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Tuesday, November 1, 2005

Burqas Against the Ban

Posted by on November 1 at 17:04 PM

I just got back from downtown, where I happened upon a woman in a burqa collecting signatures to repeal Seattle’s new ban on lap dances at strip clubs.

She was standing outside of Westlake Mall, a black veil over her face, black gloves over her hands, not one bit of skin showing, and she was encouraging passersby to sign a petition to let Seattle voters decide on whether strip clubs and lap dances are really as big a scourge as Mayor Nickels and the City Council seem to think.

At first I thought the woman in the burqa was some sort of performance art, but through her veil she told me she is for real: As a Muslim in post-9/11 America, she said, she feels compelled to oppose any infringements on civil liberties or personal expression.

Not that “Sister Muhammad,” as she identified herself, ever goes to strip clubs, or could ever imagine stripping off her burqa for money. She just wants other people to have the freedom to do so if they please — plus, she said, she’s earning $1.50 per signature.