Alexander Van der Bellen can wear his own damn hijab

by Grania Spingies

Alexander Van der Bellen

Racism and bigotry is an ugly thing, it’s inexcusable and any form of assault or attack ought to be vigorously prosecuted in the criminal courts, and the victim or target of the assault should also bring a civil suit for damages against the perpetrator.

It’s a serious problem and it requires serious attempts to resolve. Sometimes public gestures may be effective. In the Netherlands for example, recently Dutch politicians chose to hold hands in public to protest against homophobia.

Whether these sorts of demonstrations actually have the desired effect is unclear, but we can at least accept that these gestures and the participants are well-meaning and if nothing else deliver the message that bigotry is not going to be tolerated by society any more.

So when the Austrian president says he wishes to confront racism in his own country, that is to be commended. Although he says “It is every woman’s right to always dress how she wants” (gee, thanks) he then continues:

“…if this real and rampant Islamophobia continues, there will come a day where we must ask all women to wear a headscarf – all – out of solidarity to those who do it for religious reasons.”

How about no. You don’t combat bigotry by promoting a garment of paternalistic misogyny – or in this case by promoting its use by a group you neatly exempt yourself from: women. The hijab is in any case not actually a quintessential defining symbol of being Muslim. Millions of Muslim women around the world don’t wear the hijab. If it were essential to Muslim identity, then there would be no need or desire for groups like My Stealthy Freedom created by Muslim women who protest the hijab’s enforcement by people unnaturally obsessed with erasing the female body  – and the fetishisation of the garment by well-meaning but woefully ignorant Westerners.

Here’s a video from an Australian cleric telling us not only about the hijab but also what kind of hijab and clothing is more suitable and acceptable for women to wear (his own opinion, of course). The hijab is all about concealment of the female hair and body and displays of modesty for reasons of piety and purity as dictated by male leaders. Note the “we” in this video is men who get to tell their “sisters” what they want them to wear. Is this really the banner you want to march under?

If President Van der Bellen really wants to promote a right to dress how you want and combat racism against Muslims, then he can wear the hijab. After all, if the men of Iran can do it to protest the enforced hijab in their own country, then so can the president of a free, liberal European country where no-one faces criminal sanction for the clothes they wear.

 

47 Comments

  1. Merilee
    Posted April 30, 2017 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    Very creepy vid! Revealing of what, her cute little-girl pudge??
    I’m surprised they photograph the Austrian prez smoking.

    • Posted April 30, 2017 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

      I’m studying in Austria and smoking is very common here. As far as I understand, it’s one of the highest rates of smokers in the EU. It’s not really that surprising.

      • Merilee
        Posted April 30, 2017 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

        I did my last two years of high school in Wien (60s) and didn’t notice people smoking any more there than anywhere else. But then I guess many/most people smoked then. ( I could never stand the taste…). What are you studying in Austria?

  2. Claudia Baker
    Posted April 30, 2017 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    SUPER creepy video!! F’n stupid cleric, using his little daughter like that. Revolting. The absolute nerve of a man telling women what to wear and how to wear it. Go fuck yourself, you moron.

    Poor little girl, having to live with a father like that. She looks so miserable throughout the video too.

    (Please excuse my language, but this makes me so angry…) Who am I kidding? I swear all the time.

    • Merilee
      Posted April 30, 2017 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

      I find myself swearing a lot more since Nov 8 when the fookin’ eejit got elected…

      • Claudia Baker
        Posted April 30, 2017 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

        ditto

      • Posted May 1, 2017 at 11:42 am | Permalink

        Which idjit you talkin’ about? The one I just listened to in a weekend interview referring to Andrew Jackson and the Civil War? Every time I hear this man speak I am astounded anew that he holds the highest office in the land.

  3. Posted April 30, 2017 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    This is a fine idea but I am concerned that Herr Van der Bellen, whose surname should never evoke the slightest adolescent snigger of nominative determinism, did not suggest that men also wear the hijab in solidarity with the Muslim Brotherhood’s fashion advice.

    I have a solution: all men should undergo the transgender operation, don hijabs and while they’re at it, they could submit to a nice little bit of empathetic FGM just for good measure. In the interest of communal unity and harmony.

    That should sort out anti-Muslim bigotry.

