August 23rd, 2010
10:34 AM ET

Muslim women who wear the hijab and niqab explain their choice

Photos by CNN's Angie Lovelace, text by Soraya Salam of CNN's In America unit:

When you look at Aliya Naim or Nadia, they don’t want you to see objects of beauty, nor do they want you to see women constrained by societal standards.

Instead, they say, they want to be judged by their intellect and personalities. They say it’s the reason they don’t show too much more.

Both Muslim American women cover themselves from head to toe in adherence to their faith’s promotion of modesty and humility. Like most Muslim women who cover, they do so only in front of men who are not in their immediate family.

Aliya, a 20-year-old student at the University of Georgia, wears the hijab, or headscarf. She also wears clothes that cover everything but her face and hands, attire that is also referred to as hijab.

“You often see in many societies women being objectified because of how they look or being disrespected,” she says. The hijab, she says, helps “force people who may be otherwise unwilling to take the focus off of our physical appearance.”

Nadia (who asked that her last name not be given) similarly covers most of her body and goes a step further by covering her face—excluding her eyes—with a piece of fabric known as the niqab.

The 25-year-old mother of two doesn’t believe it’s a practice that Islam mandates, but that it draws her closer to God.

“When you love someone, you want to be more pleasing to them,” she says. “…You want to do anything you can and constantly talk to them and know more about them, and that’s how I feel also with my creator.”

While the number of Muslim women in America who wear the hijab or niqab has never been recorded, some suggest that there was an increase in Muslim women covering after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, as many wished to express their identities in the wake of anti-Muslim sentiment.

After the attacks, says Georgetown University Professor Yvonne Haddad, more Muslim women became spokespeople for their religion.

“The women have sort of become the banner of Islam,” said Haddad, co-author of Muslim Women in America: The Challenge of Islamic Identity Today. “The little scarf is saying, ‘I am Muslim, and I have a presence here.’”
Aliya, whose Muslim parents taught her that covering was part of Islam, began wearing the hijab when she was 12. But she says it was her choice.

She says it protected her from focusing intensely on her weight and appearance, as her friends did. At her small all-girls middle and high schools, her peers didn’t give her much trouble about it.

It was also shortly after the attacks on 9/11 and she, too, felt a need to express her identity and combat Muslim stereotypes.

Nadia, on the other hand, did not cover for most of her life. She said she first started wearing the hijab in college after studying Islam more closely and growing closer to her faith.

She added the niqab to her wardrobe after about a year. She says the decision came after a conversation with other Muslim women who covered.

“When I actually got to know them [the women], I understood that they were intelligent people still and they were still full of life and had their own character,” she said. “It didn’t take away from them. But what it added to them, to me, was this increased love for the creator.”

She says that, contrary to the common misconception of Muslim women being forced to cover, her husband, who’d converted to Islam, had nothing to do with her decision. In fact, it came as a surprise to him, though he supported the move.

Bans and backlash

Last month, France’s lower house of parliament passed a ban on wearing any veils that cover the face, including the niqab and burqa—a similar covering that additionally conceals the eyes with a mesh panel—in public.
A short time later, Syria’s minister of higher education issued a ruling outlawing the niqab in universities across the Muslim-majority country.

There have also been bans on the hijab over the years.

Turkey first banned the headscarf in universities and public buildings in the 1980’s, however the law was not strictly enforced until 1997.

In 2004, France banned religious symbols, including the wearing of the hijab, in public primary and secondary schools.

Although the United States is not expected to follow suit, Nadia feels she has already begun to experience the effects of anti-covering sentiment spreading in her home of Lilburn, Georgia.

She says she has been denied entry into grocery stores and has been verbally harassed by strangers. Once, when she was at a gas station, she says a man a man pulled off of the road, swerved his truck in front of her pump, and took a close-up picture.

She watched him speed back out of the station and saw a large sign on the side of his vehicle advertising a website called trickledownterrorism.com. “I was so disturbed and I cried, and I couldn’t understand it. I just felt like, why would he do this?” Nadia said.

