Here we have a photo of a veiled woman. Its ostensible purpose is to provide a visual means of identifying the subject, to which one can only say, “Huh?”. The paradox is almost too much to contemplate. It’s hard to say which aspect of this concept is most stupid.
First candidate: the entire women-as-property ethos. I like to respect the religious beliefs of others, but dammit, making humans cover their faces, like all the rest of the misogynist creed, wherever it is found, is just repugnant. I’m not in favor of women wearing veils unless they want to, and surprisingly few do seem to want to.
So that’s the first stupid thing. The second is: even bothering to take a picture. A principle of equal treatment? People who have no faces are afforded the same opportunity as those with faces: a means to prove or disprove their identity and their very existence. Seriously, would this picture stand up in court as a solid ID? No? Then what is it doing on this passport?
Or maybe it isn’t so stupid. “We have the technology!” was the motto of the 20th century. It won’t be the motto of the 21st century, because humans won’t be around on the planet long enough to look back on the century with nostalgia, or to identify the most characteristic slogan of that century.
So, who needs a whole face? By now we must certainly have the technology to identify an individual from a photo showing one approximate centimeter of flesh. Which many Muslim women do show. This devout lady, however, reveals nothing.
The next stupid thing is, it gives the bludg an excuse to grab more identification markers. “Yes, modest Muslim women are allowed to wear their veils to be photographed,” say the authorities. “This is why we must also have an alternate means of ID, such as fingerprints. And of course we wouldn’t want to discriminate, so that means everybody gets fingerprinted”. Still, this ID method would not capture data from bilateral amputees, so there must be retina scans… and so on, ad nauseum, ad absurdum and ad infinitum.
The fourth thing, and I won’t call it stupid because that would be offensive, but it sure does cause a person to wonder. Doesn’t Islam forbid the making of images? And specifically, images of people? But in order to move about in the modern world, the leaders of the faith apparently are willing to cut the faithful some slack. Well, why not cut them some slack in the matter of veils, infibulation and, you know, that kind of thing?