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re ladies in their hijabberies....

Reader comment on item: Hijabs on Western Public Women

Submitted by Jascha Kessler (United States), Mar 23, 2008 at 16:54

When my wife and I first traveled in Europe in 1952, it was also expected that a woman wear a headcovering in a cathedral, and certainly not shorts and a halter, no matter how warm it was that day. Things have loosened up a bit. For the Catholic places. Modesty is the requirement, not ritual. For courtesy's sake, and not to give offence. But where to draw the line between courtesy and cowardice? A pusillanimity that preens itself on political tact and the virtue of tolerance extended, if not received.

Still, it is really quite stupid to obey, even for "Reasons of State," ritual usages foreign to oneself. Americans are really rather too accommodating to others, when they need not be. As for myself, the only necessary ritual I recognize is hygienic: brushing the teeth in my mouth 2X daily. The trouble with all this stuff and nonsense is: God doesn't give a damn, so to say, for any ritual fetish. Believers in whatever faith demand a bent knee or bowed head, or coverings, and whatever costumes their nakedness for the sake of what they are taught is the sacred. Resenting their enforced practices, learned from infancy, people turn their resentment against others: they need to bully others in every little detail, of life. Ask Dr. Freud. His late monograph is instructive: CIVILIZATION AND ITS DISCONTENTS. It may be that it is ingrained in our species, family and clan and tribe...no different from the wolf pack that is enemy to every other wolf pack. A hunting territory is sacred to animals too.

As for myself, looking at these pictures of high-ranking women, hear in my ears the proud statement of Constanze, or was it her maidservant, Blondchen? in ESCAPE FROM THE SERAGLIO, Mozart's wonderful opera buffa. She proudly defies the bullying Moslem who holds her captive: Ich bin ein Englander! Ich bin zum freiheit geboren! [ AM AN ENGLISHWOMAN! I WAS BORN TO FREEDOM!

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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