Report: ISIS Bans Burqas

The Islamic State is said to have banned the garment it once required following assassinations by veiled women near Mosul.

BY CounterJihad · @CounterjihadUS | September 6, 2016

The Islamic State (ISIS) is reported to have banned the wearing of burqas following the assassination of some of its local leadership near Mosul by veiled women, the International Business Times reports.  In the past, ISIS has killed or beaten women who refused to wear the burqa, a kind of veil that not only covers the body but contains a grille to mask even the eyes.  It is distinct from the niqab, which reveals the eyes, as well as the hijab, a scarf that covers the hair only.

If reports are accurate, several local ISIS leaders have been murdered by women wearing these veils in recent days.  The reports are unclear as to the women’s alleged motives, though as the IBD accurately reports, “ISIS has a poor record when it comes to women’s rights[.]”  This “poor record” includes sex slavery, rape, beatings, and the denial of basic freedoms such as speech, expression, and conscience.

There is some question as to whether the reports are in fact accurate.  IBD cites two different sources, one of which bears striking resemblance to Russian propaganda.  The other source is the Jerusalem Post, which in turn cites the Daily Mail out of the United Kingdom.  The Daily Mail‘s source turns out to be Iran Front Page, which translated a piece by Al Alam.  Al Alam is a state-run outfit out of Iran.  Iran and Russia have been coordinating their war efforts against ISIS as well as in Syria, and this may include propaganda efforts.  Nevertheless, the story is certainly plausible given ISIS’s history of abusing women.

The story is also plausible because the full face veil does indeed represent a real security threat.  The European Human Rights court threw out a case against a French law banning face coverings like the burqa both for security reasons and because it accepted the French argument that such coverings incompatible with the French way of “living together.”  The French law targets any face coverings, making exceptions only for things like motorcycle helmets and carnival masks.

A similar law in Belgium was defended as necessary for security reasons only, extending not only to the burqa but to the less-restrictive niqab:

Isabelle Niedlispacher, representing the Belgian government, which introduced a similar ban in 2011 and which was party to the French defence, declared both the burqa and niqab “incompatible” with the rule of law.

The garments certainly do make identification more difficult, which can create problems for enforcement of the law as well as for security.  While reports that Illinois was considering allowing the burqa in drivers license photos proved to be significantly overstated, the arguments against doing so are legitimate.  The capacity for security officials to identify particular individuals is a crucial aspect of their ability to maintain the rule of law.

That rule is certainly threatened by ISIS in Europe, where the Islamic State claims it has “hundreds” of operatives ready to strike.  How many of them are women is unclear, although there have been incidents of men wearing burqas for tactical advantage as well.  The garments are so deeply concealing that they mask even the sex of the wearer, as well as readily veiling weapons or explosives.



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