The burqa argument is very clear-cut from the defenders of those who wish to wear them, as opposed to defenders of the garment itself. A woman should be free to choose what she wears. Are there limits? I guess public (or nowadays pubic) decency is a concept that most countries uphold to stop people walking around with their private parts exposed. Beyond that, wear what you like.
All of the “face covering is against our values” is a perverse smoke-screen for the real issue. Islamophobia.
Muslims like Salma Yaqoob don’t choose to veil their face, but defend the absolute right of others who choose to do so. Surely, liberal interventionists and other Islamophobes who must have been cringing at the endless moral contortions their thinking has had to go through recently must have squirmed at the sight of a woman defending the right of another woman to wear what she chooses, whether it be a miniskirt or a niqab – and a man, Taj Hargey (dissected here, here and here) calling women liars and denying them the right to dress as they please.
As far as I can tell, most defenders of women’s rights in the Muslim sphere, including Catherine Heseltine and Salma Yaqoob, aren’t defending this right from a Muslim traditionalist viewpoint, it’s purely an issue of choice for them. This of course is a thinly veiled attack on the hypocrisy of leading Western figures who have jumped on the Islamophobia bandwagon in recent years to get votes.
I took particular pleasure in the mantle of the suffragettes being taken up by a Muslimah, Kenza Drider. I also sympathised with her husband:
I recognise this situation. In just about every case I’m aware of, it is Muslim women who make the choice. None of should defend either Saudi Arabia’s insistence that women cover up, or France’s insistence that they don’t. The right to dress how they choose belongs to each individual.