Dutch Muslim artist creates a niqab from face masks

A Dutch Muslim artist created a niqab from face masks in protest to bans in the Netherlands, Sri Lanka and Switzerland. 

Ersem Ercil was born in the Netherlands and raised in Turkey and explains why he chose to create an iconic image using several surgical masks sewn together. 

Ersem questions the need for the niqab ban in his country, which came into effect in 2019, alongside the prohibitions in Sri Lanka and Switzerland, which are due to come into effect in 2021. 

“Me and my friends always spoke about this burqa ban. We knew it existed, and we thought it was questionable by itself.” Ersem said. “We’re wearing masks now, so the whole pandemic situation opened a whole new perspective or window on this law. 

Suddenly you had this thing where burqas and niqabs were forbidden or illegal. In the same space, you had face masks that were made mandatory. So as someone who likes to focus on social issues and what’s happening in the world, you almost immediately make the connection, I think. So it just came to me suddenly, and I felt I had to do something with this. How can I work with this issue?”

The Netherlands niqab ban came into effect in August 2019. Those who wear clothing covering their face in certain public areas can be fined 150 euros by law.

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