Saturday, November 29, 2008

Headcovering Patterns

Heather's Hook, November 29, 2008: "Great Headband/Headcovering Patterns Online"

How many times is my blog hit by people looking for head covering patterns? I'm not sure. These days, for the Northern Hemisphere, they're mainly looking for warm head scarves, but for those who like wide headband style head coverings, you'll find some cute patterns. Maybe they could even be altered by those who feel these are not true headcoverings. Or you could use them with a full scarf as an accessory. Click Heather's link above to view; then click the photos for full instructions.

Argumentation of Oppression

Dave, of DSmith7110Fall08 at blogspot, November 27, 2008: "Argumentum ad Hominem & Cultural relativism"

Did you study argumentation and debate in school? Then some of this might sound familiar. Regardless, you might find this short blog entry concerning reasoning skills interesting, or even helpful. This article seems to be covering some discussions in a classroom setting, where feminism and, in particular, wearing of hijab and long hair, were topics. Once again, I am not promoting nor am I putting down any personal statements here; I only present this to help those who are seeking understanding in these matters. It is often said by head covering women that "I cover my head, not my mind." Let us all be careful not to cover our minds in considering faith and obedience, especially in generalizing reasons for head coverings among large groups of people. Here is a portion of the entry:

Let's consider a case in point from class. There was a brief discussion on the Muslim Hijab which somehow morphed into long hair on women in American holiness churches. When it was suggested that possibly the women under consideration (either Muslim or Holiness) chose to wear the associated head dress, it was stated that this was clearly oppression and that only a [white] male would make such a statement. Now that, my friends, is a classic example of an ad homimen argument, meaning this: since x male made the claim and y female said it was oppressive, then ipso facto the male was in error because he was a male. The behavior as relates to women's head dress had already been deemed oppressive (whatever that means), so any argument to the contrary, especially when made by a male, is therefore invalid. But where is the evidence? Is it possible that western culture is being read into either situation to deem it "oppressive," or is it possible that only certain women consider it such. I'm really having a hard time with the connotations of oppressive. Am I being told that a scarf is oppressive to the same extent as honor killing is? Everything with which one disagrees can not be considered "oppressive" just to bolster the quantative data on female oppression. Doesn't this sort of data manipulation parallel to the girl who cried "wolf?" Now for the rest of the story.

As regards the hijab in the Mulsim world. This head dress did not derive from 7th century Muslim males (which were, by the way, not white males), but rather from the wives of Muhammad. It seems that these gals were on the par with superstars and could not leave their houses to go shopping or to the bathroom without being thronged. Therefore these women (not men) decided to go incognito, and the hijab was created. Later on some folks though that if it was good enough for the wives of the prophet, it was good enough for the common folks. Thus it was an imitation of women's customs, not male dictates. How it may have evolved in the present is another narrative. The moral of the story is to be careful with the facts and not read western culture into every situation.

In the second example, it was stated that women who wore long hair in US holiness churches were oppressed. Now that is really peculiar considering the historical context from which it derives. Neither does a hair style seem so oppressive a the self-imposed female assessories of the past such as girdle, corset, eye-liner, high-heels, chokers, etc. (but I do admit that is my own perspective and would not want to participate in gladitorial games that requires such equipment). Cultures have their symbols: iPods, blue jeans, hats, and hair. Faith communities also have symbols: crosses, menorah's, and head coverings. Jewish men wear a tallit when praying. For many years, only males did this but now it is common to see women in synagogue wearing a prayer shawl. In Christian faith communities, it has been women who wore the head coverings. Could common men wear them: not usually! From whence does this custom derive? From white male oppression or from female customs of the east? Take your best guess, and then you can proceed. In the first century Roman empire, it was common for women to have long hair, to wear veils, and to have head dresses. In the church of Corinth, St. Paul addressed this matter. Not that the women failed to veil themselves (as female custom dictated), but that some of the men were apparently copying older Greek traditions of wearing long hair like the Greek warriors in the Trojan war (Iliad). It was apparently no longer customary to do such. St. Paul asks the folks, "what are your customs." He appealed to the common life of Roman citizens in formerly Greek regions. Life was hard enough without asking for a fight. Holiness churches drew their idea of long hair on women from the same passage of scripture (1 Corinthians 11), such was common in the early 20th century, it released those women from hats and veils, and it actually states that a woman's long hair empowered her (at least in that day). Again, we have considered oppression what another culture considers empowerment, because of a failure to recognize what anthropologist call cultural relativism. Western values are not the touchstones for all peoples.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Discussion of Headcovering

There's quite a discussion of headcovering for Christian women based on 1 Corinthians 11 going on over at the "A simple explanation of headcovering".

