Blog Entry

Thoughts on the Niqab Ban - Part 1

Saturday, 17 July 2010 by PD , under ,

France has officially passed a law banning the Niqab in public places. Which means it becomes illegal for a Woman to wear the veil in France and if you are caught doing so, you will be fined.

As someone who wears the Niqab and is very passionate about it I've gotten into a lot of discussions/arguments on the Veil since some European and Arab Countries started passing laws which prevent Muslim Women from covering their faces.

I'm firmly against the Niqab Ban, maybe because I myself am a Munaqaba [Someone who wears the face-veil]. But regardless, there is so much hypocrisy and discrimination involved in these bans that I've felt a need to express myself. The reasons cited by the French government range from 'giving Muslim Women rights', 'removing the degrading veil', to 'this goes against French culture'. 


Some have even gone to give reasons why the face-veil is worn or what it represents without having any knowledge about Islam or the Niqab. An example would be this.

 According to Legislator Berengere Poletti, of Sarkozy's party, face-covering veils "are a prison for women, they are the sign of their submission to their husbands, brothers or fathers."


Surprisingly the amount of Muslim Women who wear the Niqab in France range from about 600 to 2000. Within European Countries, Women who wear the Niqab are a minority. Which makes me wonder if France, or Belgium for that matter, do not have other major issues to deal with. If we're looking at Womens' rights specifically, which France and other Countries usually cite for the ban, isn't the prostitution industry a much larger problematic issue than a few Women covering their faces? Isn't the way Women are exploited as Sex objects to sell products much more degrading to Women? Belgium, for example, has a very large human trafficking industry.

Belgium is a destination and transit country for men, women, and girls trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation. Women and girls are trafficked to Belgium for sexual exploitation primarily from Nigeria, Russia, Albania, Bulgaria, Romania, the People’s Republic of China (PRC), and through Belgium to other European countries, such as the United Kingdom. Male victims are trafficked to Belgium for labor exploitation in restaurants, bars, sweatshops, horticulture, fruit farms, and construction sites.   U.S. State Dept Trafficking in Persons Report, June, 2009   [full country report]


I find it hypocritical that those issues are not being dealt with in the same severe manner as the Niqab as. Almost as if the Niqab is more of a threat to the World compared to the above. Not to mention, Islamophobia is very much evident in the way this issue is being addressed.

Let us not stop with looking just at European Countries. Our Arab neighbours, some even being Muslim Countries have resorted to ban the Niqab in some instances. Egypts former Imam Al-Azhar Tantawi banned  Niqab in Universities and in the process degraded and insulted a girl who was wearing the Niqab. Recently Syria banned teachers from wearing the Niqab in Schools but at least had the courtesy of giving them other jobs.[Read DubaiJazz's blog post for an interesting discussion] Kuwait bans Women from driving with the Niqab on.

I've always wondered if any of the people who call for the ban have dealt or spoken to a Niqabi. If they've actually had a conversation with them. We're as normal as other Women who don't veil.

Other criticisms often brought up are of driving and identification. I've always driven with my Niqab on and it does not, in any circumstances cause any peripheral vision problems. Secondly, if I had to choose between showing my face for identification purposes as compared to a complete ban, I and I'm sure other Munaqabat out there, would choose the former. I've also noticed that feminists who usually jump in to appeal or protest for any violations against Women are surprisingly silent on the Niqab Ban. Which to me, is hypocritical. Aside from a few, the mass remains silent.

I've come to the conclusion that the Niqab and Women who wear the Niqab are very widely misunderstood. The media has not helped. Rare cases of Women who abuse the Niqab are splashed and spread. The Niqab is rarely shown in a positive light. Women who wear Niqab are not asked their thoughts and opinions. There is no real factual information presented about the Niqab. And banning of Niqab has done nothing but made it a 'criminal' piece of clothing.

I've been wearing the Niqab for nearly four years now. Four years of not showing my face to a Non-Mehram Man. To me it has become like second skin and I love it and believe it to be a religious duty. How I came to wear the Niqab calls for another blog post, but for me, to be forced to remove the Niqab would be humiliating and a violation of my rights. What of the Women who have been wearing it for nearly10 or 15 years? You can never truly understand the Niqab unless you wear it. And even then, if you wear it for the right reasons.

In the end, I've come to put my trust in God.

 Allah azza wa jal' says in the Qurán:

وَمَن يَتَّقِ اللَّهَ يَجْعَل لَّهُ مَخْرَجًا
And whosoever fears Allah and keeps his duty to Him, He will make a way for him to get out (from every difficulty).

