stance on Hijab
Monday, July 7, 2008
Hijab is the Arabic term for
"cover", meaning "to veil, to cover, to screen, to shelter"
I believe that Hijab and all its derivatives like Niqab, Burqa, and Chador are a form of oppression.
It's spreading at an alarming rate and not limited to women in Islamic
societies but also those who are born, raised, and educated in the West.
In an article
written by Lopa Hassan, she sheds some light on the subject of hijab and
examines why many seemingly liberated and well educated women choose to
categorize themselves as second class citizens by wearing the veil. Hassan
stresses that hijab is often mistaken for freedom at first glance, but that in
fact, it does nothing but reinforce the idea that women are sexual objects and
men are reduced to simple creatures with uncontrollable animalistic urges. She
also snubs women who choose to wear the veil and are living in free societies.
She equates their choice to a blow in the face of all women who are living in
oppressive regimes and have to wear the veil by force.
I don't think freedom of choice can be applied when it comes to hijab. Whether
they don't want to be perceived as sinners or cover up to gain more popularity,
women who wear hijab ultimately do so to avoid attracting the attention of men.
Often, men force women to wear hijab stating that it's a mandate of Islam, but
more likely the underlying cause is fear that men might lose control. Often
that fear is accompanied by images of scantily clad women that deliberately
ignite male sexual urges and seduce married men to adultery. More commonly,
women force fellow women to wear hijab by repeatedly referring to uncovered
sisters as "whores" or the less offensive term "loose".
Although, on the outside, hijab may seem like an act of freedom, upon further
inspection it couldn't be any farther from the truth. To think that I have to
cover my head in the scouring heat of July because I'm a lesser being than my
male counterpart yet responsible for his lack of self control is as ridiculous
an idea as teaching cows how to fly.
People should have the freedom to choose what to wear. I pity those who wear
the veil because it seems they are both oppressed, the ones who wear it by
force, and those who delude themselves into wearing it by choice. Hijab is
derived from the same system that states a man is entitled to twice the share
of the woman in inheritance. This is the same system that equates the testimony
of two women to one man; the same system that officially permits infidelity by
allowing men to have four wives simultaneously. This is the system that falsely
claims that it brought equality to women. So it stands to reason that a woman
who believes in that system would also believe that hijab is in her best
interest. But, while I think hijab and all its derivatives are a form of
oppression, I also believe in freedom of choice. And a woman who freely chooses
to classify herself as a second class citizen certainly has the right to do so.
I only ask those women to refrain from promoting preposterous ideas such as
that Islam liberated women and gave them status compared to their previous
generations. That's like telling African Americans to be grateful that they're
American citizens since in the 1800s as slaves they were considered property.
That reasoning is unequivocally unacceptable. And might I add two wrongs don't
make a right.
I would like to stress that although hijab and its derivatives are all forms of
oppression in my opinion, I find niqab to be quite insidious. Women who wear
niqab conjure images of utterly grotesque and hostile ninjas that are without a
doubt a byproduct of thought police. Although I understand hijab and can
perceive the purpose behind it, I am completely dumbfounded by niqab and
appalled by Western countries who are considering amendments to their policies
stating niqab as a freedom of religion with complete disregard to the
implications of such an Islamofascist outfit. I find it akin to wearing a ski
mask. Where is my freedom when I cannot identify the person I am dealing with?
What would you do if you worked at a bank and a person wearing a ski mask
entered? What would happen if you worked behind the cash register and a person
wearing a ski mask walked in? Need I comment on the rate of crimes committed
via the skimask? Now, imagine niqab. There's not much difference. Both serve
the purpose of identity concealment.
I, personally, refuse to be served or serve someone who I cannot identify. How
can we conduct business if we cannot identify each other? Without recognition
and familiarity a business has the potential to turn into fraud. Dealing in
anonymity is comparable to drug trafficking. How many street dealers know the drug
cartel boss? And before you think that shunning niqab is contradictory to my
statement on freedom to choose what to wear, I will interject by stating that
it's not the cover I object to but the hidden identity. Similarly, I refuse to
deal with anyone who wears a ski mask -- outside of a ski resort.
Hijab at best is a misguided act of faith. Likewise, niqab at best is an
obstacle to integrate with society and accompanies insurmountable
Wandering Scarab at 3:04
On the other
hand it is highly objectionable if politicians feel they can decide that women
teachers are not allowed to wear hijab (while at the same time a nun's habit -
which nuns do not necessarily have to wear and a Jewish scull cap,
forgot the proper name, are allowed).
Whatever the women's reason to wear hijab, there's states in Germany where they
have to choose between hijab and teaching.
And that's very sad.
7, 2008 6:58 PM HafSSa
ok, i will
allow myself to comment on the previous comment.
first of all, germany, france, most of the european countries are secualer,
i.e, disattaching riligion from daily life, if u want to practice it, go to
mosque, to church, to zen garden and hum, whatever.hence , all religious marks
are not allowed in publisc places like schools, ministries, tv, etc etc etc.
