Sunday, August 3, 2008

Islam Awareness Week in Wellington, NZ

This rundown of Islam(ic) Awareness Week's fashion show is a little curious. It hits the obvious Islamic-fashion notes, such as burkinis and hooded tae kwon doe uniforms, which enable women to dress in a way that makes them comfortable while doing sports. Very feel-good. Then they print this dress code:

Dress codes for Muslim women:

* Clothing must cover the whole body apart from the face, hands and feet.

* Clothing should be modest and not close- fitting or so eye-catching as to attract undue attention.

* The hijab (hee-jab) or headscarf is compulsory, though some choose not to wear it.

* A burqa covers the entire head and face and is specific to certain cultures, for example, the blue burqa worn by women in Afghanistan.

The source listed is a spokeswoman for Islamic Awareness Week; this is their website, where they self-identify as the first and most accurate source for information on Islam and Muslim New Zealanders. So, I think it's pretty bold for them to come out and say that the hijab is compulsory. I don't think it's unreasonable to think that some of NZ's (very small - this site says 30,000) population of Muslims choose not to wear a veil - why would this group want to alienate those women?

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