She often encounters people who tell her that her way of dress is something that Americans don’t do, that she should leave her foreign beliefs behind. As an African-American born and raised in the United States, such statements are often difficult to hear.

“I’ve already told someone in a store, ‘I’m from the nation’s capital, lady. I’m sorry to put it that way but please stop telling me we don’t do that here because I’m from here, and I am here. My family’s raised here, I live here...You might not do it here, but I do it here.’”

While Aliya still experiences frequent stares and often feels misunderstood by the general public, she says that wearing the hijab has also brought positive experiences, including opportunities to explain her religion and answer humorous questions.

“I think the one that always makes me laugh is, ‘Do you shower in that?’ And I always say to that, well, do you shower in your clothes? There’s your answer.”

Once, a young boy at a national park approached her and told her that she looked like the character Padme from Star Wars. She still laughs about that one.


Aliya and Nadia feel that the biggest hardship they face is others’ assumptions about their beliefs.

Both say that the most common misconception about Muslim women is that they are oppressed, and that their religion views them as inferior to men.
For instance, French President Nicolas Sarkozy referred to the burqa as “a sign of subservience… a sign of lowering,” earlier this year.

Nadia disagrees.

“I’ve never seen anybody interview a Muslim woman and ask her if she’s oppressed. Or if she feels oppressed for wearing what she wears, or if she’s oppressed in her home,” said Nadia.

Aliya says that if women are oppressed, it is the fault of people and culture, not Islam.

“There’s a saying by the Prophet Mohammed, peace be upon him, that women are the equal halves of men. And from what I’ve read and studied about Islam, that’s very much how Islam views women,” she added.

Aliya says that she has never met an American Muslim woman who was forced to wear the hijab or niqab.

“I actually know more people who wear it against their parents’ wishes than unwillingly in compliance with their wishes,” she said.

To be sure, there are countries that require women to cover. Iranian law says women have to wear a hijab in public, while Saudi Arabia requires Muslim women to wear the hijab.

Moving forward

Despite some hurtful experiences in public, Nadia is content with her decision to wear niqab and says she feels a distinct difference in how men respect her now as opposed to her earlier days of low-cut shirts and formfitting pants.

Aliya also feels a joy in wearing the hijab, she says.

“And I think that definitely what’s in the heart is most important,” she said. “And your outward appearance should be a manifestation of that, not something to disguise what you really think or feel or believe.”

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Culture & Science • Islam • Journeys • Women

soundoff (1,728 Responses)
  1. ROD

    I respect their believed, but don’t think showed respect to other by covering your self up

    August 23, 2010 at 2:17 pm |
  2. Parkerman

    I wonder what would happen if you wore a Cowboy hat, Cowbow shirt and jeans in Saudi Arabia. You are going to get looks because it is a little foriegn to them. Get used to it.

    August 23, 2010 at 2:16 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      Actually, they ARE used to it. Loads of Texans work the oil industry there. Guess what they wear?

      August 23, 2010 at 9:15 pm |
    • It's true

      wzrd1 you spent 27 yrs in the service and you still have backwards and "bendover and sumbit" views. you are a disgrace to the uniform.

      August 24, 2010 at 5:18 am |
    • One Whose Name Means Beloved of God

      Thank you Wzrd1! Both for your service and your common sense. It seems to be lacking around here.

      August 24, 2010 at 3:23 pm |
  3. Seraphim0

    The one and only concern I have with this is the face covering- it gives law enforcement a very, very difficult time in finding someone if they decide to hide under a naqib. Anyone could do it to hide. That is my only objection- based on security issues instead of religious. Other than that, I say let them display their faith as they wish. People wearing a hijab don’t hurt anyone by wearing it. The naqib could cause problems with identification.

    August 23, 2010 at 2:13 pm |
    • Gone into Hiding

      That was my point exactly! It's a security issue! What is hiding underneath, no one really knows and in this country, crimes can be committed then toss the black sheet into the trash bin and run. Dah.

