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Hijab – Illusion of choice

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We have to understand that Hijab is not a choice but a forced injunction on women. We can equate it to abortion ban and restrictions on contraceptives that Christian women face in western and catholic countries. We see women and girls getting flogged, jailed and beaten brutally in Islamic countries for refusing to adhere to shariah dress code. Just like women in many Christian countries are jailed and ostracized for having abortions even if the child has been conceived by rape, Muslim women have no choice over hijab. We equate hijab with some sort of head-wrap, but it can also literally mean ‘veil’, equitable to a curtain, which Prophet Mohammad subsequently started using after his guests were over staying their visit in order to talk to his wives.

Hijab, Niqab and Burqa are entirely different. What is being projected by these subjugator of women in India are not hijab but full blown Niqab. Sisters in Islam of Malaysia have fought a long battle against head coverings. According to them hair was never considered awrah and it has never been mentioned in hadith or Quran. Ahmad Ghabel, a Shia Muslim cleric, who had the prominent title of Hojjat el-Islam (authority on Islam), offered ten arguments in support of the viewpoint that covering the head was not obligatory but recommended. According to him there was no consensus amongst jurists as to whether hair constituted the awrah.

The awrah/satar for men and woman is between naval and knees. Awrah(aurat) means the body part that should be covered under Islamic rules and hair is not aurat. Do muslim men follow this rule of awrah, do they not wear shorts or swimming trunks, showing both naval and thighs? School going girls should have the same right to deny hijab and moreover, a safe place to not wear it.

Wearing burqa can increase the violent Islamic voice. Many nations have banned hijab and burqa including Islamic nations who fear that they promote extremism. Egypt in past has terminated jobs of news anchors who have appeared on television wearing hijab. The world is going in direction led by American militant Islamic political figures like Sarsour, Omar and others.

In Switzerland Vs Dahlab, the European Court of Human Rights observed that wearing the Islamic headscarf could not be viewed as a message of tolerance, respect for others and above all, equality and non discrimination on the ground of gender, that constitute the core values of a democratic society. In Turkey Vs Sahin, the Court ruled that gender equality is one of the key principles underlying the European Convention and a goal of the member States of the European council. In the name of gender equality, the court then proceeded to legitimize the dismissal of a teacher from a Swiss school and the expulsion of a medical school student from the Istanbul University, for wearing hijab.

Not wearing hijab has many repercussions for Muslim women not only in India but worldwide. Aqsa, a teen in U.K was in almost constant disagreement with her father and her brother. She didn’t want to wear hijab instead she wanted to dress in western clothes and have the same freedoms as the other girls in her high school. On Dec. 10, 2007, her own brother killed Aqsa.

Iran’s Judiciary sentenced a prominent human rights lawyer Reza Khandan to five years imprisonment for her first case and 33 years imprisonment with 148 lashes for the second case against the Islamic Republic’s mandatory headscarves for women.

One of the most tragic incident happened in Mecca, Saudi Arabia in early 2000’s in which 15 young girls died and more than 50 were injured. According to reports, members of the CPVPV(Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice), also known as Mutaween, did  not allow the girls to escape or to be saved from the fire because they were “not properly covered”, and the mutaween did not want physical contact to take place between the girls and the civil defense forces for fear of sexual enticement. Whenever the girls got out through the main gate, these people forced them to return via another.

Turkey, a secular Muslim country, had banned headscarves in schools, universities and public offices, which was later overturned by religious zealot Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in last decade. Shah of Iran banned Hijab and chadar in 1936. Then shah regime was toppled in 1978 and fanatical Islam rule started which appropriated Hijab. Women in Iran have protested against Hijab since the revolution. Several of them over the past 42 years have been jailed, tortured, mauled and killed by the regime and their own family members.

No one should fear being labeled as a Islamophobe by fanatics. It is a logical position based on easily observable evidence. Just like being afraid of anything else extremely dangerous and harmful, like akin to being a gamma raditionphobe.

Majority of women who wear the burqa or hijab are coerced by their family, friends, culture and religion and in emancipating those oppressed women if a tiny group of women lose the right to cover their faces and view the world through a tiny slit, then it’s a fair trade. It makes illegal at least one common practice that Muslim men employ in oppressing women.

Famous Egyptian women thinker, Nawal Al Saadawi said, A nude woman and a woman in hijab are two sides of the same coin, they both are sexualized.

A large part of hijab false agitation is also a test field for larger burqa acceptance. In West Bengal a large number of female recruits filled police employment form attaching their photos in niqab and hijab. When the form were rejected, they reached the state High court and filed a case to let it be accepted. For how long will these brain washers subjugate woman for their pleasure?

The argument about burqa/hijab/niqab being a choice is simply disgusting. Does anybody honestly think Muslim women suddenly decided one day that “yes, going through life with covered faces is empowering”? Would “Sati” be declared empowering now because it’s a decision made by woman? Do Islamists not understand the symbolism of covering the face, the focal point of all human communication. The few who claim to wear hijab/burqa/niqab by choice are struck by Stockholm syndrome. As with all forms of abuse, the victims are taught that suffering is their fault. Due to this, they start to feel shame, as if it was their responsibility to hide the abuse. What if the women began to say it wasn’t a choice? The answer is simple, they would be punished.

To escape from sufferings there is only one right answer– hijab is a choice and they “choose” it and are of course “happy”. Few people are turned on by abuse and it does not mean that society should accept abuse because some victims might be so indoctrinated or scared that they claim they wanted it. If a girl faces consequences for not wearing it, it’s not a choice. One can choose not to wear it without consequences, but the guilt the community and parents enforces may be so great that one may simply ‘choose’ to wear it anyway. An example of such illusion of choice is forced veil on non-Muslim women in Islamic countries, if not followed their choice can lead them to jail and deportation.

During 1960s in Indonesia and Malaysia even wives of the Ulemas didn’t wear hijab & now almost majority of muslim girls wear it. In Egypt during 60s president Gamal Abdel Nasser laughed at hijab, now egypt is full of hijabis. It has increased rapidly in Bangladesh and Pakistan (after they banned saree). In Turkey the number of Hijab wearing women is on rise under Erodgan’s rule. These are also the countries which are also facing many Socio-economic and religious fanaticism problems.

Hijab not being allowed in school is merely a dress code for young women, which a law abiding citizen must adhere to. We know that American women cannot wear sleeveless dress in American congress. This is their dress code. The Belgian constitutional court ruled that ban on headscarves of other symbols doesn’t violate constitution or European Convention on Human Rights. So, if some colleges apply for a Hijab ban, then it will be valid. The European court of Justice in 2017 have already ruled that Hijab can be banned in Work place.

What if someone doesn’t want to explain to their child that some adults believe there’s a magical being that will punish them for not dressing right? The real choice is, not killing ex-muslims, which is legal in 12 Islamic countries. Somewhere in Quran it is written that woman should not go out alone, is it the next thing the Islamic fundamentalist and their partner in crime the Indian liberals will ask for?

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