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Niqab,Say ‘Islam’ and one of the first things that will spring to mind is the burqa. The connotations of the burqa are not normally positive; in the western mind it has become synonymous with extremist groups like the Taliban; a symbol of religion’s enduring contempt for all that is feminine. Worries arise as to whether this kind of association is little more than a sign of our own cultural prejudice; we are often prone to view the culturally distinct as in some way threatening. What is notable in the case of the burqa, however, is that the negative reactions have come not merely from armchair pundits but a wide range of intellectuals, many of who are otherwise in favour of cultural pluralism.

Niqab,A charge of ethnic prejudice against opponents of the burqa also seems ill-conceived when we consider how little attention these critics direct at other cultural exports. Dreadlocks or bindis have been fondly adopted by many westerners and not merely despite but precisely because of their ethnic flavour. Recognition of dreadlock’s and bindi’s religious origins should also go some way to showing that we in the west, secular as many of us appear to be, are not predisposed to shun religious artifacts.The majority of westerners, whether politically left, right, or centre, remain heavily sceptical of the application of hijab (modesty of dress) in Islamic communities within the UK, and beyond..

By completely eclipsing the female form, the burqa invites immediate suspicion, becoming the ostensible expression of women’s final and absolute banishment from public life. Due to this rather dubious honour, the burqa (unlike henna tattooing, dreadlocks, or even the St Christopher) has little chance of catching on in modern, secular, parts of the world.To go one further and actually picture non-Muslim girls rushing down to a busy mall to pick up the latest burqa or niqab seems to require quite some imaginative leap.

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