JOURNAL - MARCH - A Burqa For Barbie
A Burqa For Barbie
I’m in Herat, Afghanistan, where I’ve arranged to meet Haji Shir Agha, head of the Burqa Manufacturers Association. I’m allowed to take portrait shots in the street for just a few minutes before being hurried indoors. My fixer is worried that my camera will draw attention and result in a tip-off to the Taliban that a Westerner is in town.
From his tiny shop in the old town’s bazaar, Haji sells over 10,000 burqas every year to women across the country, all in the same powder blue. “Ladies love this colour, because it makes them feel closer to the heavens, and to Allah”, he tells me. Prices begin at £8 for a simple nylon number rising to £25 for an elaborate silk design for special occasions. Haji even makes miniature burqas for girls to cover up their Barbie dolls. “It is important that Muslim women learn wholesomeness from a young age. If they do that, it will keep them on the correct path of morality and virtue”.