Kashif Hafeez Siddiqui

Archive for the ‘Hijab’ Category

حیاء کا کلچر کو عام کرنا

In Clsh of Civilizations, Hijab, Islam - A Study, Karachi Karachi, Pakistan's Ideology, Urdu Columns on November 14, 2011 at 5:57 am


In Advertisement, Clsh of Civilizations, Hijab, Pakistan's Ideology on October 14, 2011 at 6:44 am

French Government ban on hijab – offensive to women!

In Hijab, Islam - A Study on April 13, 2011 at 8:36 am

By Julie Joy Clarke

I find it offensive that the French Government has placed a ban on Muslim women wearing a hijab. In a country of about 5 million Muslims, only about 2000 women wear the full veil and the powers that be, have decided that they know best and these women must be saved. Or could it be that  the government  wants to save the French people from this most terrible of atrocities, a female body that cannot be seen .
There are a number of assumptions in the government’s decision to act.  They  infer that women who wear the hijab are being oppressed not only by their husband, but also Islam. Heaven forbid that these women are cognizant beings able to make decisions for themselves. If  the hijab is a symbol of male power and oppression, the question arises why should Muslim women be punished for their compliance?  The argument then follows, if these women are not being oppressed and choose to wear the hijab or burka then they must be rebels flaunting western culture and  as such, should be punished. It seems either way that men in power have decided that these women must be punished  for acquiescence to Islam or their lack of obedience to male power structures in western societies. Never mind  Islam, how dare you defy our will!
Non-Mulsim women throughout the world have the freedom to choose their own style of clothing, which tends more and more to reveal rather than cover their bodily parts – note the recent trend of women wearing short shorts, which occasionally creates an almost pornographic revealing of the pubis and buttocks of the wearer and the tops that get lower and lower, revealing more and more of female breasts.
But we live in a capitalists society where the body and bodily parts are highly marketable and women are encouraged to show their wares. The Muslim woman who covers her body transgresses male desire to see and female (but not all female) desire that others desire to look at them; male desire considered primary!
I’m beginning to think that countries that ban the hijab do so not because they actually think the item of clothing is divisive in a religious sense because there’s already a division between Islam and Christianity, but because the hijab has become like a red rag to a bull that flags the notion, we dare to be different in a different way than you have condoned!
And where do western, educated women in gender neutral jobs figure in all of this? Used to competing in obvious and non-obvious ways with their body (after all, isn’t that what people see first – groomed, beautiful and as perfect as they can be with up to the minute fashions) they know that they are no challenge to those  not selling. How can they be better, thinner, more beautiful than the woman who keeps it all under wraps?
The ground lines may have shifted, but from what I can ascertain, men are still holding the chalk.
Intro of Author : Dr Julie Clarke has an MA in Art History and a PhD in Cinema from the University of Melbourne. She is a sometimes painter, poet and photographer who has worked in community development and the media. She has been an arts worker for the Melbourne Fringe Festival, private organizations and individuals, and has worked extensively for the University sector. She is currently an Honorary Fellow and casual tutor with the University of Melbourne. She has published extensively on the posthuman, and in particular on the work of Stelarc. Her artwork has been exhibited in numerous group exhibitions locally and overseas.

A Nasheed – Dedicated to Sisters of France

In Clsh of Civilizations, Hijab, Islam - A Study, Nasheed on April 13, 2011 at 7:06 am

September 4 – World Hijab Day

In Hijab on September 3, 2010 at 9:28 pm

The Assembly for the Protection of Hijab has declared the 4th of September as a worldwide International Hijab Solidarity Day. Muslim women continue to suffer in countries such as France, Germany, Tunisia and Britain , to name but a few, where the Hijab has been banned thus ostracizing those who wear it from the very societies in which they live.

Following the remarkable success of the 17th January 04 “International day to support the Hijab” in which event took place in more than 35 countries around the world, the 4th of September will be another show of solidarity for religious freedom supporters.

The 4th of September also marks the return to school of girls in France, where the ban in academic institutions will commence. Such a ban will serve to create outcasts of every Hijab wearing Muslim girl causing untold psychological damage. The show of solidarity on 4th September is expected to provide these girls with the support and strength in order to fight for their rights.

