To Niqab or Not To Niqab

Why the debate over the veil is much more complicated than you think?

Veils: who are we to judge? Based on the article by Anne Kingston in Maclean’s Magazine, January 17, 2012

No item of female apparel summons more attention, animosity, debate or censure in Western society than the veil covering Muslim women. …

Spain's Supreme Court overturns city's ban on full-face veils

Picture courtesy: http://www.worldbulletin.net

Governments are racing to restrict the veil in its various declensions: hijab, chador, abaya, niqab, burka. France and Belgium banned face-and-body concealing burkas and niqabs last year; similar legislation is in the works in other European countries, echoing campaigns to rid cityscapes of minarets. Last June, Muslim women were singled out by FIFA, the world soccer body, which banned players from wearing Islamic headdresses on the grounds they could cause a “choking injury.” The Canadian federal government drew its first line in the sand last month when Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced a ban on face veils during the swearing-in of the citizenship oath. Quebec’s Bill 94, which would deny essential public services to women in niqabs in the name of “public security, communication and identification,” is wending through the legislature.

So what’s really going on here? Why are women many see as subjugated the ones being censured? Part of what’s driving this is the visceral response a veiled face summons in the West: it’s a mystery and a threat. Unless you’re a surgeon, a goalie, a bride or a belly dancer, masking one’s face is anti-social, a prelude to robbing a bank or attending a Ku Klux Klan meeting. Faces confer identity, legally and socially. Covering them can signal Darth Vader menace. It’s dehumanizing.

Continue reading: http://www2.macleans.ca/2012/01/17/who-are-we-to-judge/

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