      August 23, 2010 at 2:18 pm |
    • Kate


      I remember there was a case in Florida of a muslimah refusing to unveil for her driver's license photo and I think a lot of people are using that as a basis for the legitimate interests of security. But I'm reliably informed that the "rules" regarding niqab not only permit, but require, a muslimah to show her face for identification purposes – to those with a legitimate interest in verifying identity that is, not just some thug on the street.

      August 23, 2010 at 2:20 pm |
    • Kate

      (Since there appears to be no moderators to approve posts)


      I remember there was a case in Florida of a muslimah refusing to unveil for her driver's license photo and I think a lot of people are using that as a basis for the legitimate interests of security. But I'm reliably informed that the rules regarding niqab not only permit, but require, a muslimah to show her face for identification purposes – to those with a legitimate interest in verifying identity that is, not just some stranger on the street.


      And the same can be said about baseball caps, hooded sweatshirts, bandanas, umbrellas, and those ridiculously huge sunglasses some people wear. I must have missed where you railed against those ...

      August 23, 2010 at 2:22 pm |
    • MrsFizzy

      Some of the European countries talking about bans are getting around the discrimination issue by making it just that – a ban against anyone covering their face in public places. That includes motorcycle helmets, ski masks, halloween masks etc. with the only exceptions made for deformed /disfigured people. But it's still pretty clear what the bans are in reaction to.

      August 23, 2010 at 3:33 pm |
    • MashaSobaka

      When a woman is frisked at any security checkpoint, a female officer has to do it in order to avoid sexual harassment allegations – at least, that has been the case every time I've been searched. I've even had to wait an extra twenty minutes for my pat-down for a female officer to show up, even after I asked the male officer to just get it over with – “Sorry, can’t do that, it’s a policy issue.” Why can't the same rule apply here? A female officer can ask the woman to remove the veil. (The Qu’ran assumes that women aren’t going to view other women as sex objects – a bit of a naïve assumption, but hey, it’s an old text.) Yes, the women will be required to go through extra security, but I'm sure that after all of the hissing and spitting and heckling they face on a daily basis from we oh-so-tolerant Westerners they're used to minor inconveniences by now. Extra points if the security officers manage to remain courteous.

      August 23, 2010 at 3:52 pm |

      @Goneinto Hiding....Are you honestly writing your thoughts free from the influence of whip its?

      Ask yourself something: How many people hold up gas sations wearing niqbas?

      Now ask yourself another question: How many people hold up gas stations wearing ski masks?

      Both fit in a garbage can. Too bad you don't.

      Do the math you dangling sack of feeble mindedness

      August 23, 2010 at 8:34 pm |
  4. sean

    Their men can show their bodies in public. This is not equality, the women fear the men and fear their religion. They are prisoners of their religion.

    August 23, 2010 at 2:13 pm |
    • Ken

      Men are not allowed to show their bodies either.

      August 23, 2010 at 4:53 pm |
    • nina

      They just have to cover in a different way. For example i don't hear you saying since men swim topless women should to.

      I love how linda put it "Men just don't have as much to offer as women do!"

      August 24, 2010 at 12:56 pm |
  5. Forrest

    As a 30 year old white male, this article makes me consider "covering" myself as well. The notion of not judging a person based on looks is awesome, no matter the faith, and a philosophy we could very much use here. 10 years ago, I woulnt have believed that people could be so blind and offensive about how people dress...of course, I grew up in a time where people wore neon track pants. But these days, with 25% of the country believing Obama is a Muslim, i'm not surprised at all by the ignorance of our nation.

    August 23, 2010 at 2:13 pm |
    • VA


      August 23, 2010 at 2:47 pm |
    • Mario

      Feeling high and mighty huh? Feeling above the other "ignorant people" in this country do you? I think you are the ignorant one. Do us all a favor and cover up please.

      August 23, 2010 at 3:11 pm |
    • Ryan

      Hey Super Mario- what did Forrest say that would make you believe he feels superior to you, or anybody else?

