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My Story
My views on the niqab - Zahra Khan's Story
Date : 26/ 11/ 2010
By :
I am a Muslim women who wears the niqaab/Burkha in the UK and I'm proud of wearing it. To make it absolutely clear, I was never forced into it at all but rather it was a decision I made myself. It came as a shock to my parents when I first started to wear it but once I explained to them why I have chose to wear it they said 'Okay, if it makes you happy then fine'.  Also, that fact that I'm a British Muslim I feel this is my right to dress how I want because I belong to a country where we respect freedom of speech and freedom of dress too, which I'm very proud of.

Banning the veil is not an option in a liberal society, in fact to ban any item of clothing is against liberal values. The issue may arise when it comes to security. From a simple security perspective it is necessary to show one's face when in public places such as banks or airports. Anyone should be able to understand that. I myself when travelling abroad have no issues in lifting up my veil and showing them my face as I understand the importance of security.

Some may argue that the niqaab / burka may prevent a Muslim women from intergrating into society or taking part in education or even linking them to extremism. Now that's what I call 'a silly myth' which without doubt is pure ignorance. I graduated from a London university, I don't just have one, but two degrees. I have a very good job and I also run a youth football club where I empathize an importance of education, respect, and mutual understandings of different faiths. My niqaab has never been a barrier for me but rather it has encouraged me to integrate into society.

Now, as far as extremism is concerned then one should really go into the definition of what extremism actually means. In my view an item of clothing can never be classed as ' extremism'. To make a point here, In America you have extreme sport, you have extreme eating habits, you have extreme torture like in Guantanamo bay where they use heavy metal to torture, so music can be extreme too! Jumping out of an aeroplane for fun is extremism.

I would rather a woman wore whatever SHE wanted to wear, even if it's something I disagree with, that is what freedom is about. it seems that the desire for secular liberalism has itself turned into a form of fascism. To argue that the niqab (or indeed the institution of the burkah) was ever an obstacle to women taking part in public life seems to ignore, for example, the influence wielded by the harem in ottoman politics or the political roles played by various Indian queens - all them fully veiled. but then of course purdah/niqab was, historically, practiced by high-class women and not peasants. No one could argue that those women were controlled by men.

My point is simple: the state has no duty or right to tell any tax-paying, otherwise law-abiding citizen how to dress. those who are happy to be dictated to by a right-wing politician (all in the name of security) will have only themselves to blame in the end. We live in a tolerant society so let's start acting like tolerant people and respect each other, even if you disagree with them and just because a group of Muslims are supporting the ban doesn't make the ban anymore correct. This is a civil liberties issue which some seem to think is a security one.

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