In October ITV ran a series entitled “Britain’s niquab”, in which they dedicated multiple programs to discussing when and wear and to what degree (Muslim) women should be aloud to cover there faces. The face veil is beginning to boarder on a national obsession. With the multi culturists championing it as a human right, the jam and Jerusalem brigade worrying about those poor women but feeling you cant really talk about it, to the BNP/UKIP/ EDL lot convinced that it is nothing more than a means to hide stolen goods and IEDs; people seem to experience something of a delight when voicing their personal opinion on this particular article of clothing.
It’s a dilemma. My first reaction is that I would never dream of telling another woman how little or how much of her body to cover or uncover. After all its her face. If she wants to hide it from public view then she has very right to do so. Imagine if someone told you that you were no longer aloud to cover your chest. That from hear on out wearing a t-shirt would result in a severe fine or prison sentence. Surely that’s precisely how this demand for Muslim women to uncover feels to them.
It could easily be viewed as colonialist orientalism that we would demand that Muslim women remove their veils. We often seem to argue that WE know weather or not these women are oppressed better than they do. It appears to follow the same Wight-man-save –brown-woman-from-brown-man plot that had been used as a slice of the justification many wars in recent history. Do we really have the right to declare weather or not these women are oppressed, with little ore no input from the women themselves
But then again; Faces are important. We use them to identify one another. It is far easier to tell who someone is, how they feel about you, or what you are talking about, weather or not they are lying, and so on if you can see your conversation partners face. And I can’t help but feel that all people have the right to feel the wind on there face and to see the word more clearly than can be done through a mesh covered opening. I also question how free a decision truly is when you have been told by authority figures in your life that you will burn in hell if you don not cover your face
Then again will banning this as France has done eliminate the underlying prejudice that prompts the demand for this covering? Or will it simply alienate these women further? After all if these women are being brutally oppressed by there fathers, husbands and brothers, then what’s to stop these men simply preventing these women from leaving the house following a ban on the veil.
And what about other people who want to cover their faces? Protesters? Trick-or-treeters? These women arnt the first people in history to want the anonymity offered by a face covering.
Whilst there are times and places when viewing someone’s face is necessary and it is possible to do this with both sensitivity and security in mind, for example having a woman remove her veil with a female member of border control in private. And so yes, predictably I am with the multi culturists on this one.