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Algeria: On France's burqa ban

Algerian-American blogger The Moor Next Door remarks upon France's intended burqa ban, saying, “The trouble the French may want to worry about is not the burqa as it is worn in France today, but that such a ban, as the headscarf ban has done, will make the garment a greater symbol of Muslim identity and sign of cultural defiance.”

5 comments

  • Why I wear a Hijab ?
    By Raseena Sherif
    I was asked by a friend about why I wear a hijab. This is my answer.

    You asked me ages ago why I wore the hijab. It was always somewhere in my mind – not necessarily always the back – that I should reply and I finally decided I wouldn’t put off your reply any longer, and therefore you shall have it.

    Having grown up in a practising Muslim household, many things were just handed over to me. And having studied in an Islamic school all my life, consequently having an entirely Muslim circle of friends, I never questioned them. That was the way things were done in my little world, and it was therefore the way I did things too. The hijab was one of them. I grew up in it. Physically and also mentally. I think the question, or at least the one with the more interesting answer, is why I continue to wear the hijab even after having spent more than three years now, in Christian colleges, and with a friend circle that is largely non- Muslim.

    There are many things I found in the hijab as I grew up. Things as varied as the convenience of not having to spend considerable amount of worry and time on my wardrobe and outside appearance, to philosophical, spiritual, and you might be surprised to hear this, but even feminist concepts that I feel proud to stand up for and show my belief in.

    In wearing a hijab, a woman is identified by the things she does and the things she stands for, rather than her looks. Even as a woman, there are times when I have found myself identifying another woman by her looks, where I might ask “Oh, the one with the long hair?” In underplaying my looks, I force others to look for more in me.

    My hijab saves me a lot of the time, effort, thought and worry that would otherwise go into my dress, my hair, my skin and my make up. I think it’s a pity that while theoretically looks aren’t supposed to matter, one must spend so much time and money on them. With the hijab, looking good means looking neat and the best part is that I get to stop where others begin.

    Comments on: France ponders a burqa ban | No cover up | The Economist on Wednesday, 01-07-2009 at 09:35am

    Looking back now, at how I began to wear the hijab, I’m glad I did start the way I did. In spite of the fact that I prefer to find things out for myself, and hate taking things for granted, or doing things without really believing them. Because having started the way I did, to me, the hijab was always just another type of clothing.

    I think about the kind of stereotypes people have about hijabs, and women who wear them, and I know that if I were left to discover the hijab for myself, it would have been tough for me to go beyond those stereotypes, to go back on all that I grew up hearing, seeing and believing, and to allow myself to actually see the hijab for what it is and its beauty. Having grown up wearing it, in a society that didn’t jump to conclusions about me because I did, or look at me like I was weird, I have always felt comfortable in it, and never thought of myself as any different from the rest. It was just my way of dressing. And with the stage for objective evaluation of that type of dressing set, I have come to love that way of dressing above others.

    On the other hand, I know there are those that hate the hijab they wear. I feel bad for them – for the fact that they are forced to do something they don’t even understand, and the fact that they haven’t understood something so beautiful. However, I think the saddest part is that they are losing out on both the happiness they might have found in dressing the way they would have liked to, and the happiness they could have found in pleasing their Creator. It’s always our intentions that are considered and if you’re doing something only because you’re forced to, it doesn’t count. You might as well enjoy yourself living life the way you want to. And then if you are fortunate enough to find God for yourself, I think you are really lucky.

    In fact, I feel bad for all those Islamic ideologies that are reduced to meaningless customs and traditions, and the joke that they have been allowed to become in the minds of people. Anyway, I won’t start on that or I shall go on for a couple more pages. I just want to ask you to make a distinction between actual Islamic ideology and the actions that one sees from some people born into Muslim households – especially the kind I heard you grew up with.

    In the hijab, honestly, I feel blessed.

  • J. Kactuz

    If a person (a woman, usually) wants to wear a hijab, or burka, or a wool blanket over her head, she should be able to. The French ban is wrong and counter-productive. I am for freedom. We need truth, not stupid laws.

    In fact, a burka or hajib tells me what a woman stands for. To me, they are a sign that the woman accepts the ideology of Islam (the case above) , or that she is forced to wear those clothes (many others) and is powerless to do anything about it. It also tells me that she agrees with the terrible things said about non-Muslims in the Quran. It tells me that a woman accepts and of approves of the horrible actions of her dear prophet as recorded in the ahadith. It tells me that she doesn’t actually understand the things that are written in her own sacred writings. It tells me that she will make excuses and blame everything on others, or pretend that Muslims are not really follwing Islam or that Islamic customs have nothing to do with Islam.

    The lady “feels sorry” for those forced to cover up. That’s it? sorry? No speaking up? I guess she is “sorry” about fgm, forced marriage and honor killings. Or maybe they aren’t really Islamic, just a misunderstanding relating to customs.

    See, when you defend the burka or veil on Islamic terms, you are defending all those evils that come with the territory. Just to say they are not the “real Islam” is intellectually dishonest and morally repugnant. By your own adnmission, you are contributing to the dispair and misery of those that are forced to wear what you think is wonderful.

    Personally, I wonder why a woman would want to please some creator that says he will pour boiling water of the heads of non-Muslims (that is in the Quran, in case you didn’t know). Maybe I am picky.

    Kactuz

    It tells me that she doesr

  • Mohamed

    “Hijab” is the term used by many Muslims women to describe their head cover that may or may not include covering their face except their eyes, and sometimes covering also one eye. The Arabic word “Hijab” can be translated into veil or yashmak. Other meanings for the word “Hijab” include, screen, cover(ing), mantle, curtain, drapes, partition, division, divider.

    Can we find the word “Hijab” in the Quran??

    The word “Hijab” appeared in the Quran 7 times, five of them as “Hijab” and two times as “Hijaban,” these are 7:46, 33:53, 38:32, 41:5, 42:51, 17:45 & 19:17.

    None of these “Hijab” words are used in the Quran in reference to what the traditional Muslims call today (Hijab) as a dress code for the Muslim woman.

    Peace

  • The enemies of Islam have many reasons to defame it by attacking its value systems, beliefs, followers, etiquette of life and countries of its believers. The disbelievers of Islam don’t realize that Muslim believe in One omnipotent , omnipresent and Omniscient God(ALLAH), who is more logical than believing in men as Gods or animals as Gods, or worshiping IDOLS, or human sacrifice, or DEVADASI system or DOWRY system or RACIAL superiority or Slavery or female infanticide, THE DISBELIEVERS IN ISLAM MUST KNOW THAT ALLAH IS ALMIGHTY AND MASTER OF THE DAY OF JUDGMENT AND RECKONING AND HE WILL TAKE CARE OF THEM WELL, TILL THEM HE HAS LET THEM TO WANDER BLINDLY AS THEY GO ASTRAY

  • Zahra

    With regards to the French ban on the burqa and niqab, Abdel Muti al-Bayyumi, a member of the Al-Azhar mosque council, said there is nothing in Islamic law or the Quran that calls for a full-face veil.
    The full-face veil is based on the idea that women have an obligation not to “tempt” men in any way, thus requiring them to cover their bodies and faces completely. And that is clearly a misogynist idea, imposing such a requirement on women rather than expecting men to behave reasonably in the sight of a woman’s mostly covered body.
    As ex-Muslim I have seen how some sections of the Quaran should not be taken literally. Child marriages of girls, honor killings, and lower status of women is morally injustified in our world where human rights is key. The ban imposed by the French is in line with their sovereign rule, and I think it is a step forward in the right direction.

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