...Niqab as a security problem encourages non-Muslim suspicion of Muslims, since it encourages Muslims toward separatism from their non-Muslim neighbors. And the security issue is real. Male terrorists in such varied countries as Pakistan, Britain, Afghanistan, and Israel have donned female coverings in attempting to escape police. Ordinary criminals have put on niqab as a disguise while committing robberies in the U.S., Britain, Canada, India, and Bosnia-Hercegovina.
Niqab is not Islamic. Covering of the face by women is nowhere mentioned in Qur'an, and the opinions of Islamic legal scholars on it are not unanimous. The Hanafi school of Islamic law, which is most widespread among Muslims, specifically rules out face covering, on the basis of women's needs while dealing normally with men, in commerce and elsewhere. In traditional Islam, men are called on to act modestly, and women are not ordered to disfigure and subordinate themselves by masking their features. The Prophet Muhammad is reported to have said that women making the hajj pilgrimage to Mecca should not cover their faces or wear gloves, although in their typically perverse manner, Saudi Wahhabi clerics now seek to impose it upon them even then.
Millions of Muslim women around the world do not wear so-called Islamic dress, but have retained local customary garments, which do not distort their form or personality. Many have adopted the same fashions as Western or Far-Eastern women. Women in Hejaz, the Western Arabian region in which the holy cities of Mecca and Medina are located, did not, in the past, cover their faces, and increasingly protest against the imposition of this practice.
The radicals who promote niqab try to pretend that a woman becomes a "better Muslim" by covering her face. This concept is no more Islamic than niqab itself. In traditional Islam, division of Muslims between the good and the bad, aside from those who have committed terrorist or criminal acts, will be decided by God, not by men or women.
According to established Islamic guidance, Muslims who migrate to non-Muslim societies are required to accept and obey the laws and customs of the countries to which they move. Attempts to introduce niqab into Western countries represent an obvious violation of this principle.Western nations have developed a doctrine of "reasonable accommodation" of religious beliefs and practices. But acceptance of niqab in the West would embody "unreasonable accommodation."
Appeals for an immediate ban on niqab or face-coverings in Western countries are, in the view of many moderate Muslims, correct. To rid the Muslim world of niqab will require a sustained debate and social development in each country where it is presently found, based on a pluralistic discussion leading to its recognition as a non-Islamic, and dehumanizing, practice.Some questions for niqab-booster Harpoon: Do we really have to demonstrate our "tolerance" bona fides by tolerating the intolerable? Doesn't that make us complicit in the oppression? Can we not ask of newcomers that, at the bare minimum, they leave such intolerable practices as "honour" killing, female genital mutitlation, polygamy and female face masks back in the old country?