Verne Strickland / Blogmaster / August 18, 2013
The Dangerous Lie Of The Hijab
A former muslim woman once wrote:
The Hijab or the islamic veil has nothing to do with modesty or to be compared with the christian nun’s veils as muslim liars pretend.
The hijab is all about sex. A woman in islam is a taboo, a source of ‘Fitnah’ to men; I mean here a source of perpetual seduction to men to do sins by desiring her and making love to her.
That’s why a muslim woman must cover herself from head to toes to protect men from sin….That’s an insult to both men and women alike …A muslim woman acknowledge herself as a sex object, her only role in life is to please men sexually , a kind of eternal ‘stockholm syndrome’ a muslim woman live inside all her life so she help in this process of humiliating submission….
A muslim woman insult other westerner women by wearing this shameful garb because she pass an indirect message to the non-muslim women saying she is better than her, and this western woman is nothing else but a whore comparing to her.
Also it’s an insult to men since islam consider a man is like an animal, unable to control his libido whatever he goes….The islamic veil is an insult for both men and women….The Muslim women you see everywhere is insulting you in your country by wearing this garbage bag on her head . In the same time you say nothing at all and protect her under the stupid banner of “human rights”. what human rights? in islam there is no such notions, the right in islam is for woman to please the man, and the man to please his sadistic god and his evil prophet, THAT’S ALL.
A propaganda video deceiving the canadian audience about the reality of the islamic hijab
As the number of muslim immigrants increase dramatically in the west, and converts to Islam grows around the world, little is more surprising than the fact that the vast majority of those converts are women – by some counts, as many as four times the number of women in the United States as men. And over and over, as if reciting dogma, these women offer the same bizarre explanation: Islam, they say, with its “modest” dress code, frees them from the “oppression” of Western society and a culture that judges women on their looks alone. It is, in fact, as if they have bought into the religion not for its precepts, but for its costumes.
Perhaps you could even believe their reasoning if most of these women actually dressed in full chador or burqa. But they don’t. Rather, they simply cover their heads – and occasionally their bare necks – in hijabs, or headscarves, arguing – with flawed logic and misrepresentations of the principles supporting Western notions of equality and feminism – that even this is a sign of “liberation” as much as it is of their allegiance to a religion.
And evidently, more and more non-Muslims are buying it, especially as legal battles erupt in Europe — and in some American cities — over the right to wear a hijab in the public realm.
Latest among them, it seems, are the editors of the International Herald Tribune, who earlier this summer ran an op-ed by Ayesah Nusrat, a self-described “Indian Muslim,” defending her decision to don a hijab at the age of 23. (What the editors evidently failed to notice was that the pious young author of the piece lifted all of her ideas and a reasonable portion of her words directly from a previously-published essay by a Canadian Muslim, Naheed Mustafa, which is widely available online,)
Poorly written, speckled with faulty grammar and plagiarized clauses, Nusrat’s piece presents a downright bizarre depiction of Western media and public opinion (among other things, she describes Western feminism as being defined by “a skewed perception of women’s equality as the right to bare our breasts in public”). Nonetheless, her commentary places in full view of a wide public one of the biggest obstacles we face in combating the growth of Islam in the West, and, even more, of political, aggressively Islamist Islam as it masquerades as a faith – and a doctrine – based on justice and equal rights, slinking its deceitful, theocratic destructiveness into the secular humanism of the West.
And it is exactly that deceit which makes it all so dangerous, especially to young women struggling with their own body image and sexuality: what easier escape, what simpler coping mechanism, than to throw a sheet over your head before heading out in public, and convince yourself that no one either sees what you look like underneath, or cares? (Indeed, Dutch psychiatrist Carla Rus, who works closely with young Muslim women – including converts – notes that the ease of dress and discomfort with cultural emphases on appearance is behind much of the conversion of non-Muslims to Islam, and contributes to the radicalization of Muslim women in Western countries.)
