Should Sacramento women and men be allowed to have identification cards or driver’s licenses without showing their photo? Or if they choose not to show their face, can they legally be photographed with their faced coverd by veils? And in employment practices, can women who deal with customer relations cover their faces?
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed H.B. 1484 last week. The new law authorizes the Secretary of State to issue state identification cards without photos for people–males and females– who have a religious objection to being photographed or having their image displayed. How does society and the government discern between Amish society members refusing to be photographed on ID cards and people who use religious preferences and choices to wear a full-face veil or similar cover who don’t want to be photographed or photographed with their faces fully covered through choice based on religious preferences that emphasize modesty?
The answer is that the new law lets anyone with a religious objection to being photographed have their ID cards made without their image on it whether the image is a photo or an illustration. How many men compared to women prefer not to have their photos on ID cards? Few have taken a poll, but usually it’s women who don’t want to be photographed more than males, except for the Amish and a few other religious groups who do not want to be photographed or their image made in portraits or sculpture.
With all the diverse populations in Sacramento you have women who come from cultures where they prefer to veil their faces and women who do not come from cultures who hide their faces but who in adulthood choose a religious belief that allows them to cover their faces to conceal their identity in photos, at work, or in public. Now, the new law says that you can get an ID card from the motor vehicles department without photos if you have a religious objection to being photographed or having your image displayed on a card, even if it’s an artistically drawn portrait.
Does this mean that women at work in Sacramento can wear full veils on their job, while they drive, in public, in banks, and anywhere else such as on campus classes or if a child, in school? Or does it mean that they don’t have to have a photo on an ID card or driver’s license, if they have religious objections to it? And will women convert to a religion that allows them to cover their face in public or on a photo or driver’s license? What do you think of this new law?
The law states you can have a state ID card without your photo that you can use to cash checks, buy railroad tickets, or show store clerks for identification purposes when you write a check or pay bills. Will this law help people or make it more difficult to identify people who are displayed on ID cards, write checks, travel in public or work in in customer relations?
For any Sacramento-based personal historians, when recording life stories for genealogy research, you might come across women in full face veils, even here in the USA, and sometimes on college campuses. There are a few women on USA campuses in full veils, and no one notices until it comes time to take an exam where it’s necessary to be photographed or to verify ID. Should fingerprints be substituted for face photos?
How would you interview a woman in a full-face veil? Like anyone else. Same as you would someone wearing a surgical mask. What are the attitudes towards USA women that appear in public, for example, on campuses, in transit, or in business wearing a full veil?
What’s the difference between a full veil and a surgical mask worn by nurses and doctors? Basically, how do you record as a personal historian or genealogy the voice of resilience and confidence of women in ethnic garb? Your attitude may show up in a genealogy-oriented or personal history recording of life stories. Here’s how to think about how you approach video-recording life story highlights of diversity in your local area.
Nobody has ever asked a woman or man entering a bank or supermarket to remove a surgical mask, especially in the flu season or if the person has a health issue. Nobody would dare ask a person to remove his or her surgical mask in public, on a bus, or in a classroom. Your first thought is the person is protecting an immune system issue.
So how does that compare to the full veil where only the woman’s eyes show? And how can you breathe deeply through a heavy, black full face and body veil–compared to breathing through a surgical mask?
One example regarding the attitude toward covered faces at shopping malls in Sacramento is that for the Arden Fair shopping center, hooded windbreaker jackets that cover the face are not welcome because of the males wearing hooded jackets in the past that had committed crimes in the shopping center or in some stores and banks. But no mention of rules regarding veiled women in shopping centers has been announced in the media. You see people in every type of traditional ethnic garments at shopping malls and college campuses across the USA.
When it comes to businesses and public transit, is it live and let live? Or remove your hat, hooded jackets that cover the face, and sunglasses before entering any banks, credit unions, or federal buildings? Let’s look at France, for example. Today France decided to take the first step towards barring Muslim women from wearing the full veil when using public services, but will stop short of calling for an outright ban in the streets after critics argued that such a move would be socially divisive and hard to enforce.
They banned the full veil in public transit, schools, and in businesses. You can still wear the veil in the street or in a private car. But can you see well enough to drive with a veil when the wind is blowing the veil over your eyes?
Imagine someone with a veil on a bike or motorcycle. The problem is vision and safety. And don’t get too near public transit or traffic. A veil could be caught onto a snare or hook on a train, car, or bus, or even on rides at a theme park. Same goes for veils in the USA while on vacation.
In France, the problem of burkas and niqabs led to recommending to parliament that Muslim women should be allowed to continue covering their faces in the street. Last year, women in veils moved freely at theme parks such as Sea World or Disneyland in California.
