Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Niqab- its a womens choice?

I was puzzled by the news story of a women who wears niqab not being able to find a job. While the right of a women to wear the Hijab- or the Niqab- is not in question; what I find troubling is the idea of a Niqabi feeling that she must work. I thought the Niqab was a total division of the women from her surrounding, that she wanted absolute control of who and how she is seen.

"No one takes women with niqab in the retail sector," said Obeid who unsuccessfully applied for jobs at two retail outlets. She is now looking for back office administrative jobs where she believes she may have more chance of being employed.

Many devout women in the conservative Arabian Peninsula wear the niqab, but most Muslim clerics say women are only required to wear a head scarf.

I see a Niqabi and truth be told, I see a bundle of cloth. I am sure there is some one behind it, but I do not see more then the religious statement that is being made. That is fine. Because the implication is that she is a devout Muslim sister. There are other ways to make money, if that is what she would like, then there are other ways:

For some wealthy women in niqab, investing in the Dubai stock exchange has proven to be an alternative to a steady job.

"In the bourse, I am free. I can come to the market whenever I want and I have time to take care of my family," said Om Omar, who could not get a steady job. She said her friends, other housewives, invest large sums in the stock market.

"People think that if you wear the niqab you are stupid or narrow-minded," Om Omar said. "Wearing the niqab is a form of personal freedom. It's my choice."

I certainly do not see the niqab in that light, but again my question is why do women wearing the niqab feel obliged to seek employment in a mixed setting? That goes against the logic of the Niqab and it forces other people into a very peculiar position that is uneasy, tense and in my eyes unjust.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Coming from a Muslim background myself I strongly disagree with women wearing the "Niqab" or full face covering.

It reaks of anti-social behavior. Its damaging to the image of Islam, especially in Western societies, and it makes many people (including Muslims) uncomfortable.

Imagine if men started wearing ski-masks in public; to the grocery store, to Walmart, or to the park. The act invites hostility.

By wearing the Niqab the woman is essentially defining herself solely as a sexual object; one that must be covered from the glaring gazes of strange men who think of nothing but sex. The niqab is demeaning both the women wearing the clothing and to the people who are in the same vicinity.