SO, when a nun wears her thingy, thats coz she is working in a place that
teaches her beliefes, which is the chruch, did u ever find a nun working in a
library or a mega store mathlan??
unless this store follows a church.
france, the country whom most muslims are opposing for not allowing hijab in
schools , thats coz france is bannng the christian cross, the jewish star and
all other riligious formalities, do u know that in paris alone there are almost
800 mosques all over the place?? isnt this freedom of riligion?
do u know that in france, any official governmental figure who believes in a
specific riligion is not allowed to practice his/her prayers in public place?
do u know why?
so that this does not give empowerment to his fellow believers, nither threaten
his opposers,, if this public official wishes to do so, he goes secretly to
practice his prayers or forms of riligion whatever it is.
NOW, lets compare between how muslims treat scarved lady vs. nuns, and see how
does the whole packgae applies on both sides.
1- u never find a nun telling u, an orddinary person, to must wear the
christian turbone or hijab. BUT, u will find all muslim people advising u of
so, even the garger lady seller.
2- if u dont wear a hijab, a nun wont ever bother u or look down on u or treat
u any less respect, BUT, all u r fellow muslim community will look at you as
exactly as wandering scarab said, whore or at the best a loose lady.
3-if a teahcer wishes to wear hijab , this means she is sending message,
whether she like it or not, of her beliefes and he standing, a teacher shouldnt
in any public place , no one should be allowed to show thier riligious identity
in order to avoid any kind of discrimination might happening from the teacher
to her students and vice versa.
i hope this clarifies some point form the other side of the story.
countries like germany or france banning hijab , isnt coz we r muslims, it is
coz they r against any "SIGNS". signs are the first step on the road
8, 2008 7:17 AM HafSSa
now to comment
on the article itself.
mino, let me tell you about some bed time stories happened to me since i live
here in the gulf and waering the niqab is the norm.
i used to work for a internatinal bank and to serve the market right, they
opened ladies section coz we need to identify the person dealing with us, i
spent there 9 months then i finally laboured my anger, it was disgusting, am a
lady as much as them, yet they will refuse to show thier faces to me, guess
what? i myself alone caught 3 fraudential cases and identity theft issues.
so how about that for those who call for niqab??
another one, once in a store a niqabed lady just ignored the whole line waiting
to pay for thier goodies and simply stepped to the front as if we dont exist,
unlucky she, she was taking over my turn, i told her sorry this is my turn, now
if she had politly asked me to pay for her one item, i would have let her, but
she didnt and instead she shouted at me and called me names, it wasnt my best
day so i decided i will have to revenge back.
we had a nice fight and she tried to hit me even to what level she was
successful, in retun of defending myself, i was trying to pull her niqab coz
she was very fiesty, i doubted she might be a man.
i couldnt, and she ran away, and the store manager couldnt identify her, nither
any of the other buyrs, simply, coz she is hiding her face.
what if she had hit me with aknife or sth??
what if she had brused me so hard ??
who would have reinstated justice at that point?
finally , niqab was an arabic tradition, way b4 islam, and it was mainly used
by prostitutes and ladies who would like to go fornicating with other men here
and there and dont want thier identity be revelied.
sorry for making these 2 comments that long and sorry for any spelling
8, 2008 7:32 AM synesthesia
watched a program on the BBC about veiled women in Cairo. It was very
interesting. They visited shops selling & making veils, she, (the
presenter), even tried some models on: layered, gathered to form large flowers,
multicolored, sequined, embroidered..etc. My question is, if veiling is a
requirement to restrict women from displaying their beauty except for their
husbands; & if those who don't abide by this modesty imposing restriction
are considered loose or whores, what is all that about these pretty &
elaborate designs? Isn't hair tied in horse tail, or cut short more modest? I
think it's another case of going through the motions: rituals or symbols being
followed & given precedence over the message itself.
As for niqab, I doubt it will be adopted by the majority. I think it is very
difficult to make Cairene women dress in bleak niqabs for long; just look at
the old films from the 40's & 50's, how tight was the melaya laf, & how
transparent the face veil.
Where I live, it is strictly illegal to cover one's face in public, for reasons
of security. I agree with you Scarab & Hafssa. In the West, men are not particularly
tempted by hair, so covering it out of modesty is superfluous, it is only
regarded as a sign of rejection of the host society & of alienation.
Scarab, don't worry about Alzheimer, I never stated where I live exactly, only
said western Europe.
8, 2008 4:15 PM Wandering
I agree that it's very sad. I think outright elimination of hijab would be
treading in murky waters. Who's to say that it'll stop there, next they would
ban Sikh's from wearing a turban and Indian women from wearing the beautiful
sari. I can see hijab as a cultural symbol the way I see sari and men from the
gulf wearing those white "galabeya". But niqab on the other hand is
down right dangerous.
Your experiences with niqab are precisely the kinds of things I think are
facilitated by wearing it. That's why I would call for a ban of niqab, chador
and anything really that covers the face. As for your comparison between the
Nun outfit and hijab, like I said to Melantrys, it's treading in murky waters.
I agree with you wholeheartedly that the treatment of non hijabi women in the
Arab world lacks respect compared to hijabi women. However, asking hijabi women
to take off hijab at the workplace but freely wear it if they want to go
shopping seems contradictory.
