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News reports and Islamic women's opinions on wearing the burkha

Veil lifts on Islamic regime
By Hugh Barnes, Kabul, The Australian, 15 Nov 2001

Women of Kabul reacted cautiously yesterday to the fall of the Taliban after five years in which a repressive Islamic regime had denied them basic rights of education, employment and even dress. Forced behind the veil, isolated in their homes and banned from the classroom and the workplace because of the Taliban's interpretation of Islamic law, Afghan women remained an all but invisible presence yesterday in Kabul. In stark contrast to the high-spirited pranks of their menfolk, some of whom threw Taliban-style turbans in the gutter, or hurried to the barber to cut off their beards, the few women in evidence continued to wear a burqha veiling their faces.

Excerpts from an interview with a prominent Hindustani woman: Should women wear the burkha or be in purdah?
Hindustani Times Sunday Magazine, 31/8/01 (Rashid Ahmed)

‘Wearing a burkha is a good thing... but it has to be a matter of personal choice’, says Mahbooba Mufti, ‘not a code enforced through threats’.

Mahbooba Mufti, vice president of the People’s Democratic Party and the daughter of former Union Home Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed, feels that the Lashkar-e-Jabbar’s campaign to impose the purdah on women goes against the tenets of Islam.

‘I feel wearing a burkha or using a veil is a good thing. It is part of the Islamic way of life, and shows the respect Islam accords to women. Before the advent of Islam, people in Arab societies used to indulge in female infanticide. It is Islam which has given women the right to live, given her a share in property as well as education. The veil symbolises the dignity and honour of a woman. This is why most Kashmiri women keep their bodies and heads covered in public. Even within the family, they take care to cover themselves properly before appearing in front of male members’.

Women’s reality veiled by Western worries
The Australian 29/11/01


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