Our Stance on the French Burqa Ban
The Association of British Muslims regards a ban on any form of clothing as a somewhat extreme and rather undesirable course of action to take. We recognise and respect the human right of people to wear whatever they want. However, this goes both ways, and applies to someone who wants to wear a miniskirt as much as someone who wants to wear a burqa.
The vast majority of Muslim scholars do not regard the burqa as being sanctioned by Islam. Only a few small groups of muslims, who adhere to certain specific sectarian or ideological beliefs, consider the burqa to be part of Islam. While the Holy Qur’an calls for men and women to dress modestly, it doesn’t mention the need for women to wear a burqa or niqab. The Holy Qur’an needs to be interpreted in a particular non-mainstream manner, for anyone to find anything that could be seen as supporting the burqa. One in every four people on this planet are muslims, around half of whom are women. The vast majority of these muslim women, whether living in majority muslim countries or elsewhere, do not wear the burqa. While hijabs/headscarves are popular, even the vast majority of very religious muslim women do not wear the burqa, niqab or any other form of face veil. Thus, the belief that veiling the face is a part of Islam, cannot be substantiated.
Of concern, is the fact that while people should be free to wear whatever they want, many of the groups who sanction the burqa believe this is something every woman should wear. We believe it is quite wrong to use the concept of human rights in such a hypocritical manner. Either a person accepts it’s a woman’s right to wear whatever she wants, be that a burqa or shorts and a tank top, or they do not. If they don’t, then they surely have no right to invoke the principles of universal human rights to support their own agendas, as such a stance is in itself blatantly hypocritical!