Saturday, May 8, 2010

Muslim Countries: Continued



The other day I wrote a post called "Muslim Countries" and I received this response in the comments and thought it would be good to address it and have a discussion.

Please keep in mind that Islam encourages us to always argue in the best way (with RESPECT) so if I see anything other than that I will go ahead and delete the comment. I didn't bring this up for a firing squad and I would really like each of you to put yourself in the situation of someone who knows nothing about (or little/ media interpretation of) Islam. :-D

Pásik Kroch: look, if Egyptian, Moroccans etc do not want European/NA tourists to come to their countries, just tell it plainly and frankly.
there is plenty nice places in South Europe/Caribic where we can spend our money.

and as for this niqab problem - main problem is the religous exception to obstacle to identification and state security.
not only in UK, but in many moslem countries were countless robberies in bank/jeweleries committed by burka/niquabed men.

so niquabi is putting over her supposed piety above the potential safety and lives of other people.

It seems childish to me.
but if someone is so self-centered.. there is no help against it.

My Response:
I think on this issue it is really all about which side you are looking from.

as for the egypt/morocco thing, I had no idea that they ask tourists to cover in those countries as tourism is a major market there. I actually don't think they ask people to do that there (but maybe one of the sisters from there can answer that question for us). I was speaking more along the lines of Saudi, which is not a tourist centered economy, where they do ask women to cover (in abaya). People tend to get upset at this, yet they want to impose similar (but anithetical) laws on other women.

As for state security and identification, it is not such a problem to have a woman officer or security guard on duty to identify women. In actuality, women who veil are creating jobs for UK/EU/NA women :-D

As for robberies, people will continue to cover their faces when they rob places regardless of whether innocent women are also covering their faces. If you have a high risk situation (like a jewelry store or a bank) have a female guard id covered women on their way in. They would generally have to be id'd before purchase or withdrawl/deposit anyway, so just move the process to to the door.

A religious person will put obeying their Creator/God/Master/Lord before everything. This is what it means to submit to God. You do the things you know are right whether or not people agree with you or make it easy for you.

I don't think that these women are self-centered. I think they are God centered. And I thank God for women like this because their modesty and piety is a breath of fresh air when surrounded by butt cheeks and boob jobs on every corner.

It is difficult to put yourself in someone elses shoes. I know because I do try to find a way to see the issue from the other perspective. I know that, in western culture, a covered face means shifty motives, but in actuality the world doesn't always work that way. And however many security issues people have brought up, I always see a potential solution without having to deny anyone their right to freedom of religion and pursuit of happiness.

Pasik: Please feel free to comment again, as I would love to continue the discussion :-) And thanks again!

Ladies: If you can think of any other specific issues that people have brought up about veiling and laws or rights of women, please feel free to post them to the comments so that we can all address them inshaAllah once and for all.

When we are all through I am convert this post (or compile a new one) to showcase all of our problems and solutions inshaAllah.


Pásik Kroch said...

"As for robberies, people will continue to cover their faces when they rob places regardless of whether innocent women are also covering their faces. If you have a high risk situation (like a jewelry store or a bank) have a female guard id covered women on their way in. They would generally have to be id'd before purchase or withdrawl/deposit anyway, so just move the process to to the door."
- only a small problem - who prevent the robber in niqab to shot female guard?
main problem of niquab I see is desensification of people to the real danger - person, who hides his/her face is untrue and has possible criminal ideas.
if this person is true and honest, surely god can pardon her to reveal her face, if that may save human lives in the future. even one life is more than whole year in niqab.
but if this person is so full of sins that it needs to cover her face in order to gain every small hasanat, so it is very bad.
so again, we are at two points - egoism and lack of trust of Allah-s miseriscordy.
if one takes into account, that a moslem is never sure, if the allah forgave him/her.

- so no headgear policy will save lifes and is easier to follow.

- if niquabis will refuse to follow it, sooner or later they will face unwanted consequences - they started to be seen as un-loyal, as the visible representants of subversive fifth column.
I think that they have enough other ways how to get closer to allah than just this one.

Stacy aka Fahiima said...

I have been to Egypt, and can say that I saw a lot of variety in how tourists were dressed. I wore skirts or abaya with hijab the entire time because I am more comfortable that way. I don't think there was any generally enforced standard though, because there were women in shorts and tanks at some of the bigger tourist sites.
I don't think that niqab is a barrier to safety or sociability, as long as the woman lifts it up in situations where she has to verify her identity. Sure, it is a problem if a woman is being forced to wear niqab against her will, but this is next to impossible to prove.
what about niqab and driving? Is that a legitimate safety concern due to limited peripheral vision?

Anonymous said...

As Salaam Alaikum,

I live in Egypt and it is not required any where for you to cover when visiting or residing in this country. Many people who live her are not Muslims and are Christians and they don't cover in any way. I have been met most of the time with oh you are not Egyptian I say no then they so are you a Muslim, which takes me a bake a bit since I wear niqab and abayah.

Twizzle said...

as-salaam aleikum wa rahmatullah,

sis NeverEver you said:

"As for state security and identification, it is not such a problem to have a woman officer or security guard on duty to identify women. In actuality, women who veil are creating jobs for UK/EU/NA women"

I strongly believe a woman should be able to cover her face if she wishes to, just as women are allowed to walk around half naked if they wish to in these countries.

