The veil, hijab, headscarf, foulard, and its more extreme versions of niqab or burqa is a hot-blooded polemic in todays world. Why? And who is right? Is anyone right? This question, issue - no matter to what country it is applied brings up the bigger questions of women's rights, human/civil rights, integration, assimilation, personal choice, religious freedom and secularism.
What truly does hide behind the veil? A person, a woman, a threat to secularism, a threat to integrated societies, a harbinger that one's country is moving towards becoming a melting pot?
I recently read Azadeh Moaveni's blog (www.time.com) entitled Lipstick Jihad after her recent bestselling book of the same name whereby she wrote a short article on why she agrees with Blair's newly announced stance on the niqab. She expressed everything that I feel yet with much more eloquent, educated, and persuasive words than I could have chosen. Therefore I am including the link to this article and if it interests you to read further, the rest of her blog is just as well done. One of the most interesting points she makes, in my mind, is how Britain is being faced with a task that Iran isn't - read the article below and tell me what you think...
France is very much involved in this issue and has recently made more strict their own laws guiding the wearing of "ostentatious and proselytizing" religious symbols in public places (state schools, government buildings...). As it is a behemoth and complicated issue that strikes at the very heart and notion of the French "nation" (i.e. a laic state (laicite is the French version of a strict secularism)); I will save this for another entry. Ms. Moaveni's analysis of the British issue mixed with her own personal experiences shows one of the myriad applications of this controversial subject and the truly global nature of this issue.