in a world where we are constantly told to fear Muslims i found them far more apprehensive of me than I of them. Understandable as i am an old white guy in a bright pink flowered shirt aggressively seeking friendship, might scare me too. As soon as they realized i was really trying to be friendly they relaxed and were puzzled but happy, i hope i am part of their honeymoon memories.
So back to the attire, the Burqa is the rarely seen garment that actually covers the face, more common in Afghanistan and Persian countries than Arab. There is great confusion and fear over these garments. Australia tried to ban the Burqa as simply being “not Australian”. Other countries have also tried to legislate attire. Many modern feminists have concern as to women being forced to wear the covers, and rightly so in some places but not most.
By and large it appears Muslim women choose to wear garments that reflect their faith. When given the choice they chose the coverings. It also identifies and units them with other of their faith, much like wearing a cross.
The non PC comic in me sees the practical side, imagine ladies, if all you had to do was put on eye makeup (and oh they do!) and paint your fingernails.. and off you go! Add a few pounds, no problem, forget to do laundry and wear ruffled clothes, no one knows. Forgot to pack sunscreen, who cares! But seriously who is the more oppressed, the western woman who toils endlessly over superficial appearance, starves themselves, waxes (primeval torture) binds into push up bras and spends a fortune on hair color or the fully covered Islamic girl? the girl can only be judged by her actions. Ok that and of course those eyes.
As with the Christian Bible, the Qur’an has been used to mandate activities it does not include. There is no requirement in the Qur’an for full cover, the two passages that refer to attire are:
The Qur’an has been translated as stating:
“O Prophet! Say to your wives and your daughters and the women of the faithful to draw their outergarments close around themselves; that is better that they will be recognized and not annoyed. And God is ever Forgiving, Gentle.”
— Qur’an, Surah 33 (Al-Ahzab), Verse 59
Another verse in the Qur’an is translated as:
“And say to the faithful women to lower their gazes, and to guard their private parts, and not to display their beauty except what is apparent of it, and to extend their headcoverings (khimars) to cover their bosoms (jaybs), and not to display their beauty except to their husbands, or their fathers, or their husband’s fathers, or their sons, or their husband’s sons, or their brothers, or their brothers’ sons, or their sisters’ sons, or their womenfolk, or what their right hands rule (slaves), or the followers from the men who do not feel sexual desire, or the small children to whom the nakedness of women is not apparent, and not to strike their feet (on the ground) so as to make known what they hide of their adornments. And turn in repentance to Allah together, O you the faithful, in order that you are successful”
— Qur’an, Surah 24 (An-Nur), Verse 31
It is also interesting that some Jewish women choose to wear a similar garment.
So i know have a better understanding of a simple piece of cloth that brings such a fearful reaction to many. We often put such power in symbols and things we do not understand when a little bit of learning and compassion can diminish that power so greatly. Hey maybe the bride in this story is blogging about her bewilderment of old white guys in pink flowered shirts?