…. For us, as mainstream Muslim women, born in Egypt and India, the spectacle at the mosque was a painful reminder of the well-financed effort by conservative Muslims to dominate modern Muslim societies. This modern-day movement spreads an ideology of political Islam, called “Islamism,” enlisting well-intentioned interfaith do-gooders and the media into promoting the idea that “hijab” is a virtual “sixth pillar” of Islam, after the traditional “five pillars” of the shahada (or proclamation of faith), prayer, fasting, charity and pilgrimage.
We reject this interpretation that the “hijab” is merely a symbol of modesty and dignity adopted by faithful female followers of Islam.
…. In the name of “interfaith,” these well-intentioned Americans are getting duped by the agenda of Muslims who argue that a woman’s honor lies in her “chastity” and unwittingly pushing a platform to put a hijab on every woman.
Please do this instead: Do not wear a headscarf in “solidarity” with the ideology that most silences us, equating our bodies with “honor.” Stand with us instead with moral courage against the ideology of Islamism that demands we cover our hair. [897 comments]
[TOP RATED COMMENT 61 votes] As a former university lecturer in Islamic Studies, I found this both erudite and in line with my own experience. I would just add two things. One is that the face-covering veil was developed, not at first within Islam, but from the Sasanid and Byzantine royal courts after their conquest by Arab Muslim armies.
The other is that wearing the hijab, niqab, burqa or other covering today is to wear a symbol of the real oppression of women. In Iran, even having your hijab too far back on your head leads to an accusation of bad-hejab, a night in a police cell, and a fine. Persistent bad-hejab could lead to a spell in prison. In Saudi Arabia and several other countries, not wearing a veil can lead to a flogging and even a death sentence.
Westerners who smile at the hijab as a token of multicultural benefit would do well to ask what they value most highly: absolute tolerance or allowing women to walk in public wearing a symbol of a form of oppression they would noty tolerate for a moment in their own culture. [The Washington Post] Read more