by Phyllis Chesler December 5, 2014
For the first time in history, and in the wake of the December 1st stabbing death of an American teacher in Abu Dhabi by a woman wearing a burqa, Gulf region media are questioning whether the burqa is a security risk.
Historically, other Muslim and Arab governments, as well as feminist activists, have not only questioned the burqa—they have also abolished it.Such countries include Turkey, Egypt, the Maghreb, Iran, and Afghanistan. Educated Muslim women living in large cities in these countries went unveiled for at least 100 years. However, Saudi Arabia and environs, and rural regions in the Arab and Muslim world, have never really abandoned the Islamic Veil. It has now returned with a vengeance across the Middle East, Central Asia, and parts of Africa.
Thus, it is somewhat amazing and a welcome relief that some newspapers in the UAE are wondering whether the burqa should not be worn "for security reasons." One journalist titled his piece succinctly: "The Niqab Crime, and the Niqab is a Crime."
For a long time, Dr. Daniel Pipes has argued that the burqa is a security risk. He has also kept a log of crimes, both terrorist and otherwise, committed by both men and women hiding beneath burqas. They are able to do so since enforcers of Islamic customs have trained everyone to treat masked burglars, killers, and human homicide bombers with the utmost respect. This includes non-Muslims too.