The Culture That Constrains Others: The Muslim And Arab Compulsory Dress Code

By: Jefferson G. Togba

Jefferson G. Togba

From every understanding, we know culture is undeniably the way of life. This way of life is largely determined by the people and not its authority. Because of this the Westphalia Treaty came into effect on 24th October 1648 after the thirty year-war granting each territory a Nation-State status. By that every sovereign Nation-State decides how citizens’ freedom is protected and acts according to norms through the authority’s enforcement only when other cosmopolite citizen culture abuses yours.

Ever since dress code has been taken seriously with the Arab, mostly in countries with huge Muslim’s population. However, comparatively, Indonesia as the world’s largest Muslim state does not restrict people to dress code.

Even other Nation-State citizens have been compelled to dress according to the Muslim culture and dress code practices whenever females in particular visit their country to take up resident. Living by norms is very important, but when similar cultural norms are enforced by other Nation-States’ authority to practice the way of life for residence,this is viewed as being intolerant and anti-Muslimism and perceived themselves as targets. Why play deceit with others?

Enforcement of the law straightly guarantees culture and protects it. However, those who are doing so must not infringe on others` fundamental and acceptable cultural lives. Since one’s cultural freedom means giving them justice, freedom and justice must not coerce and be demeaning by state authority just to overprotect culture. Moreover, I think the Muslim and Arab world are missing out on the global connectedness of oneness and the freedom to practice culture. It’s not by force, but understanding and mutual respect for other’s orientation of life.


Trust me. What just happened to those three girls for wearing leggings being an Arab citizens or Muslim,and then they would have seen it differently as “declaring war on their religion” and not treating it as violation of cultural dress code. For her part, the third girl changed to board the flight. They (Muslims and Arabs) are all around the globe wearing what is culturally unique to them as cosmopolitan citizens freed with their Burqa.

Take for stance, France has banned the wearing of Burka/Burqini or Burqa through its Parliamentary decision in 2010. Since then it continues to infuse tension between France and the Arab Nations and Muslim on the other hand.  The Arab citizens and Muslimswear what they want according to their culture norms and religious dress code without restrictions. So why won’t they allow others to wear what is also culturally convenience for them no matter where they find themselves?

Although culture is upheld by the state, authority and its people, it’s truth that every state acts according to the LAW; so, if this is true then why do they have issues with other countries’ Law? The argument is that we must be treated fairly since everyone has their own dress code.  On the one hand, for too long other nations have accommodated them freely through their dress code in every way to coexist.

Freedom has an end and beginning. Therefore, once exercising his/her rights to wearing, orientation shouldn’t be a problem to others’ cultural orientations. The deliberation focuseson the Muslim and Arab infringement to others` right to wear their culturedress code and choice.  This is totally a serious human right violation.


The Arab are unpunished for the allegedly compelling others to their dress code for culture and religious practices that they believed in. Yet, human rights activists and advocates won’t emphasis on these breeches of human rights.But, when this is done against Muslim and Arab citizens, then the so-called rights groups “activists and advocates” will unjustifiably condemn protective and good laws that expect behaviors and its adherence.

I know for a fact that we are all cosmopolitans’ citizens. The Muslim and Arab State-Nations’ authorities and the defenders of culture must stop harassing others for what they wear. Halt the Muslim and Arab ideology of compelling other to dress like you. This exposes your plan to impose cultural and religious dress code. Everyone doesn’t share your morality.

The airlines justified its action for disallowing those girls on board as saying not in compliance with dress code “Company benefit travel”.  Arguably, every business benefit is interpreted through its income gained and not dress code, but the quality, availability, affordability and reliability of the goods and services provided. I am taken aback that a company from its customers and clients dress code. With this, I differ strongly to belittle and denied customers their confirmed travel time because of “Dress Code”. Not what customers wear give company benefits, but it increases customers’ base and turnover.

Unfortunately, these three girls’ universal human right were taken away and banned from travel. Yet, no one has spoken for them. Missing their flights meant missing so much more to life. Could we see how much of their scheduled activities received setback?

Additionally, everyone has their belief system that determines their dress code. We all deserve some levels of respect by our host country.  Can any country pay for the mental and emotional pains inflicted upon them and the extra costs for not traveling on scheduled trip?  Stopping anyone from traveling because of dress code is too ridicules.

Interestingly, their denial is just one among many of our eye glimpses and media lenses. We are no longer in the oppressive epoch where rights were not rights but were forcefully violated and abused. Come to think of the many dress code conflicts in the Muslim and Arab Nation-States against Non-Muslim Women and Girls. Despite all these embarrassments and humiliations against them; only few rights groups have spoken in their defense as freed citizens of the free world whose rights have being unacceptably abused, is that right?

In summary to the debate, given the ugly perception about other people`s way of life will depict harshness about the Muslim and Arab’s cultural and religious dress code.  When you enjoy the warm cultural tolerance of other societies, then off course, similar behavioral acceptance is expected in return to complete the circle of coexistence and cosmopolitanism.   The Muslim and Arab countries must learn to practice balance relationship and as such, harassment will eventually see your actions as intolerable to other global citizens’ way of life.  Stop denying others their life styles.

When others accept you for whom you are, then in return you must accept others in like manner. Remember,everyone’s culture must equally live and as well survive.  Therefore, let the Muslim and Arab society take into consideration others` dress code and avoid the harsh measures in protecting culture because those that are victimized by your behaviors have homes too where if you are not careful,comparable actions could create payback against your members.

Jefferson G. Togba is a lecturer at the United Methodist University; he holds Master of Arts degree in Diplomacy, Law & Business. He also read extensively on international Affairs with emphasis on International Political Economy at the Jindal School of international Affairs at the O.P. Jindal Global University in India. He also served as conference panelist during the India-Africa Corporation held in New Delhi in 2014; and he graduated with bachelor degree in Business Administration at the AME Zion University, Liberia. Email:

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About Cholo Brooks 15808 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.