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Danielle Crittenden - Islamic Like Me

Do you have sky miles? From the Huffington Post.

Danielle Crittenden wore a burka for a week during her daily life in Washington, D.C.

I’d like a one-way air fare to New York on the next available flight. I have no luggage. Could you make sure the ticket is refundable…in case I change my mind?”

I was standing at the Delta shuttle counter at Washington’s Reagan National Airport, dressed in my Saudi burka.

“Sure, no problem,” the clerk replied brightly. “Do you have Skymiles?”

“Uh, no.”

“I’ll need some form of identification.”

I handed her my driver’s license, which showed the occupant of the black tent to be a blonde, blue-eyed resident of the District of Columbia.

“Thanks.” Tap, tap, tap at the keyboard. Out popped my boarding pass. “Have a great flight. Next passenger please.”

I scooped up a plain black canvas carry-on bag and head over to the security line. I had no intention of flying to New York. This was an experiment. I’d become suspicious of the lack of suspicion I’d received during my week-long veiling. I’d encountered no fear, no hostility, hardly even any curiosity. If anything, my fellow Washingtonians showed unusual courtest to a woman in a burka.

And so it continued at the airport. The ticket agent had registered zero reaction when I’d approached the counter, except to offer an extra cheerful greeting: “Hi! Where are you travelling?”

It had been he same the day before on the Washington subway. I entered the train at morning rush hour carrying a large black backpack, which I clutched to my chest in the center of the train. With the exception of one elderly passenger who bolted up from his seat when I got on, scurrying to the most remote end of the carriage, everyone else aboard resolutely ignored my appearance. The woman closest to my mysterious backpack glanced up and then resumed her Blackberrying. Two women beside her carried on gossiping about their childrens’ school. The huddle of office workers in the space by the doors appeared untroubled by me or my unusual parcel.

I can’t know what they were thinking, obviously. A few must have wondered whether I was about to explode. But evidently they’d rather be blown up than exhibit any behavior that might be construed as intolerant.

And good for them, I suppose. “The vast majority of Muslims abhor terrorism,” we are frequently reminded, and of course that’s true. And yet, even tolerance can be taken too far.

If I had chosen to walk about Washington in a white hood and sheets rather than black ones, I doubt I would have encountered such universal politeness. And yet, what the Klan outfit represents to someone of African-American descent is exactly what the burka should represent to every free woman. Those who impose it upon women believe that a whole category of human beings can be treated as property; that this category may be beaten, sold into marriage, divorced at whim, denied education and work, raped with impunity, and stoned to death for offenses that would be pardoned in a man. For the wearer of the white hood, the subjugated category is defined by race. For the wearer of the black hood, it’s defined by sex. Otherwise the two garments carry the same meaning—with the slight variation that one is worn by the would-be oppressor, the other by the oppressed.

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Thanks for sharing this thought-provoking read, my friend.

I hope you're having a good week!