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Message Icon Topic: Hijab - Freedom NOT Oppression : Opinion Post Reply Post New Topic
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Nausheen
 
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Quote Nausheen Replybullet Topic: Hijab - Freedom NOT Oppression : Opinion
    Posted: 19 July 2012 at 9:23pm
 
It’s been over two months since I decided to become a hijabi — one who wears a head scarf and adheres to modest clothing — and before you race to label me the poster girl for oppressed womanhood everywhere, let me tell you as a woman (with a master’s degree in human rights, and a graduate degree in psychology) why I see this as the most liberating experience ever.

Prior to becoming a hijabi, I did not expect myself to go down this road. Although I knew modesty was encouraged in my culture and by my faith, I never saw the need nor had the opportunity to explore the reasons behind it.

My experience working as a Faiths Act Fellow for the Tony Blair Faith Foundation and dealing with interfaith action for social action brought me more understanding and appreciation of various faiths. I found that engaging in numerous interfaith endeavours strengthened my personal understanding about my own faith. The questions and challenges I encountered increased my inquisitiveness and drive to explore and learn for myself various fundamental aspects of Islam. Thus began my journey to hijab-dom.

I am abundantly aware of the rising concerns and controversies over how a few yards of cloth covering a woman’s head is written off as a global threat to women’s education, public security, rights and even religion. I am also conscious of the media’s preferred mode of portraying all hijabi women as downtrodden and dominated by misogynist mullahs or male relatives who enforce them into sweltering pieces of oppressive clothing. But I believe my hijab liberates me. I know many who portray the hijab as the placard for either forced silence or fundamentalist regimes; but personally I found it to be neither.

For someone who passionately studied and works for human rights and women’s empowerment, I realized that working for these causes while wearing the hijab can only contribute to breaking the misconception that Muslim women lack the strength, passion and power to strive for their own rights. This realization was the final push I needed to declare to the world on my birthday this year that henceforth I am a hijabi.

In a society that embraces uncovering, how can it be oppressive if I decided to cover up? I see hijab as the freedom to regard my body as my own concern and as a way to secure personal liberty in a world that objectifies women. I refuse to see how a woman’s significance is rated according to her looks and the clothes she wears. I am also absolutely certain that the skewed perception of women’s equality as the right to bare our breasts in public only contributes to our own objectification. I look forward to a whole new day when true equality will be had with women not needing to display themselves to get attention nor needing to defend their decision to keep their bodies to themselves.

In a world besotted with the looks, body and sexuality of women, the hijab can be an assertive mode of individual feministic expression and rights. I regard my hijab to be a commanding question of “I control what you see, how is that not empowering” mixed with a munificent amount of authority emanating from the “My body is my own concern” clause. I believe my hijab gives me the right to assert my body, femininity and spirituality as my own and under my authority alone.

I know many would agree with me when I say that the hijab is basically an expression of spirituality and a personal bond with one’s creator, a tangible spiritual reminder that guides everyday life.

Yes, my hijab is a visual religious marker that makes it very easy for anyone to spot me in a crowd as a separate entity representing or adhering to a particular religion. This is all the more reason why, being a hijabi in the public arena is an escalating force that drives me to work in ways that would help break the undignified stereotypes, barriers and prejudices that my Islamic faith is relentlessly and irrationally associated with. As an extension of my personality and identity, it instigates me to challenge the misconception that Muslim women lack the bravery, intellect and resilience to challenge authority and fight for their own rights.

Every time I see my reflection in the mirror, I see a woman who has chosen to be a rights activist, who happens to be a Muslim and covers her hair incidentally. My reflection reminds me of the convictions that made me take up the hijab in first place — to work for a world where a woman isn’t judged by how she looks or what she wears, a world in which she needn’t defend the right to make decisions about her own body, in which she can be whoever she wants to be without ever having to choose between her religion and her rights.

Wanu nazzilu minal Qurani ma huwa
Shafaa un wa rahmatun lil mo'mineena
wa la yaziduzzalimeena illa khasara.
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Abu Loren
 
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Quote Abu Loren Replybullet Posted: 20 July 2012 at 3:08am
As'alaamu Alaikkum

May Allah Subhana Wa Ta'ala keep guiding you to the Straight Path Ameen.
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Matt Browne
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Quote Matt Browne Replybullet Posted: 22 July 2012 at 3:54am
Nausheen, just make sure your skin gets enough sunshine because your body needs it to create vitamin D. And in Western cultures it is wrong to wear a face veil. We can live with people who want to cover their hair.




Edited by Matt Browne - 22 July 2012 at 3:55am
A religion that's intolerant of other religions can't be the world's best religion --Abdel Samad
Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people--Eleanor Roosevelt
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nothing
 
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Quote nothing Replybullet Posted: 23 July 2012 at 2:23pm
Originally posted by Matt Browne

Nausheen, just make sure your skin gets enough sunshine because your body needs it to create vitamin D.

