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Their costume isn't ours to choose

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

Submitted by Pat (United States), Aug 6, 2007 at 18:22

You may not see nuns working in a grocery store, but they visit the sick, they work in Catholic hospitals, they teach school, they even go to the movies. Have you never seen nuns walking in the mall or eating in a restaurant? I have. They don't wear the same habits they once wore, but some are still noticeable.

The "Muslimness" argument is the same for men as for women. You can have a man and woman working in the checkout line. The Muslim man who is wearing jeans and a shirt also has the same issues as the woman wearing the hijab but his don't bother you just because you can't tell by looking that he's a Muslim? If they can't handle certain items then they're going to lose money. If their employer lets their religion interfere with their work then he is going to lose customers.

The hijab makes me uncomfortable, but it's not about me. We don't wear uniforms. People have a great deal of latitude in how they dress, with the understanding that certain rules will be observed. The niqab and the burkha fall outside that area. The hijab falls in a grey area, but again, there are many people whose clothing calls attention to their religion, and they're not all Muslims and they're not all clerics.

I think we basically agree, but I think banning the hijab is a bad idea. I consider the niqab and burkha to be incompatible with our standard of openness, but the hijab is not. No one who needs to wear a niqab or burkha should expect to go out in public. The hijab, while not desirable, is a compromise.

It may indeed be a political statement but they have a right to make it. Not all American Muslims wear the costume, so again you overstate when you call it a prison. How far do you want to go in banning items that mark a religion?


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