Muslims who insist women must wear full length garments to cover their body constantly argue being attired in such a manner allows Muslim women to avoid problems faced by western females who are are subject to verbal and physical abuse by men. Activists from 17 Arab nations in the region met in Cairo to discuss the ongoing harassment of Muslim women who go into the streets where they are subject to behaviors ranging from verbal abuse to being pinched and touched. According to speakers, groping and verbal abuse are daily encounters by Muslim women even those in large cities such as Cairo. Amal Madbouli, who wears the traditional niqab told the conference she is daily harassed, and the other day a man followed her into her own neighborhood and “kept asking me if I wanted to go with him to a quiet area and sought my phone number.”
Some statistics reveal that 90% of Yemeni women say they have been harassed while in Egypt. A study in Lebanon placed the figure for harassment at about 30%. Last year Egyptians were shocked when a mob of men attacked women in broad daylight shouting curses at them and physically assaulting them.
Even in the most conservative nation, Saudi Arabia, there is talk of new legislation to criminalize verbal and physical groping of women. So, what it is exactly Muslims wish we in the West to do about making women dress appropriately?