Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Banning the Burqa: What’s Really Being Hid?

“After a hard day at work, an Afghan working woman usually changes out of her uniform, applies her lipstick, a dab of mascara, and a dusting of eye shadow and then she puts on her powder blue burqa and commutes home,” writes Kiko Itasaka, an NBC News producer in her blogging at NBC’ Blog. (http://worldblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2010/05/14/4376895-under-that-burqa-lipstick-and-high-heels).

Burqa, a full-body covered black gown and hijab (‘niqab’) a head/ face-covered scarf are modest Muslim styles of dress in general which were introduced into Arabia long before Muhammad, primarily through Arab contacts with Syria and Iran, where the veil was a sign of social status. [See: Ahmed, Leyla (1992). Women and Gender in Islam: Historical Roots of a Modern Debate. New Haven: Yale University Press. ISBN 0300055838.]

Wearing a ‘burqa,’ for a woman, is also not a pleasant experience.

When she moved to Saudi Arabia, Nesrine Malik, a girl originally from Sudan but living in London, had to wear a burqa and she tells of her experiences with that full-length cloak in her blog (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/personal-view/7896536/Burka-ban-Why-must-I-cast-off-the-veil.html). She commented, “On a practical level, it was cumbersome, hot, and uncomfortable. Eating or drinking in public became a chore, as food has to be maneuvered gingerly under the veil or taken abruptly in small bites. In Saudi’s overwhelming heat, temperatures regularly reach 45C and any physical outdoor activity, even walking, is out of the question. I became anti-social, hardly able to wait until I got home before tearing off the ghastly garb.”

In Kabul, more than half of the women wear burqas, while outside of Kabul, virtually all women are clad in head-to-toe covering. It was an astonishing fact for me that during my Bangladesh visit a few years ago, I found none of the women wearing burqas and very few in ‘niqab’ or ‘hijab’ on the streets of Dhaka and Chattogram or even in Cox Bazar. But during my visit to Kerala, I saw the majority of Muslim women walking on the street wearing that black long gown, covering their total body. One of my writer friends told me that these types of scenes were not common in Calicut at least fifteen years ago and the tendency to wear has been growing after the demolition of Babri mosque. After that evil incident, Indian Muslims suffered from an identity crisis and started to accept all religious conservatism as their mark of religious identity. I haven’t visited Pakistan, so it is difficult for me to say what is the status of Burqa there, but I encountered a question asked by an internet user at ‘Yahoo Answers’ site. The user has asked, “I went to India and Pakistan respectively for vacation and surprisingly to my knowledge, I expected Pakistani women to be dressed very ‘Islam-like,’ but from what I've seen, they were all mixing in with men with no head-scarfs on their heads, let alone burqas. Isn't Pakistan an Islamic state?” (See: http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20110417132757AAxwwfo)

I have an idea that the ‘burqa’ was imposed on women when the Taliban took over the country in 1996, but Kiko Itasaka says it was accepted by Afghanistan women before the Taliban when the Northern Alliance took control of Kabul in 1992. It was accepted as a tool to protect them from unwanted male attention as that was the time of violent crimes, many of them committed against women. (See: http://salaamafghanistan.blogspot.com/2004_07_04_salaamafghanistan_archive.html) I don’t know whether it is American propaganda or not but in India we are reading in news that the fundamentalist Muslim militants in Kashmir issue ‘fatwa’ from time to time that wearing ‘burqa’ for women is an essential of the female dress code. Recently in this year, Sesto San Giovanni, a small town in Italy, made national headlines after it decided to ban women from wearing burqas and to which Muslim women of Italy, who generally do not prefer ‘burqa’ came on the street to protest the authority’s decision stating that it is an unfair and unnecessary attack on their freedom of expression.

