So here we go again. A brown MALE is accused of a crime, and the media is overflowing with calls to ‘ban the burqa’. Angela Merkel has said that it should be banned wherever possible in Germany, and the UK followed once again, with polls, scary tabloid headlines, and passionate debate (preferably without any veil-wearers).
Firstly, I’m going to stop with the word ‘burqa’. Thanks to our media, it’s laden with negativity. Very few Muslim woman I have met call the face veil a ‘burqa’. In fact, there’s an entire range of words for it in so many languages that I won’t even entertain the idea that ‘burqa’ is a default. I am writing in English and will use the English word ‘veil’ (except in quotation to maintain my dramatic effect).
People who call for a ‘veil ban’ cite varying reasons for their opinion. These range from misogyny to security. I’ve bought together some of the most wonderful ideas, and compiled the go-to list for why we should ban it:
…or as this article’s readers’ would put it: “A symbol of misogynistic repression”.
This is the argument in which a person usually says something like: “we think Muslim women are forced to wear it so we should force them not to wear it to liberate them.” Read that sentence again and soak in the irony, please.
Every Muslim woman I know who wears a veil, does so out of choice. I am not denying that there are women out there who are forced to wear a veil. They are quite possibly the same women who are forced into other unwanted situations, and should be supported completely. However true women’s right’s advocates wouldn’t sit around tweeting about how the ‘oppressive burqa’ should be banned, and instead would look to support the women they claim to care for.
- Lack of Education.
They are brainwashed into thinking that they should be invisible. *Spits out tea*.
A Muslim woman (or any woman) may choose to express herself differently to you. To argue that this means that she is uneducated and backwards, is simplistic and highly offensive.
Muslim women contribute to all areas of British society. We study at universities, volunteer, and work in so many different fields. Some choose to wear a veil, some a headscarf, and others neither. All clothing decisions are conscious and made from their own intelligent thought process.
To summarise, veiled Muslim women do have brains, and they do use them.
But what if they rob a bank? We won’t even know who they are! *Creepy ghost noise*.
This argument is often backed up with hypothetical crimes committed by people wearing ‘burqa disguises’. I decided to find out more about this veil-cladded crime wave, and to my dismay, I found very few stories. There are some articles from the Middle East, 2008 America, and other odd pieces dotted over the years. Hardly an epidemic.
Adding to the security claim, right-wing commentators like to be outraged by ‘political-correctness’. They explain that women in veils are not being asked for ID, as people are fearful of offending them. This is absolute tripe. If an employee in a position of security does not follow protocol and ask a veiled woman for ID, they need to do their job properly.
Veiled woman, who are asked to remove their veil for identification purposes, will do so without hesitation or offence. Some might ask to go to the side to be identified, and others won’t. This includes inside a bank, for exams, in shops. I have even peekabood so a bus driver can identify me for my bus pass.
But Isis wear it?
Or do they? The same newspapers that called for veil bans previously based on its ‘link to terrorism’, have now discovered that Isis has banned it.
But that’s not the point. Should we ask all hipsters to shave their beards because they look a bit like what Isis want to look like? Yes, I know that question is ridiculous, but that’s the point.
This casual link between terrorism and Islam is the problem here, and it is dangerous! After every terrorist attack (committed by men, I must add) veiled women have become the political thumbnail to show how shocking it is. Newsflash, the terrorist attack is shocking without the use of a ‘scary’ veiled woman.
Veiled women are carelessly placed as the poster boy of terrorism, without any thought to the fact that it damages them most. I promise you, Muslim women are horrified by terrorism much more than you are. Firstly, because of the obvious moral reasons of it being absolutely inhumane (the same reason as you, I hope). Secondly, because our beautiful religion is being twisted to justify inhumane acts. And thirdly, because in the aftermath, the hatred in bigots and bullies is suddenly re-energised and they feel justified to attack and intimidate women (this includes pregnant women and students).
Veil wearers and terrorism should not be put in the same sentence. Unless it is to say that they should not be put in the same sentence.
- They don’t want to integrate!
Us versus them? That’s what a lot of our tabloids will have you believe.
There are some who truly believe that Muslim women purposely wear the veil to offend them. To those people, I’m sorry. I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but for once, this really isn’t about you.
I, along with other veil-wearing Muslim women wear the veil for myself and God, not as a big middle finger to you. The truth is, I don’t want to be a political statement. I really don’t. I just want to go about my day without somebody else talking for me and about me.
Britain is a place for everyone to freely express their individuality, and almost everyone will come across something they find unpalatable. Maybe you’re used to going about your day constantly getting your way (or getting offended), but if you don’t like looking at something, my sincere advice is that you simply look away.
And if you’re really unnerved by being unable to see someone’s face, go and say ‘hello’. She’ll say hello back, and you will have confirmation that she’s a human.
To conclude (in case you missed something) I am not a political statement, not oppressed, not uneducated, and definitely not a criminal.
And, if you work in security, please ask me to remove my veil.
Feel free to comment below with questions, or anything else you’d like to add.