۳۰ شهریور ۱۳۹۹ | Sep 20, 2020
Muslim women: How coronavirus face-mask ruling has changed attitudes towards the veil

East Lancashire Muslim women who wear the veil have revealed attitudes towards them have changed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Hawzah News Agency (Lancashire - UK) - EAST Lancashire Muslim women who wear the veil have revealed attitudes towards them have changed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

With face masks now mandatory in many public places, several Blackburn Muslim women said they were no longer seen as ‘outcasts’ or a ‘security threat’.

They also described being called names such as ‘ninjas’ or ‘letterboxes’ on an almost daily basis before the coronavirus pandemic.

In 2006 the wearing of face veils and the full body burka came into the spotlight following former Blackburn MP Jack Straw’s comments.

In an article in the Lancashire Telegraph he revealed he had asked women wearing the niqab (full veil) at constituency surgeries to remove the facial garment because face-to-face conversations were of ‘greater value’.

Five years later France became the first European country to ban the full-face Islamic veil in public places.

In 2018 Boris Johnson wrote that he found it ‘absolutely ridiculous that people should choose to go around looking like letter boxes’.

Farhana Patel, 40, of Blackburn said comments such as ‘Hey ninja’ and ‘can I post my letter through the letterbox?’ were commonplace before the virus struck.

She said: “Now I’m no longer a ninja and I’m no longer a letterbox. Funnily everyone is masked as a character and we now see people in colourful and expensive coverings.

“Everyone is getting used to the face covering and no-one seems to stare at anyone.

“Before, no-one could understand what was being said and some almost acted deaf.

“Strange that not a single person now says I can’t hear you.”

A 28-year-old Blackburn woman, who asked just to be named as Hafiza, admitted she didn’t think that attitudes towards her would change so much.

She said: “Whenever I went shopping I used to get the odd comment from someone who would make out I was an outcast.

“Now, no one says a word. In fact it is the other way round. We are looking at people without a face covering!

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