I’m counting down the top myths people have about Islam & Muslims. At #5 on my countdown is the myth that if you’re a Muslim woman, you have to wear the veil, niqab or burqa.
For millions of people in the West, when you say “Islam,” the first mental image that pops into mind is this:
A woman covered head to toe in a burqa.
The truth is, if you could suddenly gather all of the Muslim women on the planet into one giant room and had to pass a football to someone wearing a burqa, it’d be next to impossible to complete that pass.
But the whole hide-them-under-a-veil thing must be pretty big among Muslim communities, otherwise Europe wouldn’t be all in a fuss over the things, pushing for bans and whatnot.
After all, we all know that Islam hates women — the fact that Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that actually prohibits women from driving, or that only predominantly Muslim countries still use death by stoning as a punishment for adultery, proves it, right?
Thinking that all Muslim women have to dress like this…
…is like thinking that all white anglo saxon christian women have to dress like this:
That photo is from one of several small Christian sects that require women to dress like it’s Little House on the Prairie.
So for instance, in France they have about 3 million Muslim women.
Not 367,000, but 367.
A number so small that from a statistical point of view, it’s barely enough to register as a margin of error.
As for the rest of Europe, the numbers are even more disastrous for the burqa business (for instance, Belgium has 500,000 Muslims, a couple dozen wear the burqa).
Yes, there are Middle Eastern countries where the veils are required by law (namely Iran and Saudi Arabia) and combined those countries have less than 5 percent of the world’s Muslims. There are actually more Muslim countries that outright ban the wearing of the veils than there are that require them.
They can do that because wearing a veil is not required in Islam but is more of a custom, depending on where you live and who’s in charge.
Speaking of which, try this number on for size: Of the five most populous Muslim-majority nations, four of them have elected female heads of state.
So there’s a fantastic chance that in 2012, Sarah Palin will be campaigning for an achievement that Muslim ladies have already accomplished.
Number 4 is up tomorrow.