Today I came across a blog written by a Swedish muslim who wears niqab. I thought it was really interesting reading, highlighting the somewhat overly proportioned debate about niqab/burqa in Sweden from another point of view. (http://inteutanminniqab.blogg.se/)
I think the debate in Sweden is sometimes taking the wrong direction when it mentions the niqab as a problem instead of just a different way of life (not in every aspect though). It is as I said to my friends the other day: “The question is not if every Swede agrees with for example muslim values (which I felt free to just generalize at the moment, no offense), the question is about openly receiving people who need to come to Sweden for various reasons, whether it is to escape human right abuse or to work.” What I really want to say is that we should respect eachother in Sweden, we don’t necessarily have to love eachother. We don’t all have to be the same or even similiar. My commitment is not assimilation in Sweden, but mutual respect.
My connection to the niqab in this statement of mutual respect is personal. I don’t agree with the values that women are invited to cover themselves up to not arouse men, which is my interpretation of the niqab case. It is against my beliefs and values that women should be modest and honorable, as preaches the writer behind “Not without my niqab”. I am not brought up to think “that” way and I don’t know if I would agree even coming from a culture proclaiming these ideals, although I would be more likely to. Even though I interpret the niqab as something representing values I don’t agree with, I respect the freedom to wear niqab and I respect the women wearing niqab. That is all I am asking of Sweden, to respect eachother despite our differences.
I rest my case.