But Islam is not about garments, any more than a hijab actually covers anything but a woman’s hair. In fact, to the contrary, a hijab-wearing woman in the West attracts attention to herself merely by the fact of the scarf itself, and to the political statement it really represents: “I am not-you. I am Muslim. I am other, and I reject what is not me.” It pronounces the “us” of “us and them” in a gesture of arrogance and isolationism, while ignoring the greater truth of any faith: that it exists in your heart and in your behavior, and no more.
Yet ironically, the women who place Islam in an article of clothing, who choose the so-called “modesty” of Islamic dress, the women one often sees covering their heads, parade along the streets of American and European cities in skin-tight turtlenecks and leggings, the lines of their lace undergarments visible beneath. Or there was the headscarved Dutch-Turkish woman I saw once who, in the jubilant post-game revelry of a soccer match victory pulled down her pants and shoved her cotton-pantied derriere out a car window in The Hague.
“Does that seem normal to you?” I asked an Iraqi friend of mine, who had herself recently stopped wearing a hijab.
“Absolutely,” she replied.
Nonetheless, the rampant spread of propaganda like the Herald Tribune piece continues to serve the aims of missionaries for Islam and to falsify the truth of its misogyny not only for women, but for a larger public easily persuaded to tolerate the intolerance of its doctrine. (It is not, after all, the hijab that makes these women free, but the secular, Enlightenment values of the West; where else, after all, would they have the liberty to choose whether or not to wear one – or, for that matter, to convert to Islam, or to leave it? Where else, too, could a woman wearing a hijab stick her naked behind out in public view?)
The truth is that the decision to do anything at all – pray, tithe, fast, or dress – in abeyance to religion is anything but a gesture of “liberation.” Liberation, rather, is what you get when you refuse to allow such gestures to define your worth – -either to society, yourself, or our god.
Indeed, hijabs – those, that is, worn for allegedly religious, rather than political reasons – declare a submission to religious mandate (or rather, the belief in one: in truth, the Koran does not call for women to cover their hair, or even their faces and bodies). Nor, either, does it serve to desexualize women, as the high rate of rape in Muslim majority countries makes abundantly obvious. What it does do, however – and what burqas and nikabs especially do — is dehumanize them, creating faceless beings, property to be sold into marriage, beaten, or battered to death with the pelting of a thousand stones against their heads.
Consequently, the persistent misperceptions, the insistent protests mischaracterizing this symbol of religious and political subservience, these dishonest declarations about sexuality and freedom, echo beyond Nesrat’s words; they spread through the willingness of a misguided media and naïve public to other young women at risk of becoming similarly misled. And if we fail now to confront – and combat – such misapprehensions and distortions with the unveiled and naked truth, we will have only ourselves to blame for what becomes of them.
Politics Behind the HijabHijab as an Islamic icons
There is little doubt that hijab has become as much a symbol of Islam as the Crescent. The irony is that both of these two so-called Islamic icons, widely believed to be Islamic, are, in reality, not parts of Islam. I do not want to spend much time discussing the origin of the Crescent as an Islamic symbol, but it certainly was not introduced or suggested by Mohammed or any of his successors; neither is there is no evidence that the later the Umayyad and Abbasid dynasties have ever used it. What matters now is that the Crescent does symbolize Islam and that Muslims like it. It sits on top of every mosque and minaret and at the centre of flags of many Islamic states.
The Crescent may symbolize Islam but it doesn’t say much about it; this explains its remarkable absence from the Saudi flag. As we know, Saudi Arabia follows the teachings of Mohammed Ibn Abdul Wahhab (1703–92), the founder of movement that carries his name, who put Islam back on track. The core of the teachings of Abdul Wahhab was to filter Islam from the impurities that gathered on it over the centuries and bring it to its original form as Mohammed left it behind. Abdul Wahhab’s strategy was not to compromise, because it’s only Allah, he had to fear. He succeeded in bringing Islam back to it originality by purging all the impurities, which he called ‘dalala’. The Saudi flag is an honest expression of what the country and Islam stand for: that is, to spread the word “no God but Allah, Mohammed is his messenger” by the sword.
