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What Are the Pros and Cons of Wearing a Burqa?

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  • Written By: Christina Edwards
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Some Muslim women choose to wear a burqa, which is a loose outer garment that covers these women from head to toe. Most of these women see wearing a burqa as their religious duty, since it is a very conservative garment. Burqas can help ensure that these women are not the focus of unwanted attention from men. On the other hand, the unusual look of burqas can invite unwanted attention from some people in foreign lands. Also, these garments conceal a woman's face, making identification difficult, and they are reported to be very uncomfortable.

A burqa is a piece of clothing worn by some Muslim women. This garment is very loose and flowing, and it covers the majority of a woman's body. The hands and eyes are usually the only parts of the body that are visible when wearing a burqa.

According to the Qur’an, burqas are considered to be hijab, or acceptable, modest clothing. In the Islamic religion, men and women are both typically discouraged from wearing outfits that would incite lustful thoughts in the opposite sex. For women, wearing a burqa accomplishes this task. Many women who wear a burqa simply see it as something they must do to follow Allah's wishes. They often view the burqa as part of their faith.

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Since wearing a burqa helps cover up a woman's beauty, it will often keep men from noticing her. Men will usually not have lustful or indecent thoughts about that woman, and they will usually not show her any unwanted attention. This is especially true in conservative Islamic countries, such as Afghanistan, Iran, and Saudi Arabia.

The sight of a burqa in areas of the world where Islam is not a major religion, such as Europe or the United States, could have the opposite effect. A woman who wears a burqa could attract attention to herself in these parts of the world. Due to religious intolerance in some areas, the woman might even be harassed for wearing this type of garment.

Photo identification is used for a number of reasons in most parts of the world. For instance, people need to have photographs of their faces on their passports and driver's licenses. Wearing a burqa hides the face and therefore, makes identification very difficult. Most types of burqas will usually need to be removed for identification purposes.

Burqas are also very uncomfortable for most women. During warm weather, these layers of cloth will usually trap heat and sweat close to the body. Since the face is also covered, this can make breathing somewhat difficult.

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Discuss this Article

anon983838
Post 3

The concept of controlling attention is sound. However, there are two ways to spin this: to deal with the problem or to avoid it. The burqa does the latter by not encouraging muslim men to become responsible adults

and learning to control their pubescent/post-pubescent urges, so the men continue with their irresponsibility of adolescence and pass the buck to the women. Nicely done.

AnswerMan
Post 2

@Phaedrus, to be honest, I sometimes get concerned that a wanted male criminal or terrorist could take advantage of a burqa and escape capture. It would be considered improper for a non-relative of a Muslim women to ask her to remove her burqa. It would be the perfect disguise for someone trying to get past a checkpoint or border guard.

Phaedrus
Post 1

I don't see wearing a burqa for religious reasons any different than a Pentecostal woman wearing a skirt in this country. It's all about modesty in public. I suspect some women actually prefer to wear something that keeps men from ogling their bodies while they run errands. From the documentaries I've seen on television, many Muslim women remove their burqas the minute they return to their own homes.

I watched one travel documentary where the host visited a dress shop in Iran and she was shown dozens of fashionable burqas. They had elaborate beading and other decorative features sewn into them. Modern Muslim women also have the freedom to choose different levels of coverage, from a full burqa to one that exposed their faces and hair.

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