The issue of the Hijab ban is a live one and with the continual escalation of the ban, Protect-Hijab thinks it is imperative to keep it at the forefront. Organisations, individuals and all those supporting the right of Muslim Woman to wear the Hijab will use September 4th to show solidarity with all Muslim women who are being denied education, freedom of expression and basic human rights and civil liberties.

While in France, young girls are being stopped from entering school premises wearing the Hijab; in Turkey Muslim women are being denied medical treatment and excluded from parliament for wearing the Hijab; and in Tunisia Muslim women are taken to prison and tortured if they wear Hijab. These are some examples of the persecution suffered by women simply because they follow a religious teaching as an expression of their faith.

Protect-Hijab calls people of all faiths and no faith to show solidarity on the 4th September events everywhere in the world. The Protect-Hijab campaigns will continue as long as there are bans against the Hijab in place.

Disneyland Worker Sent home due to Hijab

In Hijab on September 2, 2010 at 3:18 am

A Muslim employee in Disneyland’s Grand Californian Hotel has been sent home from work with no pay for refusing to take off her hijab while working as a hostess in a hotel restaurant.

Imane Boudlal, 26, a student, filed a complaint against Disney yesterday with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission – the federal agency that enforces anti-discrimination laws in the workplace.

Leigh Shelton, a spokesperson for Unite Here, Local 11, which represents workers at Disneyland, said the union is supporting her fight.

On Aug. 15,  just days after the Islamic holy month of Ramadan began, Boudlal wore her hijab to work greeting customers at the Storyteller’s Restaurant in Disneyland.

Disney told her that if she wanted to work as a hostess she had to remove her hijab because it did not comply with the “Disney Look.” Disney further told Boudlal that if she refused to remove her hijab, she had a choice between working a “back-of-the-house-position” where customers would not see her or going home.

Since that day Boudlal made two additional attempts to work her hostess position, each time wearing her hijab. On each of those occasions Disney blocked her from working.

Boudlal said she decided to challenge the discriminatory treatment because “I understand my rights.”

She said she learned about those rights while she was studying to take an exam for American citizenship, which she passed before she became a U.S. citizen in June. She said she learned, among many other things, about first amendment right to religious freedom.

“I realized the Constitution tells me I can be Muslim, and I can wear the head scarf,” Boudlal said. “Who is Disney to tell me I cannot?”

Boudlal did not jump into the idea of filing a complaint lightly. At first she tried to work with Disney by requesting a “religious accommodation,” something the company said it would consider. She said she waited for two months while Disney said it was considering her needs.

“Finally, I said ‘enough,’” Boudlal said. “They cannot continue to violate my rights, and just string me along. Disney is not above the law.”

Boudlal explained why she had refused Disney’s offer to allow her to take a “back-of-the-house” position – out of sight of the customers.

“Their offer to put me in the back is humiliating,” Boudlal said. “They’re saying because I’m Arab, because I’m Moroccan, because I’m Muslim, they don’t want to see me in the front.”

On Wednesday the Council on American-Islamic Relations sent a letter to Disney demanding that the company accommodate Boudlal’s request to wear her headscarf, and to amend its “look” policy to more reasonably accommodate those women who make such requests on religious grounds.

“There is no justification for Disney’s refusal to allow Ms. Boudlal to wear her headscarf at work,” said Ameena Mirza Qazi, staff attorney for the council. “To say that her headscarf would somehow impact guests is not only insulting to her, but is deeply offensive to the thousands of Muslims who open up their pocket-books at Disney parks and resorts every year.”

Source : http://www.peoplesworld.org/disneyland-worker-sent-home-for-hijab/

Quebec’s Niqab Ban: What will be next?

In Hijab on April 28, 2010 at 3:47 am

Source : http://www.pakistanintellectuals.com

The incidents that began with the expulsion of a Muslim sister from a French language course have now escalated to the Quebec government barring Muslims wearing the niqab from obtaining provincial services. The ban is politically opportunistic, pressures Muslims to abandon some of the Ahkam of Islam, and paints the Muslims as foreigners. In terms of voicing our opposition to this ban, we must do so intellectually and on the basis of Islam even when calling on the wider Canadian society to stop this ban.