Hijab and headscarves
The word Hijab is currently used to refer to headscarf that covers the hair of a Muslim woman. In this article, both words will be used to refer to a woman’s head-dress. Until recently, many Middle Eastern Arabs used the word ‘Isharb’ as a name for women’s head-dress, but that foreign name is rapidly becoming obsolete in favour of hijab.
Contrary to what most people think, hijab is a fairly recent innovation in Muslims’ societies; it started gaining popularity only in the 1990s. In fact, the popularity of hijab in the Middle East came about so swiftly that the Arabs were not sure which word to use to describe it. They had a selection of words including hijab, niqab, burqa, khimar, and more. So it was left to the press, and it’s usually ignorant journalists, to make their choice. Of these words, namely ‘hijab’, has the most precise and clear definition in the Arabic language; it means a total barrier between two things.
Hijab is a purely political issue
I do not want to bore the reader by discussing the sharia validation of hijab, or the lack of it, because this is NOT the issue. The important fact to know about hijab is that it is purely a political issue, promoted by the Muslim Brotherhood movement. The hijab to the Muslim Brotherhood is like the “red flag” to communists.
Our understanding of what the Quran and sunna say about women’s dress is irrelevant, because what matters is what Muslims and their scholars understand. Undoubtedly, the vast majority of Sunni Muslims and their scholars—the Muslim Brotherhood scholars, the wahhabis and the Taliban included—agree with the well-established sharia rules regarding Islamic dress-code.
Women’s dress-code in Islam, just like anything else, is open to many interpretations. It is possible to argue that women dress can be anything, or almost anything, that appeals to the mind, and still be able to support the argument from the Quran and the sunna.
- It is possible to argue that women should be covered from head to toe, which in my opinion, is the most honest and straightforward understanding of Islam. This is the view of all devout Muslims, who never compromise on anything to ‘appease’ their desires and wouldn’t change Islam to fit modernity but rather change modernity to fit Islam.
- It is possible to argue that women are allowed to display only one or both eyes.
- It is also possible to argue that women are under no obligation to wear any special Islamic dress. This is my favourite argument, which I often use to defend my position when I happen to be in a Muslim community. Some Muslims, even in the West, are rude enough to ask me (as a Muslim) why I do not ‘order’ my wife to wear hijab.
- However, it is rather difficult to argue that women can expose their faces and cover their hair, which a hijab does. Nothing in the Quran suggests that! This Islamic fashion has no foundation in Islam and is prohibited under proper Islamic rule, such as in Saudi Arabia and formerly in Afghanistan under the Taliban.
The Muslim Brotherhood (ikhwan in Arabic) are happy with the widespread use of headscarves, even though, in their writings and teachings, they clearly project an Islamic dress-code akin to that of the Wahhabis.
What makes the Muslim Brotherhood happy with the headscarf? Why are they satisfied with half-measures?
This Islamic irony is not unprecedented. In the past, the Muslim Brotherhood had accepted temporary solutions in hard times, just like Prophet Muhammad did fourteen centuries ago. Accepting half-measures is only a waiting tactic to eventually achieve the full-measure they seek to implement. This explains why the Muslim Brotherhood leaders and the female relatives of some of them did not follow proper Islamic dress-code from 1928 to the beginning of the Islamisation of Europe in the 1980s.
The Islamic Dress-Code
According to sunni Islam, the entire body of a woman is considered ‘awra’, an Arabic word that refers to private parts and shouldn’t be seen by other men. Therefore, a Muslim woman should be completely covered with loose-fitting clothes to completely obscure the outline of the female body, which can also be a source of sexual arousal. A woman’s voice is also considered as awra, because it has the potential to cause sexual arousal; therefore, women should be careful with their tone when they speak to men.
On the other hand, some scholars consider the genitalia to be the only part of the male body to be awra, but the general view is that men need to cover from the waist to the knees. Muslim men should grow beards, but not moustaches, and should wear garments that do not reach the ankles.
