Bassam Darwich / Oct 25, 2006

Waiting for my wife to come out from the fitting room in a department store, I chatted with a man doing the same while watching his little boy playing on the floor in front of the room entrance. We talked about how little children can find joy playing with anything they see around them, whether it is a piece of crumpled paper or a little insect walking on the floor.


All of a sudden, a terrified scream came out from the little boy’s mouth as he then ran toward his father, jumped on his lap and hid his head between his arms.


He certainly was right to be frightened, as it probably was the very first time in his life he encountered such a weird creature that just came out of the fitting room. Frankly, had I not seen this creature myself before, I would have also felt frightened observing it coming out from that room unexpectedly.


That terrifying creature was a Muslim woman - and please don't ask how I guessed she was Muslim – fat, huge and wearing black from top to bottom, showing nothing of her body, hands, feet, or even her eyes which were covered with dark glasses. She came out very quickly and walked away like a huge black bag rolling on the ground with the help of hidden wheels.


It was perfectly reasonable for the boy to cry. And if he had a little dog with him, the dog might have also run away scarred, or possibly given her chase, grabbing her from her leg  or robe tail in defense of his master.


I really cannot fathom from whom this woman is afraid of if her face were shown. I don't think people in this country care to stare at other people’s faces.  They don't even bother looking at naked bellies and breasts showing up from open chests.  


I felt sorry for not having my camera to provide my readers a picture of this creature.  I smiled; however, as I thought that I can take a picture of any other Muslim woman wearing the Niqab (the complete cover) and pretend it was hers. Who could after all tell the difference between one big black bag and another as long as no one knows who is inside either one!


Frankly, I don't care what this woman chooses to wear or not to wear. It is her right if she so desires to live her entire life in this bag, or to never get out of it to see the sunshine and smell the roses. It is her decision to live deprived of her rights as a free human being and not as a concubine. But, because the way she is dressed can affect me in a way, I cannot close my eyes and ignore this phenomenon.  I have a good reason to believe that this sort of costume can be a threat to me in many ways; therefore, it is my absolute right to call upon the authorities to protect me from it. 


First of all, I see in this sort of garment a real danger to the security of my country.  There are many Muslim terrorists wanted for justice with their pictures all over internet web sites, post offices, government agencies, schools, stores, and other places. These pictures are there so that we, as citizens, can help in apprehending them. In fact, we have a moral obligation in making citizen's arrest - if it is in our ability to do so – when we find such a terrorist! There are also many other criminals wanted for justice, like thieves, bank robbers, rapists, smugglers, etc. How would I know as a citizen that this huge walking black bag is not hiding one of those criminals? How can I feel safe seeing such a bag next to me, while I am standing in line in a bank, or waiting for my kids in front of the school, or shopping in a store?    


Secondly, I seriously believe that such a dress can be a direct danger to me and my family. How can I tell if the person inside this bag is a man or a woman? Any person can dress as such and goes inside the women's fitting room where my wife or daughter might be. No one will stop him fearing litigation for religious and ethnic discrimination!


Thirdly, it is well known that shoplifting affects everyone and not only business owners.  Business owners always add the cost of shopliftings to the price of the items we buy.  Consequently, we end up paying for it. How would the business owners know that these dresses are not used by professional thieves!


Finally, how can I feel safe while walking on any street, not knowing if inside such a bag, some sort of criminal is pointing a gun at me or others? How would I know that this is not a bomb walking on two legs! 


This Niqab is used by some female prostitutes in Islamic countries, so that they can move from one place to another without being bothered by anyone. A wife or a daughter can even be going to meet her man under the eyes of her husband or father without him knowing who is inside the bag. It certainly is their business, and I don't give a damn about it as long as they wear it in their countries. But here, in my country, I believe this weird dress is imposing on my security, and therefore, I call upon the authorities to protect me by banning its use in public places.

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