The veil is not a uniquely Islamic convention; the practice has a long history in the Judeo-Christian tradition. Catholic nuns engage in the practice, of course, and there are several references to the practice in both the Old and New Testaments (King James Version). Ironically, the representation of veiling in the Bible is much more problematic than those in the Qur'an or the Hadith, because the Judeo-Christian sources imply that women should be covered because of their inherent inferiority. I Corinthians 11 (3-10) offers one example:
But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. Every man praying or prophesying having his head covered, dishonoreth his head. But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoreth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven. For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn or shaven; but if it be a hame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered. For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.