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Ok, JSheff, Let's have a real discussion about this

Reader comment on item: Niqabs and Burqas - The Veiled Threat Continues
in response to reader comment: Glad I made you laugh, now think!

Submitted by sara (United States), Sep 3, 2009 at 01:30


I see that you have a reasonable mindset and I appreciate your points. However, as Dr. Pipes states in his piece above, neither Niqabs nor Jijabs are a religious expression but rather a culturally imposed one. They are not mandated by the Quran or Hadiths. So therefore, it is not honoring religious preferences to allow them.

Second point, I agree that both cultural and religious forms of expression should be unencumbered in a free society, and in theory. In practice- reality , unfortunately the fact that a person's identity is obscured creates not only an environment of distrust, creates a separation and divisiveness in the community (such as a Muslim girl sitting in a classroom every day while her classmates have no clue what she looks like and cannot relate to her) but most importantly creates a circumstance under which security is undermined.

Law enforcement and security has a duty to protect the people and they are not able to perform their duties when they cannot see a face or what may be hidden under it in plain view. This supercedes cultural tolerance as it affects the public as a whole. Simply checking identiy discreetly as you describe is unforunately a passive act and mitigates the option of prevention before the fact.

If a Muslim woman refuses to remove her Hijab for an ID or license, her identity verification is rendered useless and she cannot be identifed. All of us agree to live under certain rules and responsibilities in our society, and having a tradition that countermands those rules is an obstacle on many levels as well as a potential threat.

I am not claiming that most niqab clad women are threats, of course they're not. If they choose to wear it (we could argue about why that is, and the repressive male dominance that creates such thinking), vive la difference say I. But. when their choice of garb has an impact on security and impedes protection, (as well as creates alienation and divisiveness in my society) that sir, is another matter.


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