Last month, the Quebec government tabled Bill-94. According to the Canadian Press, the bill says that “people obtaining – or delivering – services at places like the health- or auto-insurance boards will need to do so with their faces in plain view”. The bill has been widely reported as the “niqab ban”. In a press conference regarding the bill, Jean Charest, the premier of the Province of Quebec, stated: “Two words: Uncovered face”. He also defended the bill on the “principle of equality between men and women, and the religious neutrality of the state”. The Canadian Press also reported that Salam Elmenyawi of the MCM questioned the need to legislate against such a small minority of the population.
“It is a knee-jerk reaction to the opposition and vote-grabbing more than anything else”.
Niqab Ban: Political Opportunism

This move by the Quebec government imitates that of France. In January of this year, France banned the wearing of the burka while receiving assistance from any public services such as hospitals, schools and public transportation. Charest’s motives are being questioned and are being seen as political opportunism as only 10 people out of 118,000 visitors to the health board’s Montreal office in 2008-09 wore the niqab. As noted in the Canadian press this is only 0.00009% of all cases!
Given the current economic crisis that is gripping the world, including the province of Quebec – whose gross debt is 50% of its GDP; the highest ratio of all the provinces – why is the government focused on a bill that targets hardly anyone?
With respect to political opportunism, the Globe and Mail reported that the ban granted Charest “his first round of positive press in a very long time” – referring to the political backlash he has received over “his handling of the ongoing debate in Quebec over the limits of reasonable accommodation”. Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Michael Ignatieff, leader of the federal Liberal party, both have noted their support for the ban.
This race to the bottom is endemic in democratic countries. In Europe, politicians shifted to the right, in an effort to appease the racist shift in societal attitudes. In Denmark, during the 2002 elections, the right-wing Dansk Folkeparti (Danish People’s Party) was distributing leaflets that had pictures of a young blonde girl with the byline: “By the time she retires there will be a Muslim majority in Denmark”. Such a leaflet was designed to provoke fear about the Muslims – who only make up 2% of the population. As it turns out, the Danish political party, that was in power at the time of the printing of the cartoons insulting the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم, was dependent on Dansk Folkeparti for political survival. So is it any surprise that the Danish Prime Minister at the time (Anders Fogh Rasmussen) supported the printing of the insulting cartoons as a “necessary provocation”? This is the sad reality of democratic politics.
Fitnah: The Pressure to Abandon Islam

The other aspect of the niqab ban is to make Muslims compromise in their Deen. Commentators on the matter have taken issue with the Muslim sister because she refused to compromise. As Allah سبحانه وتعالى revealed:
وَدُّوا لَوْ تُدْهِنُ فَيُدْهِنُونَ
“They wish that you should compromise (in religion out of courtesy) with them, so they (too) would compromise with you.” [Al-Qalam, 68:9]

Again, Quebec is not alone in this tactic of making Muslims compromise in their Deen. In France, the hijab is banned. In Ireland Muslim male applicants for post-nuptial citizenship have to sign a sworn affidavit that they will not take a second wife in the future. In Holland, predominantly Muslim immigrants must watch a video with scenes of nudity and homosexuality before they are granted citizenship.
Demonizing Muslims: Part of the War on Islam

Since 2001, the G8 Nations have increased their military presence in the Muslim world. Canada is assisting the American forces to occupy Afghanistan. The bans in Quebec, France, Holland, Belgium are a way of giving the impression that the customs of Muslims are so “backward” and that these nations have a “civilizational” duty to bring “enlightenment” to us.
The problem for the Canadian Capitalist elite is about how to sell this war to the Canadian public – who pride themselves on their tradition as peace keepers. Canadian diplomat, Robert Fowler, noted this issue when he stated: “We are simply not prepared to foot the massive price in blood and treasure which it would take to effectively colonize Afghanistan … and replace their culture with ours, for that seems to be what we seek.”

What will be Banned Next?

