Kelantan ready to ban purdah if it’s a security threat
By SYED AZHAR
KOTA BARU: Kelantan Mentri Besar Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat is ready to ban the wearing of the purdah if it becomes a menace to the state’s population.
He said Islam only requires a Muslim woman to cover her head and hands and that nowhere in the Quran is it stated that she must also cover her face.
“As I have said a long time ago, Muslim womenfolk need not cover their face because women who enter the Masjidil Haram (in Mecca) only need to wear a telekung (women’s prayer garb) that only covers their hands and feet and not their face.
“However, lately, men have taken up wearing the purdah to commit crime, making it hard for the police to tell whether the person behind the purdah is a man or a woman,” he told reporters at his office at Kota Darul Naim.
He said this before receiving a courtesy call from Ulama Syed Ahmad Mohammad Alawi Al-Maliki from Mecca who was accompanied by four of his assistants.
Nik Abdul Aziz, who is also the PAS spiritual leader, was asked to comment on a report that the Sheikh of Al-Azhar University, Mohammad Sayyed Tantawi, was proposing to bar students from wearing the niqab (a veil covering the face) in schools in the Al-Azhar system in Egypt.
Mohammad Sayyed reportedly wanted to impose the ban because the niqab has nothing to do with Islam and is merely a customary practice among the Arabs.
Nik Abdul Aziz said face veils were especially dangerous in countries with a high incidence of suicide bombings, adding that if it were to happen in Kelantan it would only be appropriate to ban face veils for security reasons.
He also cited the example of a vice-president of an Arab country who had tried to escape from his war torn country by wearing a purdah. The man was eventually arrested after his shoes gave him away.