      August 23, 2010 at 4:19 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      Mario, I *AM* superior to you. I'm superior because I've spent 27+ years defending this nation in the military. I've spent nearly 5 years deployed to the Persian Gulf.
      What have you done, other than stain your sheets at night, leaving them stiff?

      August 23, 2010 at 9:14 pm |
    • I


      I think he was home learning better stuff...

      August 23, 2010 at 9:36 pm |
  6. Parkerman

    Its all just a matter of what we are used to. Anyone who wears or says something that the general population is not used to seeing they are going to get attention and people are going to be uncomfortable. Stop forcing people to be used to this and instead understand that you are a minorty. its just not something we are used to and is still associated to a mostly foriegn culture. I have nothing against someone wearing a muslim scarf, having odd body piercings, tattoos, or wearing unusual clothing, but its still going to look odd to me. Its a part of life, its like me wearing a US flag shirt in Saudi Arabia. I am going to get looks.

    August 23, 2010 at 2:13 pm |
    • Lord Giggles

      No, you'd probably get badly beaten, if not killed.

      August 23, 2010 at 4:14 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      Really? You know that for a fact? You've been there?

      August 23, 2010 at 9:12 pm |
    • Kate


      So your answer to people not being used to seeing it is to ... stop trying to help people get used to it ...

      August 23, 2010 at 9:13 pm |
  7. Partha

    The Irony.. most muslim women feel that they are not brainwashed by the men in their lives to cover themselves up..and they do it out of "respect" for their bodies and so that they are not perceived as objects.... AS ORDAINED in their holy book.. which unfortunately was created by a man and passed along as word of God to achieve one thing.. that is control and power.

    Chapter 4 verse 34 in the Koran for example.. clearly says how a man should beat a woman (lightly I might add).. even after his repeated pursuance, the woman does not align herself with what is expected out of her from the religion.

    Go figure!

    August 23, 2010 at 2:13 pm |
    • Billy the Kid

      Awesome, and if she don't listen after that, call all your buddies over, get lil rocks for everyone and bury her up to her neck in sand like a tortured cat, or like on that one movie Motel Hell, WOW that was a scary movie. now it is a reality show across the other side of our wacky world!!!

      August 23, 2010 at 2:18 pm |
    • Ryan

      Partha- nice comment. Its baffling to see so many people, some of them educated, who will believe anything you tell them. This book is from God. These are his words. Says who? Your Iman, Preacher or Reverend? Believe me, they dont know anything more about how we got here then you do.
      When it comes to the how we got here question, most people will believe what they want to, regardless of LOGIC.
      Then again, I dont have a problem with this way of thinking. Unless they start pushing it on me.

      August 23, 2010 at 4:15 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      Actually, the bible speaks on beating a wayward woman and about stoning them too.

      August 23, 2010 at 9:09 pm |
    • burnbabyburn

      Perhaps we should apply common sense and logic instead?

      I doubt *that* book would tell us to stone women.

      August 23, 2010 at 11:12 pm |
    • Cat

      There is nothing about lightly in the koran. It just says to beat. Lightly is used to appease westerns. Of course, no one should beat anyone lightly or not. So muslims insertion of "lightly" still falls flat on it's face.

      October 13, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
  8. uadan

    Look at the big picture people. The author mentionioned it. Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan. These countries brutally oppress their women. The hijab, or the burqa are objects of oppression. There are sporadic examples of progressive thought in the Islamic world, but for the vast majority of women, covering is oppression. Saudi women are chattle. They are the property of their husbands and family. The fact that an American Muslim woman feels good about wearing the burqa is meaningless. Of course, this is a free country. Take away her freedom of choice, and you are left with oppression.

    August 23, 2010 at 2:13 pm |
  9. fsg

    why don't men who have a problem with womens hair/face blindfold themselves? or... just poke your eyes out.
    if god really did create women, why should they have to hide?
    if god really exists, given the other issues on this planet: murder, war, starvation... why would a whether i put a piece of cloth on my head be important? it seems somewhat irrelevant.
    i tend to think that references in religious texts referring to women being covered have more to do with keeping a woman protected from the elements, which is why its also mentioned along the lines of making sure women are fed. where this religion was conceived, covering your face and hair makes sense to prevent sand/dirt from getting all over you. even men in this region cover their head and face (everything except for their eyes) when traveling in the desert. but it doesn't make sense in the US, because we are for the most part, not in a desert region with sand flying everywhere.

