A colmunist in the Saudi owned Arabic daily Al Sharq al Awsat , Abdul Rahman al Rashed, expresses no sympathy for the British Muslim teacher who wants to wear the niqab to work (in Arabic). The majority of the readers' comments support him. The arguments they make: veiling the face in the age of terrorism is a security risk; the Niqab is not required by Islam; it's the expression of one extremist group; if the woman can't live and work within the liberal non-Muslim society she's in, she has to leave; Muslims in Britain are raising issues that are hurting Muslims elsewhere and eroding the sympathy of the leftists and liberals; Muslims should be happy that Britian accepted the head cover and should respect the laws of the land.
A more strident tone is struck by Abdel Bari 'Atwan, the editor of the Arabic London daily Al Quds al Arabi (also Saudi supported, I believe). Here's the passage that interests me:
"It is allowed that young women walk half naked in the streets, and that they pull their pants to the lowest level so their skimpy underwear is exposed, but it's not allowed that a minority of a minority of Muslim women cover their faces. At the same time, they talk about respecting personal freedoms and interfer in the liberation of women in Arab and Muslim countries."
But what is his point? Should Muslim women in Britian be allowed to wear the niqab because it's a personal freedom? I doubt that's what he's arguing as much as it may sound like it.
مسموح للفتيات ان يسرن شبه عاريات في الشوارع، ويسحلن سراويلهن الي ادني مستوي بحيث تظهر ملابسهن الداخلية الفاضحة، ولكنه غير مسموح بأقلية الأقلية من المسلمات بتغطية وجوههن، ويتحدثون في
الوقت نفسه عن تقديس الحريات الشخصية، ويتدخلون لتحرير المرأة في البلدان العربية والاسلامي