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.