وَيَرْزُقْهُ مِنْ حَيْثُ لَا يَحْتَسِبُ ۚ وَمَن يَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ فَهُوَ حَسْبُهُ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ بَالِغُ أَمْرِهِ ۚ قَدْ جَعَلَ اللَّهُ لِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدْرًا
And will provide for him from where he does not expect. And whoever relies upon Allah - then He is sufficient for him. Indeed, Allah will accomplish His purpose. Allah has already set for everything a [decreed] extent.
[Surah at-talaq 3-5]

In the end, maybe some good will come out of this. One should never loose hope or despair. Things will look better again, bi'idnillah. 

My advice to my Veiled Sisters would be:

Have faith in Allah. Keep steadfast on your religion and know that after every difficulty there is ease. Speak out in any way you can.  Let your voices be heard and also know, that Allah does not place a burden more than any of his slaves can bear.

I end this with a supplication:

اللهم ثبتني وكل أخواتي المنتقبات في العالم واصلح امورنا يا رب العالمين

8 Responses to 'Thoughts on the Niqab Ban - Part 1'

17 July 2010 at 13:56

Comment by ultra[blue].

My 2 cents:

France is a country with its own legislative bodies. As a country if they want to pass a law making chewing gum illegal, they should be able to do so.

The Muslims living in France are, although French citizens, never going to be "real" french citizens. Those people CHOSE to leave their homelands (for whatever reason) to BECOME french.

And so now you have a clash, between what the majority of france wants (Im assuming the majority want this as its a democracy and as such the law makers are an extension of the masses) this, and so it is up to the minority who dont to either accept and more on, or create a voice for themselves.

Themselves.

This is probably one reason why Islam always stated to not take non muslims as "awliyaa" over you.

When you CHOOSE to live in a non muslim country, you end up with non muslim (and in some cases like this one) anti islamic laws.

Now you can argue to as the legality of this law, singling out one citizen from another based on religion... But thats a debate for french citizens and their courts. Not us. (unless you're french)

18 July 2010 at 08:04

Comment by PD.

UB, the problem with this is that most of the Women who wear Niqab there are in fact originally French and have converted to Islam.

A Country has its 'right' to make its laws, but I'll still argue that it is unjust.

Not to mention, it's really ridiculous how they're trying to pass this law of us liberating to Muslim Women and all that crap.

18 July 2010 at 10:06

Comment by ultra[blue].

Like I said, naturalized French or born French, it makes no difference. A country should not make subsets of citizens. And all citizens should have the same rights.

Here is obviously a case of some citizens receiving less rights. And supposedly it still has to go to (or will be sent to) their highest court, I saw a report where lawyers were saying the law is infact unconstitutional as per their own constitution.

But in any case, those women who are french citizens and want their full rights need to speak up, sue the govt if need be.

Thats something I admire about the west, you can take legal action against the govt when it's wrong.

Come now, you didnt expect the liberalizing thing coming? The oldest trick for prejudice... make people think it's for their own good!

19 July 2010 at 01:33

Comment by Maysaloon.

Great blog. The sad fact is that most people who allege to "support" this ban don't really understand what it is they are talking about. You end up arguing with their ego or some broken record arguments that they heard from elsewhere. Oh and I would hardly call the what is happening on Dubai Jazz's blog an "interesting discussion", but that's just me :)

wa salam

19 July 2010 at 10:16


Good, post. It is really sad that even Muslims support this ban. Even If we see Niqab as fardh or mustahab, it is a Sunnah, and to forbid what is in the Sunnah, that is shame, for a Muslim. How can he forbid what Islam has ordered/ or recommended it? I, myself, only wear a veil (no face veil) and I heard a lot that the most scholars said that it is not fardh, it is mustahab, BUT I respect other women who are wearing it, and never agree to this ban.
To support this ban, is a supoort against Sunnah, against the Prophet and Allah. And this is a big sin.

19 July 2010 at 14:02

Comment by PD.

UB:

Yes, I think Women who wear Niqab need to speak up more. That's where we're going wrong. We have all the wrong people speaking out for us. But anyway, don't think the govt would want to listen in the first place.

Maysaloon:

Welcome to the blog and thanks :) Agreed, i respect peoples right to have their own opinion, especially regarding Niqab. But hate it when for example, they justify a ban, which is technically forcing your opinion on someone else.

Ma'asalama

19 July 2010 at 14:03

Comment by PD.

Vanessa,

I agree sis. At the very least it is Sunnah, and it is up to the person to believe whatever they want to. But I wish people would be more understanding of others.

20 July 2010 at 09:38

Comment by ultra[blue].

I agree with Vanessa 100%.