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July 03, 2014



It's not entirely true that '[a] woman in a veil is signalling quite clearly that she's not interested in social interaction'. I supervise Saudi women students who wear the niqab, and they are certainly keen to talk to me. I assume they dress in the UK as they would back in Saudi, and I think we have to accept that. (I don't know what they would think about a British woman dressing in Saudi as she would back in the UK. Maybe I should ask.) On the other hand women born and bred in the UK are pretty clearly signalling their rejection of mainstream society, and they really shouldn't be too surprised if mainstream society reacts in a negative fashion.

It's probably right that the niqab shouldn't be banned. On the other hand I think the state could criticize it. If it is reasonable for the state to discourage unhealthy lifestyles of various kinds, it is surely also reasonable for it to discourage a mode of dress which expresses a rejection of mainstream society and minimizes the wearer's chances of being a well-integrated member of society. The state could also emphasize that no one should feel obliged to wear the niqab, whatever their family, husband, or imam might say.

Mick H

Yes, I suppose I was thinking of women born and bred here who make a conscious decision to wear a niqab, as opposed to those, like Saudi women, for whom it's just normal wear.

Recruiting Animal

I find clothing bizarre as well and still startling to see on the street; however, if someone want to do this and is not hurting anyone there is no need to punish them. I think it makes us look bad and undermines our claims to love liberty.

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