(PREPRINT) The Niqab: A Cross-Religious COVID-19 Safety Measure in Madina Zongo
AbstractAmidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the use of the niqab (face veil), typically associated with Islamic fundamentalism and banned in some parts of Europe and Africa, has gained currency in multi-religious communities such as Madina Zongo (strangers’ quarters in Hausa) in Accra, Ghana. For some Muslim women in Madina, the niqab appeared to be a perfect replacement for the face mask even without an official statement from medical authorities or state officials on its protective capacity. Wearing the niqab allowed these Muslim women to simultaneously follow their religious tradition and attempt to protect themselves from the disease. Interestingly, some Christian women in the community have also been donning the niqab. Employing Laura Fair’s (2013) proposition that the niqab contains a wide range of possible material uses, in this article I show why and how the niqab is appropriated as a face mask by some women in Madina and discuss the implications of this appropriation in the religiously pluralistic setting of the Zongo.
Copyright (c) 2021 Kauthar Khamis
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