I have been living in Berlin for most of my life now and as I got older, I heard more and more from those around me about how they were bothered by Muslim women. By that they mostly referred to those who choose to wear a face veil additionally to their black coats and headscarves.
Before I proceed with today’s post, there is one thing that I would like to point out about the dress code for women in Islam, for the sake of information.
Burqa and abaya in Berlin
I think it is time to point out that a burqa is, based on my research and my own awkward confusion of the two while living in Riyadh, a cover for women that is made of one single piece and covers a woman from head to toe, with a net in the eyes area. It is mostly worn in Afghanistan. The abaya on the other hand, is a coat or dress like garment that is usually black. The headscarf (hijab) and the face veil (niqab) that has a slit for the eyes are two separate pieces that are worn with it. In my 16 years of living in Berlin I have never seen an Afghan burqa. Those women that you see here, wearing a black coat and a black face cover, are wearing an abaya, not a burqa.
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Although there can be as many different reasons as there are people for why some are against the full cover, most people have pointed out to me that “they were simply bothered by the sight of women wearing all black with no face to be seen. They did not like to look at something like that.”
I have spent many months thinking about this and now that the conservative AfD party has become a member of the Landtag in three states recently , I would like, with this post, to address those people who are bothered by the sight of women in full cover.
I would like to point out to you all the things that for example I (and maybe some others) “don’t like the sight of” in Germany although for some reason the majority of people doesn’t care. Oh, and before you start criticizing me, which you are welcome to do in the comments, keep in mind that I am NOT Muslim myself so please go find another argument.
I don’t like to see men walking around shirtless in the summer with their enormous beer guts showing. They don’t just walk around here. They also take the train and the bus and sometimes other people have to sit next to them. I think shirtless people belong to the beach, not the city. I think having to look at a shirtless man who is not even in good shape, in a public place is somewhat disgusting and yet no one else seems bothered and I see it every year again.
I don’t like it when I have to watch (young) people showing off how much they like each other in public. Here, if you look closely, young people kiss and hug passionately on trains, in busses, parks, in the corners of supermarkets, public swimming pools and not to mention saunas.
In fact, I have come across and article today which gives suggestions for the best places where one can have undisturbed sex in public. I am still trying to figure out if maybe this was just a joke.
It bothers me to see how some 12 year olds dress today. Nowadays they show off more than is good for the human eye. I am bothered by how in the middle of the night some guys like to get drunk around Alexanderplatz, turn on the music and get (all) their pants down. People just keep walking. No one says anything. No one calls the police or tells them to stop. Like nothing ever happened.
Yes, I know that in theory indecent public behavior is against the law in Germany and yet I have never seen that law being enforced. While growing up, I was never made to believe by society that doing the things mentioned above is not okay. I have never seen any political or other discussions about how such behavior should be stopped like I see discussions on banning conservative Islamic clothing because people consider it “indecent”. Instead, it has constantly come to my attention how unacceptable it is if a woman decides to dress according to her religious believes.
I like the freedom I have here. I like my short skirts and my strapless dresses. I like to go out with my friends no matter what gender they are. I appreciate the fact that I can write this post and many others without having to fear for the police to come and get me at any moment for what I have just said. Yet I think that before we start criticizing other people from other cultures, we should get some order into our own. I don’t see why we should tolerate indecency and punish modesty.
Yes, I believe that in a democratic country everyone should be able to do whatever the hell he or she wants to do as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone but if we want to play this card of freedom and tolerance, then this concept should work both ways.
If we consider it okay to be half-naked in public, we should then (even more) consider it okay if someone chooses to dress modestly. Those people who are demanding an actual ban on the face veil should demand an equally strong ban on indecent behavior.
Those women walking around all in black do so because it matters to them. It makes them feel like they are doing the right thing. It makes them feel closer to God and comfortable about themselves (among other things I presume) and as long as they don’t make other people follow their example (which I have never seen happening), we should absolutely leave them alone and mind our own business!
In comparison to that, there is NOTHING fulfilling, meaningful or right about making out in public or showing off your muscles which aren’t even there. Learn the difference before you decide what bothers your eye-sight and why.
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