This subject is not as happy as it could be; why should I write about  a form of Arabic or Middle Eastern woman’s dress? Yet it is very controversial in our first world countries, particularly France and Australia, and there is a test case before the UK parliament, for accepting this mode of dress common among the  World’s Muslim Population. 

 It concerns the question:  Are you allowed to wear the clothes that  you wish, or, dress to the dictates of your host country’s  laws? ‘This might set a precedent to the Sikh’s Turban, the Arabic Robes, and the Rasta’s head-dress the Tam, and the Jewish skull-cap; perhaps even to   “locks”.

Some years ago as the tide of Arabic migration was taking place, many Middle Eastern persons and families considered visiting and migrating to France. Indeed the French language is popular to most Arabs, for this was often the language of their conquerors and educated professionals.

Many Arabs went to France for their advanced education; many settled there. Their families were complete, men, women and children. Then the schools pointed out that the garb they wore, around the head, called the Hijab was not a familiar dress, and intimated that some  deception might be created by concealment within its  folds.. Not only that, the wearing of a full length dress with a veil  in front of the face, called a burqa, was a greater  problem in that men could disguise as women.

The burqa is the point of conflict (BBC). In the Western Hemisphere, it is widely viewed as a symbol of oppression against women; many first world countries especially France, are considering banning the burqa on their soil.

England has cancellation planned when the item comes up in parliament next January, 2014.  In some Eastern countries, the trend is toward western clothes for women,  the Punjabi dress, and also the saree. ( The Punjabi dress is an almost a knee  length blouse, with    trousers worn  underneath.)

Though there is nothing  in the Islamic scriptures regarding the wearing of a veil (hijab) or a full length burqa; but in many Muslim states, wearing the burqa is considered as deep faith in Islam. Conservative Muslims forced women to wear burqas, no doubt responding to priests and elders and other interpreters of faith; who often insist that religious  customs are inspired by God. Going to public places, a woman of faith  is required to practice modesty in conduct and dress; and this inspired the development of the Hijab , which now becomes beautiful scarves and  veils popular in many countries.

France as a country fines women that wear veils,  principally  the full dress burqa;  it supports the clear discrimination of  muslim women by  other women; in fact a law was legally introduced in 2011,  called the “burqa ban”  primarily to disallow the wearing of these Muslim garments, and encourages the population to vilify muslim women in particular.( Nabila Ramdani, Guardian).

A European Commission also reviewed how the full-veil issue was handled in other countries. It found that in Central and Eastern Europe (the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Latvia, and Germany), the practice did not give rise to a public debate due to the near nonexistence of the practice of wearing such clothing and the absence of calls by radical groups for their use. 

In contrast, although wearing the full veil (niquab) is recent and marginal, the practice has provoked public discussion in Sweden and in Denmark, where the debate is very passionate. Both countries are very attached to the principle of gender equality.  On January 19, 2010, the Danish Prime Minister stated that “the burqa and the niquab do not have their place in the Danish society. They symbolize a conception of the woman and of the humanity to which we are fundamentally opposed.

Very recently, Swedish women objected against the treatment of Muslim women after an older Muslim lady was publically assaulted. The women all started to wear headscarves, and protest.

In the Netherlands, following a 2005 resolution of the Second Chamber of Parliament asking the government to issue a general prohibition on the wearing of the full veil in public places, the government set forth a working group to study possible solutions. The group rejected a general ban and instead recommended a ban on wearing certain clothing in specific places or for public service occupations, such as, for example, in education. Despite the conclusions of the working group, the debate continues, and a newly revised ordinance was introduced.

Finally, in Canada, the United States, and Great Britain, the full veil has not been an issue. The Commission noted that these countries have legal systems that strongly protect individual rights and tend to better accommodate religious practices. The Commission noted, however, that in Great Britain, accommodation of Islamic law has gone so far that some London districts and suburbs have received the nickname of Londonistan. 

822 words.


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