Bahrain: Scantily Clad Women Strike the Wrong Chord

Seeing pictures of what he describes as “scantily clad women” in local newspapers, doesn't strike a chord with Bahraini blogger Jaffar who takes the opportunity to rant about other practises he frowns upon in the media and real life in this post I am translating from Arabic today.

It all starts with the pictures of women not wearing the Hijab, featured in daily newspapers, which covered this year's Education Day celebrations in Bahrain, where the country's top graduates are honoured. Jaffar complains:

من خلال تصفحي لجرائدنا المحلية الأسبوع الفائت.. كنت أشاهد صور كثيرة لفعاليات عيد العلم وأخذت أقلب الصور وأفكر فيها.. صور نساء بعضهم بدون حجاب وبعضهم بلبس فاحش لا يتقبله إسلامنا.. هل نطلق على هؤلاء مسلمون وهل هذا بلد الإسلام.. أصبحت هذه الصور تعرض في صحفنا وفي شاشات التلفاز ونشاهد هذه المشاهد حية أيضا عند زيارة الاماكن العامة كالمجمعات والمنتزهات.. فكيف وصلنا إلى هذا الحد وما الفرق بيننا وبين الدول الغير مسلمة..

While going through newspapers last week, I saw a lot of pictures for the Education Day celebrations. As I was turning the pages, I started to think…pictures of women without the Hijab (Islamic headscarf) and some were in indecent attires, which are not acceptable in Islam. Do we call those people Muslims and do we claim we are in a Muslim country? Those pictures are now being shown in newspapers and on television and we even see those people live in public places like malls and parks. How did we reach this level and what is the difference between us and non-Islamic countries?

From the scantily clad graduates, who included the country's top graduates as well as those who obtained their Masters and Phd degrees, Jaffar turns his attention to television advertisements. He writes:

الصورة ذاتها عند مشاهدة الإعلانات التجارية في التلفاز حين يكون الإعلان عبارة عن منتج كسائل غسل الشعر والجسم او ألة إزالة الشعر لتظهر لنا بطلة الإعلان وهي في الحمام مثلا تظهر شعرها ومناطق من جسدها كالرقبة والظهر والأرجل.. وكأنة شيء لم يكن ونحن نشاهد ونضحك..

The same image repeats itself in commercial advertisements on television. When the advertisement is for a product like a shampoo, body wash or hair remover, we see a girl in the bathroom showing her hair and parts of her body like her neck, back and legs. And we laugh about that as if it was nothing.

He then shares a conversation he had with a colleague at work and says:

أمس كان أحد الزملاء في العمل يستنكر وجود صورة لعارضة أزياء غربية في صحيفة بحرينية.. فذكرت له إن الملام في عرض هذه الصورة هي الصحيفة فقط.. أما عرض صور مشابهة في محافل بحرينية تظهر فيها نسائنا بصور غير مشرفة للإسلام وهنا الملام هو المجتمع بأسره..

One of my colleagues at work yesterday condemned the presence of a photograph of a foreign model in a Bahraini newspaper. I told him that the newspaper was to blame for having her picture there. However, showing similiar pictures in Bahraini society, where women are featured in situations which are unhonourable for Islam is the fault of society as a whole.

In a comment on the post, Jr7 baky writes:

اعتدنا على هذه الصور وأصبح ذلك عاديا في مجتمعنا الاسلامي!!!
اعتقد تلك النساء الغير متحجبات او ذواتي اللباس الفاحش الغير محتشم ناتج عن ضعف ايمانهم وقله ثقافتهم وعدم رقي تفكيرهم وانحطاط مسؤليتهم..والسبب الاول هو البيئة والمجتمع والمحيط التي تعيش فيه..وهم الاهل
ربما تلك المرأه نشأت في بيئة أو اسره غير مكترثه للحجاب..فالاسلام لا يجبرها بالحجاب ..لابد ان تشعر بالاقتناع والرضى من الداخل على لبسه..لان عمر الشى ما يجي بالغصب..
الصور التي في الاعلانات التجارية واسمها تجارية ماهي الا لكسب المال ولذلك نشاهد كثير من النساء ذواتي الاجسام الرخيصة يعرضونها ليتمنظر بها الشباب ..شفتوا شلون يبيعون اجسامهم بجم ربيه..

We have become used to seeing those images and they have become the norm in our Muslim society!!! I believe that women who don't wear the hijab and those who wear indecent clothing have weak beliefs, are not cultured and civilised in their thinking and are irresponsible. The main cause for this is their environment, society and the surroundings we live in.. and that is their families. Perhaps that woman was raised in a home which did not pay a lot of attention to the hijab. Islam doesn't enforce the hijab (on women) .. she should be convinced and satisfied internally to wear it. Nothing is by force. The pictures we see in commercial advertisements are just that – commercial. They are only to make money. This is why we see women with cheap bodies who are ready to put themselves on display for youth. Do you see how they sell their bodies for a few coins?


  • Interesting story. It would be nice to see the pictures he mentions. I know I am horribly offended when Islamic law calls for a rape victim to be stoned for shaming her family. But he’s right we should worry more about a missing scarf.

  • Although it isn’t my policy to comment on posts I have translated – in order to be objective, I – as a Bahraini woman – was shocked to read Jaffar’s take. The young women he was referring to were at an official function. They are all professionals, who have scored top grades, and are being honoured for completing their higher studies. I don’t see how any of them would be dressed ‘indecently’ for such an event. Having said this, everyone is entitled to his/her own opinion I suppose.

    As for Charlie A. Roy’s comment on Islamic law calling for the stoning of rape victims, as a Muslim, I can tell you that isn’t Islamic law. Common sense tells you why should a victim be further victimised?

  • abdullah

    People think anything about Islam and write nonsense. Can you imagine your kids going to school examination without proper studies of the subject and writing anything nonsense and yet expect that the result will be positive and good for such a student? Which teacher and the school in the world will pass to higher classes such students?
    I want to tell you now how much careless people are when they talk about adjusting Islam to match their beliefs. But actually it’s the other way round. They must adjust their thoughts and beliefs to that of Islam.
    Further we can say that Islam is the only safest way and there is no other to help anyone. Americans or Europeans can not intervene for your cause with Almighty God. Then where will you go? Study Islam first and then talk if you have five cents of sense.

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