Nobody noticed, but the veils proved a problem for the women moving through the crowd and on the rides. And how do you eat sandwiches or ice cream at amusement parks wearing the veil where only your eyes are showing to the public?
As for France, its final report recommends that anyone covering their face be barred from entering public sector property, including hospitals and schools, or using public transport. It’s a safety issue.
You have countries like France and the USA, catering to the secular crowd. How do you accommodate women in veils in public, business, and in schools? And you’d be surprised how many secular men in the USA say they want equal rights to wear veils, too. The topic of secular men asking for equal rights to wear full veils has nothing to do with women’s modesty or women’s rights to wear a full veil. As a journalist, you could ask the men why they would consider wearing full veils in public. Is it respectful to all equally to even discuss the subject in public?
Good luck trying to find an American, secular man willing to talk to a reporter on this issue. Sometimes it’s a few males in the USA that want equal rights to wear the veil if women can cover their faces by choice. Check out the uTube video. The theory in the video analysis is that men become violent when they wear modest garments that look too much like ‘dresses.’ The video discusses far-out theories on Muslim transvestites. On another note, you also might check out the video on other diverse, equal members of society on that hypothesis, “Muslim Transvestites and the Veil.”
The issue, though is treatment of women in different countries who want to wear a full veil. Now, let’s examine why women wear a full veil outside. It could be for religious purposes. But what if a woman wishes to wear a full veil in the street in any country, such as the USA? Can she do business, ride a bus, travel, or enter a bank? See, “France to ban Muslim full-face veils on buses | News.”
What’s the reason other than religion, would women wear a full veil? First of all, no organized religion specifically orders women to fully cover their entire face and body from head to toe in black. See, “BBC NEWS | Middle East | Why Muslim women wear the veil.”
In hot climates the reason women give for wearing black instead of white is that the light shines through white fabric revealing the woman’s undergarments or legs. The problem is white fabric reflects heat, and black fabric absorbs heat. Also see, “Nobody forces me to wear the full veil, it’s my choice.”
Another reason why the full veil is not wanted in countries such as France, is that in Western countries, any man can don a veil, pretend to be a woman, and rob a bank or commit another crime without revealing his face or wearing a suspicious-looking ski mask.
If Europe bans the veil as a way to get rid of fundamentalism, then it’s not going to work. Did you ever see a man donning a full-cover veil over his face and body to side with women in their protest to have the freedom to dress as modestly as they please in public? If the veil is about modesty, it can be misused in Western society by men or women to hide behind black cloth, concealing all identity as a male or female.
The view is can the veil be used to protect women from being bothered by men whistling at them as is frequently found in Western society? For example, when a young woman passes a group of construction workers, they can whistle or yell suggestive words at her, thereby disrespecting her or intimidating her in a public street or in transit on a bus or train.
On the other hand, in the USA, many banks have a sign, “please remove hats and sunglasses before entering bank.” Now if you are covering for religious regions in the USA and don’t remove your hijab and sunglasses, will you be thrown out of the bank? That depends upon the bank.
Most banks will not toss out women wearing head scarfs. But what if you enter a bank in a veil that covers your face and body so only your eyes show? Will you be ignored? Will only your eye makeup be stared at? Or will you be told to leave or remove the face covering? There’s no way in America you can walk into a bank wearing a face mask, such as a Halloween mask, but what about a veil?
In some cases, women who refused to remove their face veil were denied driver’s licenses in the USA unless they allowed themselves to be photographed from the neck up without a hat. In 2003, a Florida woman sued for the right to wear her veil for her driver’s license photo and lost on appeal. The woman became Muslim five years previous to that date and applied for a driver’s license in order to take her children to and from school. The ACLU says she has a right in the USA to wear her veil due to her religious beliefs. Where does church and state separate?
Should Florida make a separate law for each faith? Is it a public safety matter? Photographing a woman with her face covered and only the eyes showing on a driver’s license makes it easy for anyone else to use the license or photo, unless the state uses fingerprints on drivers’ licenses for identification, not photos.
If she drives with the veil, it would get in the way of her line of sight at times. Is it safe to drive with a full-face veil? See the article, “Judge Ruling Limits Veiled Woman’s License Case – Orlando News.” What about college students? See, “Muslim Niqab Veils Allowed in U.S. Colleges – TIME.”
In the U.S., the Education Testing Service, which administers several national exams, requires photographic identification, such as a driver’s license or school ID, in order to take the SAT. For the GRE graduate-school exam, a photo must be taken at the actual test site. In both cases, ETS asks people taking the test who may be wearing a veil to remove their face covering in order to be identified and prevent any fraud.
