There is no legitimate reason for banning the veil, leaving us only with the illegitimate reason no one calling for the ban wants to reveal – racism. No sooner is this said than some idiot leaps into the discussion with that pearl of wisdom: “Islam isn’t a race.” No it’s not, but no one dispensing this nugget of knowledge and no one attacking the “burka” can tell us much about Islam the religion. Shahadah, Salah, Zakat, Sawm, and Hajj – the Pillars of Islam – are mysteries to them. Their assault is not an assault on Islam qua Islam, but on Muslims qua racialised others.
Public discussion and media emphasis since 9/11 (2001), switching racial discourse from diverse racial signifiers to Islam, has been found to bear down heavily upon Muslim women. This essay will examine the use of women and the female body in Islamophobia as it is evidenced primarily in Ireland, critically analysing it through the framework of Said’s Orientalism, the Racial State of Goldberg, and Yuval-Davis’ thesis of women as the reproducers of the nation.
One lone gunman commits a horrendous act of terror on a Tunisian beach and the response is a call to ban the burqa! What makes us so afraid of Muslim women?