What do we find so offensive about the face veil? Why do people need to show their face to have an identity? Isn’t wearing the veil enough of an identity? And whose identity are we conforming to? Is it to be white? Is it to be Christian? If you are offended by the veil, ask yourselves why? Many women who wear the veil do so because they choose to rather than because of oppression.
The face veil issue is an issue of fear. Because we don’t know the woman behind the scarf a certain amount of power is taken away from us. It is this fear, within us, we need to question.
How many non-Muslims believe that when a Muslim woman wears a face covering in a Western society it means: “I completely reject you and your society, but I plan to live and raise a family here anyway”. Doesn’t this presume that Muslims are all Middle Eastern or Pakistani and not White British?
If we start saying “do as we do or get back to your own countries”, then it is our bigoted minds which need to be questioned. Not all Muslims are foreigners. The veil is seen as a major barrier to integration. In reality communities are segregated and living parallel lives anyway, and telling someone to take off their veil will not make things any better.
Some say this leads to separation from the majority, but this society is a pluralistic one, with many small groups living different lives. If the woman took her face veil off, would she then be accepted by the majority? Or would she still be targeted as a Muslim wearing the headscarf?
It seems Muslims cannot get it right whatever they do and the media has done a very good job of demonising and victimising Muslims. Today the face veil tomorrow the hijab? You may say that the argument is about facial expressions and communication, but maybe next year another politician will demand all religious clothing be kept in the private sphere, as they have in France.
We are continuously told that by allowing the face veil we are helping a culture to continue to objectify and control their women as well as further isolating and alienating one culture from another. But who is more liberated, the woman who feels she has to wear the latest fashions or the woman who chooses to wear the veil to cover herself? I know I fall into the former group and spend all my money trying to look like the models in the glossy magazines, a victim of oppression by the fashion and film industry. Yet you don’t frown, because by western standards this is ‘normal’.