Remona Aly
Wednesday 06 November 2013 The Guardian

Nine uses for a burqa … that don’t involve bashing them

Yes, the burqa-bashing season is upon us yet again. The latest catalyst is a terror suspect-turned-transvestite who entered a London mosque in “western clothing” and popped out later in his burqa-day suit, fleeing security services and evading cameras. While he has managed to escape, his bilious disguise has not gone under the radar.

Cue the latest burqa-phobic frenzy, with Tory politicians seizing the opportunity to call for a burqa ban and the Sun’s front-page story dubbing it a “female Islamic costume”. I’m not sure if they meant it would make a great fancy dress outfit, but it does scare the bejeezus out of radical Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen, who tweeted: “No Halloween costume is scarier than Burqa.”

This black onesie really couldn’t get more controversial. The dangerous criminalisation of the burqa, and those who wear it, plays out repeatedly so that what women wear – or more specifically what some Muslim women wear – means it is seen as a threat to national security. But the next time you spot an unidentifiable woman who wants to pop out in pyjamas to buy milk by stealth, do not be alarmed: keep calm, think of Nigella Lawson and follow our top tips on how you could use a burqa too.

1. Getaway costume

It might be less aerodynamic than a balaclava, but people will assume you’re a fundamentalist, rather than a bank robber. Radically safer.

2. Fire blanket for Guy Fawkes event

Who said the burqa was a security hazard? Your burqa can double up as a safety blanket should anyone catch alight. If there’s no time to remove your burqa, fling yourself upon aforesaid pyro-victim. Remember – drop and roll.

3. Court disguise

Feeling bored and fancy stirring up some media furore? Just turn up in a burqa at a random trial, pretend you’re the witness and befuddle the judge and jury. If you’re a man and your voice might be a giveaway, remember it’s one wink for no, two winks for yes.

4. Guess Who? The Burqa Edition

Create your own line of the Guess Who? game, using real-life participants in a burqa identity parade made up of your mates. (Please note: burqas not included.)

5. Superhero outfit

The one-piece burqa is ideal for the masked hero in you. Style yourself on the Burka Avenger or be the new Muslim Batman, burqamobile at the ready. Don’t worry, it comes in black.

6. Internet dating profile pic

Looking for someone to love you for who you are rather than what you look like? Don a burqa for your profile image and find a meaningful relationship with someone who agrees that looks are irrelevant. Avoid spaghetti dates.

7. Relaunch the postbox

Since the burqa eye-opening has been called a letterbox slit, and with the privatisation of the Royal Mail, seize the moment to set up an independent mobile mail service, AKA The Burqa Post.

8. Flashmob

Feel the need to improve burqa PR? Why not organise a burqa flashmob and surprise onlookers while cartwheeling through Leicester Square. Being shy won’t be an issue, all will be incognito.

9. The Burqative

Star in a film about a fugitive in a burqa, inspired by real-life events. Tommy Lee Jones could reprise his famous line with a new twist: “Search every mosque house, doghouse, outhouse, curry house, Asda in that area. Your fugitive’s name is Mo Hamed Ahmed Mohamed Mohammed. Go get him/her!”

This article originally appeared in The Guardian on 6 November 2013. To view it click here.