Some European nations have banned the burqa, citing difficulty of communication, repression of women, and security risks. Is this going too far?
Norway will likely become the first Nordic country to ban burqas in the upcoming months. The trend of banning the facial veils is not a new move by European countries, as France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Bulgaria and the German state of Bavaria have already imposed such mandates in recent history. The burqa is a traditional Islamic garment worn in public to mask the faces of both children and adults. A traditional burqa covers the body and head of the person wearing it with only a mesh window grill for women to see out of. I’ll admit my ignorance as I had to do a bit of back-reading on the various Islamic garments to decipher the difference between the burqa and other traditional dress components, such as the hijab.
The full dress burqa and its pal the niqab will no longer be permitted in kindergarten classes, (Really? Five year olds?) elementary schools, and universities. Any students ignoring the new ban will risk expulsion, and employees choosing to do the same risk losing their employment. “Face-covering garment such as the niqab or burqa do not belong in Norwegian schools. The ability to communicate is a basic value,” acting Minister of Immigration and Integration, Per Sandberg, told a news conference.
In the Islamic culture, the Koran calls for both men and women to dress modestly and be covered. As with most religious scripture, the practice of covering is open to interpretation. “Some scholars argue that it is a religious obligation, particularly the more conservative factions within the Muslim world. There are many variations and interpretations,” explained Dr. Raihan Ismail , who is a lecturer in Middle East Politics and Islamic Studies at the Australian National University. Many wear it for religious reasons, others for cultural reasons, and some not at all.
Opponents of the ban argue that by banning this article of cloth, many women will be prohibited from practicing what they believe. Others make the argue that taking away the ability to cover themselves in public would isolate many women and prevent them from freely interacting with their surrounding communities. Proponents of the ban make the (flimsy) case that such dress does not belong in public arenas, prohibits communication and symbolizes terrorism and radicalism. All of those reasons seem far fetched and generalized to me but hey, to each their own I suppose.
So how do we feel about this ban? With the way things have been rolling this could very well affect the citizens of our nation at any point. In regards to the burqa hindering communication, last time I checked you can speak through cloth just fine. Hijabs, burqas, and niqabs don’t scare me. There are a whole lot of other things to be wary of in this day and age. Let’s be bluntly honestly here. Someone could just as easily hide a bomb in a backpack or purse, which are common and acceptable female clothing accessories here in the American culture, as behind a scarf.
I personally have no issue with Islamic garments and I think it’s ridiculous to make the generalization that dress promotes terrorism. Hate, anger, misunderstanding, a backwards mentality and outright disregard for human life promotes terrorism…not a damn scarf.