  4. Craw
    Posted April 30, 2017 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    I think he should get circumcised, out of solidarity with men who do it for religious reasons.

    • somer
      Posted April 30, 2017 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

      Yes 800 million males because of One religion. Also in most of the Islamic world, unlike in modern Judaism, the vast majority don’t get circumcised in clinical conditions as infants (the safest possible way, and with painkiller) they get it done as boys aged 7-12 – no clinic, not certain sterile conditions, no painkiller and possibly considerable health implications foreskin or not. There is actually evidence from WHO/joint UN Program on Aids 2007 and American Academy of Paediatrics Technical report 2012 that in the OPTIMAL conditions mentioned, in a hospital, on babies, it can have health benefits (reducing likelihood of aids infection is one, but there are several other diseases/infections it can help to deter) but its still a mutilation and of course for the great mass of history and circumstances it hasn’t been done that way and even foreskin removal is always painful, its impact on sexual experience isn’t really known and can cause terrible infections/ loss sexual function not to mention pain if incorrectly done.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted May 2, 2017 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

      Maybe it would be more appropriate for him to get himself circumcised out of solidarity with all the men who have been circumcsised for someone else’s religious opinions. Typically their father’s opinions.
      The number of men who have themselves circumcised for their own religious opinions is pretty small. The number who circumcise themselves for their own opinions is even smaller.
      Someone upthread mentioned the effect of circumcision on sexual performance. While it’s hardly a huge topic of conversation, I do recall one friend who was able to comment meaningfully on the question, having been circumcised after starting his sexually active life (for medical reasons). He found that it put a it of a cramp on things for a couple of months, but after that he returned to his self-imposed task of internally massaging every woman (and some men) who he met with undiminished gusto.

  5. Posted April 30, 2017 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    Why does almost every Western European nation keep electing people who do their best to Islamize it?

    (Of course, there can be a discussion about whether Van der Bellen was really elected.)

    • pck
      Posted April 30, 2017 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

      He was very clearly elected, having won the race against the far right scumbag candidate twice. What are you talking about?

      • Posted May 1, 2017 at 5:22 am | Permalink

        There were questions about the high percentage of the mail-in ballots van der Hellen received.

        To answer mayamarkov’s question: no centrist parties are willing to acknowledge, much less tackle, the threat of Islam, leaving it to far-right candidates. Voters are rightly wary of these extremists.

        • pck
          Posted May 1, 2017 at 8:44 am | Permalink

          The only people I’ve ever heard this from were extreme right wing conspiracy nuts. It’s sad to see that this dumb rumour has now somehow spread to other parts of the world.

          • Posted May 1, 2017 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

            Let’s not commit a genetic fallacy, but rather explore the facts (of which I myself am not fully aware):

            1) Is it true that van der Bellen received an exceptionally high percentage of the mail-in ballot vote?

            2) If so, is a there mundane explanation?

            • pck
              Posted May 1, 2017 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

              1) If I recall correctly, two thirds to three quarters of them favoured VdB in the repeat elections, and if I further recall correctly he would have won without them too.

              2) Yes, it’s that the mail-in ballots voters (that includes me) were predominantly in favour of him.

              • Posted May 2, 2017 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

                Thanks for that clarification.

      • Posted May 2, 2017 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

        “He [i.e. Van der Bellen] ran as a nominally independent candidate supported by the Green Party in the 2016 presidential election, and finished second out of six in the first round before winning the second round against Norbert Hofer, a member of the Freedom Party of Austria. On 1 July, before he was due to be sworn into office, the results of the second round of voting were annulled by the Constitutional Court of Austria due to absentee votes being improperly counted too early, requiring the election to be re-held. On 4 December 2016, he won the ensuing election, taking approximately 54% of the vote.” (Wikipedia)

        I am a bit old-fashioned and see something fishy in an election which is first annuled due to violation of procedures and then postponed for half a year.

        As for “scumbag”, I’d give the title to any politician wishing to Islamize his nation, starting with the women. My observation is that subjects competing in elections are similar in many respects, so I am ready to believe that Mr. Van der Bellen’s opponent, of whom I know nothing, is a scumbag as well.

  6. Heather Hastie
    Posted April 30, 2017 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    Good on you Grania. This is disgusting, and he is a disgrace.