(illustration copied from the ID icon of one of the posters to this forum)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Christian Hijab?

25 November 2008, "Stitchlove" at writes: "On headcovering....again!"

Please read. There's something for everyone inside.

Be encouraged!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Calvin on Headcovering

Posted November 24, 2008 in "A Pilgrim's Ponderings" at blogspot: "Prophetic Calvin on headcovering":
“So if women are thus permitted to have their heads uncovered and to show their hair, they will eventually be allowed to expose their entire breasts, and they will come to make their exhibitions as if it were a tavern show; they will become so brazen that modesty and shame will be no more; in short they will forget the duty of nature…Further, we know that the world takes everything to its own advantage. So, if one has liberty in lesser things, why not do the same with this the same way as with that? And in making such comparisons they will make such a mess that there will be utter chaos. So, when it is permissible for the women to uncover their heads, one will say, ‘Well, what harm in uncovering the stomach also?’ And then after that one will plead for something else; ‘Now if the women go bareheaded, why not also bare this and bare that?’ Then the men, for their part, will break loose too. In short, there will be no decency left, unless people contain themselves and respect what is proper and fitting, so as not to go headlong overboard” John Calvin (Reformer, 1509-1564)

photo above, of a book on John Calvin's wife, Idelette, found online at


EDIT: The blog I copied this quote from has followed up on this, with his own testimony for his family's decision to wear a head covering for prayer and worship, here: "My Journey in Headcovering", his wife having posted her own thoughts of obedience in headcovering at "Grace in Bloom", which I also linked to earlier this month.

Islam: Combining Style with Modesty with Culture

Everyone is different. Every culture affects us. As Islam stretches across the globe, the interpretation of modesty and head covering shifts too. For those outside of Islam, this can be very confusing; why does my friend at work only wear a head scarf, but those ladies in the mall wear those long black robes? I can only imagine the stress it must be for a lady who trying to follow the Muslim teachings to interpret with honestly and humility: how must she really dress, in order to be modest? Ladies of all faiths, and of no faith, struggle with the same issues of course, because every culture is different, and yet modesty is always an issue, making the questions of "how large a head covering" and "should women wear pants" pertain to everyone.

The second two links in today's post deal with the specific Quranic scriptures dealing with modesty. The first link here is just an example of how modest ladies still want to be beautiful.


"Malaysia: Islam combines style with modesty"

The annual Islamic Fashion Festival is kicking off today in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The festival is all about reaching out to Muslim women and telling them that they can wear beautiful clothes and still be modest. ‘A modest woman is more sublime than a woman that reveals all’ comments Aisha Alam a well-dressed guest at the event. ‘More and more women in the region are discarding the less comfortable western styles and returning to the flowing Islamic way of dressing’. The organisers of the event are capitalising on this phenomena.

Currently the event attracts over 40 top designers from the region and as far away as Pakistan. The proceeds of the event go to worthwhile charities, mainly to alleviate hunger and poverty in the region. Guests will be treated to catwalk style displays albeit with the modest norms of Islam taken into consideration. Traditional Asian emphasis on beautiful fabrics will dominate and guests can expect to see dazzling silks used in creating the traditional Islamic women’s head coverings.

First photos found at TheHijablog at wordpress


"The Jilbab and What Garments Can Substitute It"

AUTHOR: Imaam Muhammad Naasir-ud-Deen Al-Albaanee
SOURCE: Masaa'il Nisaa'iyyah Mukhtaarah (pg. 125-131)
Found at forums

A short quote:

In brief, a khimaar covers less that a jilbaab while a jilbaab has a more ample range in terms of the parts that it covers. Also, a jilbaab is specific for only women. They were the ones who were ordered to wear it and not men. But as for the khimaar, then that is a garment that both men and women share in wearing. Even though a man is not obligated to wear it, regardless, it is a garment that both men and women partake in wearing, just like a shirt. In the same manner that a man wears a shirt to cover his ‘awrah – which is different from the ‘awrah of a woman – so does a woman. But her ‘awrah is ampler than the ‘awrah of a man.
This is a small part of a much longer article with further discussion and information.


25.11.08, in "hegab-rehab" at blogspot, the author writes:
"My eyes are open"

i have been doing A LOT of reading lately (and less blogging) - mainly islamic issue related stuff - and everytime i come across sections from Quran and Hadith concerning Islamic Dress i get kinda "thinky" about my blog. Not about shutting it down - but about excluding some kind of things from my posts - like pants, etc.

