Friday, March 19, 2010

Headcoverings in the News this week

Headcoverings that make the news are almost always the head coverings of Muslim women, and usually the news is that a Muslim woman someplace has been told that she cannot wear her covering, that the head coverings are going to be banned in some place, or the news is the opinion of some that a Muslim woman's head covering is a sign of oppression from the men. In almost every case, as well, comes the clarification from others that while head covering is not specifically commanded in the Quran, nor the style or color, modesty by men and women is; so to ban head covering is to order a woman to dress immodestly according to her spiritual beliefs. It takes away her cultural heritage. It tells her that her personal convictions and feelings are worthless because she does not conform to a world that, to her probably, appears godless and without conviction. There is so much that can be said, and has been said, about the ignorance and oppression of those who want to deny a woman the right to choose to cover and/or dress to her own level of comfort and modesty. Here is one article from this week:

"France’s ban on Muslim burqa is discriminatory and unwise"
in The Signal, by Miranda Sain

. . . The justifications of the ban range from preserving the French culture to women’s rights, and national security.

The proposed ban further accentuates the divide between the West and Islam in regards to women’s rights. Many Western societies view Islamic head coverings, like the burqa, as being oppressive to women. Many, like Sarkozy, see the burqa as a sign of subservience.

However, in many instances, it is a woman’s autonomous decision to wear a burqa on the grounds of modesty. The Quran does not mandate women to wear a burqa. The Quran only requests women to dress modestly in order to protect themselves from harassment. (This passage can be found in Sura Al Hijaab 33:59.) Just like with abortion in the United States, what a woman decides to do with her body, whether it deals with reproduction or her clothing choice, should be left to her own discretion. That decision should neither be made for her by a man nor a governmental body. . . .

I recently came across a new headcovering blog, which includes one author's take on this as well:

"Banning Head Coverings?"
in "Journey of the Veil" at blogspot

The writer includes a few links to news and discussion in her article, and concludes with her own thoughts:

The discussion veers from Muslim coverings to Jewish and Christian coverings as well, pointing out that were America to ban Muslim coverings, more likely than not we would all be affected.
This is not only an attack on so-called women's oppression, but on modesty itself. The author of the first article says that she takes it as an "affront" when she sees a woman who is covered and is wearing a headscarf. Seriously? Because sure, those women are being modest just to offend you. Specifically. *rolls eyes* Perhaps she needs to consider why it makes her uncomfortable. It seems that people have a need to do away with reminders that they are not living as they should.

Do we really want the government in our closets? Um, no. I hear they have a horrible sense of fashion.

Which reminds us that head coverings in the news, which on the surface equates to Muslims in the news, really affects every woman in the news, because Muslim head covering is for feminine modesty - whether the style is an identifier of Islam or South Asia and the Middle East or not. It is a two-edged attack: against this one religion, and against all spiritually minded people who desire to behave in a way that demands submission to a wiser and "Higher Power" (as AA puts it).
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