//Skip to content

Beyond the Niqab: Liberal Muslims Stand Against Freedom of Religion

August 14, 2018
Women wear the niqab in Denmark, prior to the niqab ban. Credit: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix via AP

Hala Shiha, a well-known retired Egyptian actress, announced last week that she is taking off the niqab and veil and returning to acting. Shiha was considered a heroine and a role model in many Salafi Islam and Islamist circles after she shunned a successful career as a movie star and moved to Alberta, Canada adopting the ‘role’ of a modest Muslim woman. Shiha’s first public pictures without any face or hair covering has led to a frenzied reaction from Islamists ranging from appeals for repentance to denunciations and lamentations. Anti-Islamist reaction was no less frenzied, hailing Shiha as the latest to escape Salafi mind control and subjugation. The Islamists and the anti-Islamists claim to represent freedom of choice, and both compete in arguing that the veil and niqab are symbols of freedom and oppression respectively. While former British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson faces intense pressure over disparaging remarks on the niqab, self-proclaimed Muslim liberals in the west speak forcefully in favor of banning the niqab on grounds of liberating women, as well as resolving security fears. At the heart of the Islamists’ belief in veiling of various types is the…

Hi guest,

You've read all of your free articles.
Subscribe now to support independent journalism and to enjoy:

Unlimited access to all our articles

Exclusive events and offers

First access to new premium newsletters

Ability to comment on articles

Full user profile