In most US colleges, there are only a few female students who wear a full veil. Most women who cover wear the hijab, which covers their hair and neck. They wear either ankle-length dresses with long sleeves over blue jeans and comfortable walking shoes. There’s another issue in the USA, women that are not Muslim, but want to wear the veil for reasons other than religion.
For example, some women who enjoy wearing a snood to cover the hair and long dresses on campuses may do so for reasons of modesty rather than religion, or to conceal leg braces. Some women may wear a face veil to conceal anything from a cold sore to facial disfigurement. It’s an individual dress preference. Some Hasidic women cover their hair with a snood or wig and wear long dresses, but they don’t cover their neck. Same goes for some Mormon, Amish, or Mennonite women who enjoy wearing long dresses.
You even have students on campus wearing dresses in the style of 1803 because of comfort and to celebrate the era of Jane Austin novels in neo-classic fashion. And that’s not related to religious reasons for a certain dress style. But generally, if a woman on campus wears a full-veil, she’s does not attract unwanted attention in the classroom.
In the USA, you dress the way you want. Schools will send you away if you show up without clothes. They won’t look twice if you show up in a veil. The problem comes when you have to be photographed to take a standard school exam.
Europe is another picture. In France, under the proposals, a woman who fails to remove her veil inside when using any realm of the state would not face a fine for breaking the law, but would be refused access to the service. She would not, for instance, be allowed to collect her child benefit payments or take the bus.
President Nicolas Sarkozy, who has repeatedly said that the full veil “is not welcome” on French soil, is believed to favor this partial legislation, rather than more radical suggestions from recalcitrant members of his rightwing UMP party. France has agreed to ban the full veil in all public places other than the street. A woman in a full veil still can walk in the street in France.
No one should feel stigmatized for wearing full-body covering. After all, people who are blind aren’t stigmatized because they can’t see. So why should a woman be turned away because only her eyes show to the public?
Steps to ban the burka, which have been opposed by the Muslim Council of France and other religious groups, have coincided with the French government’s “big debate” on national identity.
Critics of the government, from the left and right, have accused Sarkozy of encouraging dangerous rhetoric which has seen the country’s 5 million Muslims become the object of increasing critiques, according to reports.
France will let women in veils walk in the street, but not ride the bus or do business, such as walking into banks. Everyone knows about France’s “symbolic” opposition to the full veil.
France wants to make clear by laws the garment’s practical incompatibility with French values of sexual equality and freedom, according to reports. Banning the full veil either outright or partially in France serves to reinforce the isolation of women already partially alienated from mainstream society in Northern Europe.
The 32-member panel, which has been meeting and questioning experts on the issue for the past six months, was set up by Sarkozy last summer after he declared that the full veil was “a sign of subservience [and] debasement.”
Some westerners look at the total veil as a walking prison. Others see it as a halo of protection that honors women’s right to take back the night. The complete veil in France is worn only by a small minority of Muslim women. According to police figures, no more than 2,000 women – most of them young and a quarter of them converts – wear a face-covering veil.
France highly values laïcité – secularism – and which in 2004 banned headscarves in schools, it is unsurprising that such an overt display of religion has raised eyebrows. Despite wide-ranging opposition to the garment and polls showing that most French citizens favour a ban, opinions have differed on how to go about discouraging women from covering their faces. But in the USA, you can wear a veil if you want to, and you don’t have to have any religious reason for doing so. Just don’t go into a bank with your face covered. The cameras in the bank want to make sure you don’t hide behind a veil for a criminal act.
After all, in the USA, any man can put on a veil, walk into a bank, and rob it, and no one will know if the person is male or female. That’s why there are signs in so many US banks saying “remove your sunglasses and hats before you enter.” And when you go for a driver’s license or an identity card for non-drivers in the USA, you’re going to be asked to have a full-face photo and fingerprinting for ID.
The question is, what happens to women or even men who decide in the USA or anywhere else to wear full body veils with only their eyes showing just because they want to dress that way for comfort or concealment of any disfigurement or just for warmth on a cold day?
They can’t plead practicing their religion. Can they say, it’s for modesty or simply because they prefer to dress that way for comfort in areas where the weather creates problems such as high winds, sandstorms in Arizona, or to wear white silk to reflect the heat in California summers?
The uTube video shows how a personal or oral historian would record life story highlights, as a journalist, of women wearing full veils by choices, whether it’s in the USA or in another nation. Basically, you’d ask similar interview questions and respect the woman’s choice and explanations. Genealogy can expand to include personal and/or oral history videobiographies. Beyond searching census records and city directories, when genealogy moves into personal history archives, you can enrich family history with multimedia in addition to the immigration or census records and photos.