The Muslim Veil: Keep it banned or keep it covered?

Should the Muslim veil be banned in the UK? In other words, should the government tell us what we can and cannot wear? That’s basically what this is. I’ve read some awful comments online where people were complaining about the face covering as if it actually offended them.

Ever since the backlash from students at Birmingham College (who petitioned against banning the niqab), MPs are now debating on whether it should be banned. Firstly, to whoever is reading this, I want you to put yourself in the position of a Muslim woman who covers her face. It is her choice to wear it and she is clearly proud of wearing it. However, to assume that Muslim women are oppressed because of the way they are dressed is wrong. Head covering for women is prominent in most religions but for Muslim women who decide to cover their face too, is facing a lot of unnecessary attention. I do agree that their face should be shown for security purposes at the airports and other places but for a Muslim woman walking down the street with her face covered shouldn’t concern anyone.

I understand that wearing a veil may seem too suspicious for some people. I understand that it may look mysterious as you don’t know who is underneath. I’ve had many awkward moments with some of my niqab-wearing friends who’ve approached me saying hello and I replied with: ‘Sorry, who are you again?’ before continuing our conversation. But from speaking to many women who cover their face, I always get the same answer: It’s their choice. I also know someone who recently got married and she decided to wear a niqab. She was not forced to wear it by anyone. But she chose to guard her beauty from other men in public and to only show her husband, father and family members. She was happier that way as she felt that no other man can lay eyes on her except the man she chose to marry. I remember exactly how she described herself: as a jewel that is protected and hidden. It is her identity.

And no matter how many dirty looks she receives from people who see her as a threat, she continues to leave her house everyday knowing how much of a struggle it would be. I truly admire the courage. Because underneath that veil, there is a woman with her own struggles, ambitions and plans just like the rest of us.

Nick Clegg said in a video shown in the link below: “I think one of the great things about this country, unlike other countries, is that we allow people to express their identity and their faith. There are some exceptions. I don’t think it’s appropriate to wear the full veil through security checks at the airports… etc. But otherwise I do think it’s important that we protect the British principle that as long as people are law abiding citizens, we shouldn’t be telling people what garments or clothing they should wear.”

Well I think Nick Clegg hit the nail on the head there.

Lastly, I just want to address some ‘feminists’ who want women to be free from oppression and patriarchy. If you want women to have their own voice and to choose their own lifestyles, speak to a Muslim woman who CHOSE to cover her face and then come back to me. Because for her, that is her freedom and that is her liberation.


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