The Burqa – To Ban or Not to Ban?

How much of a threat can fully veiled Muslim women pose? Yasmeen Aftab Ali poses this question at the beginning of her new article in Pakistan Today.

In recent years, countries such as France, Bulgaria, Egypt, Chad and Morocco have banned the burqa on the grounds that it poses a “security concern” or that the garment represents a symbol of oppression. Australia is also apparently moving ahead to ban the burqa.

Ali notes that there is a school of thought within the Western first world feminist movement which states that Islamic veils infringe upon a woman’s rights. She also discusses a second school of thought within the same movement which points out that a woman’s appearance ought to be dictated by her own wishes.

I am a critic of the ban. Ali points to an article that I wrote in the Huffington Post. She writes:

“Craig Considine, speaking in the Western context, points out that this ban will not assist in ensuring that Muslims integrate into Western societies. Rather, it will force a woman to abandon her culture and traditions and it will not help in achieving gender equality. Doing the same, he argues, will pressurise a Muslim woman to conform to the objectification of women’s bodies in the West and while he argues against any government demanding that women wear the burqa, he strongly supposes a woman’s own free choice to wear a full body veil.”

In conclusion, Ali writes that “while the ban may be sensible in light of security concerns… the other reasons pushed forward to support the ban seem unconvincing. For, as Considine points out, a full ban on burqas is as deplorable as the Taliban demanding that woman entirely cover themselves up. The question, he argues, to be asked is, ‘Are we actually like them.'”

What are your thoughts on the burqa and how governments have legislated or not legislated against the garment? Leave your thoughts in the comment section.

3 thoughts on “The Burqa – To Ban or Not to Ban?

  1. I’m agreed with your liberal thinking article in 2014.
    I don’t have any veil or wear burqa, but some of my friends have it freely
    This ban is a kind of cultural imperialist attitude together with disrespectful application on the others’ life style based on their faith that serves to human beings in good way if anyone didn’t bother them
    After that, any Muslims wouldn’t open their peaceful door to whoever applies this unfair banning
    Hoping most of ppl responded the question asked in your thoughtful article written in 2014


  2. The very essence of the face veil is not one that has its roots in threatening the safety of anyone, nor when a need for identification arises, do the wearers deny officials their right for verification. Since this is the case, as with any other article of clothing, or lack thereof, how can a government possibly interfere in a woman’s choice of clothing?! Frankly, the notion of dictating how a woman should perceive her dress to be, (I.e. Oppressive, submissive, etc.), is a form of oppression itself and stems from the same male – chauvinistic mentality that the western lens perceives the ‘oppressive Middle Eastern’ governments to be. To sum it all up, for a GOVERNMENT to force a woman to cover or to not cover is just the same: both are equally oppressive. Covered women are not begging for liberation….only naive and shallow eyes behold only a flap of cloth, and not the admirable personal spiritual struggles and beliefs it represents.
    I wish for once when a woman came to do something good in the world, onlookers would think first about what she had to say, present, her intellect, conduct, character…and nitpick less on appearance.
    The fact that as a nation we’re still stuck on the physical aspects, just goes to show how deep our care and aspirations for our women go. Sadly, only skin, or burqa deep.

    Thanks for the great article as always and an opportunity to talk about this👍🏻


  3. I just stumbled upon Mr. Considine’s writings while researching a topic and I am so happy to read words that lead us to understanding, love, and unity. I finally hear someone say that a complete ban on burqas and veils would be a violation of that woman’s right to wear what she wants and forcing this ban leads her to “abandon her culture and traditions and it will not help in achieving gender equality”. As an American Catholic, I agree that we need to find what unites us, not what divides us. Love is the most important.


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