Arab Prejudice in the Workplace? If You Don’t Wear A Niquab, Don’t Apply to Work Here

Posted on July 31, 2012



CNN is reporting that a woman in Cairo who recently graduated from a school of communications there was told she could not work in most television stations because she wore the Niquab. The Niquab is Arab dress that covers all but the eyes.  Regardless of the fact that she would be working behind the scenes, she was told she could not work wearing it.  It did not say where she had applied.  Certainly in France there are laws against wearing the garment.

But then she got lucky.  There was a newly formed TV station formed by women and workers were required to wear the Niquab.  While a media scholar at Georgetown University pronounced the effort a “gimmick,” others view the development as reversing strides made by the Arab Spring movement.  Only time will tell.

Certainly it will be awhile in the US before such a station could gain a general following.  Even the beauties that grace the sets at CNN have not saved ratings.  They have brain power but dress code there is decidedly on the cocktail lounge level. In or out of a Burka or niquab, one would hope intelligence would break through and be appreciated.

Meanwhile, the lesson here is that one man’s prejudice is another man’s freedom.  Could such a workplace exist in America?  In Catholic schools, fast food restaurants – all wear “uniforms.”  One man’s uniform is another man’s expression of a way of life.  We need to be careful of what is going on here and to keep our definitions and arguments clear while we work toward understanding if not resolution of these matters.  Here is hoping there will not be a war over dress code until more is known and mutually understood.