Recently in several European countries, a tendency to ban this full-body covering burqa or the face-covering ‘hijab’ has been seen and as governments there are trying to outlaw this dress code, which is pushing many countries toward a debate. At the end of April, the Belgian Parliament agreed unanimously on a law that would forbid full veiling in public. But the law must still be approved by the Belgian senate. France is set to be the second European country, after Belgium, to declare the full veil illegal in public places. The French cabinet introduced a bill that would also ban face-covering in public. If parliament agrees on the measure, wearing a burqa or a hijab could carry a fine of 150 euro (about US$188). Besides these two countries, other states like the Netherlands, Italy, Austria, Denmark, Switzerland and Great Britain also intend to introduce a bills in their respective law-making bodies calling for bans on burqas. But the European Council has voiced opposition to the burqa-ban ambitions of these countries and the European Council's Human Rights Commissioner, Thomas Hammarberg, has warned that a burqa ban would only increase the tension between religious communities. According to him, “two rights in the convention are particularly relevant. One is the right to respect for one's private life and personal identity (Article 8). The other is the freedom to manifest one's religion or belief ‘in worship, teaching, practice and observance’ (Article 9). Both articles specify that these human rights can only be subject to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are notably necessary in a democratic society in the interests of public safety, for the protection of public order, health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.” (See http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/mar/08/europe-ban-burqa-veil)

Interestingly enough the burqa was abolished from Egypt after the eminent Egyptian feminist Hoda Shaarawi started a movement against wearing veil for women in 1923. The movement was so successful that in 1958, an article published in the United Press Service stated that “the veil is unknown here.” [See: United Press Service (UP) (26 January 1958). "Egypt's Women Foil Attempt to Restrict". Sarasota Herald-Tribune (114): p. 28]. But the veil returned back to Egypt again and in 2007, Michael Slackman, a correspondent for the New York Times, wrote in its 28 January 2007 issue ("In Egypt, a New Battle Begins Over the Veil") that 90 percent of Egyptian women wore a headscarf or a hijab.

In South Asian and Southeast Asian countries, any type of veil for women was not in tradition. In 1994, the Malayasian Supreme Court said in a historic ruling that any type of veil or purdah, “has nothing to do with (a woman's) constitutional right to profess and practice her Muslim religion, because Islam does not make it obligatory to cover the face”. But later, during the rise of Muslim conservatism, the religious fundamentalists introduced ‘burqa’ and ‘hijab.

Interesting to note, Tunisia, Turkey, and Syria are some Muslim countries which have imposed ban on wearing burqa for school and university students. Recently, Syria has lifted its ban after the 2011 Syrian Protests. So it is also a fact to remember that all Muslims are not standing in unity with such veils but if anyone forcefully tries to impose a ban, it may gather an emotional attachment with these religious dress codes and people may return to the uncharacteristic cloak as happened in Egypt in the past.

But the question is why are these European countries really showing such interests in banning a burqa and other clothing identified with the Muslim faith? Do most of women show their obligations to these religious dress codes? Many Muslim women born and brought up in European countries do not show any fascination toward these veils. But enforcing any law to prevent these veils may create a crisis in their identity and they can feel themselves to be eliminated from mainstream.

I think it is totally undemocratic to dictate any code of living to anyone. Democracy means freedom of choice! If anyone has freedom to wear jeans, they should also have the freedom to wear ‘burqa.’ Leave women to wear what they want.

If we look at the history of the initiative in France, it was started with a secular view not against only burqa and hijab but also to prohibited all religious garb, including large Christian crosses, Jewish yarmulkes, and Sikh turbans. But the law was enacted with the specific intent to eliminate the Muslim hijab, or headscarf, from French public school classrooms. In March 2004, the French Parliament passed a new law that makes it illegal for students to wear any clothing or symbols that “exhibit conspicuously a religious affiliation” in public schools. On June 22, 2009, during his address to both houses at the Chateau of Versailles, French President Nicolas Sarkozy sparked controversy by saying the burqa is unwelcome on French soil and a violation of “the French Republic's idea of women's dignity.” President Sarkozy's remarks arrived on the heels of a call by cross-party members of Parliament, led by Communist Andre Gerin. The Parliament demanded a parliamentary commission be established to investigate an increasing trend of Muslim women in France wearing the burqa and to determine whether the burqa was compatible with “French secularism.” As a result, a parliamentary commission was created by the French National Assembly, which included 32 members of Parliament from various political parties. After a five-month study, the commission submitted a report stating that “the wearing of the full veil is a challenge to our Republic. . . . We must condemn this excess.” The commission did not call for legislation to outlaw the burqa in public spaces out of constitutional concerns, but did request that Parliament adopt a resolution calling the burqa “contrary to the values of the Republic.”