Because the more proof i come across the more i think i should follow my heart and stick to Abaya-like clothing.

Read more of her thoughts on Quranic scripture and modest apparel, along with her other blog posts with pretty pictures, showing modest Muslim women various ways to wear hijab.


I almost forgot - you might be interested in a blog entry by a simply modest blogger with photos of various women dressing modestly, from different backgrounds and cultures. "Plain Style."

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Head Scarf in Turkey

"Event of the week", in Sunday's
An unexpected softening in the stance of main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal on the use of headscarves surprised everyone in the country. His motives behind this unexpected move were discussed throughout the week.

“We are setting off hand-in-hand with people who have not come together before. We are setting off with all men and women -- all who cover their heads and who do not,” Baykal said as he put CHP badge on a covered woman’s coat on Sunday. “It is not right to discriminate against people because of what they wear. It is not right to make deductions about them based on their attire.” Baykal’s remarks came during a CHP ceremony held in İstanbul last Sunday in honor of the party’s new members, who included covered women. The sudden change in Baykal’s tough stance -- he’s better known for his opposition to lifting the ban on the headscarf in the public sphere -- was interpreted by many as a tactic to gain the sympathy of conservative voters in the upcoming March elections. Opponents of Baykal’s move, including party deputies Nejla Arat and Nur Serter, claimed Baykal was straying from the party’s traditional staunchly secular line and disturbing the grass roots with his move. But Baykal defended himself during a TV program on Friday, saying that the participation of women in chadors did not mean a change in the party’s policies. He said the CHP already has a number of party members and families who wear headscarves. Baykal precipitated the annulment of a reform package that would have lifted a ban on Muslim headscarves at universities by taking it to the Constitutional Court in February.

You can also follow this story as found in the Hurryet Daily News: "Baykal defends his party on headscarf".
Main opposition leader Deniz Baykal defended his party over its choice to allow it's newest members to be headscarf-wearing women, saying their membership to the party was not a political show and the party’s original line had not changed.

Baykal defends his party on headscarf The membership of the women wearing black chador's and headscarves in the Republican People’s Party, or CHP, has drawn strong reactions from different segments of society and the party’s grassroots. As a party, it strongly opposed the ruling party-sponsored constitutional amendment on ending the headscarf ban in state universities.

Speaking on CNN Türk yesterday, Baykal said the party’s new female members who wear headscarves defended secularism, so the CHP had not deviated from its original line.

"They wanted to join our party, I didn’t offer any proposals to them in this respect. So it was not a political show. Would it be democratic for me not to accept them into the party?" he said.
(more at the link above)

Headcovering Tutorial

Hi Lisa!

I've really enjoyed your site and your blog since I've been re-interested in Christian headcovering. I found a tutorial for an Amish-type headcovering that you may not be aware of. I think she did a great job.
The main family website is here and includes a couple more nice tutorials that she has done and a nice post about why/how the family started covering.


The "Shepherd's Hill" website is all about plain living Christians, and there really is much more at the site too. Thank you, Heather! :)


Just as a little side note, because the above website is based in Alabama, US, this little article in the Birmingham News,, caught my attention: "Alabama's changing face of faith".

November 23, 2008, by GREG GARRISON

On a typical Saturday at the Riverchase Galleria, shoppers include Hindus from India with red marks called tilak on their foreheads, Mennonite teenage girls from Uniontown wearing homemade dresses and headcoverings, and Muslim women from Pakistan adorned in traditional scarves.

They pass without a sideways glance, as if nothing's out of the ordinary, perhaps a sign that religious pluralism in Alabama has arrived.

"This is a melting pot, and we are melting," said Davinderjit Bagga, a Sikh woman from India who has lived in Birmingham almost 30 years.

. . .

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Head Covering Photos

A few alternative head coverings?


Don't miss Veiled Glory's new photos: "More Jewish Headscarves"


And as a note of interest, a wordpress blogger posted a sweet photo of Married Molokan Women, from the 1940's in Baja California. Look up who the Molakans are here.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Cancer Cap Care

I am constantly finding new businesses for head coverings for women undergoing cancer treatments, or other hair loss situations. Often, the stories of the women is quite personal. Here is another, in the NorthEastern US.

"Cranston woman’s bout with breast cancer launches new business"
November 22, 2008, By Barbara Polichetti, The Providence Journal in Rhode Island

. . . LITTLE MORE than three weeks into chemo, the hair loss had caused Manni to shave her head and to start the frustrating hunt for a way to look good in public.