The above is the proper Islamic dress-code, which will be enforced in societies once the Islamists assume political control. It is already applied in Saudi Arabia and the Taliban controlled areas.
Muslim women’s dress before the hijab
Before the current hijab fashion, Muslim women (at least in Middle Eastern countries) used to be covered to various degrees, on a cultural rather than religious basis. In some societies, women were covered head-to-toe; in others, they just followed latest Western fashion. In general, women in cities were more likely to wear Western clothes than those in rural areas, but it had nothing to do with the degree of their adherence to Islam.
In the 1920s, two important Islamic movements appeared in the Middle East, the Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. The two groups have very similar understanding of Islam, as reflected in their teachings and writings. They were basically two sides of the same coin. However, they had to adopt a completely different strategies that suited its own environment, but without departing from the guidance of Mohammed’s sunna.
The Wahhabis were allies to the Saudi clan, who managed to subjugate entire Arabia by force. Spreading the Wahhabi Islamic teachings was straightforward; Arabia was simply forced to adopt Wahhabi Islam. The situation sharply different in Egypt, where the Muslim Brotherhood was founded in 1928. There were signs of secular trends in the Middle East; Egypt was more open to the West than other Middle East countries. The Muslim Brotherhood had to work in a hostile environment, because neither the government nor the people were in a mood to listen to them. Egypt to the Muslim Brotherhood was like Mecca to Mohammed in the early part of his prophetic mission. The leaders of the movement, therefore, had to adopt a careful strategy similar to that of Mohammed’s. On the other hand, Arabia to the Wahhabis was like Medina to Mohammed from where he unleashed the full force of Islam against Arabia.
While still weak, the Muslim Brotherhood’s strategy is to move slowly and carefully without upsetting the society by showing them the full picture of Islam. However, implementing the full Islamic sharia including the Islamic dress-code has always been a central demand; they only needed to wait for the right time.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s demise of 1952–70
The Muslim Brotherhood believes that the most practical way to implement sharia in a country is to take control of that country, through jihad, and force the Islamic rule. This is a well-known Islamic strategy that worked well with Mohammed and his followers; the success of the Wahhabis in Arabia is a living a reminder. The brotherhood movement had serious problems with its chronic hunger for power, which lead the movement to infiltrate the army and government departments and to indulge in a series of political assassinations.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s dream nearly came true in 1952, when a group of army officers, some with sympathy to the Muslim Brotherhood, staged a military coup in Egypt. The leaders of the Muslim brotherhood approached the new leader, Gamal Abdul Nasser, offering him support if he applies the Islamic sharia; they specifically mentioned the Islamic dress. Nasser reportedly pointed out to them that their own daughters go to university uncovered, so why do they want all Egyptian women to be covered. Nasser, however, had different plans in mind and was too powerful to need their support. It became clear to the Muslim Brotherhood that the new leadership refuses to be influenced by them; therefore they reverted to their assassination policy. After a failed assassination attempt on Nasser, the Egyptian government responded by a crack down on the movement and imposed total ban on its activities.
Although banned in Egypt, the Muslim brotherhood was still active outside the country, thanks to the generous support from America and its friendly allies like Saudi Arabia. However, all that political and financial backing was no consolation to the Brotherhood movement, which remained helpless against the powerful Egyptian propaganda machine. Its members were branded, quite correctly, as terrorists who use religion to achieve their goals, and for nearly two decades, they failed to gain any significant popularity in the Middle East.
