“Please don’t judge me”
Nawrah & Fatin. Cyberjaya
The wearing of the veil or ‘tudung’ among Islamic women is something that is often discussed in Malaysia. Whether you wear it or not is a personal decision and not something some rabid person should dictate.
However, the wearing of the burqa is something else altogether. How many of us have looked upon women wearing the burqa and passed judgement? We assume that they wear it due to peer pressure or were asked to by their family. In many countries, the practice is banned to some extent; most notably in France in 2004 where it was judged to be a religious symbol. Some countries have imposed a ban as it hides the wearer’s identity or limit the ban to public transport, health care, education and government buildings.
I came across Nawrah and Fatin working at a juice bar in a mall in Cyberjaya. They said they were recent graduates of Universiti Sains Malaysia in Penang and were looking for a job in Kuala Lumpur. From the conversation with them, it was obvious that these two young women wore the burqa simply because they wanted to.
In Malaysia, we have the freedom to practice our religion without interference. And that is what our founding fathers had enshrined in our constitution. I am praying that we will never allow one religion’s beliefs to be forced upon others.