The niqab is not just a fashion statement | Islamic veil

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Gaby Hinsliff would have us believe that she tolerates cultural fashion choices (Stop this bullying over what we can and not wear, September 26). However, she willfully ignores what it means to cover the faces of schoolgirls: the veil is no more than a “piece of cloth” than a gag, it is the iconic manifestation of an ideology that wants the faces of women are analogous to their genitals as a source of shame which must be hidden from all men other than their husbands.

If it is a fashionable choice, it is that of Isis, the Taliban, Boko Haram and al-Shabaab, who – together with our Saudi allies – are brutally enforcing this particular suppression of women from the public life. Tolerating misogyny is one thing, but it’s depressing that a certain condescending mindset seems to cover his own liberal face so he can’t see it and challenge it.
Natalie Seeve
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Gaby Hinsliff deserves praise for picking up methods of human interaction as they apply to people with disabilities, but in discussing the niqab she chose the wrong disability. David Blunkett’s blindness would not prevent him from communicating with a niqab wearer, unlike Jack Straw’s deafness.

When a constituent covered her mouth, he could not lip-read what she was saying and, therefore, he was unable to do his duty to her as an MP. Hinsliff reports on a petition that claims what you wear “doesn’t affect anyone else”. All full-face masks deprive deafened people of the opportunity to engage with the wearer, so the school should treat the issue as one of equality and discrimination, not against female empowerment, but as an offense against all hearing-impaired people. Incidentally, the number of deaf people is likely to increase as people live longer.
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