To wear or not to wear a niqab

Published: April 20, 2012

It is no surprise that both our top blogs this week have talked about the face veil. In the first one, our blogger wrote about a social experiment she conducted by wearing a niqab for a day. The other blog talked about the controversy surrounding a picture of a veiled woman holding up a bra.

Here are some of the reactions to these pieces:

“’Female figure is a source of evil and therefore should be kept strictly hidden. All girl children be taught to be ashamed of their own bodies. Any reference to female anatomy meets with a response of disgust, or lust or even violence.’ These were the golden rules I grew up learning in an average lower middle class Pakistani family. I struggled for a long time before finally growing out of it.”

“It’s not so much the niqab but what it gets connected with that causes them to behave this way.”

“This hijab is violation of human rights, it is against the dignity of a woman……… it is not a matter of choice………… is just to show off that you are more pious and righteous.”

“You don’t really know who is behind that mask, second for communication reason you don’t know what his facial expressions are, its like holding a conversation with a pole.”

“I don’t think feeling awkward around someone in a niqab has anything to do with being judgemental, per se. How would most people feel like when sitting in a restaurant next to someone dressed in traditional Sami, Inuit, Zulu or Maori fashion? Exactly, a bit awkward.

It was interesting to see the polarity of views, and as the debate raged on in the comments section,  I decided to ask The Express Tribune staff a few questions and recorded their answers.

This video discusses people’s opinion on the veil and how they feel around women who have adopted it.

Read more by Atika here or follow her on Twitter @AtikaRehman


Atika Rehman

Editor of the Life & Style pages of The Express Tribune and an LLB graduate from the University of London.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.