France’s attitude towards banning burqa or hijab made some fundamentalist intellectuals in Britain (there are a few judiciary people are also attached to the organization) started to celebrate Interantional Hijab Day on September 4 every year [Please see: http://www.mcb.org.uk/features/features.php?ann_id=386 ] Though Bangladeshi women were not fond of these type of veils, extremist intellectuals were trying to make a global protest for protecting their Muslim culture.

I never think these types of laws are motivated with the idea of feminism but rather, are more Islamophobia and resurgent nationalist sentiment which contribute to outlaw this religious dress code. It is no doubt that Islamic radicalism is a deeply disturbing danger developing in Europe. There is every chance that the of using this cloak may disguise any terrorist and it should be harmful. But we have to remember that accessing one’s face and banning ‘burqa’ are not standing at the same point. State authorities should have the right to check and verify the person disguised under that cloak. But no state should have the full authority to interfere in an individual’s choice and cultural beliefs of any citizen. To legislate against the extremes would be a highly intrusive extension of authority. But to mobilise the mechanism of the state to tackle Islamic fundamentalism via cracking down on the face veil is not the answer, in my opinion. To force a female to remove her veil is just as subjugating as forcing her to wear it. It then becomes a question of numbers: should the behavior of five percent create prejudice or discrimination for the other 95 percent?

In French there is a term ‘Laicite’ which sometimes used in English as "laicity" and dictionaries ordinarily translate laïcité as secularity or secularism. But the term is not exact to ‘secularism.’ To solve the church-state conflicts in Europe, Pope Gelasius I established the doctrine called “Gelasian Dualism,” which denotes with regard to temporal issues, the priest must obey the emperor and in spiritual matters, the emperor must obey the priest. This theory would later develop into the theory of laicism. If we replace the term ‘church’ with the term ‘religious belief’ in this doctrine, then the state should be obliged to allow ‘burqa’ and the ‘burqa-dressed individual should be obliged to obey the state. The state authority should then have a right to access the face or search the ‘burqa’ whenever the cloak poses a safety risk to the person wearing it and those around them.

I think each culture has things that make it special. Why should that right be taken away because a small fraction of the members of that culture ruin it for that culture?

What I find more a gender bias in this law is that this ban, in fact, would reduce the equality between men and women — whereas men are allowed to wear whatever they want, women again have their rights restrained. It is foolishness to think that by making any law or dress code, the institution making its rules can make people obey and follow as dictated. Rather, it usually serves to ignite emotions and increase the impulsive alienated attitude among some communities.

If Toronto can witness ‘slut walk’ for high heels or mini skirts, why couldn’t Europe encounter a march for the veil or ‘veil walk’ in the coming days? It DOES raise interesting questions.

(While blogging on this topic, I asked my Facebook friends whether ‘burqa’ should be banned or not and what they shared with me as their comments and opinions are being posted with FEMININE-FRAGRANCE. It’s needn’t to say that the comments are neither edited nor moderated.)

24 comments:

  1. This is not at all a religious issue. This is a social issue. If we can bring law against “Dowry”, “Child Marriage”, “Sati Pratha” etc. crime and suppression being carried out against women in the name of “religion” and “cultural” practices, then why can’t we ban “Burqa”. We have also demolished so called “cultural” and “social” sanction against “Widow Marriage” also being practiced against women in the name of “religion” and culture. I am against all the above oppressive “malpractices” being carried out against women in the name of “religion” and culture and also the male polygamy in the name of “religion” and so called “with permission forms the first wife”. Like wise we have many malpractices being carried out in the name of “religion” and “culture” e.g. the “Khap Panchayat” etc. We have been successful in minimizing and curbing many such social evils in the past and we will be successful in banning “Burqa” too. Like Muslim male are like my brothers, Muslim women are my sisters and I have every right to raise my voice against social evils like above, especially suppression and crime being committed against women. These are the forms of “Moral Corruption” and I am against corruption in any form and level.


    Time is changing. Women are allowed in workplace. How can they work with Burqa? It is inconvenient and most women are not happy. Most women find it inconvenient. This is not interfering into a religion. I respect some of the religious practices are scientific but Burqa is not at all scientific it is not religious at all. Just because men do crime against women it doesn't mean women should be veiled and kept in homes arrest. That's wrong. Tell me where is science in wearing Burqa. It’s not scientific neither is it religious it is just 'social' and gender bias. I am not interfering I consider Muslim as my brethren and there nothing first or last society has to be inclusive.

