Argument: Foreigners adopt local customs in Islamic countries; same in West

Issue Report: Ban on Muslim burqa and niqab


Ghada Al Atrash Janbey. “On Quebec’s Decision to Ban the Muslim Niqab.” Dissident Voice. April 17th, 2010: “On the counter side, a Western woman seeking opportunities in Saudi Arabia would have to abide by the laws of the country and is forced to wear the hijab in public. Moreover, a Westerner would never attempt to wear a bikini-top in the streets of Damascus as it would be an act of extreme measures and deemed offensive by cultural practices and religious beliefs.

And the reciprocal holds true—From a Western perspective, the niqab stands as a symbol of oppression and extreme fundamentalism, and is furthermore offensive to many in the West. When discussing this topic with a friend of mine, Anita Savage, a Westerner of American and Swiss-European background, she states, “From a Western point of view, a hair cover like the Muslim women’s hijab or the Jewish men’s Kippah stands as a symbol for religious humility and modesty; however, when the niqab is worn in our country, it becomes a very insulting statement to Westerners. To me, it is a form of accusation that implies we are a degenerate society to whom a woman is afraid to show her face! But what they are afraid of? And, if they feel so threatened by our Western men (or by men in general), then perhaps they should stay within the walls of their house and avoid encounters with men! We try our best not to offend immigrants; however, our culture does not support this type of extremism, and I don’t think we should tolerate it either!”