I’m not usually one for signing petitions nor for encouraging others to sign petitions but I did sign this one (after I saw it on Julaybib’s site) and CAIR’s Not in the Name of Islam petition condemning terrorism. And in the bottom bar of this site, I have the Today Niqab, Tomorrow Hijab banner linking to an open letter on the issue. While, I have my differences with the authors the content is not objectionable.
Recently in North America and in Europe, notable Muslim and non-Muslim political and religious leaders have been questioning the right of Muslim women to wear niqab (the face veil).
The undersigned Muslim sisters counter that we support each other’s civil right to dress in whatever manner each of us deems acceptable whether we personally or religiously agree with each other’s choice of dress or not. Further, within the boundaries of common sense and civil definitions of legal competency, we consider each other to possess the necessary agency to make her choice of dress for herself. Because we accord each other the dignity of agency, we also accord each other the respect necessary to disagree on the religious propriety of any form of clothing.
Ideally, civil and religious disagreements concerning propriety of dress should remain separate. It does not serve us as citizens of civil societies or as a community of Muslims to seek to compel each other in our choice of dress whether that be a niqab or a miniskirt. We believe that if freedom of religion is to be upheld, it must be upheld for all. A loss of civil rights for one is a loss of civil rights for all.
While we accept that most states have the right to limit religious freedom when the needs of the citizenry as a whole can be proven by the highest court to be more compelling than the needs of the individual, we choose to err on the side of individual freedom when considering when and how states may intervene. Thus as Muslim sisters and citizens of civil societies we stand to support each other’s civil right to dress in accordance with our conscience.