We all remember Rihanna in Abu Dhabi posing covered head to toe. She looked gorgeous, more sexy than modest. For many women in the world, scarves are fashion accessories. It was not hijab day yet, but Rihanna chose to cover and showed the photos.
Choice is what the “world hijab day” campaign wishes to stress as well as “foster religious tolerance and understanding”.
So I wonder when I visit the website, where is the statement on support of women who in some countries in the world are forced to wear the hijab, are harassed, detained for not wearing it or in conformity to the country‘s law.
Instead, on the website campaign, I found a letter “sister to sister”; it addresses Muslim women like me who do not wear the hijab. After reading it , I understand that I have to wear it that day, not to support Muslim women wearing headscarf facing discrimination but rather like a step to wear it after the 1st February to be closer to the Lord and besides to be closer to heaven.
In my view it is similar to the comments I often hear from Muslim women and men: “you are going to hell”, “your faith is weak” “you won’t be blessed”… The author of the letter denies my religious choice as well as my belief that the Divine does not demand women to cover their hair; it contradicts the religious tolerance and freedom of choice that the campaign seems to convey. As a result, the campaign “world hijab day” appears as another form of discrimination: the imposition of a view over another.
As Muslim woman, I would prefer the support of Muslim men, non-Muslim men and women not because they consider that headscarf is compulsory or not but because it is my right as any women to decide what I want to wear.
Across Europe, in particular, women wearing headscarf have their scarves pulled off, some people spit on them, they are harassed, insulted .They are an easy target as women. This harassment is not an attempt to make them abandon their headscarf but because it signifies Islam. The headscarf is for those who do not know in depth the teaching of Islam, an acknowledgment of a religion, which appears to be prone to barbaric murders, religious intolerance, and legalisation of women’s discrimination.
Islam of course does not teach those horrific acts; nevertheless, some Muslims are willing to commit acts in opposition to its spirit and not only in majority Muslim countries. Women are forced into marriage, are sent back to their violent husband when seeking help from religious leaders, have co-wives imposed … in Europe too.
Wearing a headscarf for a day could be a first step to encourage non-Muslim women and men to look at closely why women, wearing headscarf or not, choose to follow Islam. However, without Muslim women and men tackling the cause of these false impressions, it cannot make misconception and misunderstanding fade away.
Volunteer, Christian Muslim Forum