Tags: France | veil | designer | ban

France Faces Wrath of Gulf Veil Designer

Tuesday, 16 March 2010 09:34 AM EDT

DUBAI - An Emirati designer of veils for Muslim women, "saddened" by France's move to ban the burqa, is heading to Paris to tell French parliamentarians and citizens that the piece of cloth is expression sans threat.

"I want to raise awareness to the West that our veils are not something to be scared of," Rabia Z., whose debut collection was revealed at Dubai Fashion Week 2007, told Maktoob News on the sidelines of the Women in the Arab World conference on Monday.

France has recommended a ban on the face-covering veil in all schools, hospitals, public transport and government offices, the broadest move yet to restrict Muslim dress in France, calling the wearing of the full veil "unacceptable".

Rabia, sporting high heels, trousers, a short skirt around her pants and a blue scarf that covers her head, said she thinks "everyone has a right to their expression and for us our veils are our expression. It is not oppression. That is what I need to show and hope to show."

She heads to Miami to display her veils later this week at a fashion show and then France "to speak to people, speak to the parliament as well, ask them why are we such a threat, why do you think that this fabric of expression is a threat".

She said there are a few people in the French parliament she will speak to, but added she could not disclose names.

Rabia, who is half Emirati and half Afghani and studied in the United States, started wearing the hijab herself as an expression of her culture and identity just before Sept 11, 2001.

"I faced a lot of challenges," she said. " I saw everyone struggle with their veils at that time."

She develops pret-a-couture designs for conservative yet contemporary women.

To read full Maktoob Business story — Go Here Now.

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Tuesday, 16 March 2010 09:34 AM
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