What Shouldn’t You Say To Someone Who Wears A Burqa? These Muslim Women Have The Answers

by Hannah Rose

The BBC has a badass and informative video series called Things Not To Say. in which they address stereotypical statements toward groups of people that commonly experience discrimination. Because people hear the same shit all the time as they deal with other people’s lack of understanding, fear, and animosity. Some questions and statements are welcome and stem from genuine curiosity, but sometimes they’re just ignorant or even hateful. Groups that have previously been featured are people with schizophrenia, sex workers, and people who have been sexually assaulted. BBC producers have members of the groups pull out popular musings written on a piece of paper, then explain how they feel about them, and the answers range from sarcastic to surprising to profound.

The video BBC just released last Tuesday is “Things Not To Say To Someone Who Wears A Burqa,” and it’s fucking enlightening. Many Muslim women wear some type of head covering — some wear a hijab to cover their head and hair, while others wear a burka or niqab, which also covers up the face. These head coverings are seen as a sign of modesty and a symbol of religious faith, but they’re also “arguably the most contentious” of all clothing, the BBC points out (for example, the video currently has almost twice as many dislikes as likes and a string of hateful comments).

But how do these women actually feel about the stereotypes they’re presented with? Some of the highlights include: “Go back to your own country!” to which one woman responds, “To Canada?” and another wonders, “I was born here. Where am I going?” When the women pull out a piece of paper that says, “You can’t be a feminist and wear a burqa,” one woman points out, “It doesn’t make sense to me because you’re sitting here, and you’re saying, ‘Aw, but you’re oppressed, and we want to help you’. . . but you’re not letting me do what I want to. You’re not letting me be free.” Another says, “If feminism is about a woman’s right to her her own choices, then this is one of them.” Preach, sisters.

Check out the video below to see the women’s wit, sass, and intellect as they react to the statements that they’ve heard time and time again.

 Photo: Screenshot from BBC’s “Things Not To Say To Someone Who Wears A Burqa

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