A Call to Ban the Full-Face Veil in the U.S. and in Israel

A Call to Ban the Full-Face Veil in the U.S. and in Israel

Ayaan Hirsi Ali has written about her experience seeing Saudi women fully veiled when she was a child … Nancy Kobrin, PhDJoan Lachkar, PhD – Family security Matters  

Muslim Women
 As psychoanalysts, we are addressing the psychological implications of wearing a full-face veil. It is well known from psychological research and infant and human developmental psychology that contact with the mother’s face is of crucial importance. The importance of eye contact with the mother’s gaze is substantiated by the research and writings of such famous researchers as Anna Freud, Melanie Klein, Margaret Mahler, Otto Kernberg, Mary Ainsworth, Beatrice Beebe, John Bowlby, Daniel Stern and others who have made major contributions to the study of attachment disorders. This is further confirmed by Ayaan Hirsi Ali that the full-face veil is terrifying to children. Babies and children are in constant need to be able to read the nonverbal, covert body language messages of their mother’s face. It goes without saying that the kind of message that the full-face veil communicates to the infant is that the mother’s gaze is cut off and therefore uninvolved or concerned with the infant’s well being. To the public too the mother has been erased, so to speak, from being part of civil society, an individual demanding and deserving recognition and respect. The full-face veil communicates hatred and terror of the female. This is not a good message to communicate to a baby. Beatrice Beebe, Ph.D. cites an article entitled “Mother-Infant Research:  Mother-Impact Treatment”  (pdf) based on endless clinical researchers as mentioned above, noting the importance of the “dyadic view”  or the  face to face non-verbal communication between mother and her infant. The face to face interaction is most relevant for communication as well as for social development. A depressed or stressed mother runs the risk of insecure and dysfunctional attachment to her infant. One can imagine the relevance this has to a Muslim mother forced to hide her face with a full-face veil. Ayaan Hirsi Ali has written about her experience seeing Saudi women fully veiled when she was a child: And all the women in this country were covered in black. They were humanlike shapes. The front of them were black and the back of them was black too. You could see which way they were looking only by the direction their shoes pointed. We could tell they were women because the lady who was holding our hands tightly to prevent us from wandering off was covered in black, too. You could see her face, because she was Somali. Saudi women had no faces. We pulled away and ran over to the black shapes. We stared up at them, trying to make out where their eyes could be. One raised her hand, gloved in black, and we shrikes, “They have hands!” We pulled faces at her. We were truly awful, but what we were seeing was so alien, so sinister, that we were trying to tame it, make it less awful. (Infidel, p. 40) The second point we wish to make about the full-face veil concerns the security risk. The full-face veil is not only terrorizing to little children but it becomes a gross security risk. In our analysis the full-face veil is an insidious form of Islamic extremism’s seemingly benign behavior which hides under the guise of “religious freedom.” The full-face veil is a passive aggressive tactic predicated on the submission of the devalued female, and is also an affront to Western women. What follows are other implications regarding the ability to form healthy attachments which are prerequisites for developing empathy for others. The lack of empathy characterizes the extremist Islamic ideologies such as Hamas or Hizbollah, that is killing the kufar, the nonbeliever. Beginning in utero to age three, the growth of the baby’s brain doubles if not quadruples in size. This is the time when the motherboard of the baby’s mind is made, when mirror neurons are put in place to develop empathy. If the maternal attachment is not healthy the baby will falter. This is not to blame the mother but to understand the serious nature of her task and the daunting conditions under which she lives. The abuse of the female in any culture has horrific ramifications for which society ultimately pays the price in violence. The need to hate and the need to have an enemy is in place by age three. The full-face veil runs counter to the serious task of developing empathy and giving up violence as a solution to one’s problems. It is unfortunate that the most influential of all Muslim countries, Saudi Arabia, fails to comprehend how the full-face veil is damaging to its very own citizens and the next generations. The full-face veil is becoming omnipresent, more and more we encounter this in the U.S. and even in Israel. It is about time that America and Israel follow the path of France and Holland by banning the full-face veil. Muslim women in black full-face veils and burqas down to the black gloves with infants and little children in tow, is not only a growing occurrence but unacceptable to our way of life and the way we wish to raise our children. Just imagine what would happen to the macho male Muslim if the burqa were taken away, they would be subject to the power of the women, her sexuality as well as her motherhood and her maternal capacities. Make no doubt about it, the Muslim men hiding behind these women do not have good intentions, more a way of domination for their own self serving purposes and even worse the sacrifice of their own children — abuse, trauma, deprivation and suffering. It is time to ban the full-face veil in America and Israel. FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributor Dr. Nancy Kobrin, a psychoanalyst with a Ph.D. in romance and Semitic languages, specializes in Aljamía and Old Spanish in Arabic script. She is an expert on the Minnesota Somali diaspora and a graduate of the Human Terrain System program at Leavenworth Kansas. Her new book is The Banality of Suicide Terrorism: The Naked Truth About the Psychology of Islamic Suicide Bombing.  FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributor Dr. Joanie Jutta Lachkar is a licensed Marriage and Family therapist in private practice in Brentwood and Tarzana, California, who teaches psychoanalysis and is the author of The Narcissistic/Borderline Couple: A Psychoanalytic Perspective on Marital Treatment (1992, The Many Faces of Abuse: Treating the Emotional Abuse of High -Functioning Women (1998), The V-Spot, How to Talk to a Narcissist, How to Talk to a Borderline and a recent  paper, “The Psychopathology of Terrorism”  presented at the Rand Corporation and  the International Psychohistorical Association. She is also an affiliate member of the New Center for Psychoanalysis.

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