Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The wrong stereotype

Driving home today I was confronted by a Times Online billboard. It had a close-up of a pair of eyes looking through the slit of the full Muslim veil (burkha or hajib? I can never remember). There was also a tagline about discrimination but the exact wording escapes me.

Obviously the eyes and veil have become a sort of visual short-hand for the "great veil debate" (in the Daily Mail at least). However, here in Norfolk we don't have a huge Muslim community, and those that shop in the main centres tend to wear the open face veil. Whether that's for practicality or a concession to living in the UK we'll never know. But its because of this relaxed attitude that when I see eyes peering from a thin slit in black material I don't think "Muslim" I think "ninja". Too many video games and bad films I guess.

And this is why I spent a good five minutes pondering who would be stupid enough to discriminate against a silent killer, before my brain made the mental leap.


richard eichmann said...

To the best of my knowledge, the Hijab is the 'headscarf' that doesn't always but sometimes incorporates a veil, while the 'Burqa' is the full head-to-toe gown that always has a veil included.
In stricter countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran women always wear the Burqa (but only outside), but in more Westernised/reformist countries women usually opt for the Hijab.
If you're a Westerner living in any Muslim country, you will have to at least wear a Hijab if you want to walk outside. If not you could be arrested. Also many will find it disrepectful if you don't.

**I picked all this up while my family were working in the Middle East, you see.

Anonymous said...

Get a lot of Ninjas round your way then, Pandora? ;-)

Pandora Caitiff said...

Becky: If they're doing their job properly, how would I know? :)

Lara Tyg said...

Norfolk, Im sorry to say is a very niave little part of the country when it comes to diverse cultures, because they are so few and far between.

I believe Thetford was the first to have any real tension and thats only because its full of Londeners.

Most of the Ninjas in Norwich work for the county council by the way at the local waste depot.