    If men are doing crime against women, men should be punished not the women. It's like double crime against women the other men do crime and her own man oppresses her at home by veiling her and keeping her in closed walls. Of course there are many social evils which we must curb but Burqa is also a social evil and oppression against women and we must try to eliminate it too. Even men don’t wear your caps and pictures are banned in Islam then why they take pictures? This is called male chauvinisms and hypocrisy at its height. We choose laws from our religion what is convenient to us and we try to ignore what is inconvenient at our will but when it comes to oppressing weaker classes in our society we are strict in following religious laws. This is sheer hypocrisy nothing else.

    Time is changing medieval laws can not apply in today's world you just accept what is convenient to you. Why do you watch TV, use photograph and go to cinema to watch movie?

    Just on your convenience you accept and reject any laws in Islam. You wear jeans, you don't have beard, you don't wear your cap, you don't have that Gamchha on your shoulder and still you want women to follow such oppressive laws as Burqa?! This is not done. This is not fair

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  2. Burqa is reminiscent of medieval oppression of women. Must not it must it be banned immediately but should also be deleted from the human psyche forever! It is another negativity of our global society which I vehemently detest. Global=all religion, cast, creed, nationality and even gender!

    This is not at all a religious issue. This is a social issue. If we can bring law against “Dowry”, “Child Marriage”, “Sati Pratha” etc. i.e. crime and suppression being carried out against women in the name of “religion” and “cultural” practices, then why can’t we ban “Burqa”. We have also demolished so called “cultural” and “social” sanction against “Widow Marriage” also being practiced against women in the name of “religion” and culture.

    Time is changing. Women are allowed in workplace. How can they work with Burqa? It is inconvenient and most women are not happy. Most women find it inconvenient. This is not interfering into a religion. I respect some of the religious practices are scientific but Burqa is not at all scientific it is not religious at all. Just because men do crime against women it doesn't mean women should be veiled and kept in homes arrest. That's wrong. Tell me where is science in wearing Burqa. It’s not scientific neither is it religious it is just 'social' and gender bias. I am not interfering I consider Muslim as my brethren and there nothing first or last society has to be inclusive.

    If men are doing crime against women, men should be punished not the women. It's like double crime against women the other men do crime and her own man oppresses her at home by veiling her and keeping her in closed walls. Of course there are many social evils which we must curb but Burqa is also a social evil and oppression against women and we must try to eliminate it too. Even men don’t wear your caps and pictures are banned in Islam then why they take pictures? This is called male chauvinisms and hypocrisy at its height. We choose laws from our religion what is convenient to us and we try to ignore what is inconvenient at our will but when it comes to oppressing weaker classes in our society we are strict in following religious laws. This is sheer hypocrisy nothing else.

    Time is changing medieval laws can not apply in today's world you just accept what is convenient to you. Why do you watch TV, use photograph and go to cinema to watch movie?

    Just on your convenience you accept and reject any laws in Islam. You wear jeans, you don't have beard, you don't wear your cap, you don't have that Gamchha on your shoulder and still you want women to follow such oppressive laws as Burqa?! This is not fair. This is not done!

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  3. I think each culture has things that make it special. Why should that right be taken away because a small fraction of the members of that culture ruin it for that culture?

    I strongly agree with you,which i have copied and pasted from your article.

    Now a days i am awfully busy,but however i spare time to go through your article,but not able to chat with you,i beg pardon for your for this matter.

    with affection

    vinay

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  4. Individual choice in dress must be honoured but it must conform to the socio cultural ethos.

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  5. The ban is nothing but a slap on the face of modern society. The women should be left to decide whether they want to wear burqa or not. You cannot convince the people by putting restrictions on them.

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  6. ...the question is whether women have any say in the society....should not we strengthen their cause by brining in the laws....?

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  7. Touchy subject... My question: What if someone who don't respect reasons for wearing a burqa, or no religious or cultural affiliation, commits a crime... who do you search for?
    A man or woman, what is the Identity of said person? Where do you go? Now wearing a burqa becomes the Profile for crimes... Not for or against any discrimination, but understanding criminals look for ways to exploit getting away... and, it will be used as a weapon it just a matter of time.
    From my social experience in the Western world, you could commit as many bank robberies as you can and get away it... with all the cameras only thing they are going to see is the burqa moving around and a voice, "give me all your money!", the police," did you see his face?"