When a person has strong conviction of something, in their belief  lacking of vitamin is not an issue for much greater cause.

Originally posted by Matt Browne

And in Western cultures it is wrong to wear a face veil.

I am not a fan of face veil at all but I won't make it into a cultural dislike. People can change, in many cases with different approaches.
One day after Eid prayer in the car park a woman approached me saying: "Brother how are you". But I could not recognized her as she wore the veil. And she said "I am Rashid's wife, we were neighbours remember?". The name rang the bell but which Rashid?. Than she removed her face veil, and she said "Sorry, the sheikh told us to wear the veil".

You know it is your personality that represent yourself as who you are and that personality that will give you the response of others.
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Matt Browne
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Quote Matt Browne Replybullet Posted: 25 July 2012 at 8:34am
I think it's important for Muslims to know that men who force their wives to wear face veils and women who choose to wear face veils are not welcome in our countries. In our countries we like to see the smiles on other people's faces.

A religion that's intolerant of other religions can't be the world's best religion --Abdel Samad
Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people--Eleanor Roosevelt
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Abu Loren
 
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Quote Abu Loren Replybullet Posted: 25 July 2012 at 11:01am
Originally posted by Matt Browne

I think it's important for Muslims to know that men who force their wives to wear face veils and women who choose to wear face veils are not welcome in our countries. In our countries we like to see the smiles on other people's faces.

 
I can understand a comment like this from a white European, racist comments are not that rare in the West. Europe and America are now multi-cultural places and as such some members of society are denied their freedom and their freedom of expression. Yes of course the majority in these countries are white Anglo-Saxon christians but they also need to be tolerant of other cultures and religions.
 
Women were told to dress modestly in ALL three books from God yet people like to implement rules that they like and not what God wants.
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Caringheart
 
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Quote Caringheart Replybullet Posted: 25 July 2012 at 3:59pm
Originally posted by Abu Loren

Originally posted by Matt Browne

I think it's important for Muslims to know that men who force their wives to wear face veils and women who choose to wear face veils are not welcome in our countries. In our countries we like to see the smiles on other people's faces.

 
I can understand a comment like this from a white European, racist comments are not that rare in the West. Europe and America are now multi-cultural places and as such some members of society are denied their freedom and their freedom of expression. Yes of course the majority in these countries are white Anglo-Saxon christians but they also need to be tolerant of other cultures and religions.
 
Women were told to dress modestly in ALL three books from God yet people like to implement rules that they like and not what God wants.


The comment about being racist is inappropriate, as when a woman visits in an Islamic country she must cover her hair.  Is this the Muslim being racist?  Or is it abiding by the wishes of the rule in that country?

To me the definition of modesty is to dress in a way that does not seek to cause lust in a man.  Does uncovered hair cause lust in a man?  Does man have no responsibility to control his own thoughts and actions?  Without exercise the muscle becomes weak.  Is it good that men are made weak by attempting to remove all need of their own exercise of self control?  Is it good that man does not learn responsibility for himself?

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Abu Loren
 
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Quote Abu Loren Replybullet Posted: 26 July 2012 at 4:16am
Originally posted by Caringheart

Originally posted by Abu Loren

Originally posted by Matt Browne

I think it's important for Muslims to know that men who force their wives to wear face veils and women who choose to wear face veils are not welcome in our countries. In our countries we like to see the smiles on other people's faces.

 
I can understand a comment like this from a white European, racist comments are not that rare in the West. Europe and America are now multi-cultural places and as such some members of society are denied their freedom and their freedom of expression. Yes of course the majority in these countries are white Anglo-Saxon christians but they also need to be tolerant of other cultures and religions.
 
Women were told to dress modestly in ALL three books from God yet people like to implement rules that they like and not what God wants.


The comment about being racist is inappropriate, as when a woman visits in an Islamic country she must cover her hair.  Is this the Muslim being racist?  Or is it abiding by the wishes of the rule in that country?

To me the definition of modesty is to dress in a way that does not seek to cause lust in a man.  Does uncovered hair cause lust in a man?  Does man have no responsibility to control his own thoughts and actions?  Without exercise the muscle becomes weak.  Is it good that men are made weak by attempting to remove all need of their own exercise of self control?  Is it good that man does not learn responsibility for himself?

Heart
 
I've lived in the UK for nearly forty years and experienced all forms of racism from an early age so I know what I'm talking about. Europe is slowly gathering pace in the racist stakes by banning the hijab, niqab etc and it will only be a matter of time until the Muslims are treated like the Jews were by the Nazis in the 1930's.
 
People of God will always be oppressed and persecuted, this is a sign for the believers to be strong in their faith and it is a test to see who will persevere to the end.
 
As for your other point, I can understand your point. I personally prefer women who cover up. I am in the UK currently and I as soon as I landed the first thing I noticed was that the majority of the women walking around half naked. Most are proud to wear almost nothing and it is like they are proud of this fact and mentally telling men 'look at me are'nt I gorgeous?'.
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