Sensible solution to Niqab issue

Once again traditional Muslim headress has been making headlines in the Netherland, this time it’s the Niqab that’s under discussion.

A student at Groningen University has chosen to wear the Niqab, apparently she began wearing it some time ago, but it only became an issue around exam time, when the university raised the issue of confirming her identity at the beginning of exams.

There’s a fair amount of discussion about just what is obligatory in terms of dress for Muslim women, but according to the BBC website the Niqab is not obligatory:

The most authentic ruling according to the majority of scholars is that it is not necessary and, unlike hijab, there is no sin if it is not worn. Some of these scholars state that wearing the niqab as an act of extra piety, provided they do not believe it is an obligation, will be rewarded.

So whether or not it is obligatory, it is certainly a choice a woman can make as an act of piety, and the Dutch constitution guarantees the right to practise your religion. I’m not a fan of the Niqab but it seems crazy to prevent a student from sitting exams when she’s chosen to express her faith by her dress.

So it’s been frustrating to see the university struggling with a fairly simple issue of confirming a woman’s identity. But they’ve found a solution. The student’s identity will be confirmed by a female staff member at the beginning of the exam.

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