The other day I made a post about how unfair it would be to single out Hijab’s and Niqab’s when there are many other instances where Women cover their faces. But there is more to this issue: what would happen if a ban was implemented? Would Muslim Women just continue to go about their business without coverings, or will the practice have other effects?
I can see a few possible outcomes from such a scenario, but three that are most likely. One, Muslim Women comply with the new regulations but the Muslim community feels increasing persecuted and ostracised, which leads to even more resentment, and, possibly, more radicalisation. Two, Muslim Women “comply” with the new policies but find work arounds like wearing medical masks, big hats and scarves etc.. And three, the new regulations drive Muslim Women underground, isolating them from society at large.
The last scenario for me is especially worrying. For some conservative Muslims Hijab’s and Niqab’s are an enabler; they believe Women and Men should be shielded from one another, and that is precisely what these articles of clothing do. Previously, many Muslim Women were consigned to the home, the prohibition on Men and Women intermingling and seeing one another so great. But articles of clothing like the Hijab and Niqab essentially achieve
the same function as the walls of a house: they shield both Men and Women from one another, the great advantage of rhe Hijab and Niqab being that the Woman is not relegated to her home. She is allowed into society, she is allowed to shop and do many of the things she would previously have been restricted from.
Let me be clear. I am an Atheist (I dislike that word but it is the most efficient in this case). I do not believe that Men and Women need be shielded from each other in such a fashion. But the people that do wear these clothes and are part of these communities, do believe in it. They believe it is the correct thing to do. And no one has yet shown me any evidence that regulations or bans will change someone’s beliefs, or stop them doing what they think is correct. Many Islamic Women will go with the flow and act like the proponents want, but many will be marginalised by such a ban, and many will be robbed of the freedoms that their Hijab’s and Niqab’s have awarded them. Rather than creating a more homogenous society, such a ban will create a more heterogenous one.