A firm believer in women’s rights, the only thing Afghan lawmaker Shinkai Karokhail finds as appalling as being forced to wear a burqa is a law banning it.
Karokhail is one of many Afghan women who see a double standard in efforts by some European nations to outlaw face veils and burqas – a move they say restricts a Muslim woman’s choice in countries that otherwise make a fuss about personal rights.
“Democratic countries should not become dictatorships and Muslim women should not be deprived from all kinds of opportunities. It should be their choice,” said Karokhail. “Otherwise, what is the difference between forcing women to wear a burqa and forcing them not to? It is discrimination.”
Even one of Afghanistan’s most outspoken and controversial women, former lawmaker Malalai Joya, is a staunch opponent of efforts to ban burqas or tight headscarves called hijabs.
“As much as I am against imposing the hijab on women, I am also against its total ban. It should be regarded a personal matter of every human being and it should be up to women if they prefer to wear it or not,” she told Reuters by email. “It is against the very basic element of democracy to restrict a human being from wearing the clothes of his/her choice.”