The danger of the niqab ban is the precedence that it will set. As it has happened in Europe, the opportunistic politicians attack and create laws that limit one aspect of Islam, which leads them to become emboldened and even more aggressive in their attack on Islam and Muslims. For example, in Belgium politicians first banned hijabs in schools. Now the Belgian government is on its way to ban the burqa outright -meaning no Muslimah can wear the burqa anywhere in the country. Similarly, the French government first banned the hijab in government buildings and now they are trying to ban the burqa as well.
Consequently, Muslims must recognize that this bill is not simply about the face covering. It is an attack on Islam, which will set the stage for further restrictions on Muslim men and women. What will be next? Will the hijab and jilbab be banned? Will Muslims be told to shave their beards? Will we be prevented from praying in public places? If the opportunistic politicians succeed in banning the niqab under such pretenses, then they can justify similar legislation against the Islamic dress, the beard, and the salat.
As a result, all Muslim men and women should be concerned about this issue and intellectually express their disagreement with the bill.
Canadian Society: Moving towards Intolerance?

Although the niqab ban may bring political gains to the Liberal party in Quebec, it will do so at a great cost to the overall society in Quebec, and Canada. The Canadians pride themselves on having an open society, but with the passage of the bill we can expect greater tensions within society. As reported in the CBC, Fo Niemi, director of the Centre for Research Action on Race Relations, points out that the ban on the niqab not only has implications on Muslims, but also sets a precedent for all minorities. He noted “Today it is the niqab, tomorrow it could be the hijab the day after that it could be the Sikh turban … and then afterwards … how far we go? Will we even go to the point that we withdraw funding from the Jewish hospital or require that the Jewish hospital remove its Jewishness because the state shall not fund or support religious expression?”

How to raise this issue with the wider society?

As Muslims, we cannot be silent about this issue. Also, it is an issue that impacts the fabric of Canadian society: it is something that the wider Canadian society should be concerned about. So, how should we discuss the issue?
Most importantly, we must discuss this matter on the basis of Islam alone. It is wrong to discuss on the basis of freedom and human rights, as these ideas do not emanate from the Islamic Aqeedah. Furthermore, these same principles are the basis upon which attacks are launched against Islam.
The printing of the cartoons that insulted RasulAllah صلى الله عليه وسلم or allowing right-wing personalities to speak at Canadian universities to spew out their hatred towards Muslims and Islam – are all justified by freedom of speech. As a result, when Muslims champion freedoms when it comes to issues to protect Islam and then call for its curtailment when it comes to attacking Islam – people may view this as contradictory and hypocritical.
More importantly, the only Deen before Allah سبحانه وتعالى is Islam and not the “deen of freedom”. Iraq and Afghanistan are justified in the name of freedom – what has it brought except ruin to the people? Senator Phil Graham, and the US congress, deregulated the banks in the name of freedom and they proceeded to destroy the world economy through the issuance of sub-prime backed bonds. The industries pollute the air, seas, and land in the name of free market. It is wrong, therefore, to call for these ideas and call for their implementation as Allah سبحانه وتعالى has prescribed Islam for humanity.

Following the Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم in times of Difficulty

