Wednesday, April 28, 2010

And The Niqab Controversy Continues

Hijab is all over the news these days. There have been numerous items concerning it,  particularly the niqab - the veil which covers the whole face apart from the eyes. What I know about it, is that, it is not a religious clothing - it's traditional (?!) I am not really in the position to say much more about hijab so I asked my Arab and this is what he said...

"Covering the face is a very controversial issue in Islam. Some consider it as hijab but the majority believes that it is covering the hair only, so we really don't know."

It is, apparently, MORE controversial in non-Muslim countries. Niqab is totally banned in France and some areas of Belgium, German and Canada. However, in some other non-Muslim countries, it is up to the Muslim woman whether she wants to cover up fully with the niqab or not.

Here's a mini-guide to different types of Hijab from BBC News:

Potent Symbol 
The word HIJAB comes from the Arabic for veil and is used to describe the headscarves worn by Muslim women. These scarves, regarded by many Muslims as a symbol of both religion and womanhood, come in a myriad of styles and colours. The type most commonly worn in the West is a square scarf that covers the head and neck but leaves the face clear.
 Conservative Choice 
The NIQAB is a veil for the face that leaves the area around the eyes clear. However, it may be worn with a separate eye veil. It is worn with an accompanying headscarf. The BURKA is the most concealing of all Islamic veils. It covers the entire face and body, leaving just a mesh screen to see through. There have been attempts to ban both the niqab and burka in some European countries.
  Popular Styles
The AL-AMIRA is a two-piece veil. It consists of a close fitting cap, usually made from cotton or polyester, and an accompanying tube-like scarf. The SHAYLA is a long, rectangular scarf popular in the Gulf region. It is wrapped around the head and tucked or pinned in place at the shoulders.
 Covering Up
The KHIMAR is a long, cape-like veil that hangs down to just above the waist. It covers the hair, neck and shoulders completely, but leaves the face clear. The CHADOR, worn by many Iranian women when outside the house, is a full-body cloak. It is often accompanied by a smaller headscarf underneath.

Do you wear the niqab? What types of hijab would you wear if niqab is not an option?