Thursday, October 21, 2010

Orthodox Jews Protest Niqab Ban

This caught my eye:
Orthodox Jews urge Quebec to abandon proposed niqab ban

Quebec’s Orthodox Jewish community appeared for the first time on Wednesday before a National Assembly committee, taking up an unexpected cause – fighting a bill that would ban the wearing of the Muslim niqab when receiving government services.

The Jewish Orthodox Council for Community Relations said by placing gender rights above religious rights, the bill would create a hierarchy of individual rights and freedoms that would be challenged before the courts. The group warned the government against adopting “hard and fast rules” that could exacerbate social tensions surrounding religious minorities.
I suppose it is natural for Orthodox Jews in particular to sympathize with the Church vs State issues that confront Muslims. After all, both wear head coverings, both use pools that have separate swimming, both eat meat that is ritually slaughtered, etc.

True, Orthodox Jewish women do not wear a veil over their face, but at this point--niqab and burqa are practically used interchangeably, so that the issue is a general one of head covering.

Interestingly, last year the niqab was opposed by a leading Islamic Scholar in Egypt--by the Grand Sheikh of the prestigious al-Azhar University, Muhammad Sayyid Tantawy:
Azhar Imam orders niqab off, wants ban
07/10/2009 01:00:00 PM GMT

CAIRO – The head of Al-Azhar, the highest seat of learning in the Sunni world, has ordered a school girl to remove her niqab during a visit to an Al-Azhar school, saying he would seek an official ban for the face veil in schools, Al-Masri Al-Youm newspaper reported on Monday, October 5.

...“The niqab is a tradition and has nothing to do with Islam.”
Be that as it may, considering the various issues that Muslims and Orthodox Jews share in common, it is a pity that we do not see more combined efforts in addressing issues of concern to both.

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NormanF said...

The niqab should be banned as well as all coverings that detract from the equality of women and the general protection of human rights.

There are ways to protect decency without rendering the entire human person invisible.

Daled Amos said...

as well as all coverings that detract from the equality of women

Would that include snoods and sheitels?