Monday 28 May 2018

Don't ban the burqa, but restrict where it is worn

We should be more tolerant than some other European countries, but also show we hate misogyny

‘In Arab societies, male self-control is a foreign concept, and women are temptresses
to be hidden from view to save men from sin’
‘In Arab societies, male self-control is a foreign concept, and women are temptresses to be hidden from view to save men from sin’
Ruth Dudley Edwards

Ruth Dudley Edwards

There were happy photographs from Syria last week. In Manbij, just liberated from the putrid embrace of Isil, a young man beamed ecstatically as someone cut off for him the heavy beard required by the Islamist 'style police' and a young woman smiled serenely as she added her hated garment to a bonfire of niqabs. There was nothing happy about the recent past, where - as we were shown in a photograph from an abandoned headquarters of religious police - weapons like chains and pipes were used to beat men and women who committed sartorial sins.

Last week too, there was a row about Islamic clothing in Cannes, where women have been banned from wearing burkinis, swimsuits that cover everything except face and feet, on the grounds that they "symbolise Islamist extremism". In Germany, politicians debated joining France, Belgium, the Netherlands and parts of Bulgaria, Italy, Switzerland and Catalonia in variations of a ban on veils.

Over in Rio, encased from head to ankle in black, Kariman Abuljadayel, the first Saudi Arabian woman to compete in the 100m, won sympathy and support from all over the world as she gamely sought, but failed, to qualify.

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