Wednesday, March 11, 2009


chador [CHUD-ər]
n. the traditional garment of Muslim women, consisting of a long, usually black or drab-colored cloth or veil that envelops the body from head to foot and covers all or part of the face.

[Originally Hindi, to Persian chaddar, chādur ("veil, sheet")]

A few years ago, at a dog park in Davis, I recall a woman -- I presume it was a woman, but who knows what's under that kind of a garment -- walking through, wearing a chador, covering her from head to toe. A yappy small dog spotted this medieval picture passing by and ran up to her and barked deleriously, as if the pooch were protecting the rest of us from this alien who dropped in from 1,400 years ago. The lady under the black sheet was understandably frightened and let out one of those weird high-pitched cackles that only Arab women seem able to sound.

It's amazing to me that in a free country any woman would wear such a horrible, ugly and demeaning outfit. The only thing I can figure is that a woman who does so here is under the threat of violence from her husband or family, or she has been thoroughly brainwashed by her religion's moronic customs. In countries like Iran, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan (where the chador is called a burqa, but is the same thing), it's not just the threat of being beaten or killed by her husband or brainwashing; those terrible territories have religious police which enforce the strictures of their stupid cultures. They will arrest a woman if too much of her arms, for example, are showing in public.

The obvious intention of the Muslim men who designed the chador into their effed up religion was to oppress women, to keep them from freely participating in the public arena. That attitude, rife in almost all Muslim countries, derives from the idea that a man owns his wife, that she is his personal property, like a goat or a mule. Because of that, she cannot have her own ideas or make her own decisions. She cannot even be seen by other men, lest they might lust after her and threaten the property of her husband. What a total piece of shit the "modern" Islamic world is.

The tradition of women being completely covered from head to toe is not enforced in all Muslim countries. But even the most modern of them force women to wear a headscarf, known as a hijab (pronounced hĭ-JOB), in public. The word hijab (literally "cover" or "curtain") has the broader meaning of modesty, and in that sense applies to Muslim men and women. Of course, it is one thing to be modest -- to not dress like a whore -- and another to drape a woman in an oppressive sheet, so she cannot express herself or be seen by others.

In a recent article in Slate, the noted anti-Islamist Christopher Hitchens decried this practice:
It might also help if the Muslim hadith did not prescribe the death penalty for anyone trying to abandon Islam—one could then be surer who was a sincere believer and who was not, or (as with the veil or the chador in the case of female adherents) who was a volunteer and who was being coerced by her family.

The hadith (pronounced huh-DEETH) Hitchens refers to is "a report of the sayings or actions of Muhammad or his companions, together with the tradition of its chain of transmission." In practice, the hadith is "the way of life prescribed for Muslims on the basis of the teachings and practices of Muhammad and interpretations of the Koran." There is another Arabic word, sunna (pronounced SOON-uh and meaning "customary practice"), which is synonymous.

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