‘Why the veil is a feminist issue’

“We are on the wrong track if we believe that veils are a religious issue. They’re not. Like fat, they’re a feminist issue. The clothes that women wear, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, are a powerful political statement about where they’re at; about the amount of freedom, self-esteem or independence they possess.

“The veil which covers the face, the niqab, is an enormously potent symbol of subjugation to a (male-controlled) religion. It is what Muslim men want. It is about control of women; about forced chastity. The veil sends out a very clear message that the woman behind it abides by the conventions of the Muslim faith; that she places the approval of men above her own self-expression.”

Melanie Reid in the Herald, 10 October 2006