    That Muslim guy has got it wrong before he even started filming. No one has the right to tell others what to wear in personal situations.

    I worry about this little girl’s future. Unfortunately, there’s more chance he’s brainwashing another generation than anything else.

    And look how he qualified the niqab (last outfit) with “in the West!” He obviously thinks it’s okay in some places! Fuckwit. (Like Claudia and Merilee above, I too find myself swearing a lot more often these days.)

    • somer
      Posted April 30, 2017 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

      Ive see people in the last version burka where you can’t even see the eyepiece “should we be dressing our girls here in the West like this? Probably not.”(that’s nice of him) every few years

      • somer
        Posted April 30, 2017 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

        *Ive see* ?? Sorry about my dyslexic fingers Today – I meant “I see”

    • Posted May 1, 2017 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

      Goof points, especially the last 🙂

  7. Posted April 30, 2017 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    I only afford him some sympathy as this stooge is indoctrinated to ‘high heaven’ and unfortunately the child is getting the same treatment… another reason to rip off some expletives.
    Chronic misogynist Islam is a very good reason to fucking swear.

    • Claudia Baker
      Posted April 30, 2017 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

      I couldn’t fucking agree more!

  8. Posted April 30, 2017 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    I suggest van der Bellen get himself circumcized in solidarity with moslem men.

  9. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted April 30, 2017 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

    van Bellen has got it ass-backwards.

    I suppose his thinking is that, if *everyone* (female) is wearing a scarf/hijab, then Muslim women won’t stand out so much and won’t be discriminated against.

    (I’ve seen exactly the same argument made in favour of school uniforms – no kid will be better/differently dressed than any other. Needless to say I deride it).

    He is of course totally misguided in that. Ordering people to ‘show solidarity’ is likely to have the exact opposite effect. In fact I would expect the reaction to be such that voluntary hijab-wearers (i.e. Muslims) would feel extremely embarrassed and guilty.

    [Caveat – has he been translated right? It comes over as ‘We must order all women to wear scarves all the time’. Or did he just say ‘we would appeal to women to wear a scarf on one particular day as a show of solidarity’ – which is much less daft.]

    cr

    • somer
      Posted April 30, 2017 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

      I’m sure he means the latter but its still utterly daft to expect all women to wear hijab for a day for an utterly repressive practise.

    • Posted May 1, 2017 at 5:29 am | Permalink

      My transcription:

      Es ist das Recht der Frau — tragen Männer auch den Kopftücher? Nein, oder? Es ist das Recht der Frau sich zu kleiden wie auch immer sie möchtet, dass ist meine Meinung dazu.

      Und übrigens nicht muslimische Frauen — jede Frau kann ein Kopftuch tragen. Und wenn es zu weiter geht — und dann mit bin ich schon bei den nächsten Frage bei dieser tatsächlich um sich greifende Islamophobie —wirt noch der Tag kommen wo wir alle Frauen bieten müssen ein Kopftuch zu tragen. Alle.

      Aus Solidarität gegenüber jenen dieses aus religiöse grunden tun.

      “The day will come when we will have to ask all women to wear the headscarf.”

  10. somer
    Posted April 30, 2017 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

    Van der Bellen has a serious career as an economics professor but is, of course, from the Austrian Green Party and the Greens always sadly seem to twin their legitimate and important environmental concerns with idiotic social justice warriorism. Poor Austrians they are caught between the Greens of Lets Return to a Stone Age anti Western Land and the Austrian equivalent of Marie Le Pen.

    • somer
      Posted April 30, 2017 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

      though from wikipedia looks like he was essentially marxist in economic orientation until end of the 90s, and active with the Greens from 1989

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted May 2, 2017 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

      a serious career as an economics professor

      Isn’t that a contradiction in terms? A serious career in the “dismal science” of economics?

  11. pck
    Posted April 30, 2017 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

    For context, VdB was referring to (quoting wikipedia here) a popular legend portrays king Christian X of Denmark wearing the yellow badge on his daily morning horseback ride through the streets of Copenhagen, followed by non-Jewish Danes responding to their king’s example, thus preventing the Germans from identifying Jewish citizens. The situation in Austria is slightly different, as the Nazis (yes literally Nazis) won’t have to force their future victims to wear a mark of identification.

