There is nothing Islamic about burqa and beard. No Qur’anic directive is available about the use of burqa by Muslim women. As per Qur’an, both men and women have been asked to dress modestly. Beard is justified by Muslims as Sunnah. But beard was not exclusive with Prophet. Many of his critics also had beard.
Over the centuries, burqa and beard have made Muslims like a herd where individuals are lost in the group. These have stereotyped the Muslims for which they very often blame the non-Muslims in erroneous way. The justification through “personal choice” given by many Muslims for using burqa or having beard also reflects a stereotype in thoughts.
Burqa perpetually reminds that Muslim women are only sex objects. It also gives an impression that Muslim men are always looking for sexual pleasure only. On the other hand, beard gives a false impression that every Muslim man with beard is very pious.
Actually burqa and beard came as extremely potent tools to the contractors of Islam to enforce group identity among Muslims. This has resulted in regimentation of Muslims in appearance, thought and action. It is thus easier for Mullahs (virtual priests) and other contractors of Islam to control the minds and behaviours of Muslims to serve their vested interest and power game in the name of Islam.
Will Bangladeshi youths come out of this stereotype and do away with burqa, beard and skull cap? The use of skull cap is another example of so called Sunnah which is totally misplaced in the humid climatic condition of Bangladesh.