Norwegian Schools Preach the Wonders of Niqab Posted By Bruce Bawer
The news came three days before Christmas:
The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) has announced that the Department of Defense will now allow Muslim and Sikh students participating in Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) to wear headscarves and turbans while in uniform.
When I read this, the first thing I thought was: What?! And the second was: Since when does CAIR make announcements on behalf of the Department of Defense?
The background was as follows: a Muslim girl in Tennessee was told by her JROTC commanding officer that she could not wear her headscarf, or hijab, in a homecoming parade. She contacted CAIR, which in turn contacted Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, asking for a change in policy. And instead of informing CAIR that the Department of Defense does not take its marching orders from fronts for terrorist organizations, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army Larry Stubblefield fell right into line, writing a letter to CAIR assuring that henceforth JROTC policy would be different.
France and the Netherlands have banned the niqab, the face-covering veil, in public; the hijab is also prohibited in certain venues (such as classrooms and government offices) in a few European jurisdictions. But in most of the Western world, there are no laws against any Muslim garments. In many Western cities, there has been a visible increase in the number of women wearing these things in public. And there has also been an increase in the number of Muslims who demand their right to wear them in institutions ranging from the armed forces and police to schools and universities.
Case in point: a twenty-year-old woman named Aisha Shezadi Kausar. Kausar wears niqab. Last year her name appeared on an essay, “You, Me, and Niqab,” which was included in Utilslørt (Uncovered), a collection of essays by and about Muslim women. On December 20, she was featured in a news report on Norwegian public television (NRK) about a nationwide project aimed at Norwegian children and teenagers. Kausar, NRK reported, is making personal appearances at various schools around Norway, where she presents her use of the niqab as a feminist choice. In the report, she was seen in front of an auditorium full of students, first praying, then talking about Allah, and then making her case. She’s engaged in a “struggle for freedom” and “fighting against xenophobia.” The only reasons for opposition to niqab are “prejudice” and “fear of foreigners.” At the end of her talk the students gave her a big round of applause, and the kids interviewed by NRK said all the “right” things about diversity and tolerance. Plainly they had not learned anything about Islam, the place of women in Islam, or what niqab actually represents. Their teachers had taken them away from their studies to be propagandized.