    August 23, 2010 at 2:13 pm |
    • burnbabyburn

      Very well said.

      Most issues/problems can be solved with common sense. Unfortunately too many people are clouded by religion and fear to use it.

      August 23, 2010 at 11:10 pm |
    • Jolly Penguin

      This is the most sensible post I've read in this entire comment section to this story. But people will overlook it because it doesn't suit the over conservative and supressive views of the muslims nor the hate views of the anti-muslims.

      August 27, 2010 at 1:26 pm |
  10. Mark

    If Muslim women are free to wear what they want, then I'm sure there are a few that would prefer NOT to cover their faces... but that would result in imprisonment and physical punishment at the least. So to make the argument that this is about freedom to wear what you want, that's a pretty stupid point of view. And quoting anything in the Qaran about equal treatment for women is, again, a lie steeped in fantasy. Show me any equality for women in an Islamic country...

    Most women in America that cover their faces do so out of fear their husbands will beat them if they don't. That's not immigration but settlement. Americans have fought for freedom our entire existence, we're not going backwards...

    The covering of woman's faces is a sign of oppression – not culture. If you want to immigrate to this country – then immigrate! Which involves some form of assimilation. If you don't, then stay where you already are... This is America, and we are different from middle eastern countries, so if you don't like that then don't come here. It's not complicated...

    August 23, 2010 at 2:12 pm |
    • VA

      Americans have fought for freedom, so when someone comes to this country, they have the "freedom" to assimilate and not do as they please. This woman is not bothering anyone, so why deny her the "freedom" that you so highly tout?

      August 23, 2010 at 2:45 pm |
    • Stephanie B

      I think everyone is in violent agreement that within Islamic nations (Iran, etc.) that the teachings of the Quran have been used to manipulate men into a place of abusive power over women. This article, however is not about women in Islamic nations, but rather two American Muslims born and raised in the United States where people are "free" from religious persecution. Sadly though, this is a nation that is fearful of what they don't understand, or what is different and that breeds intolerance which causes violence. Open your minds people.

      August 23, 2010 at 3:41 pm |
    • FactChecker

      In the majority of Muslim countries women are free to cover or not. I have visited the middle east and seen women dressing head to toe and I have seen many women dressing in western style clothing. Only in Iran, Saudia Arabia and Afghansitan it is forced upon them. Instead of lumping all muslims together why don't we work with those countries like Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon how let women dress as they please and don't force religion on them and get them to influence Iran, Afghansitan and SA.

      August 23, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
    • Mearder

      let them cover their bodies who in their right minds would wanna look at a Muslim woman s body anyway
      after she gave her husband 5 kids

      August 23, 2010 at 8:02 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      Meadow Muffins, Mark! I've BEEN to Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar. Women do NOT have to cover their faces. Period. They don't have to cover their hair either. It's up to the woman and her family.
      Try speaking in REAL facts, I spent nearly 5 years in that region and countries with the DoD living off base. I've LIVED the facts!

      August 23, 2010 at 9:07 pm |
    • nina

      immigrate? who said anything about immigrating. She's African-American.

      August 24, 2010 at 12:47 pm |
  11. Gone into Hiding

    The % of Muslim women are NOT educated and LACK intelligence as they are married off between ages of 13 – 18. I know this first hand. Very few, 1 %? go off to college and most lack even high school education. I know. I've talked to them. I taught them. I have been in their homes. They lack skills, education and are given the most basic roles: Wife- Mother. That's it. So, please do not start preaching sister, about your high intelligence. Let's do a study across the states and you will find a severe low percentage of "covered" Muslim women in college or workplace.

    August 23, 2010 at 2:12 pm |
    • Kaini

      Do you have statistical evidence? I go to a large University (60,000 students), and there are many Muslim women and men in almost all of my classes.

