More on the niqab situation

First up, here’s Abu Eesa: “this is an excellent opportunity for qualified Muslims to debunk the mysteries behind such a visually obvious, mysterious and perhaps even shocking statement of a Muslim woman’s identity”. As you might expect from him, particularly strong on Islamic legal positions.

Today’s Independent letters page contains a bizarre letter from one Fawzi Ibrahim, claiming that a woman’s choice to wear the niqab is somehow not valid if she has been “conditioned” to wear it from her upbringing:

Grown-up women conditioned into wearing the veil throughout their childhood cannot exercise true choice. My mother could not walk out without the veil even after the revolution of 1958 in Iraq, and with the full support of her enlightened family. She said she felt naked.

“Enlightened”, huh? I’m sure most Muslim women would if wearing the hijab or covering their face was natural to them. Since when did “conditioning” mean that someone is not their own man or woman and fully responsible for their actions?

Marcel Berlins, in today’s Guardian, raises the issue of veils in court. In this particular case, even scholars who regard veiling is compulsory allow for their removal for the purposes of testifying, because justice requires that it be ascertained that witnesses are who they say they are.

Another ignorant secular Muslim is given a voice in the Times, namely that of Saira Khan, who numbers the veil among “issues” like “domestic violence, forced marriages, sexual abuse and child abuse that are rife in the Muslim community”. Just in case anyone wanted to write them a letter.

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