Is the burqa a religious observance or a cultural affectation?
This question is important if we are to be clear on how to legislate when it comes to burqa/hijab and niqab.
First, let's make it perfectly clear that nowhere in the Koran is it specified that women should wear the burqa.
The word burqa is not to be found anywhere in the Quran, but as it falls under the heading of hijab which is used in Quran we should explore its use. The Arabic word hijab can be translated into veil or yashmak. Other meanings for the word include screen, barrier, cover(ing), mantle, curtain, drapes, partition, division, divider etc.The word hijab appears in the Qur’an seven times, five of them as “hijab” and twice as “hijaban”. See 7:46, 17:45, 19:17, 33:53, 38:32, 41:5, 42:51. None of these “hijab” words are used in the Quran in reference to what the traditional Muslims call today “the dress code for Muslim woman”. Hijab in the Qur’an has nothing to do with a woman’s dress code.
If God willed to order the women to cover their heads, face or hair, He would have simply said, “Cover your head, face and hair.” God is neither vague nor forgetful! God does not run out of words. He does not wait for, nor need a scholar to apply the correct words for Him! God confirms that the Quran is complete and fully detailed (6:114/5).
Let's be clear on one thing, when we talk about the niqab (first pic) don't refer to it as the burka (third pic).
It is the niqab that is contentious.
Also the niqab is a cultural dress code, not strictly religious and definitely has nothing to do with race. It is not racist to criticize the niqab. And when the niqab is criticized, that has nothing to do with attacking the Islamic religion.