The UK Courts ruled a Muslim woman had to remove her Niqab when giving evidence. The accused is not a member of the Taliban, nor Hamas, or PIJ or any other such political group, and so is not wearing the niqab for political reasons.


In the latter half of the 18th Century and the early part of the 19th Century in the UK Scottish Plaid was Top of the Sartorial Shit Yersel’ Parade. In 21st Century UK, the allegedly Islamic Niqab is Number 1.

Some of the reports in the British tabloids, particularly, the comic-cum-scandal sheet The Sun, read like a Press Release from the Ministry of Disinformation and Missing the Point.

In the Spirit of Enquiry allow me to take you on a journey of discovery to identify the truth of the ‘dreaded’ niqab.

To begin with, the niqab has nothing to do with Islamic Sharia, and even less to do with ‘keeping women in their place.’ That is how semi-educated Westerners perceive the garment, but not how traditional Islamic women view it.

The niqab is not even Islamic, but it has been adopted by Islam and become an important part of the culture in Saudi Arabia and other Islamic States.

The Greek scholar Strabo in his Geographica (composed 7BCE- 23CE) described some Persian women veiling their faces.

Modern Iran, banned the niqab from 1936-41, and from the present Revolutionary Government (1979- present) has never encouraged wearing the niqab.

Again writing in the 3rd Century CE, the Christian writer Tertullian in his Veiling of the Virgins described what from his point of view were the ‘Pagan’ women of Arabia wearing veils that cover their entire face. Both, these sources were compiled long before Mohammed and the Islamic Empire.

So, by the time of the Prophet, the niqab was already an established cultural garment or fashion accessory. So much for ‘keeping women in their place.’

As for the religious argument, again, this is more Western guff. Although it is true that the niqab is a legal requirement in the Islamic Holy Sites of Mecca and Medina but this has nothing to do with Sharia and everything to do with Saudi State Law. Women can, and do, go about their business in Jeddah without the niqab.

The closest interpretation obtainable for a religious basis for the niqab is that the Holy Qu’ran states the Prphet’s wives covered themselves when men who were not relatives (non-mahram) were present.  This covering up, says nothing about the face, and in any event is not a religious edict.

FoxyAt best, the modern use of the niqab is the continuation of an ancient regional and cultural tradition; at worst it is Arab women wanting to emulate the Prophet’s wives. In other words, it’s no worse than Boring British Brunettes trying to dress like the Royal Sperm Receptacle Kate Middleton. It’s called fashion, it’s what women like. Besides, some niqabs can make a woman look quite foxy.
By Stephen Leece

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