Thursday, May 27, 2010

Bikini vs. Burqa

Last night I finished taping my new show “Front Page” with my co-host Ray Hanania which is a continuation of our older shows we have had in the past few years.

The topic of the show was the new Miss America 2010 Rima Faqih which Ray and I have written two opposing columns on. We have different opinions on this issue which shows diversity and fault lines in terms of how Arab and Muslim cultural thinking is dealing with a much more dominant and imposing Western culture. Ray is more like “hey lets just wear bikinis and be Americans” . The issue for me is that there is much more to freedom than just wearing a bikini or burqa.

Ray, as usual, went on to state his case against what he calls the “ Burqa” a style that only tiny fraction of Muslim women anywhere in the world practice and feel that it is appropriate for them and in some cases a form of protection.

Ray and others want to have these women “to be free”, by advocating that Bikini is an expression of freedom where as Burqa and an expression of “slavery”

The problem here is that, this argument is fallacious because it re-defines the issues that face not only Arab-Americans but also the issues of freedom and democracy in the Arab World as a Burqa Vs. Bikini.

I don’t care if Miss America, Rima Faqih wears a bikini or wears nothing at all. She is proud of her accomplishment so is her family and they ought to be! The “bikini” is apparently is her ticket to freedom, whatever that is, (which is not to say that before that she was pious and all covered up, pole dance aside), to stardom as well as to dating famous American men.. UPI has reported that Rima Faqih new boyfriend is Paris Hilton ex-boyfriend Doug Reinhardt.

Just as Rima has the right to wear whatever she likes to wear, why don’t we extend that right to other women who feel that women are best respected by not being objectified and that their education and advancement in society is their true ticket to better life for themselves and for their families.