Islamic burqas make women vitamin D deficient, achieving yet another way that Islam demeans and harms women

The strict religious doctrine that many Muslims live by is physically unhealthy and abusive toward women. Research now shows that Islamic burqas are restricting Muslim women from getting adequate vitamin D from the sun, which suppresses their immune system. Lack of vitamin D in children causes rickets and severe bone pain in adults. This makes Vitamin D supplementation very important for Muslim women who are restricted from exposing their body and face to natural sunlight.

Furthermore, female genital mutilation is common within the Islamic religion. This abusive act violates the human rights of millions of young girls, from birth to 15 years of age. Two hundred million girls alive today have been forced to have their female genital organs injured or altered to comply with strict religious doctrine. The World Health Organization states that FGM is associated with cultural ideals “that girls are clean and beautiful after removal of body parts that are considered unclean, unfeminine or male.” These abusive, women-shaming submission tactics are permitted and go unchallenged within Islamic culture.

UKIP wants to ban burqas to help Muslim women

United Kingdom Independence Party leader Paul Nuttall suggested there be a ban on burqas to empower women of all cultures so they can have access to the same sunlight as everyone else to help restore healthy vitamin D levels in their bodies. By ditching their burqas, Muslim women would effectively activate their immune system and welcome happiness back into their lives. (Related: Vitamin D alleviates depression in women.)

“There’s a myriad of medical research which shows if you don’t show your face or the rest of your body to the sun there will be vitamin D deficiencies,” says Mr. Nuttall. Vitamin D helps regulate calcium levels and is critical for keeping bones, teeth, and muscles healthy. Therefore, vitamin D plays an active role in preventing osteoporosis later in life. Muslim women are at a physical disadvantage for many health outcomes because of the restrictions placed on them by their oppressive religious doctrine.

Vitamin D benefits are vast

Biologists from the Federal University of Sao Paolo have also attributed vitamin D’s benefits to relief from arthritis, backache, and fibromyalgia. Proper vitamin D levels also help with menstrual cramps. Therefore, vitamin D has a long term anti-inflammatory effect on the body. Research from King’s College London has shown that higher vitamin D levels in pregnancy strengthen the immune response of unborn babies. More studies show that a strong natural immune system, developed early in life with the help of vitamin D, protects against asthma.

Vitamin D can be obtained through dietary sources such as oily fish, cod liver oil and mushrooms. Salmon, swordfish, tuna, halibut, herring, sardines, rockfish, sole and flounder are all excellent sources. Maitake, morel, shiitake and chanterelle mushrooms are great sources, too. Vitamin D is special because it can be synthesized directly inside the skin with the help of sunlight.

But it’s not just Muslim women who are suffering unknowingly. Sedentary, indoor lifestyles keep people out of sunlight, without vitamin D assimilation. Likewise, consistent use of sunscreen chemicals block out vitamin D production within the skin. Other factors that adversely affect vitamin D assimilation include dark skin and living in latitudes where sunshine is limited. In the U.K., 30 million people are estimated to be deficient in vitamin D levels due to lack of sunlight at their altitude. One study of 116 healthy U.K. volunteers found that only 14 percent of them had normal vitamin D levels.

If women are unaware that their religious dress code is hindering their vitamin D production, they will do nothing to correct the deficiency. Vitamin D supplementation should be an utmost priority, especially for women who are required to wear niqabs and burqas.

UKIP’s request to ban burqas could produce unintended consequences, but it’s nice to see a political party stand up to suppressive and abusive religious practices, especially when that religion actively engages in atrocities such as female genital mutilation – a blatant human rights abuse.

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