Hijab for a Day

Here is a bit of nonsense reported by the BBC. The idea is that non-Muslim women should wear a hajib for a day and this will somehow increase understanding between Muslims and non-Muslims and help to end the dreadful specter of Islamophobia.

World Hijab Day calls on non-Muslim women to try out life under the traditional head scarf. Can it lead to more religious tolerance and understanding?

“Because I’m not very skilled I’m wearing what you could call a one-piece hijab – you just pull it over your head. But I’ve discovered the scope is endless. There are all sorts of options.”

So says Jess Rhodes, 21, a student from Norwich in the UK. She had always wanted to try a headscarf but, as a non-Muslim, didn’t think it an option. So, when given the opportunity by a friend to try wearing the scarf, she took it.

“She assured me that I didn’t need to be Muslim, that it was just about modesty, although obviously linked to Islam, so I thought, ‘why not?'”

Rhodes is one of hundreds of non-Muslims who will be wearing the headscarf as part of the first annual World Hijab Day on 1 February.

Originated by New York woman Nazma Khan, the movement has been organised almost solely over social networking sites. It has attracted interest from Muslims and non-Muslims in more than 50 countries across the world.

For many people, the hijab is a symbol of oppression and divisiveness. It’s a visible target that often bears the brunt of a larger debate about Islam in the West.

World Hijab Day is designed to counteract these controversies. It encourages non-Muslim women (or even Muslim women who do not ordinarily wear one) to don the hijab and experience what it’s like to do so, as part of a bid to foster better understanding.

“Growing up in the Bronx, in NYC, I experienced a great deal of discrimination due to my hijab,” says organiser Khan, who moved to New York from Bangladesh aged 11. She was the only “hijabi” (a word for someone who wears the headscarf) in her school.

“In middle school I was ‘Batman’ or ‘ninja,'” she says.

“When I moved on to college it was just after 9/11, so they would call me Osama Bin Laden or terrorist. It was awful.

“I figured the only way to end discrimination is if we ask our fellow sisters to experience hijab themselves.”

Non-Muslims are not the ones who need to learn about tolerance. If Khan thinks she has been badly treated by some name calling, what does she have to say about the fate of women in Muslim countries who choose not to wear a hajib or veil.

If your an unveiled female then watch out, because soon enough you might be getting your hair burned or if “the gang” is having a good day, then they will only end up shaving it all of.

A couple of weeks ago when the two 12 year old girls in aswan got their hair cut by their teacher for not wearing the veil, we said ok, ONE crazy woman, don’t be happening again.

Two ladies wearing the Niqab attached two coptic unveiled females on the metro. The first victim was the 13 year old magy, “you can’t imagine what I am going to do to you” said one of the attackers out of the blue to little magy, seconds later magy was shocked to see that her hair is on the back of her jacket, an unexpected hair cut.

The second incident which was reported by the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights, Two women wearing the Niqab attacked the 30 year old Nariman Samuel, dragging her off the metro carriage violently. Samuel was attached while trying to help a pregnant women sit on the metro, right before the attackers called her an “Infidel” and injured her.

This brings us to last Saturday’s events, where six women “the gang” wearing Niqab attacked another unveiled women outside the high court at around 8pm. They beat her and attempted to burn her hair. Thankfully two men were able to save her before she got seriously hurt.

If Khan thinks there is discrimination against Muslims in western countries, what does she have to say about the often horrific discrimination against non-Muslims in Muslims countries.

Christian communities and individuals have played a vital role in the Middle East, the cradle of Christianity, as of other religions.  Pope Benedict XVI, speaking in Castelgandolfo on September 2, 2007, is not alone in warning that “[c]hurches in the Middle East are threatened in their very existence.”

The outlook for Christians is indeed bleak.  The Arab countries have not abided by the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights (Article 18) of December 1948, which states that “[e]veryone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion.”  Discrimination against non-Muslims has always been present in the Arab Muslim world.  In the Ottoman Empire, as elsewhere, Christians were second-class subjects, except for a short period after 1856 when the sultan conceded the principle of equality of the law to all subjects.

No reliable census has been available in Arab countries for many years, but the estimate of Christians in the Middle East numbers about 12 million.  Accused of identification with Western colonialism and imperialism, they are now facing aggravating hostility and persecution of various kinds.  The Christians and their institutions, in a context of internecine wars in the area, a falling birth rate in the midst of an increase in the number of Muslims, and the political rise of extreme Islamist groups, face physical brutality; destruction of their churches; discrimination in basic rights as well as in employment opportunities; boycotts of their businesses; and malignity in many forms of popular culture, television programs, and school textbooks.  They are unable to practice or have difficulty in practicing their faith and fear prosecution by law for offences of apostasy and blasphemy, devices intended to intimidate or prevent critical speech.

Even those regimes and ideas, such as Nasserism, Pan-Arabism, and Arab nationalism, which in the past exemplified to some extent moderation in religious matters regarding Christians, now play a less significant role.

Increasing violence and brutality against Christians is now evident in almost all the Arab countries, except Jordan under the relatively benign King Abdullah.  Even there, those Muslims who converted to Christianity face severe discrimination.

Just a little bit worse than a bit of name calling, wouldn’t you say? If we really want to improve understanding between Muslims and non-Muslims, how about a let’s pretend women are human beings day? Or, why not a let’s not go into a murderous frenzy every time someone insults the prophet Mohammed day? This might do a whole lot more good towards promoting civilized behavior than wearing a hijab would.



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