It’s Not About the Burqa

Burhan Wazir in The Guardian:

No other item of religious clothing has ignited passions and prejudice among politicians and media commentators as much as the burqa, worn by a minority of Muslim women. In 2006, then leader of the House of Commons Jack Straw wrote of his “concerns” after a meeting with a veiled Muslim woman in his Blackburn constituency – he later apologised. Tony Blair, who was then prime minister, said the wearing of veils was a “mark of separation”. More than a decade later, Boris Johnson wrote that women who wear veils “look like letterboxes”.

The paranoia over Islamic clothing has become a political opportunity to codify laws against European Muslims. Legislation prohibiting or limiting face veiling now exists in Belgium, Bulgaria, Austria, France and Germany. Last year, politicians in Denmark cited local values when they passed a lawbanning the wearing of face veils in public. The law, punishable by a fine, affects only an estimated 200 Muslim women. In this engrossing collection of essays by mostly young British Muslim women, contributors come from all areas of life – law, journalism, human rights, academia, fashion, gay rights and activism. Writers include the public speaker and author Mona Eltahawy, Guardian journalist Coco Khan, the beauty and wellness social media influencer Amena Khan and Malia Bouattia, a former president of the National Union of Students.

More here.