We are all niqabis now: Coronavirus masks reveal hypocrisy of face covering bans

Source: The Conversation

By Katherine Bullock  

Grey’s Anatomy, the longest running prime-time medical drama on U.S. television, contains many scenes of doctors and nurses in full gear (hospital scrubs, surgical caps, face masks) around the operating table. As they talk, laugh and argue, close-ups of the actors’ eyes convey concentration and emotion.

These scenes contradict one of the common arguments against face coverings — or more accurately, niqabs worn by some Muslim women — that they are a barrier to communication.

Now that face masks are being used to help fight against the spread of COVID-19, it has caused some to look anew at general discrimination against Muslim women wearing niqabs. And it has got me wondering about Québec’s face-covering ban, which came into law in October 2017 as well as France’s ban which came into law in 2011.

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2 replies

  1. Let us not confuse the reasons face coverings are worn. One is for dubious modesty and religious reasons confined to women of Muslim and Ultra-Orthodox Jews, and the other for medical reasons for all, men and women. Let us hope that the current Coronavirus crisis will soon be resolved, so that we can go back to dispensing with the masks, and leave them to essential needs, as is the case now.

  2. While I can see the hypocrisy of face masks by many non-muslim countries, I also believe in the freedom to choose to wear or not before and after this pandemic is over.

    Fortunately, I live in a country which though not Muslim, is not paranoid like other mostly European/Western ones re what we wear and one can find half-dressed men and women as well as totally covered ones with no adverse side-effects…!

    All these things aside, I would like to make one observation regarding face covering, though. There are many people out there, I being one of them, who are hearing impaired (not totally deaf), who rely on lip-reading, facial expression, and sound to make sense of our world and therefore would appreciate it if others around us would be sensitive to this disability and the people who cover their faces not be offended if we ask them to remove it so we can understand what they are saying.

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