Nothing –– not even a costly (but itchy) wig –– was suitable, she said, so she called her sister, Lauren Paige, in Sturbridge, Mass., and said, “Teach me to sew.”

The two set out to come up with a head covering that would be as fun as it would be functional.

“I’m sorry — I’m not a biker-style girl,” Manni said of her failed attempts to wear a traditional bandanna. “And they were too small anyway. . . ."

Instead, she and Paige came up with oversized triangular kerchiefs in all sorts of colorful prints, trimmed with sparkling beads or sequins. Manni, who admits to liking a little pizzazz in her wardrobe, ended up with a rainbow of custom kerchiefs that matched every outfit and holiday as she continued in treatment. It wasn’t long, she said, before nurses, doctors and other patients started asking where they could buy the fun head wraps.

Thus KareChiefs, Manni and Paige’s new company, was born. They decided to make it official toward the end of the summer, but were not afforded the luxury of a slow start. In September, Manni was approached by representatives of the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation and asked if she could have an ample supply of the KareChiefs available to sell at the foundation’s third annual “Flames of Hope” WaterFire celebration on Oct. 11.

That mission accomplished, the two sisters are now preparing their Web site,, to handle online ordering. . . .

Note: the website is still under construction, but you can visit to catch a glimpse of the ladies and a few of their designs.

Friday, November 21, 2008


Note: I've included two other articles on this first story as well. ~~~~~~~~~

"Non-profit group rejects donation over turban"
November 20, 2008

ROANOKE RAPIDS, N.C. (AP) -- A Halifax County man was turned away from a local mission when he refused to remove his turban while trying to make a donation.

The Daily Herald of Roanoke Rapids reports that Gary Khera, who is a Sikh, went to the Union Mission this week to donate cash or food. Khera said he previously had mailed in his donations.

A director at the mission asked Khera to abide by a rule asking males to remove all headcoverings inside. He refused, and then asked to speak to the executive director, who he said refused to shake his hand and told him that if he didn't want to remove the turban, he could make his donation elsewhere.

The Rev. Ron Weeks said his actions had nothing to do with Khera's faith or his turban.

"Roanoke Rapids charity rebuffs turban-wearing donor"

Nov. 20, 2008, ROANOKE RAPIDS, N.C.,

In which you can read the other "he-said" from the charity.

Mr. Khera is reported to have stated: "They should not turn away a donation for the needy, because they misunderstood someone else's religion."

Unfortunately, "they" misunderstood their own religion. You see, the article here points out that the charity considers their building to be "the Lord's house". In what scripture are men required to arrive bare-headed at a building? In reading the one scripture that considers men having their heads covered, you see that it is the men who are "praying or prophesying" who should not have their heads covered. Mr. Khera was not coming to pray or prophesy, but to donate money to the needy. But if it is merely a sign of respect to God to uncover one's head for those of this charity, then it must be understood that it is a sign of respect to others' understanding of God to let their hair grow long and keep it wrapped in a turban. I'm not saying it's "right" or "Godly" one way or the other. Just that we all need to think.

The article here also states that "Weeks said he may consider changing the policy because of the incident." One would certainly hope so.

EDIT: Second Follow-up

"Kids, Seniors Benefit from Mission’s Loss"
Roanoke Rapids Daily Herald, November 28, 2008


Central Asia: "Kyrgyz Draft Law, Like Others in Region, Will Restrict Freedom of Religion"
November 20, 2008

Right Side News: WASHINGTON-Kyrgyzstan has joined the roster of former Soviet republics that are intent on asserting state control over faith communities. In the process, these states are depriving many citizens of the freedom of religion guaranteed by their constitution and protected by international conventions
A new draft law that has been passed by the Kyrgyz parliament and is awaiting President Kurmanbek Bakiev's signature requires that a religious organization have 200 members before it can operate legally, a steep increase from the 10 members previously required, prohibits children from participating in religious organizations, and bans the distribution of religious materials in public places. The draft law poses an existential threat to small denominations.

. . .

The Turkmen and the Uzbek governments prohibit all but clerics from wearing religious garb in public. The prohibitions directly contradict the 1981 Declaration of the UN General Assembly, which articulates that "The right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief includes the freedom, ‘To make, acquire and use to an adequate extent the necessary articles and materials related to the rites or customs of a religion or belief.'" The UN Human Rights Committee has noted, "The observance and practice of religion or belief may include not only ceremonial acts but also such customs as (...) the wearing of distinctive clothing or head coverings..."


"Iranian female karate champion ousted from Tokyo games"
IranVNC; November 14, 2008

Washington, 14 November (IranVNC)—The first Iranian female contestant in the world karate championship contests in Tokyo was disqualified from competing moments after stepping on the mat.

