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headgear isn't the issue

Reader comment on item: Ban the Burqa - and the Niqab Too
in response to reader comment: why the headgear...

Submitted by Pat (United States), Aug 3, 2007 at 07:44

While I don't entirely disagree, I do think you are overstating it.

At least until the 1960s many Catholic nuns wore long black habits and a head covering. I don't know if any orders still do. In the 1970s most nuns in one order had gone to civilian dress but some in the same order wore a modified habit, consisting of a knee-length dress and short hair covering. It was their choice.

I have seen Muslim men in shorts and short sleeves accompanying a woman in full garment and head covering in ninety-degree weather. They stand out. I consider it cruel but who am I to judge? The issue is not so much how Muslims dress as it is whether some customs deserve protection as a religious practice and whether we should allow those customs to be used to subvert our security.

Maybe they are pressed by their culture but American Muslims have a freedom they wouldn't have in Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan. We saw a woman who wanted to wear the niqab for her photo id. If she truly respected Islamic law wouldn't she have passed on driving altogether? For me the question is less whether Muslim men or women respect one another as it is whether or not they respect those with whom they have chosen to live. I would prefer that Muslims in Western societies adopt Western norms. This doesn't mean changing their diets or giving up the mosque. People everywhere in America have a great deal of leeway in choosing what eat and what to wear. It means accepting a set of rules for public behavior. This is where the niqab and burkha do great damage. They only foster distrust.


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