      August 23, 2010 at 2:32 pm |
    • Abudu Mukarram

      I'm sure your mother considered her role very basic when raising you. Listening to your rant it had to be very basic. Nothing is basic about raising a human being; the most complicated creation in the universe.

      August 23, 2010 at 2:37 pm |
    • VA

      Go back into hiding.

      August 23, 2010 at 2:41 pm |
    • Stephanie B

      How very sexist of you to describe being a wife and mother as a "Basic Role". I am a college graduate who works full-time and is also a wife and mother (I'm also a Methodist) – I can tell you first hand that being a Mother and wife is not only the most rewarding of roles – its also the hardest; its tests your patience, kindness, compasion, ethics, wisdom, soclial awareness, and intelligence in ways careers do not. Way to debase all women dude – not just Muslim women who have been negatively affected by a much abused cultural distinction. Moron.

      August 23, 2010 at 3:26 pm |
    • Linda K.

      One percent? Where did you get that figure? Most Muslim women I know have college degrees, and often graduate degrees as well. I have a Ph.D. and I do cover my head, and I am far from being alone. It could be you're working with poor immigrants. But even then you will see their daughters in the colleges and universities.

      August 23, 2010 at 3:26 pm |
    • Confused

      If you actually have a PhD you should understand the absurdity of trotting out empirical evidence in the face of statistics. You also would understand that a person with a PhD is more likely to know other educated people than the average person. Either this is not a serious issue you to you, you are woefully unaware of basic rational discourse or you do not have a PhD.

      That being said, I am all for modesty and covering oneself provided it is done equally amongst genders and done without compulsion.

      August 23, 2010 at 3:52 pm |
    • Ryan

      Linda, you are right. In the US, most muslim women are rather smart and intelligent. Its because they value education. Most muslim-americans are here because they like the way of living, and they want to get away from the stereotypes that populate there homelands. But my question is, do you know the intelligence levels of muslim women living in "muslim-dominated" societies? You are right- in this country muslims are very educated. But in the world they are the exception. Women are free to think, act as they please. The problem is its not like this in there homelands, or wherever there parents may be from. That is the problem.
      I have the utmost respect for people trying to enhance there lives. If someone wants to wear a full body suit while doing it.....fine by me. Whatever floats there boat.

      August 23, 2010 at 4:08 pm |
    • Stephanie B

      How very sexist of you to describe being a wife and mother as a "Basic Role". I am a college graduate who works full-time and is also a wife and mother (I'm also a Methodist) – I can tell you first hand that being a Mother and wife is not only the most rewarding of roles – its also the hardest; its tests your patience, kindness, compasion, ethics, wisdom, soclial awareness, and intelligence in ways careers do not. Way to debase all women dude – not just Muslim women who have been negatively affected by a much abused cultural distinction.

      August 23, 2010 at 4:30 pm |
    • Stephanie B

      How very unenlightened of you to describe being a wife and mother as a "Basic Role". I am a college graduate who works full-time and is also a wife and mother (I'm also a Methodist) – I can tell you first hand that being a Mother and wife is not only the most rewarding of roles – its also the hardest; its tests your patience, kindness, compasion, ethics, wisdom, social awareness, and intelligence in ways careers do not. Way to debase all women, dude – not just Muslim women who have been negatively affected by a much abused cultural distinction.

      August 23, 2010 at 4:34 pm |
    • FactChecker

      In most Muslim countries more muslim women have unviersity degrees then muslim men. Even in Iran more women have degrees than men.

      August 23, 2010 at 5:14 pm |

      In my neck of the woods, we have a lot of hijab wearing ladies and some niqubas. None of them speak to non muslims in a non commerce centered situation. They'll sell you something, but will they speak to you on the street? Heck no.

      You can wear a pink pony on your damn head for all I freaking care. This manner of attire represents to me an intentional cultural seperation and a declaration of "DO NOT speak to me. Not only are you a man, you are a non muslim man".

