I once wore a burka. But I did not wear it as Pauline Hanson did this week, which was to attract attention to herself and her campaign to ban such garments. I wore it because, as a teenage Muslim girl who had enlisted in the Muslim Brotherhood, I was desperate to affirm my modesty and religious faith.
The burka is a garment that is designed to cover the whole body of a woman. Two main lines of argument are put forward for such shrouding. Both have their roots in Islam.
The first is purely religious and is a part of what I call the modesty doctrine. In this view a girl turns into a woman as soon as she starts to menstruate. From then on her entire body, including her face, hands and feet, her voice, her scent and sound are seen as a provocation of male sexual desire. A woman is modest if she does all in her power to avoid such provocation. She is deemed immodest if she is careless in the unwanted effects of her attributes or mere presence.