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To ban or not to ban Burqa

I’ve heard many stories that Christians in Afghanistan and Pakistan have to wear a badge to distinguish them, and we know that Christian women have to wear a veil if she were to enter a mosque or if she was to walk in the street in some countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran.

If the first one about Christians in Pakistan and Afghanistan is right then the law is a bigot. The second one is right with the exception to some cities or compounds where people can enjoy their freedom as for other cities where it’s not allowed to walk without a veil I think it’s their right to do so at least because the society out there are not ready to see any part of the body other than the toes therefore they cannot break this protocol yet.

Now it's their turn to put laws and force to respect protocols not to distinguish us but to have us integrated in society, BBC World Have Your say running a poll and taking people comments about banning Burqa in Netherlands where I found many interesting opinions about the proposed ban.

Dr. H. Lauer
As a visitor throughout Afghanistan and Iran in the 1970s I put on a chadoor and burkha voluntarily to be around mosques. As a woman (from the USA) I found it a refreshing and liberating experience to be able to move around in public without being eyed as a sex object, which is the way I was brought up in a liberal westernized society where the size of my bottom and the shape of my chest determines my social worth. Guys, get a grip on why you resent so much women covering up in public. It is one way for us to overcome your social domination. Too bad. But it's true.

Indeed it helps to avoid being eyed as a sex object but it's still not clear to me what is the different between Niqab and Burqa and the comparison becoming harder and harder if we add Niqab, Burqa, Khimar, Chador, Hijab, Shayla to the list, you might think that these are just words referring to the same thing but it is not.

A flickr fellah have collection of four illustration that helped to understand the difference between them.

But now things aren't any simpler, Are they going to ban Burqa and leave Niqab? or do they refer to ban both of them? to me the only difference I can see between them is that with Niqab you can see women's eyes but not with Burqa, HEY LADIES is that kind of fashion style or is it the Burqa used in Afghanistan because of the heavy dust ? so it works as a religious symbol and eye protection, for me it sounds like it started Niqab and ended by Burqa because of the weather or ohh I don't know but I can't see why a dressmaker would make that style of Burqa

I am a Canadian woman living in Amsterdam. In principle i am against the burqa as an oppression of woman, and a barrier to integration, however, I am a firm believer in democracy. The Netherlands should put this to a referendum and let the people decide.

Tamara's opinion is also right because people might be annoyed by Burqa especially when they aren't used to seeing it, as according to Gerard who has been in for 20 years I've seen a burqa once or twice so why they are annoyed anyway? if the very minority wear it then it shouldn't be a problem unless there is no laws to protect minorities rights and if its that big then it should be acceptable as they are representing large scope of the population.

Michael commenting on the live interviews that BBC did in Amsterdam and it seems he's annoyed because they have interviewed men but not women when the issue is more related to women life

You have been talking about burkas for 45 minutes. Virtually all participants have been men. Do you expect anyone to take this seriously?

Michael add

Burkas are being presented as oppressive to women. Here in Amsterdam there are thousands of women walking around half naked. Does it ever occur to anyone that naked women are even more oppressed?

but I guess men has something to say when it comes to Burqa, for I want "WYSIWYG" (what you see is what you get), I don't want any surprises, maybe I can live with the Niqab but not Burqa.

Makes me ashamed to be a Dutchman. What happened to centuries of tolerance? Perhaps we need another 1941 strike in support of a different minority!

I'm not sure if I can talk about Hans's comment as I've never been to Netherlands and I don't know about the centuries of tolerance but in my country it's very acceptable to wear your favourite flavour of head cover but Burqa would look weird while Khimar is just fine.

[tags] burqa, khimar, hijab, chador, shayla, ban, Netherlands, Holland, bbc [/tags]


  1. Islamic 'covers' have become a matter of interpretation. the overwhelming majority of the Islamic world interpret what's in the Quran and what the Prophet pbuh instructed as what we know as hijab, bottom right in that diagram.

    Everything else seems to revolve around stricter interpretation...and in my opinion its all pretty much invention, but this is my opinion.

    As for "distinguishing badges", it is basically unIslamic to impose any sort of cover on non-Muslims. Although it is respectful for a non-Muslim entering a mosque to wear it out of nothing more than respect. The reason men grow beards and cut their hair short is to distinguish themselves from non-Muslims and this is a sunnah as opposed to a fard which implies distinguishing badges are imposed on Muslims not the other way around. That being said, the hijab's purpose is not to act as such a badge.

    as for banning...

    western nations have a right to establish their own set of rules and laws for their citizens. any nation has that right. if people don't like it then they should leave. the same time a country should not boast about its limitless freedoms while denying a certain people their right to freedom of expression. but again, only when that specific right is gaurenteed to all citizens constitutionally and/or legally. upholding it for all is essential.

  2. I disagree with people who think head coverings should be banned. It is a woman's expression of her interpretation of her faith. Even I, as a Christian cover my head when I pray. I appreciate the freedom we have here in Jordan to cover (or not cover) as our convictions direct us.

  3. I keep going back to this...IF niqab was required in Islam, then it would be so when performing Hajj. Hajj requirements say that at the point of ihram, the face cannot be covered. So I share Nas his is an invention...

    Covering the hair is an entirely different issue...Burq/Niqab is covering your face which is basically being masked...which, to me, despite freedom of choice, expression or what have you, is ridiculous...and in a serious way could be a threat to public safety!

  4. Hi All, is there 100% litracy and comfort in that place?Can they assure the rest of the world that there's not even a single human being in their country who sleeps half stomach? For heavens sake first concentrate on improving the socity and not scrapping others religous sentiments.



  5. La Casa nel ~Mare~ » Solo oggetti sessualiMarch 15, 2008 at 4:22 PM

    [...] molto interessanti sulla condizione delle donne nella societ?† musulmana: Why is Islami Hijab, To ban or not to ban a burqua, e una bella e chiarificatrice testimonianza di un’ex musulmana: A modest proposal. [...]

  6. I have a question which one of the headdresses do normal Muslim girls (adolescent) wear in America or Australia??

    its up to the women to decide if they want to wear different headdresses no one should force them to wear or restrict them from wearing anything. Although in the matter of civil cases such as court they must be required to show as much of their face that can be identified.

  7. Belle
    I'm not sure what's popular in Australia or America, Never been there :-)

    I totally agree with your first point and as for the second one Islam says Hijab is a must and Hijab does show the face and you can easily identify the person wearing Hijab.

    but if a case like security rises maybe they have the right to ask her to take it off for the purpose of identification and/or scanning for security but this should not happen if they don't have female staff to identify/scan the Hijabi women at least for the sake of respect to her choice.

  8. I am not Muslim, but I think women should have the choice to decide whether or not to wear a burqa. I sometimes wish I could wear a burqa. I am a very shy person that sometimes finds people just looking at my eyes to be intrusive upon my being. I would feel more psychologically protected and private in a burqa. If I had a husband that treated me well I would not mind wearing a burqa for him.

  9. Yvonne
    They are not and no one should force them to do that; it's just a religious protocol like you cannot swim in Jeans or you hat off when entering a church or you shouldn't smoke where it's forbidden.


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