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  8. Lisa Ericsson11:42 AM

    Your discussion on the burqa and its implications is of great significance, reflecting the complexity of the question. I especially enjoyed reading the educative examples from different countries and regions.

    It was mainly two pivotal aspects that came to me when reading your text.
    First, you write that is undemocratic to dictate to women what to wear. I agree. However, the West has historically seen the veil as a threat to democracy (Ahmed, Leyla. 1992). This is related to what you also write in the same section, namely : “Leave women to wear what they want”. Here I would like to add a dimension of freedom. How free are women de facto to make that choice? Although the veil has meant social status for women in the old days, today we face a very different role for the veiled woman. Women must veil so that they feel protected against men who are blinded by sexual urges. This is very provocative. Why should women cover themselves when men enjoy the freedom of light and practical clothing? In my experience, in many cases it is the men who, directly or indirectly, dictate to women to wear a burqa, even those men who are not fundamentalists. If a woman feels unsafe in society and around men, is it not then something wrong with society and the men? And I guess we could also pose the question in a different way; are women free to choose not to wear the veil today?
    This is not solely a Non-Western problem; we in the West and Europe experience the same problem although in a different form. This too you highlight by referring to “the slutty walk”. But I believe, as another Egyptian feminist, Nawal al-Saadawi has stated, in the West women struggle with sexual commercialization of their bodies and in other parts women struggle with political religious fundamentalism expressed via veiling. What we in both cases are dealing with is “pseudo freedom”; women are still not free to make choices whether it is patriarchy or capitalism that control the women’s bodies.
    http://womensspace.wordpress.com/2007/02/07/nawal-al-saadawi-war-against-women-women-against-war-waging-war-on-the-mind/

    Secondly, you highlight the fact that Western governments are attempting to impose this law on women. It is a very common enterprise, especially among Western feminists, to “save our less fortunate sisters”. This is very interesting for in this case it is in fact not a matter of concern about female oppression. It is, like you state, more likely to be Islamophobia or a new form of paternalistic imperialism. We fear this veiled in black woman who represents “the Other”. To gain control of this fear we attempt to control it. Throughout history this is a common and recurring phenomena, the instrumentalization and symbolization of women and women’s rights.

    Finally, is a law motivated by the feminist idea also counterproductive? There is also a relevant discussion about the veil and if it can be seen as harmful practice, as defined by the UN. Perhaps it should be forbidden for men (husbands, fathers and brothers) to impose the veil on women?
    The only thing that I miss is your personal view on the burqa in relation to women’s rights. You discuss the law thoroughly, which I understand is the purpose, but without really touching the core issue, namely the question if the the veil/burqa is oppressive?

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  9. There would be a danger of misusing the suggested law which would 'forbid men (husband, fathers and brothers) to impose the veil on women'?! and might also be difficult to prove the offence!

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  10. Subject of Burqa can be seen from many aspects, but is an important debate at the begining of 21st century. The effect of technology that has not only changed the way we think, live our life and communicate instantly across the globe. This very fact has brought all issues to the open to be examined, whether certain ways of living is compatible with the pace of time, as most of us aspire to stay in pace. Question is whether everyone in every cutlure and every part of the world wants to follow the new pace. Can't we leave some people live their lives at the pace they are comfortable with and with the values they are grown up with?

    If in the 21st century, if we do not allow individual persons or groups to chose their own pace of life and their own values we will be making a big mistake.

    The very symbols of freedom in the US are the consumption of Coca Cola and Mcdonalds, and now the Americana have adopted as a state policy to impose their ideas of freedom to the whole world. This very forceful imposition what makes people to react to the change. If people are left to make their own choices the change will still come but from within, as it happened in Tunisia and Egypt and is spreading. Anyway who wants that all people of the world should dress, eat and behave like the Americans or live under Shariay law on the opposite end? We have also seen changes coming from within can be less voilent, compare the human loss of life during change in Iraq and Egypt.

    Coming back to the Burqa issue, it is not a problem if women continues to use it as they feel comfortable in rural areas of the Middle Est or other Muslin contries. Problem only comes, when such practice is carried on in other coutries, those have developed different values of freedom. Looking at the history of France, it has paid a high price to free itself from the imposed restrictions / dictates of the Vatican; now French people are justified that their public institution are free from any sign of (any) religious influences. If we chose to visit their country or live their, we must respect their choices, and their idea of freedom, the French has chosen for themselves.

