Monday, September 23, 2013

Debate: Niqab or Restrictions on Niqab

Here is a very civilized and interesting five minute debate about whether there should be restrictions on wearing the niqab. Two columnists debate the issue, Nabila Ramdani and Joan Smith, both of whom write for the Guardian. The debate is part of the Guardian's Five Minute Debates, which they bill as "short, to-the-point debates on key issues of the day."

Smith argues that there are instances when the niqab should be banned. For example, if you are getting surgery you might want to see the face of your surgeon in order to build trust and  children might want to see the face of their teacher for the same reason.  The state, Smith believes, should be the guarantor of these laws.

Ramdani argues that these assumptions are based on the idea that women wearing a niqab pose a threat but can find no statistics to back it up.  Moreover, she believes that the debate has been hijacked by radical and extremist  groups. In Britain, she says that right wing politics has become acceptable, even institutionalized, and the niqab has become a "convenient problem" around which the base can rally.

Students might find the debate interesting and  could use it as a basis for further debate.

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