    • somer
      Posted April 30, 2017 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

      Is this not part of the reason why there are still nazis in Europe? The treatment of Muslims is not comparable to treatment of the jews (who are a tiny peoples and have never been any threat to Europe except as straw man to justify grabs for imperial expansion across europe and slavic countries). Also there should not be an obligation to destroy your culture with a greens type presumption that no amount of intake or else acceptance of different behaviour is too much intake/not acceptable and a refusal to have any discussion about how much is acceptable in cultural, economic and national security terms. Here we have a harsh policy re unofficial arrivals but it very effectively stops what had been massive rate of deaths at sea due to the unavoidably unscrupulous behaviours of people smugglers. Why did the boat people come in such numbers? Because of Visa controls on certain countries. The Australian greens want all such visa controls on the most unstable Muslim countries scrapped to have (as a former PM Malcolm Fraser) advocated a quadrupling of our population – all from the most extreme cultures on earth who constitute 90% of the worlds refugees. We have a program of taking in Refugees from camps/negotiation with UN – which I think should be expanded to take more but which approach I support – we need to be able to control borders. We also have a very good language teaching and general services program for migrants with extra services for refugees. A problem is the insane housing costs here – which mean they have to be settled in outer suburbs, which is not so good.

      • somer
        Posted April 30, 2017 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

        PS the refugee intake also includes applications made from abroad via Australian embassies just as migration applications would be done – which could give priority to people with more liberal views, especially atheists, women endangered for not conforming or in war zones without male guardians, well educated people who are not of salafist background, are likely to have liberal views (though engineers often don’t see Engineers of Jihad)

        • pck
          Posted May 1, 2017 at 8:39 am | Permalink

          So just to get this straight, the reasons we have Nazis in Europe is because people are too nice to immigrants and the Nazis are therefore forced to defend the 99% of indigenous people from islamization?

        • somer
          Posted May 2, 2017 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

          Replying to Gravel-Inspector and PCK I said “part of the reason” and I agree with Aidan that nazis are stupid and hold unpleasant views – but as Matt said earlier regarding Europe “no centrist parties are willing to acknowledge, much less tackle, the threat of Islam, leaving it to far-right candidates.” That said I am NOT anti acceptance of refugees but I do believe nations have a right to regulate and determine how many they decide to take depending on their economic social circumstances and what sort of chance of integration including offering stable prosperity – they can offer to those people so that they don’t become an underclass/isolated ghettoes

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted May 2, 2017 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

        Is this not part of the reason why there are still nazis in Europe?

        Is there only one reason? Apart from the fact that many people are stupid and hold unpleasant opinions about other people.

  12. Abdou_Khila (@AbdouK
    Posted May 1, 2017 at 3:38 am | Permalink

    Please tell me that the Australian Child safety authorities paid a visit to the idiot in the video for subjecting that sweet little girl to such abuse.

  13. kevin7alexander
    Posted May 1, 2017 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    I thought that one of those guys in the last picture was gong to pull out a light sabre.

  14. 2WarAbnVet
    Posted May 1, 2017 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    If Prinz Eugen, who defeated the Muslim hordes at the gates of Vienna in 1697, could come to life to hear that statement; he’d bi*ch-slap that useless coward thought the streets of the city.

    • 2WarAbnVet
      Posted May 1, 2017 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

      Sorry, that’s “through”,

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted May 1, 2017 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

      That’s mature. Take us back 300 years. Just as well they didn’t have nukes.

      cr

  15. Posted May 2, 2017 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    That poor child!
    And now I understand why, among the wide variety of hijabs I see in Israel, some are ridiculously large. They must be “camel hijabs”, as per the video.
    I hope that child grows up thinking, “My father’s an idiot, but I have to pretend respect in order to survive — until I am free of him. He has no love for me, the person who I am, so I owe him no loyalty.”

    • Posted May 2, 2017 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

      Imam (meaning ‘Commander’) Suliman Gani of Tooting Islamic Centre, and supporter of ‘Lady al-Qaeda’ the wife of the nephew of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, disagrees on the camel hump hijab.

      For him, women go to hell if they wear it.

      It just goes to show that you can wear the hijab but some semi-educated University of Medina alumnus will send you to the eternal Blaze. Muslim women can’t win.


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