‘I feel free behind my burka’

‘I feel free behind my burka’

3rd May 2010, Comments 7 comments

What induces Muslim women to wear a veil? And how do the Dutch react to a woman wearing a niqab, a face-covering veil? Radio Netherlands Worldwide interviewed Brigitte, a convert to Islam, and Chaista Khan. Both women wear a niqab.


Dutch MP and leader of the right-wing Freedom Party Geert Wilders wants the burka banned in the Netherlands. 

The proposed ban is a pivotal point in his party’s election manifesto. 

It’s the first time the Freedom Party has taken part in a national parliamentary election, and Wilders predicts big wins in the 9 June polls.
Brigitte and Chaista are often called names in public - “terrorist” or “ninja”, for example. 

Brigitte has had little contact with her family since her decision to wear the niqab. 

Chaista’s parents worry about her, about what might happen if she comes across radical people who might get aggressive with her because her face is covered.

 But the women themselves feel free... free behind their niqab.



Adelali Ragad and Hermione Gee

Radio Netherlands

 Photo credits: FaceMePLS; alphadesigner



3 Comments To This Article

  • Lorraine posted:

    on 5th May 2010, 12:08:22 - Reply

    I don't know...for me personally, growing up in the baby boomer, women's lib generation, I have trouble with women covering themselves from head to toe because they should not be seen by any man except their husband or close family members. Perhaps I would have less trouble with it if the men went by the same rules and could only be seen by their own wives and mothers. Therefore it is not fear but gender inequality that does not sit well with me. Whether it is a matter of culture, law or a woman's choice, it still tastes of gender inequality. The Burka is only one form of different rules for "him" and "her". People are people and why should one gender have to cover up?
  • David posted:

    on 5th May 2010, 11:59:34 - Reply

    Hmm, free.

    In many countries where the burka is widely worn it is not through choice. In the "free" world women and other groups who historically had less access to opportunity fought hard to get such visible and invisible signs of oppression banished.

    How many women are forced to wear the burka by their husbands, family or society? I wonder what Brigette and Chaista's views are on countries where burkas and head veils are forced on women? Strange that these articles never address that.

    Certain images are offensive by what they represent. For example swastikas. Motorcycle helmets or mosquito nets don't carry that association. No woman was ever forced to wear one.

    Get real. In this society the face is a major way that people communicate non-verbally. Fortunately these two women choose to wear the burka.
  • Paul Jeffries posted:

    on 5th May 2010, 11:50:47 - Reply

    I cannot understand why there is a problem with the Burka at all. Any country that believes that they can tell people what to wear is setting themselves up for a big problem in the future. Motorcyclists wear helmets and people wear hoodies, in some countries people wear masks to protect themselves from the air and germs. Really, I love to see the Burka and it is a sad day when freedom is taken away from people by the way they dress.
    Personally, I think it is up to the individual what they wear, if anything at all. Get real guys, it's 2010 and life is comlicated enough without victimising people. Brides better beware as well - you could be next!