    We outsiders do not have the right to ask French to change for what they consider important for their society/country. Yes ofcourse French are not coming to other countries to impose their choices, that is where the difference lies between the French and the people those who beleive in different values. On this very basis French Government opposed the US-British invasions of Iraq.

    To conclude I would add that people who chose to wear Burqa or any carry on other cultural/religious practices have all the right to do so in their own spaces, and not imposed on others who have different vlaues.

    Avtarjeet Dhanjal
    www.haraf.com

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  11. Anonymous12:31 AM

    We should respect a women's freedom as well as her discretion in her personal affaires. If she wishes to wear a hijab or a burqa to guard her modesty and privacy, I see no harm in it. Islam encourages respect and security of women as most religions do. Women who on their own take to the attire donot find it cumbersome. Those who are not used to it are naturally uncomfortable with it. Leave a woman to excercise her discretion. She MAY opt for it out of sheer fancy or out of regard for her family/society or to identify herself with some women her religion whom she looks upon or prefer it cover her skin with a 'chaadar' or burqa from the direct sun n dust or what ever be her reasons Or she may NOT want to clad the burqa/hijab/chaadar at all. The same goes for men's turban or beard. If there has been little or no outcry for the immodest dresses of some women in the name of freedom and preferences, why for a burqa/ hijab/chaadar/ghunghat etc. Islam advocates modesty for both men and women. One has to go much deeper to appreciate its ethos. Practising modesty is for the benefit of entire civilization. True, that we women have come out of the security (or if you wish to call it 'confinement' ) of the four walls of our homes and feel no less empowered to deal with our lives but we still use our discretion to counter every minutest hint of outrage to our modesty. Burqa is only symbolic of this modesty. Tomorrow it may be replaced by another outfit or take anoher name. I may not wear a burqa myself but I do not welcome a Ban on it. Its not in the spirit of a Republic or Democracy. SAZ

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  12. Anonymous2:09 AM

    The women should have the freedom to choose what they want to wear. If they feel comfortable with a burqa let them have it, and to those who don't like it and are forced on them, have the freedom not to use it against their wish. Most of the older generation women may like to have their burqa, and banning it will be really difficult for them to accept it. Why to trouble them with their feelings of insecurity? It is a system deep rooted in their culture, and banning it will be really difficult for them who respect it.

    Lakshmi

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  13. Anonymous3:55 AM

    Being anonymous on blog is tantamount to wearing a literary ‘burqa’. Be courageous define yourself....women!

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  14. The dress one wears must be the individual choice. But there must be a decent dressing, not a dressing code. Once there is a code, it will be violated. No percentage of exposure or covering should be stipulated by a govt. Burqa is the result of a code. Man/woman is born naked; the question of covering should have depended on the climate and the weather. However, religions jump up to any place where they should not have tread up on.

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  15. Most of your blog seen- you have nicely collated facts from different sources. I have in some of my poems and other works touched on it. I feel that this widely uncomfortable and dehumanizing dress code is purely religious and any free woman would not accept it.
    Some countries may have rules that prohibit it- it’s a field for vast discussion but a feminist should not compromise with the situation, at least ideologically. That it continues is pathetic like many such things continuing.

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  16. Paul McKenna2:55 PM

    There should be neither a ban against burqa and hijab nor a requirement they be worn. This is a matter of personal choice and should always be left up to the woman whether she decides to wear them as long as they do not create a safety hazard (particularly in the workplace) for the woman wearing them or for those around her. It's about respect for others and keeping an open mind.

