x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

Some definitions of the burqa and the niqab

I have read the article 'The burqa is not a symbol of religion' (October 8) which reported a statement by an FNC member to French diplomats.

I have read the article 'The burqa is not a symbol of religion' (October 8) which reported a statement by an FNC member to French diplomats. The article states: "The niqab is the portion of the burqa that covers the face, while the burqa is the piece of clothing that covers the entire body." With all due respect to the writer, there seems to be some confusion in the story as it gives a wrong definition (regionally at least) of what a burqa is and there seems to be ambiguity in using the definitions of burqa and niqab.

In the UAE and neighbouring Gulf states, a burqa is a brown/green piece of material used to cover most of the face. It is a part of the national dress that women have been wearing for many generations. The burqa has been used less by women born in the last two or three decades, but I'd love to see someone ask my grandmother or anyone in her generation who has been raised with pride and modesty to take off her burqa. I assure you, her reaction will be one that you wouldn't want to deal with.

On the other hand, from my understanding of the article, isn't the writer's definition of burqa actually the "jelbab" - the piece of long, loose clothing that covers the entire body - almost identical  to what nuns wear in a church? If so, why can't a Muslim woman practise her right to wear what she chooses to wear like any woman of another religion without being judged and harassed? Regarding the niqab, which is the covering of the whole face but the eyes, will banning it in France or anywhere in the world assure full security? Can't and don't women in all sorts of attire commit crime all over the world daily? Will the ban of the niqab control these women?

Hind al Yousef, Abu Dhabi


Two reactions to BlackBerry policy

In reference to Hissa al Dhaheri's opinion article We nearly had to remember how to fake enthusiasm (October 11) which addressed our collective addiction to BlackBerrys, I have not had a BB since 2004. I know well the intrusive, creeping curiosity that leads to a compulsion to check a BlackBerry. And I was on Facebook for a minute until people whom I would rather forget started rearing their heads by the dozen, demanding my precious finite attention. If we must have technology (and we must) let's keep it in its proper place - a poor substitute for authentic, empathic, human interaction.

Justin Thomas, Abu Dhabi

I refer to the front page news article BlackBerry users breath sigh of relief (October 9). "Sigh of relief", you can say that again. I bought a BlackBerry at a great offer from Axiom a few months ago. I figured I'd be using the BBM service a lot for work, so I went ahead and got a plan for 12 months. Then they announced the ban. I've been nervous thinking this whole time that I'd spent money on a service that would be futile soon enough.

But I figure a resolution was inevitable, really.

Nick Kramer, Abu Dhabi


Concerns over child marriage

In reference to the front page news article Child marriage reignites debate in Saudi Arabia (October 11), which reported the marriage of a government official to a 12-year-old girl, it is sick and absurd to give such small children away in marriage. Taxi and bus drivers are prosecuted for sexual abuse of children and this is not much different.

That 12-year-old girl, what does she know about sexual life? She is interested in Barbi dolls and pink sandals. I am a woman, and if I have a daughter, I would kill for my children and never allow this situation to happen.

Marina Rabel, Abu Dhabi


Worries about telecom privacy

I have read the business article Telecoms help ad men get to know you (October 8) which described how Etisalat and du will be selling the profiles of their customers, our personal data, to advertising agencies. I want to express indignation at such a decision. How can they dare do a such thing, pretending that as customers we will "benefit" by getting even more "targeted" ads messages that will collect more money for themselves?

My family members and I trusted the telecom companies to protect our privacy and they are breaching this trust. If this approach was the right one, why do we not allow utilities, banks, hospitals, the labour authorities, high schools and universities to do the same?

Amir Yacoub, Abu Dhabi


Hail to a Peace Prize winner

I refer to the article Jailed Nobel winner meets wife (October 11) which reported that the new Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo is serving an 11-year prison term in China. To the Chinese authorities, Mr Liu may be a criminal, but he is a hero and a symbol of hope to democracy activists everywhere around the world.

Stan O, Abu Dhabi