Yes, Western women can wear miniskirts in Muslim countries.

Alphia Abdikeeva, CIDH Pro Igual

A school in Pozuelo de Alarcon (a district in Madrid) recently became embroiled in a controversy over a Muslim girl wearing a headscarf to school. The school authorities banned the veil in school. Muslim activists, concerned that this prohibition might spread across other schools, are resolved to challenge the ban in courts.

There are two interesting aspects in this case. First, as is quite common, anti-veil advocates claim that because in Muslim countries Westerners in general and Western women in particular are not allowed various freedoms, Muslim women in Europe should not be allowed to wear a veil (among other rights).

Well, the fact of the matter is that the most insistent on wearing veil are very often Western women-converts. And since they are at home in Europe, it is hard to trace a logical connection between the alleged lack of freedoms for Europeans in Iran or Saudi Arabia and proposed limitations on the rights for European women in Europe.

But actually, this maxim “they don´t let us, so we won´t let them” is not entirely accurate. Most of Muslims, let´s say in Spain, come from Morocco. And it appears that the Spanish women are not forbidden from wearing mini-skirts in Morocco. So, the reciprocity argument against the headscarf seems void of any serious basis.

The second issue is that another uncalled for anti-headscarf regulation — and ensuing debate — completely overlook the fact that the local Muslim community has been for years peacefully coexisting with the majority community. Why would anyone want to disrupt this over a rather silly issue is beyond comprehension. But the disruption is very likely in this, and possibly many new cases that can now spring up like mushrooms after the rain.