… in that country. She has been interviewing large numbers of women who fully veiled their face and body and now, under pressure of the new law, have stopped doing that. Details of motivation from the two women she features here are sad – even pathetic – and confirm my belief that many full-veilers, far from the principled, autonomous people we’re invited to imagine, turn out to be troubled and confused and acting under various forms of male Salafist pressure.

Once ardent defenders of the right to wear the niqab, both women have now completely abandoned it. But the transition took place gradually and was accompanied by a growing distance from extreme Salafist ideology.

Despite the law, by the way, they could have continued wearing the niqab/burqa – a local businessman has been paying the fines of any woman who wants to continue wearing in France. Or of course they could have buried themselves in their houses, given their professed belief that any woman who ventures outside not fully covered is an infidel.

A woman who wore the niqab for five years and “was one of the most radical women I’d ever met,” is now into tight jeans and “living again … after years of being locked up.”

After repeated rapes by her father-in-law, says the other woman, she veiled herself to “escape from the trauma of rape. … The niqab protected me, I liked hiding from men.” She was loosely affiliated with a terrorist group.

One of the women, Alexia, “has even become a fierce opponent of the Islamic veil and Salafism.” Yet after being under the thumb of extremist men, she needed another man – also an extremist, but not a niqabist – to tell her to take off the thing.

When he saw my physical condition, he asked me to remove the niqab – he feared for my health. I had worn it to please Allah, but because of the lack of sunlight I wasn’t synthesising vitamin D any more – my health was failing.

Interesting that the vitamin D deficiency argument against the burqa/niqab – typically ridiculed by freedom to fully veil enthusiasts – looks to be (obviously – if you get no sunlight, you get all kinds of physical and mental problems… Sunlight being pretty basic to land-based animals… ) correct.

This also goes to the masochism – the niqab/burqa as equivalent to the Christian hairshirtUD has also long noted in the wearing of a garment that tortures and sickens. My rickets will please Allah.

Shockingly, this woman says: “When I took the niqab off, I felt like I was getting out of jail.” Who da thunk it.

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