So, I don't think this example can be used as an argument against this religious minority that Westerners do not like & enjoy oppressing.

  2. it's kinda interesting, Juan, the take of many French Feminists on "the issue of the veil," one of whom recently expressed to MadameGonzo: "The issue of the veil w.r.t. Muslim women is often rooted in (and rationalized by) the western mythos, white-male fantasy of 'rescuing' women from their brown-skinned oppressors." Thus (the conceit implicit of) an ethnic distinction between veils, etc. of pious white women, and all others ~ be they fundamentalists or orthodox, is made perfectly acceptable in the minds of many men on the continent ~ and as well by a surprising number of otherwise secular humanist women.

  3. I think people are missing the point, and your post did too. It's not intended to be an anonymity issue, which is the conclusion that many feminists erroneously jump to. It's intended to be a means to privacy. Women cover themselves not just because God tells them to (and that is generally limited to things like covering the hair), but because they want to be able to go out and carry out their lives without being ogled by strangers. Prior to the burqa, Afghani women never left the house. Many women say it feels liberating in a way, because they can be judged by what they say and not by their looks or makeup.

  4. Offcourse "all citizens have a responsibility to present themselves in public with a full identity". Frnace is not asking for much. Just show your face.  
     I can understand that some women, based on their/their male's religious believes, choose to cover their head or body because they think that would decrease the lust of men, and they consider it their own way of protecting society from the sin of lust. I have no problem with that.
     But not showing the face is a diffetent issue and is not going to improve society.       
     it's a shame that France has to take all this heat over this. It does have a ligitimate concern though about not having a complete ban on face cover, because of the large" five million Muslims " in France.
    On the other hand, it's good that this child had facial hair and crossed eyes, otherwise, her mother was about to throw her into the arms of a child molester. Let's hope that the 130 k are not going to be used for laser hair removal so she can be thrown again into an immoral, inhumane relationship. BBC should have called it for what it is. Bearded child. Not lady. Maybe it would have killed two birds with one stone by shedding some light on the fact that she is 12 years old. Let's encourage all pediatrician to give a hair follicule agonists to possible victims. Leila.             

  5. well, I've been with you for years. until the veil comment. Nuns are CLERGY. the populace did and does NOT veil themselves. Amish women do NOT veil, they sometimes wear lace caps like the bretons. They also do not always wear these. The extremely astonishing REveiling of nearly ALL muslim women in the past few years is clearly the result of political pressure. (Read Karen Armstrong). Veiling, as you know, was a Sassanian reconstruction, though it began, like footbinding and other seclusions, as an upperclass sign of wealth. One's 'women' did not have to work in the fields. But the modern epidemic is one of the most dangerous and worst setbacks to the safety and wellbeing of women and girls in the past 50 years. Veil them, seclude them, blow up their schools. easy path. You are not a woman. Do not presume. The day shirin ebadi wears a veil, I will know the extremists have succeeded. And the deaths of the girls will be upon you, as well.

  6. Dear anti-'Muslim'-veil Anonymous,

    How convenient to defend the veils of nuns because they are clergy, without stopping to consider that the concept of nunhood, or of life-long celibacy, does not exist in Islam. Millions of Muslim women choose to cover the heads for their same reasons that a comparative handful of nuns cover theirs: chastity, abstinence, and to symbolise that they are not 'accessible' to men of the public. The fact that you so quickly assumed the "REveiling of nearly ALL muslim women in the past few years is clearly the result of political pressure" because you read something that was clearly written by a NON-Muslim woman from a NON-Muslim perspective, is not surprising, as it typifies the ethnocentrism of the West that Muslims are now constantly struggling with. Whatever happened to live and let live? Why is it okay for a nun to express her beliefs through her covering, (clergy or not, because it still reflects an expression of faith) and not for a Muslim woman to do so? "The modern epidemic is one of the most dangerous and worst setbacks to the safety and wellbeing of women and girls" – your use of the word "epidemic" is in itself indicative of your panic-stricken white-supremacist viewpoint; anything threatening to your culture that is seen to spread rapidly is immediately considered an "epidemic." Speak for your own society, or your own women, if you will, because you clearly know nothing about Muslim women or their beliefs. As a veiled Muslim women, I speak for millions like me when I say that my safety and well-being is not in danger, that I am not secluded, and that the only 'political pressure' I feel is from Orwell's Animal Farm-type hypocrites like you who claim that everyone is equal (and entitled to express their faith) but some are 'more equal' than others.

  7. I noticed the same aspects of this situation as the two Mr Anonymous (of 9:25 and 10:58) above; why does a modern bride in a presumably upper-class environment (betrothed to a diplomat in DuBai) have crossed eyes and facial hair? Both these conditions would have been quickly and easily dealt with by any middle- or lower-middle class family in the US and presumably in Europe, Japan and the rest of the developed world. What I take away from reading the column is the fairly 'primitive' relationship to modernity (in this case, modern cosmetic medical care) that even relatively upper-class Arabs have. Which is quite depressing.

  8. Juan has got it right – and I know from experience having been married twice to Arab women. The veil confers anonimity when it is required – think celebs hiding their childrens' faces. Prominent families in the Muslim world also particularly don't appreciate their womenfolk's looks getting yakked about. It is not a religious requirement except in the minds of extrapolationists. It has it uses , and it can be abused.
    Western Muslims who seriously confuse niqab and hijab need to appreciate that it gets abused in some countries by creeps that want to sneak in places that should be exclusive to women. There is an entire interior wall in one West Midlands masjid entirely devoted to confusing hijab and niqab as if they were one and the same thing. Hijab is just one Islamic 'fard' (and there are quite a few others we never hear about from certain quarters – like good manners, neigbourliness and honesty) – niqab is a cutural practice that has it's uses and abuses.

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