Resurgence of the Muslim Brotherhood
The political picture in the Middle East changed dramatically after Nasser’s death in 1970 and the appointment of Sadat as his successor. The new president allied his country with the America, and pursued a policy that was a virtual reversal of that of his predecessor. In an attempt to overpower the political groups that opposed his policies, Sadat lifted the ban on the Muslim Brotherhood, released their prisoners and encouraged the movement to go into action. The gates of heaven opened wide to the Muslim Brotherhood who, for the first time, enjoyed the backing of the governments of their home country, and other Middle Eastern countries, as well as America and the west. They wasted no time and took control of the mosques, the universities and the media. Lifting the lid on the Muslim brotherhood was probably one of the most doomed decisions of recent times. Sadat paid the price of his decision with his life when he was assassinated, by the Muslim Brotherhood, in 1981. Joining forces with their Wahhabi brothers, the Muslim brotherhood became an international force to reckon with; their evil activities spread in lightning speed claiming hundreds of thousands of lives. That was the beginning of the current wave of Islamic jihad that started, by the Muslim Brotherhood, in Afghanistan then moved to the Middle East causing civilian unrest in Syria 1981 then swept Algeria and Egypt in the early 1990s and the rest of the world since then.
The Muslim Brotherhood seeks dominance through intimidation, just like Mohammed did fourteen centuries ago. They dominate the Muslims’ societies by using religion as a tool and intimidate the politicians by using the people in the streets as indicators for their influence and power. There is no better indication for the public support than the scenes of streets full with women with headscarves and men with beards. The current Islamic dress, although not yet properly Islamic, serves as a living opinion poll that sends a powerful message to the authorities.
The Muslim Brotherhood cannot rely on forcing men to grow beards because this is only a sunna (preferred) duty, but they can force women to wear hijab because it is a fard (obligatory). Unlike a full veil, a head scarf is a compromise that appeals to modern women and doesn’t cause resentment of those not so religious women or societies. The headscarf serves as an introductory hijab for Muslim women, who once put it on cannot take it off. In Egypt and the West Bank, women are virtually forced to wear the hijab by the aggressive advertisement in the streets and public transport depicting women who do not wear hijab as prostitutes.
It is noticeable in Muslim countries that an increasing number of women who used to wear headscarves have upgraded to full veil. Those women were initially told they only needed to cover their hair to become good Muslims, which worked as the bait to enrol them to fundamental Islam and those after prayers lessons. They soon discover they are way behind in their religious duties and there is more to be done and more to be covered. Eventually, all women who live in an Islamic state will be asked to wear full body covers, willingly or by force, which is the stated plan of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The full veil has caused some antagonism from the public in western countries because of well justified security concerns. However, I think hijab poses even more threat to our national security than the veil because of its acceptance by the society. Most radical women, including those who carried out suicide bombing, only wear headscarves with no material veil. With such a mask of innocence and moderation that conceals her real intentions, a radical Muslim woman can infiltrate deeper into the society to unleash the evil of Islam.
The difference between a woman with a veil and a woman with a hijab is like the difference between an enemy in uniform and an enemy in disguise. The Muslims’ uniform is a thoub (a dress) and a beard for men and a full veil for women. The Muslims I fear most are those who are disguised in moderation because they are the darlings of the western governments, which select them to key positions. These eloquent and moderate looking Muslims can do immense damage to our societies, and their strength lies in their disguise.
Muslim women are often asked to wear hijab from a young age; of course they had no choice but are educated to believe that was their choice! In western societies, Muslim girls develop an image problem and become self conscious of their unusual dress. Muslims tend to be aggressive in propagating hijab; those girls who would rather not wear it fall under immense social and moral pressure, or rather intimidation, to do so. This is true even in western countries, where Muslims tend to live in Muslim neighbourhoods and socialise mainly with other Muslims. The Muslim brotherhood strategy in spreading hijab in small societies is the same they use in Muslim counties, which is to associate hijab with good conduct and bare hair with prostitution.
There are Muslim women, who live in the west, and would rather not wear hijab at all. In theory, they have full rights to be able to make their choice but they are denied this basic human right. It is sad that nobody rises to defend the rights of those women, who are so intimidated that they cannot ask for help or express their free wishes.
By: Abigail R. Esman ; Mumin Salih and Maggy Kamal
Abigail R. Esman is the author, most recently, of Radical State: How Jihad Is Winning Over Democracy In The West (Praeger, 2010). A columnist at Forbes.com, her articles have also appeared in The New Republic, The Wall Street Journal, Foreign Policy, and others.