Burquas Give Muslims Too Much Cover
Published in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, October 25, 2006
By Mary Grabar
not often that I get a scare in the grocery store. But the person ahead of me in line looked suspicious, so I
stepped over to the next check-out.
person who scared me turned out to be a pregnant woman expecting her sixth
child. I generally am not scared
by pregnant women waiting to pay for groceries.
I was not aware of these facts until I overhead her chatting with the cashier. In fact, dressed as she was, in a full
black burqa with only a slit for her eyes, and because she was a large woman to
begin with, the thought had flitted through my mind that this person could be up
to no good.
burqa provides a more complete disguise than a ski mask or a stocking over the
face. The person wearing it has
her identity obliterated. It hides
the body, and thus the sex of the wearer.
Indeed, the woman's
pregnancy was hidden from me. For
all I knew, the person standing in front of me was a portly man with a weapon
under all that cloth.
nothing is done to stop wearing of such attire in public.
a man standing in a ski mask at a check-out in the middle of summer. His alibi of wearing such attire as a
cultural display would not fly with the security guard, I am sure. Shoppers would be quick to step away.
those who dare to criticize such dress by women from Muslim countries are
disparaged as culturally insensitive, or worse.
is what happened to Jack Straw, leader of the UK's House of Commons, when he
dared to suggest on a BBC radio program that Muslim women should reconsider
wearing the veil. This suggestion
brought about protests and calls for him to resign. Reportedly, Haleema Hussein, of the Muslim Public Affairs
Committee of the U.K., said that Straw"shouldn't be allowed to comment on
these kinds of issues." This
is a Muslim issue, according to Hussein.
my neighborhood, I regularly see the odd sight of women in head scarves behind
the wheels of cars. But with their
faces exposed they are identifiable.
In fact, compared to the cleavage that assaults me on a daily basis in
the classroom and in public places, such modesty is refreshing.
one wonders why, if we would not hesitate to apprehend a masked man entering a
bank or other place of business, we allow women dressed like this to enter?
in an interview, expressed his discomfort with talking to a woman in a full
veil, and explained the obvious: Much of our communication comes by facial
traveling to certain Muslim countries are still expected to adopt those
countries' dress codes and cover up.
But those who live
in Western countries and enjoy Western freedoms--such as shopping--also have
responsibilities should include revealing one's face for identification in
If a Muslim man
does not allow his wife or daughter to adapt to our Western culture to the
point where she shows her face, then he should do the grocery shopping.