But I don't believe it is a non-Muslim state's/country's responsibility to have to shell out more money just to hire female guards only to ID niqabis.

It is perfectly acceptable for identification purposes for a female to show her face to a man.

NeverEver said...

Pasik, what stops a masked person form coming in and shooting anyone in the first place? If they come in a shoot the guard, they are immediately alarming people to the fact that they are there to do bad, so why disguise themselves as a woman anyway? As I said, I'm not really sure that taking the rights of these women away will ensure the safety of others. If someone wants to do bad, they will do bad regardless.

Stacy: Thanks for your input about Egypt and excellent question! :-)
I have driven in niqab and didn't have a problem with peripheral vision, but I'm not sure if anyone has ever done any tests on this issue. Perhaps someone else will have more information :0)

Umubayd: wa alaikum as-salam. You would think that wuold be a dead giveaway right? lol. Thanks for your input. Also, as a niqabi, do you drive or experience issues controlling a car?

Twizzle: As for the female security guard I was thinking more of private business like jewelry stores and banks that I mentioned before which would have a higher interest in providing safety for their merchandise and paying customers. Of course there is the option for businesses who don't want to do that, they just probably wont get that business.
As for times when government would need to pay for guard/security, they have already done this since they have female guards present to do body searches on women. They wouldn't be spending any extra money :-)

As for uncovering your face to a male guard, I think some women would be okay with this and some would consider it invasion of privacy. It depends on where you are I think. Like if I was boarding a plane or something where it was a national security issue, okay, I might feel a bit more okay with a male guard than if I was going to a jewelry store where security is not a national/governmental issue.
Thanks for your input! :-)

NeverEver said...

Also Pasik, on the last comment about them being viewed as unloyal etc. Is this because of her actions? Did she do anything disloyal? Your average niqabi is a law abiding citizen, I would say, who pays taxes and goes to the grocery store and everything.

So is it something she did that makes her unloyal or is it a preconception of the people to stereotype and dislike something that is different or that they don't understand?

Also I believe that countries which allow freedom of religion should not dictate how a woman is allowed to get close to her God if she is not harming anyone. If this is how she chooses to be close to Allah, it is not the government's duty to stop her. In fact, under the law she should be protected from those people who would harass her because of her choice.

Anonymous said...

Just a quick thing to note: even as a non-covering english person in the UK, if you are to be frisked at an airport 9/10 they will get get someone of your own gender to do it anyway due to the fact that you could claim they pulled you out for "other reasons" and you could claim that they touched you inappropriately. And if it isn't someone of the same gender you are within your rights to ask someone of the same gender to do it!
Many women, not just niqabis find it inappropriate and therefore airports hire women for ALL women and not just niqabis!

I personally dont wear niqab and I dont think I could be that strong!
And they dont get you to cover in places like egypt and morocco as they can tell when to put market prices up for the tourists! I was also watching a BBC documentary on the frankincense trail with a FEMALE BBC presenter and even in saudi she wore abaya but didnt wear hijab! Those who do cover when on holiday do it out of respect of the culture and not due to the fact they are forced (else my family are going to have fun in Morocco next summer!).

IMHO as long as a women doesnt abuse the fact she wears it to bypass security and allowsa positive ID to be made of herself, regardless to the gender (eg, a male policeman, a male security guard, assuming a female option is not available) then what is the problem? I mean what about people that have so much make up on that it would be hard to ID (trust me I have seen some cases!) you generally give them the trust!

I think if firms are SO worried about masked niqabi robbers, then hire security guards (which to be fair many do!) and get them to ID at the door! But lets be fair, if someone was going to rob a shop, they will do it anyway. A good example of this is a jewelry robbery in London about a year ago, they made off with £3 million of jewelry and DIDNT EVEN COVER THERE FACES!!!

Pásik Kroch said...

covering face - walking half naked.
this half naked woman surely cannot conceal any kind of weapon:)
as for niquabis - face is main source of identification plus interraction.
most of niquabis are seen here as the dangerous wahhabis - so do not be surprised by this negative connotations.
that is not about freedom of religion - you can believe what you want, that is solely your business, what is other question is how is your faith represented outside. and your freedom ends in the moment when it starts to interfere with mine.
for example take smoking - of course, everybody is free to smoke - but Im not obliged to breath their smoke.
this is the limit of freedom - if those people who smoke do not care about their health - let it be. but when it interfere with my health, that is completely another question.
so much for freedom limits:)
niquabi may wear it or not - but as in the case of smokers - there are consequences. want it or not.

*JetLagged* said...

There are only 2 muslim countries that ask women to cover, Iran and Saudi. In all of the other muslim countries, you can wear anything (bikinis, miniskirts, tank tops, etc). The only reason tourists choose to 'cover up' is probably from social pressure, meaning: it is a muslim country, people cover themselves out of Love for Allah, most visitors choose to cover to be more inconspicuous or to respect local culture.

I love how people who have never been to these countries are 'experts' on the local culture and dress standards. Never ceases to amaze me.

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