Where bad arguments go to be mocked

By skepticlawyer

I’ve always found the various attempts to argue for the burqa or niqab as liberating rather than constricting and deeply misogynistic to be a steaming pile. Clearly the people at newsbiscuit agree. Some highlights:

New laws in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates will require that every Blackberry user dress their phone a miniature burqa and face veil.

‘The Blackberry burqa means that people can still use their phones,’ said a Saudi government official, ‘but the tiny niqab that covers the screen will stop them from reading emails or accessing the Internet.’

Followed, thereafter, by this:

Some businessmen believe that making their phone wear a burqa can be very liberating. ‘It’s great,’ said one, ‘with the veil in place I am free to walk about with my Blackberry in public without the feeling that people are staring lustily at my multi-media application. It also covers my shame for not owning an iPhone.’

Some religious groups have welcomed the policy. ‘If Allah had meant us to freely access the Internet He would have given us web browsers in our heads,’ said a local imam, adding ‘There is absolutely no mention of instant messaging in the Koran and at no point did Muhammad, or any of his eleven wives, ever say LOL, ROFL or PMSL.’

It’s rather like spotting racism or sexism in a given document by substituting one ethnic group’s name for that of one not usually subject to abuse and reaslising that, ah, racism doesn’t just happen to black people.

But wait, there’s more:

If the Blackberry burqa is successful it may spread to other countries. However, experts say that dressing your phone in a burqa could result in poor reception, especially in France and Belgium.

The British government has yet to declare an official line on phone burqas although Immigration Minister Damian Green said that to ban them would be ‘very unBritish’. He went on to explain that, ‘the British thing to do, as always, is to grumble and tut.’

As they say, read the whole thing.

[A gentle tip of the hat to Michael Bonner].


  1. HeathG
    Posted August 13, 2010 at 6:15 am | Permalink

    @SL: Actually this isn’t so much a story about the burqa, as a piss-take on Saudi Arabia (and a bunch of other countries) recent proposal to ban Blackberries unless RIM (the Blackberry maker) provides some way for them to read the encrypted communications on Blackberries.

    I think the UAE was even proposing this apply to people passing through the UAE, not just UAE residents or handsets sold there.

    Ironically, what the govt is wanting to do is more like take the burqa off. Blackberry users have had their modesty and privacy protected by the security of Blackberry communications and now various governments want to strip that away so they can more easily monitor what their citizens are doing.

  2. Posted August 13, 2010 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    Like all the best satire, it works on a number of different levels 😉

  3. Miss candy
    Posted August 13, 2010 at 8:24 am | Permalink


  4. HeathG
    Posted August 13, 2010 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    @SL: it does work on more than one level.

  5. Posted August 13, 2010 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    that is amazing

  6. Peter Patton
    Posted August 14, 2010 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    The best commentary I have read on this was an op-ed published in yesterday’s SMH.


  7. Posted August 17, 2010 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    A burqa for your phone so people don’t know you have a shit one. A little like school uniforms.

    I’ll bet Muhammed’s wives did say LOL a lot. An old man with eleven wives can’t help but be a figure of fun.

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