Recommended Reading: Aliya Z. Khabir’s “True Liberation”

When we first read Patty-Pat Kozlowski‘s Byko-esque call in the Daily News for Muslim women to uncover their faces so we can know if they are actually criminals in disguise or not (let that sink in for a second), we were all kinds of riled up. The ease with which some will offer to give up a person’s rights (as long as it doesn’t personally effect them and their rights) is unsettling. Yes, there have been a number of crimes in Philadelphia in the past few years where criminals hid behind a niqab, including bank robberies, cop killings, and kidnappings. But when Patty-Pat endorses, “a simple removal of the veil for identification in banks, schools and other public facilities, such as airports and sporting-event arenas,” and compares it to her own Catholic School uniform of “blue plaid jumpers with Peter Pan collars and black-and-white saddle shoes,” it shows she really doesn’t understand what she is suggesting. And instead of demanding tighter gun laws — after all, a niqab didn’t kill Officer Liczbinski, an AK-47 did — she suggests stripping a religion of one of their practices, because saddle shows are uncomfortable anyway, right?

We were getting ourselves ready to really dive into this in a post, but while thinking about it last night, we saw this in the paper (yes, an actual physical copy of the Daily News). Aliya Z. Khabir‘s full-page response to Kozlowski’s call is comprehensive, well-written, and thoughtful (three things that our post may not have been). Khabir says, in the middle of a piece that really deserves a full read:

We are continuously shocked by the number of random acts of violence committed with automatic firearms, including assaults on our children in schools across the nation, yet we have not rescinded the Second Amendment. But so many are so willing to rescind the First Amendment (for Muslims only), literally stripping Muslims of our right to practice our religion, which includes a style of dress, in an effort to secure public safety. Seriously?

If we are to demand that Muslim women be prohibited from wearing the niqab, will we make the same demand upon Catholic nuns to abandon their habits? Or close parishes and Catholic schools for fear that all priests are child predators? I can’t remember anyone demanding that we remove the veil of the Virgin Mary in all the various shrines and paintings of her. So, why is there such a disgust for Muslim women who wrap themselves in the protection of their garb with the purest intentions of showing reverence to their Lord? Clearly there is a double standard here.”

Khabir’s whole opinion piece can be read here, and it’s worth your time. It’s Friday anyway, what are you gonna do at work, work?