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  17. There is verse of AKBER ALLAHBADI
    बे परदाह कल जो आईं नज़र चंन्द बीबीयां
    अकबर ज़मीं में ग़ॆरते क़ॊमी से गड़ गया
    पूछा जो उन से आपका परदाह वो किया हुआ
    कॆहने लगीं के अक़ल पे मरदों की पड़ गया
    Which reflect the general feeling of Muslims of this subcontinent, when I was school boy I found rarely any women found on street without BURQA, but now rarely any women with BURQA.
    Also inclination towards wearing BURQA is more common in low-income area than posh area. In north PATHANS are very strict for BURQA; no women in general can go out without BURQA.
    You will surprise to know in election two arch rivals disputes on every point but unanimous at a single point that their women should not be allowed to vote to uphold sanctity of BURQA and only male voters are allowed to cast vote.
    It is very interesting to know that In Karachi very few women go outside with BURQA, but the minibus drivers are usually PATHANS which creates a predicament for their sentiments. To persuade women to quite this unIslamic tradition PATHAN drivers and coworkers place placards’ in minibus on which it is written like this.
    अल्लाह की बंदी शरम कर परदाह कर
    बेपरदगी बड़े शरम की बात हॆ
    अरी बेपर्द तुझे अल्लाह का ख़ॊफ़ नहीं
    But their efforts turns into futility, so know they accepted the hard reality and begin to co-operate with inevitable.
    Some emotional incident like demolition of BABRI Mosque as you mentioned in Calicut increase the tendency of wearing BURQA.
    No doubt PARDAH is a part of Islamic faiths, but Muslims are dived on its actual detail. To force women to wear BURQA or not to wear both are wrong, people should decide and allowed lead their own life. Any attempt with force will aggravate the situation. Changes which take place by evolution , consensus, and people will are permanent and workable, but with might creates lot of confusion and unrealistic situation, as you have seen in past SHAH Iran had tried to covert Iranian to European with might and one can see the results.

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  18. Asking women to wear burqa indirectly implies that they are the objects of desire for men and hence is objectionable in the modern era.

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  19. Isn't Burqa offensive too to well meaning men in the society for whom it is never intended either???

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  20. Inasmuch as this topic is alien to my training and experience, this discussion raises questions for me rather than inspiring comments. I will be interested in seeing if others posting here can help me.

    (1) Is the wearing of the burqa an expression of religion or culture? It is stated here that the burqa predates Islam and thus may be assumed to be an expression of culture. However, it may have been adopted by Muslims as an expression of religion. Was it? Under U.S. law, religious expression is protected and cultural expressions may or may not be protected.

    (2) Under what principle of democracy is freedom of choice guaranteed? Democracy is popular rule, and unpopular cultural expressions may be prohibited. Fortunately, the U.S. is not a democracy and freedoms may not be abrogated by popular whim.

    (3) Is there any extant research showing that the wearing of burqas has reduced crimes against women? That seems to be a recurring theme in discussions regarding this practice.

    (4) Whose choice prevails? Do women wear the burqa by their choice or by the choice imposed on them by men?

    (5) Related to number 4 above, are there any female religious leaders in those societies or cultures where the wearing of burqas is mandatory?

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  21. It's an issue. IF you have an area with a genuine need for security, you handle it the same way you would a heavy overcoat. Or the person can't go in there.

    I know most of these issues are happening in the EU, not the US - but frankly, over here in the US there simply are not that many places which require that level of security. And if you want to go into a place that does (airport, bank, courthouse, etc), you either take off the bulky clothes or you don't go.

    There's a huge difference though between actually banning a set of clothing for day to day wear, and creating security procedures which keep a secure facility safe.

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  22. While the reasons for wearing a burqa are religious, the reasons for banning it are related to security. It's like the rules that you can't wear a ski mask or halloween mask into a bank (or airport)--security wants to be able to see your face. With the burqa, so much is hidden, you can't even tell the gender of the person inside.
    So how do you balance the sincere beliefs of the burqa-wearer with the rising need for secure identification?
    Betsy R.
    Program Manager at U.S. Department of Energy
    Washington D.C. Metro Area

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  23. Personally, I think no country can consider itself a truly free country if it bans certain styles of dress.

    Suppose a nation banned the public wearing of any cross or crucifix? Or banned baseball caps? Or forced everyone to *wear* baseball caps? What about banning shorts for women?

    If you allow the banning of one article of clothing because of religion, you open the doors for the banning of any and all forms of attire on the basis of religion. That is a dangerous door to open.

    I don't think anyone should be forced to wear anything they don't want to. That's a matter of education - teaching people that they have the right to choose. But at the same time, a government taking *away* the right to choose their own attire is just as bad as anyone else doing so.

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  24. great article...mam we are recently publishing a journal titled expression...i would also like u to be a part of that family...please mail me ur id at : saptarshi_dutt@rediffmail.com I think it will be a perfect platform to share our literary thoughts...

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