Helsinki: A burka experiment

Helsinki: A burka experiment

Via Tundra Tabloids.  Katja Kuokkanen, a Finnish jouranlist, put on a burka to 'test' the Finns.  She gets various reactions, but it's not only the Finns who stop and stare.  Kuokkanen finds that some Muslims honor her more while she gets unwanted attention from others.


The black chiffon in my eyes causes a mishap. I bump into the shoulder of a black man as I turn away from the counter in an ethnic shop.

The man gives an apology - in the usual way. Then he really sees me: a dressed woman in a black abaya-niqab from head to ankle, a decorated black cape and veil that also covers the face.

The man nearly bows and renews the apology in an Arab dialect. I have never been honored in such a way.

When you visit the ethnic shops on Helsinki's Hämeenlinna road there are all kinds of covered women coming from the direction of Hakaniemi's subway corridor.

The aim is to try to understand what covering up feels like and how other people react to it. I go to the eastern center (of Helsinki), because it seems natural to: Islamic dressed women are often seen travelling east on the metro.

The first reaction on the orange car comes immediately.

"Hey, that is one hell of a sight," cries out a drunken man to his three druken buddies on the congested metro. Other people skillfully avoid my face.

"Hey, you left this." My hair was tied in a shiny donut under the veil, but it fell on the metro bench.

I didn't know whether I should say thank you to the considerate middle-aged woman, when I couldn't decide whether to speak Finnish in the experiment and reveal my cover.


Source: HS (Finnish), translated by Tundra Tabloids

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