Burqas make great disguises for terrorists and criminals.
Taliban reliance on burqa’ed terrorism, often of the suicide variety, makes Afghanistan the current world epicenter of this tactic. On two occasions, authorities foiled would-be suicide bombers before they could act – one a Russian male convert to Islam with 500 kilograms of explosives in an automobile in Paktia Province, the other an Afghan woman hiding a bomb in Jalalabad. Usually, though, violent intentions are hidden by the burqa, becoming apparent only after an attack begins.
Jewelry theft in London: Two robbers, male and female, stole £200,000 worth of jewelry from the exclusive Ramot on Sloane Street in Knightsbridge by wearing burqas into the store. The robbers then flung open their garments to reveal guns, threatened the staff, took their keys to the display cabinets, locked the staff in a back room, and made off in a black Mercedes Benz getaway car with what Scotland Yard called “unique” gems. (March 7, 2002)
Niqab as an accessory to abduction in the United States: Timothy Egan tells about the strange abduction of Elizabeth Smart, 14, in “In Plain Sight, a Kidnapped Girl Behind a Veil.” Brian D. Mitchell, 49, flaunted Smart in public but kept her in a niqab-like garment that hid her for nine months from one of the most intense-person cases ever conducted.
Pakistan The two brothers who run the large Lal Masjid complex in Islamabad, capital city of Pakistan, have led an insurrection through which they hope to topple the government of their country. Holed up in the complex, surrounded by some ten thousand soldiers, one of the two brothers, Maulana Mohammad Abdul Aziz Ghazi, 46, tried to escape by joining a group of some twenty women permitted to leave. He donned a full black burqa, even wearing gloves and high heels.
Palestinian gunmen escape Israeli forces in Gaza: The IDF suspected that Palestinian gunmen dressed up as women to escape a 19-hour standoff with the IDF that tried to dislodge them from a mosque where they were hiding. A report by Sa’id Ghazali in The Independent provides more details about women injured while taking burqas to the gunmen.
Jewelry theft in Canada. This incident was reported by the Toronto Star, “Jewel heists target Asians”: Abdul Rasheed Khalid was alone in his Brampton jewellery store filling the display cases with yellow gold rings and necklaces when two people, one wearing a head-to-toe black burqa, appeared outside his locked door.
Murder suspect flees UK: It’s not been confirmed, but a reliable source indicates that Mustaf Jama, 26, one of Britain’s “most wanted” criminals for having murdered Police Constable Sharon Beshenivsky, 38, in November 2005, fled the country during the last week of 2005 and returned to his native Somalia. The picture of Britain’s most wanted man, with 21 criminal convictions, had been circulated to every police force, port and airport in the country. He got through by disguising himself as a Muslim woman. Specifically, he adopted his sister’s identity, using her passport and by wearing a niqab.
Taliban leader and expert bomb-maker, as he tried to flee a massive NATO security operation dressed in a burqa. “Alert [Afghan] soldiers at this checkpoint spotted the oddity and quickly arrested him,” explained a NATO press release. (Mar. 7, 2007)
UK Terrorism suspect escapes: Closed-circuit television captured Yassin Omar, 26, of north London, on two occasions wearing a burqa. Omar is one of the six accused July 21, 2005 would-be bombers (he allegedly tried to set off a hydrogen peroxide bomb at Warren Street Underground station).Afghanistan: Afghan soldiers captured Mullah.
Pakistan: A male gunman wearing a burqa shot dead Masroor Alam, 35, a Sunni Islamist involved in several cases of sectarian killings, near his home in the remote tribal town of Dera Ismail Khan, north-west Pakistan, then fled on a motorbike. (Mar. 9, 2007)
Somalia: The niqab presents a whole different level of threat in Somalia, reports Reuters’ Guled Mohamed in “Somali forces ban, burn Muslim women’s veils,” where the Western-backed government has cracked down on women’s coverings in the capital, Mogadishu, to prevent the Islamist Courts insurgents from disguising themselves and then attacking.
Jordan offers a glimpse into the potential for niqabs and burqas as illegal accessories: one news report indicates that 50 people committed 170 crimes using Islamic garments during the past two years, or roughly one incident every four days, a crime wave that has prompted some Jordanians to call for restricting or even banning these Islamic head coverings.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania boasts multiple robberies (3 banks and 1 real estate leasing office) in a sixteen-month period in 2007-08, including the murder of a police officer. Another Philadelphia bank: Five months later, a Wachovia Bank branch in Philadelphia is again held up by a woman in Muslim garb, though this time in the Juniata Park part of town.
Holland bans the burqa because terrorists hide behind them.
HOLLAND SAYS NO TO BURQA Holland which has taken the burqa issue head on. Holland is all set to become the first country in Europe to ban the burqa after the government announced plans to introduce legislation outlawing the head-to-toe Islamic garment.With the Dutch cabinet declaring that that the head dress posed a terrorist threat as it prevents the wearers’ face being identified, the ban is likely to extend to all face-covering veils and prevent anyone appearing in public with covered facial features.
The hardliner minister for immigration, Rita Verdonk, has openly and in clear terms expressed her dislike of the burqa, which she believes aids and abets the repression of women. She went ahead and termed it a danger to the country’s security, adding that the head dress was undesirable “for reasons of public order, security and protection of citizens.”
Too bad a burqa ban is not being considered in the U.S. yet.