In these difficult times we should reflect on how RasulAllah صلى الله عليه وسلم taught the Sahabah (ra) to deal with such situations. RasulAllah صلى الله عليه وسلم allowed the Sahabah to immigrate to Abyssinia to live under the safety and hospitality of the ruler, an-Najashi. Once Quraish heard about this, they sent Amr ibn al-‘As ibn Wa’il and ‘Abdullah ibn Rabi’ah to persuade an-Najashi to hand the Muslims back. Initially, they failed to convince him. However, the next day ‘Amr ibn al-‘As went back to an-Najashi and said to him, “The Muslims say dreadful things about ‘Isa, son of Maryam, send for them and ask them about it.Jaafar ibn Abi Talib (ra) responded on behalf of the Muslims. Before examining his response, we must remember how severe the torture was upon the Sahabah (ra) in Makkah.
For example, the mushrikeen of Quraish used to place hot coals on the back of Khabbab ibn Al-Aratt (ra) until he could smell his own fat burn. In other words, the risks were high: if Jaafar (ra) failed to convince the ruler of Absynnia, it would have meant that the Sahabah would be heading back to this type of severe oppression. So what did Jaafar say, when he was asked about Isa (as)? He said:
We say about him that which our Prophet brought, saying, he is the slave of Allah and His Messenger, and His spirit, and His word, which He cast into Maryam the blessed virgin.”
In other words, he (ra) answered based on what RasulAllah صلى الله عليه وسلم taught him. He clearly mentioned that Isa (as) was a slave of Allah سبحانه وتعالى – even though the Christians consider him, naouthubillah, the son of Allah سبحانه وتعالى. Also, the Sahabah refused to bow to An-Najashi, even though it was the custom of the society. Similarly, we must only answer based on what Islam says and not compromise on how we speak to the wider Canadian society.
In Jaafar’s speech, Jaafar also told an-Najishi the following:
When they treated us with violence and persecution, besieged us, and prevented us from performing our religion, we left for your country and chose you above all others. We desired your hospitality and hoped we would not be harmed in your domain, O King.” [Ibn Ishaq]
The Muslim community, through Muslims organizations, associations and the Masajid, need to approach Canadian civil society, including unions, womens’ organizations, and other groups who assist the oppressed, with the following message: targeting the Muslim community and its Deen is going to lead to the isolation of our community, increase the tensions between the different communities and undermine the reputation of Canada as a hospitable land. The consequences are dire and far reaching.
Ultimately, As long as we are not living under the shade of the Khilafah we will remain under the threat of a ban like the one in Quebec. Man made legislation is subject to the whims and contradictions of the human mind. May Allah سبحانه وتعالى protect us and enable us to practice our deen. Ameen.
فَإِنَّ مَعَ الْعُسْرِ يُسْرًا
إِنَّ مَعَ الْعُسْرِ يُسْرًا

Verily, along with every hardship is relief, verily, along with hardship is relief.” [Al-Inshira, 94:5-6]

Weiling Veil

In Clsh of Civilizations, Hijab, Uncategorized on April 27, 2010 at 3:25 pm

By Rehan Ali

The entire Muslim world, especially its conservative citizens, is in resentment over the proposed legislation in France and Belgium which prevents women from fully covering themselves in veils. The insistence of European lawmakers on banning the burqa in all forms is surprising because only a couple of thousand women cover their faces. Belgian law makers consider prohibition of naqab or veil a security measure as it will allow the police in identification. The law prevents wearing clothing which hides a person’s identity in public. Critics call it repression of a person’s right to wear what they want.

French president Nicolas Sarkozy is pushing for similar legislation which according to the French lawmakers, repress women in subjugation and prevents social assimilation. They attribute veils to discrimination and social oppression. France and Belgium are not Islamic states, and neither of the two countries have Muslim majority. Their Muslim population consists mainly of North African migrants.

Frankly speaking, what the French or Belgians do is their business. It is their country and they really don’t require our advice on these and other matters. Yet Pakistanis, the self appointed guardians of Muslim Ummah, are furious. There is widespread resentment on these measures among the Islamic quarters. It wouldn’t be a surprise if we observe a rally or two by the women wing of one the rightwing Islamist factions denouncing these laws.

Why all the fuss about European legislatures when in Turkey, a Muslim majority nation, law prevents women from attending government events if they wear hijab. Even in our beloved Pakistan women are inflicted abuses and are ill treated. Forced marriages, honor killings, and domestic violence are the order of the day. The local panchayets are free to do as they please and women are used as commodities in resolving disputes. Instead of catering to issues at home, we are all worried about a certain law involving merely a couple of thousand women who choose to live in these non-Muslim societies.

France and Belgium are outside our locus of control and we should not fret about this and similar issues. Apparently, this argument should suffice; however, for the conscientious individuals, it is a matter of principle contradicting the right of expression. The whole issue is just another form of oppression, the other extreme.

Proponents of law consider veil as a tool which subdues women. Hijab to them is a symbol of oppression which silences, bars and subjugate women. It is deemed a scion of the inferior status of women. They argue that in many situations males exercise coercive powers over women, especially on under-age girls, forcing them to wear the hijab. It cannot be ascertained that the girls are wearing the hijab do it of their own will or because their fathers and brothers are forcing them to. Hence, they should be protected through such legislation.

