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Why Do Some Women Wear Burkas?

Updated on December 29, 2010


Why Do Some Women Wear Burkas?


Burkas are widely known amongst religions and cultures such as Islam and Muslim. Burkas have been worn for both culture and religious purposes in Afghanistan. The Burkas have generated topics of heated discussion in the twenty first century, as women are becoming more liberated. There has been controversy in the world news amongst activists, lawmakers, and schools over the lack of freedom and dignity that they believe the burkas represent.  


What is a burka?

It is a long garment covering the whole body from head to feet. It is also known as ‘burqa’ or ‘abaya.’ It is an important part of Muslim women’s dress in different countries in the Middle East. Some burka’s leave the face or eyes uncovered and others cover the entire face. They have mainly been worn by conservative Muslims.



The origin of the burka is unknown. There are several theories. Some believe the Koran bible requires it. Some say it is a culture thing. Yet others say it’s a sign of religious respect.  However, similar forms of veils that cover the head and body can be dated back to the Middle East in 622 C.E.  Young girls are not required to wear burkas until they reach puberty or are married. Women do not wear the burkas while they are inside their homes with their families, but they are worn when outside the home, or in the presence of men who are not family members.



Burkas come in different colors: white, blue, gold, brown, and black. Some have a stitched design stitching on the top portion of the head, but majority are simple and plain. Black is a common color, because Muslims believe it’s most modest and brings less attention. There are those Muslim women who say the coverage of the burka gives them privacy, and makes them feel free to move about society. There are also those women who are forced to wear them by men and authorities. There have even been incidents in Afghanistan and in other areas where women have been punished harshly for refusing to cover themselves.



Currently, some women, including some Muslim women in the United States wear a hijab instead of burkas. Hijab is similar to a headscarf. They are used to cover the head and neck, and partially the shoulders and upper chest.  The face is left uncovered.



On June 22, 2009, Nicolas Sarkozy, the president of France used his first presidential speech  to announce that burkas were not welcomed in his country. “We cannot accept women to be prisoners behind a screen,” he said.


A woman named Oumkheyer, a French Muslim woman was interviewed by CNN on February 4, 2010 regarding the topic of France banning burkas. She said, “I wear the burqa for the simple reason that I am a Muslim and the Koran says I must wear one. Nobody ever forced me to wear the full veil, but very few of my friends actually wear one.”



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    • profile image

      B.Ramakrishnan 2 years ago

      It is lovely dress. I like people wearing dress

    • safiq ali patel profile image

      safiq ali patel 5 years ago from United States Of America

      Nick Hanlon I like your comparison. The Burkah the berlin was of the 21st century.

      The veil is a hot topic and debated all over the world daily.

    • Nick Hanlon profile image

      Nick Hanlon 5 years ago from Chiang Mai

      The burqa;the Berlin Wall of the 21st century.