A burqa is an enveloping outer garment worn by women in some Islamic traditions for the purpose of cloaking the entire body. It is worn over the usual daily clothing (often a long dress or a shalwar kameez) and removed when the woman returns to the sanctuary of the household (see purdah). But every American school child knows this. Burqas are the reason we invaded Afghanistan, right?
But not many school children know that we have burqas here in America too! The women pictured above are all wearing American burqas. Is it coincidence that they also live in a mountainous desert region — like the women of Afghanistan? Or if climate is not the culprit, could it have something to do with religious radicalism?
Don’t go thinking Muslims and Mormons have a lock-up on the American burqa market! Heavens no! Though Baptists and Seventh Day Adventists don’t require their burqas to be unadorned, they are just as intent that unmarried women must be covered up (just look at Bob Jones University’s dress code). The key difference is the liberal use of applique teddy bears, Jesus, and US soldiers on their burqas, er, sweaters.