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Kate Orman
News From the House of Sticks
Veiled references 
16th-Oct-2010 09:39 am
Right. Since the West is obsessed with hijab, this is the last time I'm going to say anything about the subject (with the possible exception of linking to Muslimahs' opinions). It's an issue towards which I plan to pursue civil indifference. (You may also be relieved to hear that I plan to take a break from these seemingly endless postings until November. :)

I just want to draw your attention to this paradox. In some Muslim countries, women are forced to wear hijab; therefore, in some Western countries, women are forced to not wear hijab. A French woman has been charged with assaulting a niqabi tourist, ripping off her (legally worn) veil. Her reason? The mistreatment of Muslim women. Figure that one out!

ETA: Hijab means the headscarf, but it also means modest Muslim dress in general, male and female. The BBC provides a handy pictorial guide to hijab, niqab, burqa, chador, and other styles of coverings for women.


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15th-Oct-2010 11:08 pm (UTC)
Actually I have an odd problem with this one. If you cover your face, I won't be able to understand you. You're perfectly welcome to cover your face as far as I am concerned, but you will have to ascribe my consequent ignoring you to being unable to hear you rather than to any kind of, er, hijab-aphobia...
15th-Oct-2010 11:47 pm (UTC)
I can see how it might be a problem (especially if accents are involved!), but is this an experience you'd had, or one you're worried about having?
15th-Oct-2010 11:56 pm (UTC)
Actually, I have had a variation of this problem with medical/dental personnel when they are wearing surgical masks. I can't understand them unless and until they remove them. The same would hold of anything covering the face.
16th-Oct-2010 04:17 am (UTC)
*slaps forehead* Because you can't see their lip movements, of course.
16th-Oct-2010 04:35 am (UTC)
aight :)
16th-Oct-2010 12:45 am (UTC)
In some Muslim countries, women are forced to wear hijab; therefore, in some Western countries, women are forced to not wear hijab

Yeah this one has me baffled as well. I mean, it wouldn't be my choice to wear a face veil, but to assume in a western country that all women who are veiling themselves are being forced to do so seems a bit rude[1]. Not to mention if they are being forced to do it, further limiting their options to staying inside at all times seems a bit counterproductive and even more isolating from the community at large, particularly in terms of accessing things like health care, advice about domestic violence etc.

[1] I will admit to some uncharitable assumptions about those that are choosing to do it here though.
16th-Oct-2010 02:16 am (UTC)
Nitpicking here (as usual), but it's sometimes important to distinguish between hijab (headscarf) and niqab (face-veil). While I have taught several students who've worn hijab, none of them have worn face-veils in class, so I've never had to deal with that issue. When it comes to headscarves, I also believe civil indifference is appropriate for everyone... as it should be on face-veils, except possibly for banks, other cash-handling shopfronts (including some government offices), and possibly casinos (poker games).

There does seem to be a double standard when it comes to Muslim women wearing hijab, and Sikh men wearing turbans.

For the record, I also support the right of anti-Scientology protestors to cover their faces with Guy Fawkes masks while in public, though I would ask any student wearing one in class to remove it while speaking - but I think that wearing a stocking over one's head while walking into a shop was the most idiotic thing any of the Chaser crew has ever done.
16th-Oct-2010 04:10 am (UTC)
important to distinguish between hijab (headscarf) and niqab (face-veil)

That's how I understood it as well, but dictionary.com claims that hijab can be taken to include the veil as well. I'm not sure if it's a different translation/usage in different regions thing or not, but the UK sites I've read have all taken your definitions, whereas the US sites have varied a bit more.

wearing a stocking over one's head while walking into a shop was the most idiotic thing any of the Chaser crew has ever done.

Certainly it was the thing most likely to have gotten them shot, including even the dressing as Bin Laden stunt.
16th-Oct-2010 04:15 am (UTC)
To add to everyone's confusion, hijab is also the general term for modest Muslim dress, male or female.
16th-Oct-2010 02:00 pm (UTC)
About the ONLY place that a niqab ban makes any kind of sense (to me) is on identification photos. What is the point of a photo I.D. if all it shows is a veil? That could be anyone under there! It's not about gender (men AND women have to uncover their face) or religion (no niqab, but also no bandannas or turtlenecks pulled up to one's ears). But to be really consistent, a head-covering ban for identification purposes would also have to include a ban on wigs and makeup***, because those too can disguise one's identity.

Related rant observation one: for my last (U.S.) driver's license photo, I was ordered to remove my GLASSES for the picture. Apparently the photo-identifying software they use has difficulty with eyeglasses. I expect if I was wearing any kind of head covering I would have been ordered to remove it too.

Related rant observation two: during a rash of bank robberies a few years back, my local bank branch put a sign on the door asking visitors to remove hats and sunglasses before they entered. Presumably we were all on camera, and they wanted to be able to identify everyone if they ever had to look over photos/recordings of a robbery. This (limited) circumstance is another where personal or religious clothing preferences might reasonably come second to public safety.

***Makeup in the west often seems to be worn for many of the same reasons as niqab in the east; my own mother says she feels naked without it. Like niqab it's typically only women who wear it, and like niqab it can cover the marks of domestic abuse. Unlike niqab though, there seems to be no connection or identification with religion.
17th-Oct-2010 01:56 am (UTC)
This got me curious, so I went a-Googlin'... Face coverings can't be worn for passport photos in Australia, the UK, or the US. In Oz, you can't obscure your face with hair or dark glasses, or even glasses with heavy frames. In fact, I'd be surprised if there's anywhere in the West that you can cover part or all of your face for a passport photos, or for a driver's licence photo, for that matter. For passports in Australia and the UK, and for driver's licenses in at least some US states, the headscarf is OK as long as it doesn't obscure the face - a common-sense compromise IMHO.

That's a really interesting point about makeup. I keep imagining a tropical island where everyone goes around topless, and women who cover their breasts are considered suspicious, as this obviously means they are ashamed of being female and provoking men's lust, and what's more, they might be concealing bombs in their bras.
28th-Oct-2010 10:48 am (UTC)
You've probably seen this linked, but if not: more reaction to Moon
28th-Oct-2010 11:47 am (UTC)
No, I hadn't - ta muchly! The Carl Brandon Soc's statement is clear, firm, and civil in the best sense, ie respectful discussion between citizens. I'm sorry they now won't have any chance (however small) to continue that discussion at the con as they had hoped.
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