Burqa On Trial 4

Never forget - there's a human being inside that burqa.

The judge in the matter involving Tasneem, the Muslim lady who doesn’t wish to remove her niqab in the witness box has ruled that she must show her face when testifying. That might be from another room via a video link but that is irrelevant. What is relevant is that, in my view, justice has prevailed for both the accused she is giving evidence against and our justice system in general.

This is not a racial issue or a religious one as the wearing of the niqab and burqa are cultural anomalies. They are not a part of our culture and while we should not force anyone who migrates to live here permanently to abandon their old ways, they should be respectful of ours. We would have to respect their culture if we wished to live among them so turnabout is fair play, surely?

My main concern is that it begs questions about the attitude towards women held by the husbands of these veiled ladies. It also makes one wonder if the women truly are content to wear medieval dress in a modern society and all that it indicates? Women’s suffrage and equal rights have come to where they are at a cost, a huge cost to men and women. Attitudes are changing and catching up with technology that is allowing women to compete against men on equal terms in the workplace and as far as choices about child bearing are concerned.

Historically it has been the physical superiority of the male in a manual labour intensive world and the inability to accurately plan families that has kept women at a disadvantage. While I acknowledge we have different roles to play and that when we compliment each other in a partnership we can achieve far more than we can on our own, that is no reason why women should not be given a fair go wherever and whenever we can. Highlighting her position as a ‘chattel’ of her husband by dint of her dress is not helping the cause of feminism or humanity one jot. But what do you think?

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