They say hijab prevents social assimilation, but wouldn’t stigmatization and it’s portrayal as an undesired symbol create or farther disintegration? Women who are forced to wear hijab, and there are a lot of them amongst us take it off, almost immediately, as the stimulus (family members) is removed. Good news for them, but what about women who choose to wear the dreaded cloth.

Opponents argue that such nonsense exclusion will prevent social integration of the women supporting a hijab. The notion that women are forced into wearing a hijab may be valid for a limited number. However it is void for a large number of women who wear the hijab self consciously. Instead of being respected and accepted these women are repressed though such measures. Indeed, by shutting out those women who are trying to better themselves, it will have quite the opposite effect.

Muslim women argue that hijab liberates them from societal and peer pressures. They feel empowered, Elle and Vogue seem to loose their grip on such women. Behind their veils they can be themselves and not some skinny, terrified conformist following the latest trends in fashion. These hijabis are a major threat to gloss merchandisers as they defy tyranny and ask respect and independence.

Surprisingly, the controversy is brewing in societies averse to treatment of women in Muslim countries. They advocate a women’s right to humane treatment, education, social empowerment and independence. They actively fund and appreciate Muslim individuals who toe their line of feminism. These bold and brave volunteers are self proclaimed custodians of woman rights in Muslim majority states. They actively search for the exploited souls and manipulate such situations for defaming Muslims countries, Islam and settling their scores with the so called Islamists.

The unfortunate majority caught between the two extremes – enlightened Islamophobes and labelled Islamists – finds very little space to express its concern. Their voices shunned, their opinion considered a confused ideologue.
Irrespective of their inclination, everyone agree that the decision to wear or not to wear a hijab should rest with women. So in principal hegemonists on both sides should refrain from barging on their (women) domain. Libertarians in their bid to free women are doing exactly what their opponents do. The proposed legislation is nothing but coercion, restricting women from exercising their will.

Don’t Ban the Veil: Why Peter Berkowitz is Wrong

In Clsh of Civilizations, Hijab on April 22, 2010 at 7:56 pm

By  Alanna Shaikh

In the Wall Street Journal today, Peter Berkowitz weighs in on the controversy surrounding French President Nicholas Sarkozy’s call to ban the Muslim face veil. Berkowitz argues that France has unique reasons why it should ban women from wearing the Muslim face veil. He is right that France is in a unique situation. He’s wrong to think it means the country should ban the veil.

The crux of his argument is this: “Freedom is in special jeopardy when a substantial segment of the population embraces a way of life that fails to cultivate the virtues of freedom while teaching disdain for freedom’s practices and principles.In France as throughout Western Europe, the full veil, along with cousin-marriage, polygamy and sexual violence contribute to a culture that secludes women and creates sizable barriers to assimilation.”

That logic is problematic at best. Equating the veil with sexual violence is senseless. For many women, the veil – even the face veil – is a garment of empowerment.

Many women choose the veil freely, and see it as a protection that allows them to fully be part of the world. It is not inherently a form of seclusion. Nobody chooses sexual assault.

France is in a touch spot. Its Muslim minority is unusually angry and averse to mainstream French culture. I would suggest, though, that this may be due to the steady stream of discrimination they live with. French Muslims, and immigrants in general, face widespread discrimination, especially when it comes to education and employment. Perhaps limiting their options for religious expression is not the best way to respond to that?

Veiling creates a barrier to assimilation only if mainstream culture chooses to treat it that way. If everyone in France talked to women in veils just like they speak to everyone else, the veil wouldn’t be a factor in marginalizing women or preventing engagement with classic French culture.

It would just be a piece of cloth. Stigmatizing the veil, and the people who wear it, creates the very alienation that the French government is trying to combat.

Making the face veil illegal takes that stigma to the ultimate level.  If Sarkozy actually wanted to help Muslim women in France, he’d support things that actually improve their lives.

Better educational opportunities.

Employment programs.

Quality housing.

آہیں، سسکیاں اور فیشن شوز

In Clsh of Civilizations, Hijab on January 29, 2010 at 5:18 am