Nov 15, 2011

Don't Call The Burqa Ladies Taliban Women

A couple interesting points that are relatively connected, regarding the issue of women in the public sphere:

1. Rav Ben-Tzion Mutsafi recently answered a question on his ask the rabbi page. The questioner said he wants to ask a question regarding the "Taliban Women". First of all, didn't "our mothers" dress like that? And second of all, some say going like that isnt appropriate in our generation, as it attracts attention. Is one permitted to go like that?

Rav Mutsafi answered: It is a great sin of lashon ha'ra and motzee shem ra to call Jewish women, some of whom might be "disturbed", by the nickname of a terrorist organization that hates Israel, and it is equal to all other sins in the Torah. Doing so is the result of being addicted to the media that incites and pushes people away (RG: from religion presumably) and treats the gedolei yisrael in a degrading fashion. I will not relate to the actual question.

While I do not know why he refused to answer the actual question if it is ok or not to dress that way, I agree with his first point that it is wrong to call them "Taliban women" after the terrorists. They do not act as terrorists and should not be treated that way. In the questioners defense he was probably just thoughtlessly using the name that has become commonly used after being dubbed it by the media.

2. The next step in the campaign against the erasure of women from the public sphere has moved along. The group fighting the erasure has posted posters around Jerusalem with the images of famous women from Israel's history, such as Hannah Senesh, Golda Meir, and Leah Goldberg, with the top of the pictures, their heads, cut off - not cut off like beheaded by guillotine, but left off the picture.


  1. With all do respect to the Rav - I believe it is not only appropriate but necessary to call them "Taliban". Very disappointing that for some reason Jewish women have to look to the most evil ideologies on the planet to emulate "modesty". it is an abomination

  2. they dont look to the Taliban for modesty. they claim this is how Jewish women always dressed, until recently. In Sefardic countries that is probably true for the most part.

  3. I agree with R. Mustafa--they shouldn't be called names.

  4. Rafi
    no way. we ALL live in 2011. They didnt take their grandma's old rope out of the attic...they look around the world and emulate the evils of the barbaric Arab society. they superficially view that as more modest, since it covers more. it is against Jewish values and dont say that Jewish women ever dressed like Arabs. it is historically false. Jews dress like Jews.
    And that is why we should call them the Taliban women. dont emulate evil societies. Emulate the great Jewish society.

  5. There is a possible conflation of Taliban and Al Qaeda. And the reference was not to the support of jihad, which many non-Taliban also support, but to the innovative, overly strict interpretation of Islamic law.

    And in particular, modesty of women:
    The Taliban forced women to wear the burqa in public.[116] They were allowed neither to work nor to be educated after the age of eight, and until then were permitted only to study the Qur'an.[12] They were not allowed to be treated by male doctors unless accompanied by a male chaperon, which led to illnesses remaining untreated. They faced public flogging in the street, and public execution for violations of the Taliban's laws.[37]

    Employment for women was restricted to the medical sector, because male medical personnel were not allowed to look at them. One result of the banning of employment of women by the Taliban was the closing down in places like Kabul of primary schools not only for girls but for boys, because almost all the teachers there were women.[117] Women were required to wear the burqa, a traditional dress covering the entire body except for a small screen to see out of. Taliban restrictions became more severe after they took control of the capital. In February 1998, religious police forced all women off the streets of Kabul, and issued new regulations ordering people to blacken their windows, so that women would not be visible from the outside.[118]

  6. Rafi, just to complete your description of the new campaign, I think it's important to state (you probably just forgot) - the great women portrayed are done so with their heads purposefully not shown. An unpleasant viewing sensation..

    And Josh Waxman, if you don't mind, what is this text you're quoting from?

  7. oops. I thought I wrote that. I think I got distracted looking for a good picture

  8. Thank you. The picture you found (besides your addendum) does the job...

  9. These are absolutely "Taliban" women. First, the Taliban don't just hate Israel and Jews, they hate everyone not exactly like them. Kind of like the Neturei Karta and Satmar.
    Secondly, all this narishkeit was non-existent until the world discovered the existence of the Taliban when they took control of Afghanistan. I can only imagine the folks in Meah Shearim saying "I can't believe it, there are folks frummer than us out there!"
    A Talibanistic society is the dream of these freaks and we should call them what they are.

  10. Rachely:

    the wikipedia page about the Taliban, section 3.2. See here:

    kol tuv,

  11. Thanks, Josh, for the enlightment (despite subsequent *endarkment* in content..). Knowledge per se is (almost) always good. Todah.

  12. Thanks, Josh, for the enlightment (despite subsequent *endarkment* in content..). Knowledge per se is (almost) always good. Todah.

  13. I'm not a fan of this cult, but name-calling dehumanizes people. Let's discuss the issues without demonizing these women.

  14. and if they are trying to dress as our forefathers did, than why don't their husbands, or like minded men walk around in robes, turbans, long staffs, etc? make the argument more authentic.

  15. Mother In Israel, you're right. There's a significant difference between Taliban women and Burka babes. Taliban women are forced to wear dehumanizing outfits that obscure their very existence and devalue them as non-entities. Burka babes choose all that voluntarily!


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