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Is this another sort of burqa? Or can only women wear burqas?

The current furore over the burqa is nothing new, says contributing editor-at-large Tess Lawrence.

PRIME MINISTER TONY ABBOTT might well find the full veil or burqa “confronting”. 

'Tis true beloved reader, that clothing can enshroud a lethal weapon. No question.

Federal Parliament needs to be protected from any Lambies in wolf's clothing.

One could easily secrete a Kalashnikov or suicide vest under raiments. Or other deadly weapons. It happens all the time in this turbulent world.

In fact, whenever I see the Honourable Member for Warringah naked save for his red hot Speedos, proudly strutting his half-cocked phallus, somewhat tamed by the sea's cooling kiss, Mae West seeps into my prolapsed Catholic mind and I wonder if Prime Minister Tony Abbott has a pistol or two in his pocket or if he is just pleased to see me/dia.

It's good that he's comfortable in his foreskin and is uninhibited about showing us whether he's circumcised or not.

Would other world leaders follow suit? (Ras)Putin, yes. Of course.

But would you see Abdullah ibn Abdilazīz AKA King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia be doing the same thing on the sands of Half Moon Bay?

Mish mumkin! [Arabic for impossible, or not on your Nellie!]

Listen up.

When Lebanese born human rights lawyer, Amal Alamuddin wed George Clooney, she wore a version of the burqa.

Like the singer Cher, uber celebrity Kim Kardashian is of Armenian descent. She wore a version of the burqa for her wedding to Kanye West.

When English commoner Kate Middleton wed Prince William, she wore a version of the burqa.

English aristocrat Diana Spencer wore a version of the Burqa when she wed William's father, Charles.

Like Amal, Kim, Kate and Diana, the nuns that taught me wore a version of the burqa. Many orders of nuns still wear the 'habit'.

Nuns are, after all, Brides of Christ.

Thousands of Australian women, who wear veils at their weddings, do the same.

Nurses and midwives used to wear a version of the burqa. In some countries they still do.

Women churchgoers used to be compelled to wear scarves and cover their arms. In some countries, they still cover up. 

The veil, whether sheer or no, is a sibling of the burqa.

So is the wimple, the al-amira, the chador, the hijab, the khimar, the niqab and the shayla.

The gorget is a version of the burqa. Qui.

It was a head covering used by French and other women in medieval times. Historical and some would say hysterical irony given the burqa ban now in place in France.

In fact, certain ranks in the armed forces  – including Australian military, still wear gorget patches on their collars — those red tabs.

Yep, Jacqui Lambie, they are siblings of the burqa. Quel horreur!

The veil in all its incarnations, has been demonised throughout history and, contrary to popular opinion, long been viewed with suspicion and deemed threatening.

Sometimes it is.

There is nothing in the Quran that compels a woman ‒ or  young girl for that matter – to wear a veil of any sort.

Just as there is nothing in the Bible that compels females to wear a veil.

But the veil has also been viewed as sexually threatening. Religious and other histories, literature and the arts breathe heavily upon its mystique.

Consider the seductress Salome and her infamous Dance of the Seven Veils.

Neither Herod nor John the Baptist stood a chance. Just like Senator Cory Bernardi.

Seven, it will not have escaped you, is the Devil's number. And we women are so often ranked amongst his tribe.

Some regard the wearing of the veil as the ultimate sexual tease. Seductive body armour.

Far from presenting women as asexual and anonymous, in fact it arguably incites one to ponder what lays behind it. It is regarded by some as alluring, especially those that reveal the heart's soul — the eyes.

A great beauty, perhaps ? A terrorist ? Or both ? A man ? Perhaps mounds of cellulite or hairy legs, as some of my giggling Muslim girlfriends attest.

Or perhaps a patriarchal household, where the females are under family and community compulsion to wear a veil of some sort, against their personal wishes.

At the point of the gun, some of our sisters are forced to wear the veil, by the likes of psychopathic genocidal fascists like the Daash (the Arabic word/acronym for Islamic State).

The sweet and usually eagerly awaited  'now you may kiss the bride' moment, where the new husband is given permission by the officiating celebrant to lift the Veil from his new wife 's face and kiss her, is also a symbol of her virginity and that she is now his for the taking.

No guffaws please.

Whilst our Federal Parliament and our prime minister remain in a tizz over whether to 'ban or not to ban the Burqa', I would like to suggest this:

That in an act of solidarity, those parliamentarians of all political dialects who are inclined to do so – men and women alike – should declare a special burqa to work day and wear the burqa to the House.

DISCLAIMER: Despite her awful appearance [Ed: not really]  Tess Lawrence was once a fashion editor and constantly featured as number one on the World's Worst Dressed Fashion Writer List and, despite wearing an abaya and head covering, was still arrested three times in Saudi Arabia by the same religious police. On the other hand, after he had scarpered, some wonderful Saudis came to her aide and, to this day, she remains in contact with them.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License

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