What we are trying to preach is tolerance to all faiths. Hijabi women who go
around spreading propaganda about hijab as a choice are not doing it because
they wear hijab, but because they are intolerant of anyone else who doesn't
wear it. But I would nonetheless fight for her right to wear it even though I
think it is a form of oppression. But there are many other women who wear hijab
and although may believe that you and I are not making the right choice by not
wearing it, they don't seek to enforce their opinion on others. These are
precisely the ones that I would fight for their rights because it's their
tolerance that drives them to let me make my choice. It's unfortunate that many
hijabi women today are the same ones that treat you and I with disrespect
because we don't wear hijab.
I think what France aims to do is bordering on intolerance. By banning all
religious icons they are in essence enforcing the agnostic view. It is the
definition of discrimination to allow one group to do something while banning
the other from doing the same thing. If we ban "signs" then pretty
soon we will ask homosexuals to deny their homosexuality so as not to hurt the
feelings of heterosexuals, and ask Indian women to refrain from wearing the
sari, and basketball players from wearing caps and then we might even go as far
as banning books like Quran and the bible in public places. It's simple acts
like these that could turn any democratic nation into a fascist state. I think
France's unwillingness to recognize and respect differences in opinions (which
include hijab, the cross, and the Jewish kippah - aka yarmulke) will be it's
Don't bother trying to find a logic for the adornment of hijab. Many guidelines
in Islam are contradictory to the extent that it would take years to resolve
and would result in massive brain hemorrhage. Ten years ago I thought no one
would be able to make Cairene women wear hijab. Look at them now. In fact, I
met several that wear niqab and the numbers are growing. It's great to know
that Europe is in the process of eliminating the ninja outfit. In the past two days,
I saw at least three women walk down the street on a blazing hot July day
wearing niqab. This Darth Vader fashion statement is not yet banned in Canada.
One day we will see the light. I can only hope.
8, 2008 9:13 PM HafSSa
certainly i dont mean all signs, coz an indian women wearing her sari is not a
riligious sign. she can be indian but whould i know what riligious is she?
dont think so.
p.s: i have sent u an email few days ago about some case , i wonder if you got
it? i sent it to the email u r adding on the main page.
9, 2008 4:19 AM Wandering
Please accept my apologies.. I was having problems with that email, and it has
problems with Arabic. All fixed now. I sent you a reply. Please keep in touch
9, 2008 9:10 AM أبوفارس
I think you
will find this article interesting...
9, 2008 1:39 PM Melantrys
on the comment on my comment....
Hafssa, I think you misunderstood.
The kippa, the habit and crosses are allowed at public schools as they're
"part of our Christian-occidental tradition", whatever that may be
The only thing that is forbidden - in some of our states - is the hijab. And
added to the growing fanatical fear of terrorists and the newly found habit of
the general public (and some politicians) to not differ between Muslim and
Islamist, I think this is a very sad state of affairs indeed.
And the women with hijab I have met so far, and keep meeting on a daily basis
at the store I am working at (mainly Turks though), aren't the type to
fanatically try and force the hijab on others, nor do they appear to be
suppressed by anyone, certainly not those two sisters who have taken to
mock-insulting me recently most of the times they come to shop.
Let's see if this linking thing works, last time I tried on another Blogspot
comment, it didn't.
an ancient post of
mine on the topic
Wandering Scarab (Oh Holy Moving Beetle? *grins*), I too often feel that ppl
here tend to fear what's different, and it seems that is the reason behind all
of those hijab bans and nothing else.
9, 2008 2:55 PM HafSSa
sorry but this way of approaching others and addressing them as "mis
understood" is not accpeted by me. if u notice when i commented i didnt
say that u have a misconception or a misunderstanding, i didnt judge u in any
way, i simply presented another point of view, So, saying that i misunderstood,
as if i was born yesterday and dont know a hell lot of information about this
subject, seems pretty accusational for me.
i hope we can know the difference between expressing another different opinion
and accusing others of lack of knowledge.
10, 2008 3:25 AM Melantrys
Hafssa, I think
you're interpreting too much (and only evil) into a little word. I merely meant
to say that judging by what you wrote you must have misinterpreted what I
wrote, as you seemed to base your comment on the nun's habit being forbidden as
well - which it is not, as I clarified in my second comment.
The use of "misunderstood" was in no way meant in any negative way!
10, 2008 5:59 PM HafSSa
order to clarify ur situation, my interpretation becomes even worse, only
thanks alot. u just topped my day with ur understanding of others. truly
10, 2008 6:40 PM Melantrys
The use of "misunderstood" was in no way meant in any negative way!
Hafssa, nothing I said was meant in a negative way, and I truly don't
understand why we seem to be on such totally different wavelengths that you
read my comments as attacks and attack me in turn.
The "evil" was referring to how you perceived my use of
"misunderstood"; that it seemed you interpreted my use of the word as
evil = that I was using the word in a bad way towards you. Which I wasn't.
I was not insulting you, in none of my comments directed at you; I was merely
trying to explain myself... my really very nice and peaceful self.
11, 2008 12:26 PM