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A Veiled Threat


I like seeing a person’s face during a conversation, unless it’s by phone because then there’s no way around it, and I don’t have Skype.

And if I were a police officer writing tickets, I’d want to see the person’s face as there are few things more disgruntling than talking to a pair of eyes beneath enough yards of fabric to drape the Sistine Chapel.  Such is the case with a Muslim woman’s face and body covering called a “niqab,” which they wear as a sign of modesty, though it has come under question lately and France has enacted what amounts to an anti-niqab law.

No one would care had the Muslims been a peace loving lot.  And in spite of what they say their religion says, some of them haven’t done some very peace loving things.  Let’s just put it like this:  No one ever thought that Bob Dylan and Arlo Guthrie were singing about them when they were singing all those songs in the sixties and seventies.  And no one would think so today.    

After all, how many peace-loving lots blow others up and destroy, maim and kill with such carefree abandon?  Though like love, I guess we all have our own version of what peace means and how to get there.  Theirs seems to be by way of blowing up and clearing out the overgrown weeds and brush (the infidels) to make way for the vegetation and good stuff (them). 

And now the French have said “alors,” “enough” and have started to take action by outlawing the veils in public.   

Other religious groups have their dress codes, too.  Orthodox Jewish men wear shtreimels (fur hats) but no one ever hears about them carrying dynamite around in them, though there might be a matzah crumb or two riding on them on occasion.  And no one ever hears about any Orthodox Jewish women harboring any explosives or pepper spray in their wigs and scarves, which married women wear for modesty’s sake.  So no one tries creating any laws.     

Last month, a policeman in England stopped a woman with a niqab for a traffic violation.  Not too thrilled about it, she threatened to report him, though he wrote the ticket anyway.  She later claimed that he’d assaulted her and tried to lift her veil to get a glance at her face.  What she didn’t know was the whole encounter had been taped from a camera on his dashboard, so the she looked rather foolish when she showed up in court and he presented the evidence.  If he didn’t have the tape, it could have spelled the end of his career as well. 

Not willing to leave well enough alone, her lawyer then said it was a case of mistaken identity since he couldn’t see her under the veil.  The judge didn’t buy it and she was sentenced to jail and had to pay a fine.

Once the law was enacted in France, some Muslim women claimed that the government was restricting their movement and trammeled on down to City Hall.  They were arrested and now one of them is going to take it to a European court, which is either comprised of other Muslims or afraid of them to begin with.

A peace loving lot?  If they think you’re on the same side of the niqab as they are, I suppose.

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