      I used to worry about whether or not I should shake hands with a muslim woman when meeting for fear physical contact would be construed as inappropriate or even offensive. I realized it does not matter, because observant muslims (unlike secular muslims) in my neighborhood do not mix with those they view beneath them (aka everyone who is not them).

      August 23, 2010 at 8:30 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      LOL! ALL hype, no info. WHAT nation was this in? The US? Kuwait? Qatar? Bahrain? UAE? Oman? Yemen? Saudi Arabia? Iran? Israel? Great Britain? Bavaria?
      Nope, not info. Claims, no info. Since I've been in Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar I know what IS taught to women and *I* have been in their houses too. As well as one Saudi home.
      Camel raisins!

      August 23, 2010 at 9:05 pm |
    • It's true

      muslims and their backward religion are a sickening disease. History has and will continue to show this.

      August 24, 2010 at 5:12 am |
  12. J

    It is because they are really ninjas!!

    August 23, 2010 at 2:11 pm |
  13. BeerDrinker

    How aobut a paper bag. Kind of like the Unknown Comic.

    August 23, 2010 at 2:11 pm |
  14. Spoonless Eddie

    Isn't it time we did some explaining of our own? In the West, if you cover your face, is suggests you are about to commit a crime. This is not an American thing, or a European thing. It goes back at least 1500 years, when knights opened their visors as a sign of trust. Sometimes our "Political Correctness" prevents us from speaking frankly, and sometimes our news media overstates a controversy, but the facts are simple. If you're a Moslem, and you come to the West, you must try to accept our ways. If you don't want to, or can't, then please go home. It can't get any simpler than that.

    August 23, 2010 at 2:11 pm |
  15. darrel

    As long as employers can deny employment and access to shops, banks, theathers etc. to ANY person who does not show their face, then do what tickels your fancy.

    August 23, 2010 at 2:11 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      OK, so shopkeepers can also keep out people who are the wrong color? Banks can keep you out because you're the wrong political party? Perhaps we'll do that poll tax thing again? Poll tests too? Separate drinking fountains?
      Since you're halfway there, why not go back?

      August 23, 2010 at 9:01 pm |
  16. Enough is enough

    Uh huh. But do we 'really' want to see Disney employees wearing Niqabs and Burkas? No thanks. If I take my kids to Disneyland the only costume I want to see on female employees is something 'Snow White'. Anything else is just force-feeding someone's religious beliefs in mine and my kid's faces. Work at someplace like Disney? Leave the Islamic garb at home or don't take the job.

    August 23, 2010 at 2:11 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      Niqab and BURKAS! ROFLMAO!
      Go back to your lead paint chips.
      First, I could care less what someone has on their head at Disney. And frankly, you have no say in what is or isn't worn at Disney, that is up to Disney's corporate office, not you.
      Burkas... LOL! Never mentioned, except in the flatulence that spoke in tongues to Reverend Jim when he was in the bathroom.

      August 23, 2010 at 8:59 pm |
    • kk

      I agree, What's next, Hooters with a head scarf? Of yeah, the shorts and midriff baring uniform would have to be covered up. What about police jobs, or other uniformed services?

      August 24, 2010 at 12:32 am |
  17. sean

    It is an old religion dated back 1000+ years ago where men were barbarians and attacked women in villages. So this was a way to not entice the men. Still today they carry the same old mentality.

    August 23, 2010 at 2:10 pm |
    • Gone into Hiding

      Sean – very true. Back in the day, if you were not covered, you could be kidnapped, raped, abducted and abused very easily.

      August 23, 2010 at 2:15 pm |
  18. lb

    they have a right to practice their religious beliefs. Fear dominates where ignorance lies.

    August 23, 2010 at 2:10 pm |
    • Mike

      True that.

      August 23, 2010 at 2:42 pm |
    • Concerned

      Not so fast. She has the right to practice her religion as far as the law allows. My children are forbidden from reciting the pledge of allegiance in school and they are not allow to wear religious symbols.

      Separation of church and state......Public school, public park...etc...... Unless you are in a private home you are in public.

