A defiant, cathartic act of feminist liberation a la bra-burnings in the 1970s?

Nah. It’s a security measure.

The crackdown on veils is a highly symbolic turnaround for Mogadishu after Islamist leaders, who controlled the city in the second half of 2006, had instructed women to wear them.

“Every policeman and government soldier has orders to confiscate veils from veiled women,” senior police officer Ali Nur told Reuters in Mogadishu, saying various recent attacks had been carried out by people in disguise.

“Some of the remnants of the Islamic Courts have been caught wearing veils. During the war, these remnants, pretending to be women, killed so many government troops.”

Somalis are generally moderate Muslims, and most women traditionally cover their heads but not faces. Officials say some suicide attacks have been carried out by men disguised under full face-veils.

Only one Somali woman is quoted in the piece. Wild-guess exit question: Is she pro- or anti-veil?

Update: Nicolas Sarkozy is vowing to burn a few veils himself.

“France will be at the sides of the Libyan nurses locked up for eight years; France will not abandon Ingrid Betancourt; France will not abandon the women who are condemned to the burqa; France will not abandon the women who do not have liberty. France will be by the side of the oppressed of the world. This is the message of France; this is the identity of France; this is the history of France.”

Tags: Islam