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From Bikini to Hijab

Published Date: May 29, 2008
By Meshary Alruwaih, Staff columnist

Monday's piece was mainly about the Salafists' attitude after their sweeping victory at the Parliament. I ended the article by criticizing their hasty move towards "an immediate Islamization" by amending the Constitution and adopting new laws and legislations. I wrote "you played the Islamization card too early...years early

Here is why: Islamization is about giving a purpose and identity to a modern abstract concept -- the state. In political and International Relations theories, it has mainly been treated as a lifeless, purposeless unit whose functions and behaviors are based on rigid calculated earthly rationalism. It is treated as a set of institutions that manage people's earthly affairs.

Islamization adds a dimension of spirituality that transcends the secular settings of domestic politics and the constraints of the international system. It transforms the state to a purposive actor connected to heaven through general religious doctrines and sometimes specific and detailed instructions. This transformation, if desired, takes place first in the minds of political and International Relations theorists and other social scientists. And then it works its way down to the hearts of decision makers, law makers, and the public. This is the only path towards Islamization - Islamization of Finance has taken the same path!

Now what our Islamists MPs want to do is to escape this tedious and long process and jump directly into enforcing vague notions of Islamization based on introducing few amendments to the Constitution...Good Luck!

Now let us lighten up with this example which shows how any hasty and thoughtless Islamization process is doomed to fail - imagine a situation where someone's daughter who is 25-years-old, is used to wearing a bikini ever since she was born, is suddenly asked to see her roam the streets, wearing a niqab!

If he imposes niqab on her today or even this year, she would feel like a prisoner. She would not even know how to walk, talk or communicate with people and most importantly, she would hate it. She will long for the glorious days bikini-wearing days, after developing a distorted sense of freedom of clothing. On the other hand, if he talks her into maybe wearing shorts and a t-shirt this year, then if convinced, wait for three years before talking to her about wearing a jeans with the same t-shirt, wait for five years and suggest a hijab as a possible next step, both of them might forget about the niqab!
This process will not only get the daughter to cover up, but it will also make her a purposive activist for hijab...Now that is Islamization!


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