In defense of religious freedom & the niqab

Some of the most contentious discussions I’ve had on Facebook were about my support for women wearing the niqab. Many concede it’s part of freedom of religion but insist the women wearing it are controlled by men or religion–or that it’s not really required by Islam. One would think that after thousands of women wearing the niqab led several of the Arab uprisings–most notably in Yemen & Bahrain–there would be more respect for the intelligence & independence of the women & their¬†ability to decide what the hell they wear. I wore a nun’s outfit covering everything but my face for nearly three years & can testify that my brains didn’t fall out & that I even became a feminist while wearing it.

I’m being badgered again about its use–as if I had anything to say about it. For me, it’s a very simple matter of freedom of religion. It doesn’t matter if you feel offended, for whatever reason, by its use. The veil is not about you. It’s about women’s right to choose what they wear without being judged stupid or being demeaned. Is such a fuss made about the bikini or the mini skirt or exposing cleavage? I don’t have anything else to say on the matter. Except that women should be respected & left the hell alone. If they feel oppressed by the veil, it’s up to them to decide what to do. If they don’t, the eyes are the window to the soul.

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