Does mask policy help normalising face veil?

No, It doesn’t.

People of Chinese lineage and anyone perceived ones living in the west are turned into punching bags; they suffer from verbal abuse and violent acts, some of which are fatal. Considering where the virus is reportedly from, the history of anti-Chinese sentiment and the hostility towards Beijing, this phenomenon unfortunately does not surprise me.

What surprises me is the COVID-related anti-Muslim sentiment. It is not prevalent; I have only seen it among a handful of conservative Americans. But, its mere presence is not what attracts my attention.

For years, many rightwing westerners have spread the conspiracy “theory” about the Muslim takeover of the west. Among those who love virtue signalling about women’s rights, they believe every woman in the west will be forced to wear burqa. Literally, the only evidence they have is mere presence of Muslims.

And COVID health protocols really trigger their paranoia. They see the mask policy as an attempt to normalise face veil and governments being complicit to the so-called Islamisation.

I am not going to argue in details why they are stupid. But, I can give my perspective as a Muslim living in the world’s biggest Muslim-majority country.

In Indonesia, Aceh is the only province where hijab is mandatory and there is not a single province where face veil is. It is not to say veiled women don’t exist. But, they are extremely rare, even among the most religious Muslim women.

After the enforcement of face mask, you still can tell which women wear face veil.

For one, they always wear loose and long dress; they never wear shirts and pants. It is a contrast to some hijabis who are often seen wearing pants and shirts.

Secondly and most importantly, they never bother to wear the masks. Why should they do when they have their niqabs? While I doubt they are as medically effective, the supermarkets I go to don’t seem to mind.

If face mask policy fails to normalise niqab in the world’s biggest Muslim-majority country, what makes you think it can do so in the predominantly-non-Muslim western countries?

You don’t need the pandemic to realise this. If something sticks out like a sore thumb, then it is definitely weird and definitely not seen as something that has been normalised.

Mind blowing, I know.

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