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The burqa is a long, loose-fitting garment worn mainly by women of Arabic cultures designed to cover the woman’s entire body. The different types of burqa may be basic black, plain white, or ornamented and in a variety of colors depending on the country and religious beliefs. Certain countries require women to wear a veil covering her whole face or a veil that covers all but the eyes. In other cultures, women make the personal choice, based on religious beliefs, to wear the full veil. Other types of veil exist in Muslin or Islamic cultures, but the word burqa applies to the garment which covers the entire face.
The most common of the different types of burqa, also called the chadri, includes a robe which covers the whole body and has a full-face mask. The veil is cut from a large portion of circular cloth, and it has a small piece of mesh or sheer fabric that covers the eyes, enabling the wearer to see. In other types of burqa design, the veil portion of the burqa is a square piece of fabric attached on either side of the head just under the eyes. In the most conservative countries, the veil and robe are in either black or white while less conservative countries allow for colors and designs.
People of certain Muslim or Islamic sects believe that viewing the woman’s body may cause impure, sinful thoughts, so they require women to cover the body to prevent those thoughts in the minds of men. Women in ultra-conservative Islamic or Muslim societies, such as Afghanistan, are usually required by law to wear the more conservative types of burqa. In other societies, the woman may remove her burqa when she receives permission from her husband, while other religions allow the woman to choose for herself.
In less conservative Muslim or Islamic societies, women may wear the more modern types of burqa, which includes a long veil that wraps around the head and covers only the mouth portion of the face. A long, loose-fitting robe accompanies the veil and may be adorned with various fancy trims. The robe and the veil come in a variety of colors and a wide array of fabrics. Sometimes the woman wears a veil covering just her head with loose-fitting pants or a longer skirt and a loose-fitting blouse. Women wearing this form of veil choose to do so in order to preserve religious propriety, but the veil itself is not considered a burqa.
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