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Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Davao councilor accepts inspection of covered Muslim women

A MUSLIM Councilor in Davao City accepted the proposed security measure to check on Muslim women wearing niqabs and burqa in public places.

"We are aware that some terrorists, pretending to be Muslims, take advantage of wearing hijab/niqab to conceal their identities; thus, evading apprehension or identification by the authorities," Councilor Bai Halila Sudagar said in a regular session of the Davao City Council Tuesday.

Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio said the safety of the general public is of greater concern than religious practices, thus urging Muslim women to instead wear hijabs.

Hijabs cover the head but leaves the face clear. It's like a "belo" or veil for Catholics although Catholics, specifically the elder ones only wear these during Holy mass.

The niqab is a veil that leaves only the area of the eyes clear and is usually a headscarf and an eye veil.

The burqa is the most concealing, where the whole body and face is covered and the wearer sees through a mesh screen.

For the purpose of achieving lasting peace, for both Muslims and non-Muslims alike, the city mayor suggested they cooperate with the authorities.

Following the deadly blast at the Roxas Night Market last September 2, police said it would be a good security practice to check garments that cover the faces in public places including hats, sunglasses, facemasks, mouth masks, burqa, face paint, among others.

"I am truly confident that our mayor understands the concerns of our Muslim brothers and sisters that it is a sacred mandate under our religion to wear hijab, niqab and burqa among Muslim women," the councilor said, following the recent statement of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio that the general welfare of the majority will take precedence over religious tradition.

However, Sudagar pleaded that the inspection would not entail Muslim women to remove the whole veil to the point of exposing their neck and head as it would feel like a transgression against their femininity.

Davao City Police Office Director Senior Superintendent Michael John Dubria said during ISpeak Forum at the City Hall conference room last Thursday that a closed room will be placed along the checkpoints.

"Those who wear the burqa or the hijab will be inspected by policewomen inside an enclosed room so they will not be intimidated," Dubria said.
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