How Many Burqa-Clad Women Brush Past Me?

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A reader writes:

A bunch. I live in the extremely multi-ethnic Uptown neighborhood of Chicago. The high-rise across the street from me has a large fundamentalist Muslim community living in it, and there are several dozen fully-veiled women who live in the building. I run into them at the bus stop, the grocery store, McDonald’s – pretty much all over my ‘hood.

And although I’m an uber-liberal urbanite who embraces my multi-culti neighborhood, I have to confess: there is nothing creepier than having a burqa-wearing woman coming at you in the cereal aisle. I’ve lived here for years and see them all the time, but I can’t help but find them spooky. They’re wraith-like and eerie. I know I’m not supposed to admit that, but it’s true.

I understand that it is (theoretically) their choice to wear the veil, but the same is not true of their daughters. I have seen few sadder things in my life than the day I ran into one of my neighbors at the store, and saw that her adorably goofy and energetic little daughter had suddenly been converted into a somber, ghostly, black-clad shadow of herself. That was the first time I felt like a burqa ban might not be such a bad idea….

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