      August 23, 2010 at 4:26 pm |
    • Amber

      Intolerance is human nature, it just is. There isn't a single human being who hasn't at one point discriminated against another based upon some sterotype or characteristic. Now I am wise enough to know that much of what we get fed from our media is not the whole story or can in some cases be false. But the truth is there is an enormous amount of religious and cultural strife in the Middle East, there pretty much always has been. Every country over there has another long time religious enemy that they have fought for 100s of years over some piece of land or some prophets cousin or nephew or what have you. People die every day in markets and streets and voting booths and police sign up areas just minding their own business. Am I ignorant for knowing this and it scaring me? I don't think so. I think you are ignorant for thinking I am. I don't blame the Muslim faith for the terrorism I blame the blend of human nature and Muslim faith for terrorism. It allows the mind to corrupt a printed page into hatred and make men women and children blow themselves up in a crowd of innocent people in the name of something they apparently don't understand. Don't get me wrong, Christianity isn't much different, most religions preach peace and acceptance but when blended with human nature are easily corrupted into hatred and intolerance and you get white robes and burning crosses, but those same men go to church every Sunday. Fear isn't always ignorance Ib, sometimes its knowledge. Sometimes its understanding what you are really surrounded by. People DO die everyday in the name of the Muslim faith by terrorists, that is a sad truth. Does that make all Muslims terrorists, absolutely not. But it will and does scare a lot of people and in a time of war, maybe rightfully so.

      August 23, 2010 at 4:59 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      Wrong, Concerned. Your children are not allowed to say the pledge of allegience in school, NOT because it's in public, but because it's a government institution.
      In public, one may practice their religion. If you want to say the Lord's Prayer on the sidewalk, you are allowed. Wear a cross, you can. And she can wear whatever she is required to by her religion.

      August 23, 2010 at 8:55 pm |
  19. Carmen

    PUH lease!!! I won't even bother reading this nonsense. If you chose to live in North America, enjoy the freedom of North America, you must show your face and be accounted for. Wear your masks in your house!!! PERIOD!!

    August 23, 2010 at 2:10 pm |
    • Kate


      Would you like to examine that statement for logical consistency, where you talk about freedom then demand someone do what *you* want?

      August 23, 2010 at 2:15 pm |
    • Mario

      @ Kate
      Again with your cute bs. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO DO IT. LIKE THE PEOPLE THAT ARE BUILDING THE DAMNED MOSQUE AT GROUND ZERO. Nobody is questioning it. DO IT already, but please shut up about it how you are tolerant and peace loving. You are wearing it to stand out and get attention and not what you claim you are doing and you know it. Always the victim you guys, always. You have more rights than any "dogs and infidels"(rest of us) living in any muslim country.

      August 23, 2010 at 3:08 pm |
    • MrsFizzy

      I thougth Kate even said she is not Muslim. So you have to be a Muslim to understand their pov and even if you personally disagree for yourself, to say that they have a right to do this if they want?

      August 23, 2010 at 3:27 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      It's a simple principle, do what Carmen Hitler says.

      August 23, 2010 at 8:52 pm |
    • Patrice

      Show your face and be accounted for? Hmmmm when tax time comes, all the US government cares about is that you file and pay if you owe. That is how we are accounted for in this country. Oh and the next time you visit Washington DC stop by arlington national cematary, you will find that there are more than a few crescent moon standing with the crosses and stars of david. America is the home of the free and you can basically walk around half naked if you want to, and no one cares but choose to cover yourself with the nijab and there's a problem...a little backwards I think.

      April 11, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
  20. Howie

    Wearing that outfit is the ultimate objectification. Far from escaping being objectified, they have now guaranteed it. Put it this way, if Nadia went to a spring break weekend in Miami, what women there would be stared at the most?

    August 23, 2010 at 2:09 pm |
    • VA

      So a bikini or miniskirt is not objectification? Lets face it, all societies thru all history have objectified women, its not the religion, the region, or the century, its just men in general!

      August 23, 2010 at 2:38 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.