This week it took me a while to figure out what I will write about. I toyed with this and that idea but nothing substantial would materialize. Then I saw something on the news that caught my attention. It was a story on the burqa ban in France. The French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, states that the “burqa is not a religious problem, it is a problem of the dignity of women. It is a symbol of subservience, of submission.” Let me explain to you what a burqa is. The Burqa is the traditional dress for a Muslim woman that covers her body completely. There is see-through mesh that goes over the eyes so the wearer is able to see. The ban raised a question in my mind, do the French have a right to ban burqas or let women wear them?
Are all Muslim women who wear burqas forced to do so or do some of them do it for their own religious reasons? I have a lot of Muslim friends here and not all of them wear burqas. In fact, only one does. Why? Several years ago she was really ill and almost died. During that time she prayed a lot and was healed. She believes that Allah saved her. She believes that by wearing a burqa she is showing her faith and submission to God. Would it be fair to her if the Malawi government all of a sudden decided to ban it?
At the same time burqas can pose a threat. Various crimes and bank robberies around the world have been committed with people hiding their identity behind this Muslim dress. Terrorists have been able to hide loads of explosives under that same dress. And on a lighter note, I heard of an incident of a woman’s lover coming to her house dressed in burqa to hide his identity from the woman’s husband! Some of the purposes that the burqa has been used for are terrifying and some are downright hilarious, but the fact is still the same, how can we be sure what is under the dress?
I believe in freedom of religion. After all, it is one of the principles on which America was founded upon! No one is telling me not to wear my cross! Why should they have to give up their religious dress? But at the same time I get nervous at the airport when I see a “person” pass me by covered head to toe. In today’s day and age some sacrifices should be made. Who’s to know that a person under the burqa is who she claims to be and not a terrorist man with a bomb strapped around his waist? Can these women show their faith by simply covering their head with a scarf and leaving their faces visible? I guess it is for the Muslims to decide for themselves. But if I were to move to a country that dictates strict dress codes, I would abide by the law of the land!