I was under the mistaken impression that it’s just European countries that are concerned with females covering up. Politicians in both Belgium and France have voted in favour of a ban on the burka, Italy are apparently considering a similar move, and there has been talk of such things in the UK in recent times. But concern over this form of female covering is not just a European foible. A small group of Israeli women in the city of Beit Shemesh have taken to covering their faces with veils, and dressing in multiple layers of clothing to hide their shape. They consider this to be a requirement of modesty. Several rabbis have criticised the trend, but the women have ignored them, claiming that the rabbis are too moderate. Now, however, the Eda Charedit rabbinic organisation – a religious body respected by even the religious hardline in Israel – is set to issue a statement condemning the practice. Rabbi Pappenheim is quoted as saying, “There is a real danger that by exaggerating, you are doing the opposite of what is intended [resulting in] severe transgressions in sexual matters.” You can read more from the Jewish Chronicle here.
There have also been concerns with full female cover in some Arab countries. Syria has banned the niqab from it state universities. Women who wear it will not be allowed to study or teach there. Many primary school teachers who wear the niqab have also been removed from their posts and given administrative jobs. The Syrian authorities say the move is necessary to protect Syria’s secular identity. It does not affect the hijab – head scarf – which is a far more prevalent form of veiling than the Niqab in Syria. Other secular-leaning Arab countries are similarly concerned with the wearing of the niqab, and have tried to dissuade their female population from the practice. You can read more from the Hurriyet here.