Thursday 30 March 2017

The niqab is worthy of debate as our Muslim community grows

My reaction to the sight of a woman dressed in this manner is to immediately think that she is downtrodden and could not possible be making this wardrobe choice voluntarily.

When you're dealing with questions from a four-year-old, the best approach is to keep the answers as simple as possible. So when my daughter asked why the woman on the street was wearing what I recognised as a niqab, a full-face Islamic veil, with only her eyes uncovered, together with an abaya, a black cloak, I decided on the keep-it-simple approach and responded: "Because she wants to." In this instance, it was a ridiculously simple answer and I also believe it was a lie.

Where we live in Dublin there is a vibrant Muslim community, which I regard as a definite plus, but increasingly I have noticed woman dressed, not just in headscarves, but covered from head to toe in black, with a face veil and a slit for their eyes.

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