Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Face-Veil: Mistaking Social Customs for Religious Rules

by Maha Al-Hujailan from Arab News

Saudi women have been burdened with several social customs imposed on them as though they were inviolable religious injunctions. Islam, apparently, is not the only factor shaping the Saudi social life, as many outsiders or even some within the Saudi society itself are inclined to assume. It is closely tied to the local customs and traditions ... Women of conservative or tribal families conceal their faces as though they are observing an indisputable religious rule. Any one who dares to challenge the practice would be punished psychologically and at times even physically. While Islamic law permits a man to look at a woman when he is seeking a spouse, some Saudi families deny this right, resulting in bizarre situations such as a bridegroom being unable to identify his bride.

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