Revenge of the niqab against the compulsory health mask

Revenge of the niqab against the compulsory health mask

©? Gonzalo Fuentes / Reuters
A woman wearing the niqab in Paris.

Weekly, chronicle of daily, social and cultural life in the Arab countries. This Saturday, tourists from the Gulf who were already hiding their faces by a mask before the coronavirus crisis, to circumvent European laws.

They did not wait for the coronavirus to adopt the sanitary mask in public space. Tourists from the fully veiled Gulf countries had found the trick in recent years. They replaced their cloth niqab with the protective accessory that has now become compulsory in almost all of our public places. Bypassing the laws adopted in France as in several European countries prohibiting rigorous Islam from showing its face hidden in the streets, many have been able to continue to come on vacation to Europe. Fleeing unbreathable summers in their desert climates, these wealthy Arab tourists often preferred the great outdoors of Swiss or Austrian hill stations where they were better received than on the Croisette or the Champs Elysées.

“No one may, in public space, wear an outfit intended to conceal his face”, stipulates the text of the law adopted in 2010 in France, pioneer of the ban on the full veil. Taken literally, it should include the sanitary mask that covers us today from the top of the nose to the bottom of the chin. But Saudi and UAE tourists had already understood, long before the epidemic made the formula obsolete, that they would not be prosecuted while traveling with pollution protection. These Arab traditionalists do not hesitate today to boast their clairvoyance or to mock as recently an article from Washington Post France “Which makes masks compulsory but prohibits the burqa”.

“Can women replace their niqab with a health mask? Does niqab protect against coronavirus? “ These questions are now at the heart of the debates of Arab Internet users on social networks. The characteristics and merits compared between anti-Covid mask and full veil give rise to discussions and controversies also on the sets of religious programs which multiply on television during the holy month of Ramadan – which ends this weekend. Turbaned and bearded men of all tendencies cross iron with each other and with scientists to determine “The health benefits of the niqab”. A Salafist commentator ended up solving the dilemma: “The safest for women is to wear the mask and then the niqab over it!” The fact remains that tourists from the Gulf countries are unlikely to be able to return to Europe on holiday this summer.


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