photo: Eddy van Wessel


Friday, September 2, 2016

Banning burqinis means a ban on emancipation

The mayor of Cannes has banned so called burqinis from his beaches because he connects them to terrorism, in the same week the female Egyptian beach volleyball team in Rio was criticized for wearing body suits instead of bikinis.

With the fight against ISIS and its radical strain of Islam leading to attacks everywhere in the world, not only the burqa that completely covers women is under fire, but also clothes Muslim women put on to dress modestly during sports and leisure-time.

Long before ISIS started to impose first the face covering niqaab and then the completely covering burqa on women, tradition just as much as Islam made women dress modestly.

Often it was the combination of habits, the pressure of social control and a conservative society that made women cover up, although not as completely as ISIS made obligatory.

Recently, I was in an open air swimming pool at a hotel in the Kurdish capital Erbil, watching two women getting into the water dressed in pants and top, although their hair was uncovered.
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European Friendship Group steps in to help Yezidis in and outside Iraq

Several European parliamentarians have formed a special Yezidi Friendship Group to help attract more attention for the community’s plight, says Yezidi activist Mirza Dinnayi, an adviser to the group.

From the Kurdistan Region, Dinnayi works with five parliamentarians from different European countries and parties to improve the situation of Yezidis inside Iraq as well as those who are stuck in Greece on their flight to Europe.

One of the most urgent issues they try to address is the situation of thousands of Yezidi refugees in Greece, Dinnayi says. “They live in a bad situation, are discriminated against, even within the camps, and some of the Arabs who are with Daesh threatened them.” Deash is the local name for the Islamic State (ISIS).

About 470 Yezidi refugees have found refuge in Idomeni camp in Greece. Dinnayi visited the camp with some members of the Friendship Group last month. One of them, Portuguese Anna Gomez, lobbied to have these refugees accepted in her country for resettlement.

But the plan got stuck in Greek bureaucracy, Dinnayi says. “Greece wants to register all the refugees first. That will take until next year. Only when we asked to make an exception, they eventually promised to do it within the next weeks.”
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