Belief Beat

As France, Belgium and Spain consider laws on against face-cloaking veils (often described as burqas, but also referring to niqabs), the Associated Press reports that a Saudi Arabian cleric has just given the OK for Muslim women to obey such laws.

The fatwa, or religious opinion, was issued by Sheikh Aed al-Garni (spelled al-Qarni in the AFP’s story) regarding whether Muslim women should abide by a ban in those countries.

“For Saudi tourists who face such a decision, there is a point in Islamic law where God says, ‘So fear Allah as much as you can,'” he said. “We must not confront people in their own country or other countries, or bring hardship on ourselves.”

I guess that answers my question from last month about how a “burqa ban” might impact tourism, given that it’s only been at airport lounges that I’ve noticed fully-cloaked women (not just wearing hijabs, or headscarves) in western Europe. Then again, I’m sure there are religious scholars who disagree with al-Garni on this, and may even issue fatwas against Muslim women traveling to those countries. Perhaps we’ll be seeing a rush of Arab women hurrying to take that Champs-Élysées shopping spree sooner rather than later…

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

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