so is girls here wearing skirts and boys wearing trousers. I dont think this means I can compare it to FGM.
So, firstly you only address one of several of the similarities that I describe and then you use female genital mutilation where my example was relating to circumcision. I am not feeling very successfully shot down.
I think that the social expectation of women to wear veils is probably far more damaging to individuals and society than male circumcision so in many ways it is worse.
From the Koran:
And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers or their brothers’ sons, or their sisters’ sons, or their women, or the slaves whom their right hands possess, or male servants free of physical needs, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex; and that they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments. And O ye Believers! Turn ye all together towards Allah, that ye may attain Bliss
Now, correct me if I am wrong but this does not mention facial covering, it looks more like an appeal not to wear low cut tops and to be modest with their 'ornaments' if you read it. It is not prescriptive, rather subject to interpretation.
So why, in our permissive society do women still wear the veil? Because they are encouraged to do so by the communities and families they live in, not for any informed religious adherence. Are Muslim women who do not wear the veil somehow lesser muslims?
I completely agree that every person should have a choice and nothing should be banned, but I do reckon that the veil is symptomatic of a broader level of suppression of women's freedoms. As I said in my first post, it is no conincidence that the countries where the veil is required are also those that have the worst treatment of women. It seems intrinsically linked to the denial of education to females, the denial of their right to drive, to freedom of expression and of their equality generally.
It is a pretty shabby state of affairs really and meanwhile hand wringing westerners whitter about womens right to be oppressed if they choose.
It is a cultural tool for the oppression of women and we should do everything we can to encourage women to throw off the symbols and tools that repress them.