Saturday, February 2, 2013

World Hijab Day founder asks The Sisterhood to support gender discrimination

Addenda - 3 Feb 2013
Meanwhile in now liberated Mali - "Inside, the floor is littered with documents, including a ring-binder with details of women flogged for not wearing the veil. Family members were made to put a thumbprint to show they acknowledged the punishment and would supervise the accused in future." The Guardian 

"I figured the only way to end discrimination if we ask our fellow sisters to experience hijab themselves”
World Hijab day founderNazma KhanIn fact what Khan is asking is for all women to participate in an event that promotes arguments that legitimise the sexual discrimination of women by Islam. It is a call to demonstrate for "tolerance" unlike any other and it smacks of stark contradiction. What is discrimination if we support that woman should be separated and concealed due to their gender? What is tolerance if we must mimic and embrace such conduct in order to show tolerance of what is arguably intolerance of and by gender? The World Hijab Day website claims "Better Awareness. Greater Understanding. Peaceful world." It is "fun and challenging" to ask someone who doesn't wear a hijab to jump on board for the good of tolerance and world peace. I do not think world peace rides on one aspect of the Muslim dress code for women but the world would be a better place if religions like Islam were better aware of and understood the meaning of women's equality and human rights generally.There is no "World Nun's Habit Day" or "World Tibetan Monk Attire Day" or "World long-sleeves Orthodox Jew Day" no "Men Wear a Burqua for the Day"…day! Any similar calls from other religious groups and or the unlikely call for men to wear "veiled" garments would be just as inappropriate as our subject. World Hijab Day (as with any of these other suggestions) flies in the face of reason and the facts. Why? Because these garments have a very specific meaning and symbolism. It is "just about modesty" as a wearer assures. And, so what of women who do not wear it? Are they therefore immodest and how far do we go to establish this desirable status of modesty? A Christian Nun takes a vow of celibacy, is effectively married to God, and wears a Habit to establish this fact before the world. She becomes a handmaiden to God and renounces sex. In contrast a Muslim woman's veil represents her status sexually and that she is sexual property unavailable to anyone other than the man to whom she is married or intended to marry. The practical and symbolic purpose of the veil is to conceal and send a message. Islam demands that female followers conceal themselves in public and in some countries this must be performed completely as with the Burqua. A woman may as well wear a placard warning that she is a woman and is the sexual property of a man. The veil ensures her status as sexual property is advertised. A participant of World Hijab Day Jess Rhodes (she is non-Muslim) explains in her view the Hijab is a "choice" and that she will "wear it from time to time…I'm saying to the world, my beauty is for my family and my partner. Any woman can wear this."Rhodes should understand this is not fun and games dress ups to be followed at a whim or by choice. A practicing Muslim women cannot view the Burqua as something to throw on or decline to wear when and where she may decide. Her particular Islamic upbringing and community decide whether she wears the Hijab or Burqua. Rhodes gets one aspect correct in her statement, the attire is to conceal her "beauty", as she puts it. From whom does she mean though and why would she need to do so? 

Islam too accepts the "veil", the "hijab", the "burqua", are to conceal a womans "beauty". This beauty is to be concealed not from other women nor other people generally, the concealment is of her sexuality specifically from the observation of men. There is the by-product character endorsement of the woman for wearing the correct veil through her community's approval. She is good because she demonstrates she is "modest". The opinion of one's community of an individual is important to some and it determines one's good standing within it. So by complying with the requirement for public concealment, due to her sex, by upholding her religious community's standards she will enhance her status by conforming to what is the standard for a female in Islam. How this translates into a form of choice and act of free will for Muslim women is obscure. 

Muslim women in 2010 protesting against calls to ban the Burqua with a slightly skewed additional message - The placard on the left reads "You Burn 'Quran'…You Burn in Hell! United in Islam we Stand!!!" - Very colourful and on message. (my caption)
Pictures: Amos Aikman 
Source: The Australian
The World Hijab Day organiser Nazma Khan asks that we normalise the wearing of the hijab, its intended purpose, and its symbolism. Whatever our faith or lack of faith she asks all women to wear it in protest against intolerance. She fails to see her own contradiction. It is intolerance that requires any woman must wear additional concealing garments because she is female and must keep her "beauty" hidden for the eyes of her male partner and family alone. What ever the style of "veiling" of a women, from the hijab to the burqua, it means that women are the sexual property of a man and not to wear it demonstrates "immodesty". With this logic it is no leap of faith to conclude Islam prefers all women comply with its codes of dress and conduct for women. 

If Helen Szoke, the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner had her way we would not speak of such things at all. Because raising the issue "threatened the safety of Muslim women". Well that's that then, we mustn't discuss it, acknowledge it, critique it or we are risking the lives of Muslim women. She does allow that everyone is entitled their "opinion"…I think she means ideas…but that they just must not voice it. Szoke determines opposition to veiling of women to be opinion. It is a fact that women are required in Islamic communities to wear a form of "veil" that they have little choice in the matter and not to do so separates them from the community and labels them immodest. It is not my opinion that this is the opposite of tolerance and freedom of choice. As a commissioner of equal opportunity and human rights Szoke makes a good apologist of discrimination against women.
Islam does not view women as equal, individual, and with the freedom to go about their lives independently. Even at a protest rally demanding respect and tolerance for the way Islam handles matters regarding women and how they should dress in public this is demonstrated. 

Muslim men enthusiastically support / supervise Muslim women protesting against calls to ban the Burqua in 2010 - (my caption) 
Pictures: Amos Aikman Source: The Australian

Source of protest images -

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About Leeanneart

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Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
We are first and foremost human with a responsibility to the humanity within us and not to any faith, political, apolitical, social or societal group, union or faction. We are responsible for our own reputation, and for what deeds we do and what achievements or otherwise in life we enjoy. The rest is nonsense.