Helen Sepasi, who represented the Iranian women’s Kata team, walked onto the mat wearing the Islamic head-covering, the hejab, to spar her Chinese rival, but bowed out of the games immediately after she was told that the rules of the game did not permit non-uniform attire.

Sepasi’s refusal to remove her veil was applauded by other women in the venue, according to Mehr News Agency.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Blogging about Christian Headcovering

"Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time" (1 Peter 5:6).

Headcoverings: For Me? - "I am a 28 year-old Christian wife currently working through 1 Corinthians 11:3-16 and the need for covering my head while praying. I plan to post my learning journey on this blog. Join me!" - November 19, 2008: "Current Practice, Overscrupulous, & Because of the Angels"

"the voice of one crying out in suburbia..."
- "The random thoughts of one saved by the sovereign grace of God, in gratitude that He chose me when I would never have chosen Him..." - November 19, 2008: "More on headcovering"

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Book Review: Mennonite Women in Canada

Mennonite Women in Canada: A History
Beginning of the review in "Tuponia: Canadian History Blog":

They wear head coverings and plain dresses. They quilt, make food that "schmecks" and ride horse-drawn buggies. They talk little, obey their menfolk and produce huge broods.

Marlene Epp knows that's the stereotype of Mennonite women. After all, she's a Mennonite woman herself. She's also a university professor, a mother of two, a feminist, and a stylish dresser, by the looks of her funky Mary Jane shoes and the richly coloured scarf draped over her shoulders.

Epp teaches history and peace and conflict studies at Conrad Grebel University College, part of the University of Waterloo. She has spent years researching Mennonite women. Now she has written a book that chronicles the rich diversity of their experiences in this country.

See also: University of Manitoba Press

Monday, November 17, 2008

Quote of the Week

"Old hat is new again: Classic styles taking center stage among fall accessories"

In this photo-accompanied article on the fashion of hats, for men and women, fashion shows and designers, and even a little helpful list called "hat basics", I came across a very neat observation:

“Hats are coming back because women are embracing their femininity.”

Just made me smile. :)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Headcovering Christian Bloggers - More

Are you researching Christian headcovering? Prayer veils? Mantillas? Women in Christian worship?

Head covering in the Bible is not a subject to be dismissed, nor is it something which all the law and the prophets hang on. It could be assumed by some people that the continual subject matter of this blog makes it look like I (and others whose posts I share) are just harping on a subject which is of little consequence. I assure you - I (and I think the others whose posts I share) realize that there are many, many matters of daily living in Christ which are important to attend to. Because the subject matter of this blog centers upon headcoverings does in no way imply that one should think that covering the woman's head is in some sort of 5 step plan to salvation, and that if she does it, she's in. Head covering is but one small obedient thing, done by only the women of God's children: one small thing found in a Book full of commands, precepts, laws, prophecies, proverbs, illustrations and wisdom (among other important things). And head covering is one obedient thing that is overlooked, misunderstood and even frowned upon in our day. But why should anything, no matter how small, be overlooked, when it comes to living for the One who I believe gave up heavenly living to dwell on earth as a person and then be treated and later killed in a most disgusting way, for my sake?

Head covering is one of many things that "come along" at some point in our growth, and for those whose hearts are full of seeking, I believe it is shameful to dismiss as some cultural thing or other that we don't need to even think about today.

I actually think there's a movement afoot. (Or should that be, "ahead"?) Please, be encouraged by what you read here. Please, continue to press on. - November 15, 2008
"Head Covering" - hopefully one of more essays to come by a lady who covers her head, believing that obedience is indeed a part of salvation - November 15, 2008
"Bible Questions Answered: Veil-The" - a question and answer lesson from an elder pastor who desires revival of - not just the old ways, but - the ways of the all of the Bible - November 15, 2008
"Headcovering.. Such a topic for all. Those who do and those who don't and those that are confused" - includes a listing of yet a few more links where one can study this subject for themselves

And finally, a thought for the day: - November 15, 2008, in:
"Various thoughts and updates" -
I am not sure if all y'all know, but I headcover. You have probably seen it in some of the pics I have posted. I do not feel that one must always headcover. And last night, because we were on a date, I considered not covering . . . . I decided to put it on anyway, and I am glad I did. I ran into our neighbors who seem very nice but are most definitely witches (as in, that is what they proclaim as their religion, not that I am being catty). She had on her cape and amulets or whatever, and I was standing in my headcovering. We said hello briefly, I talked to her husband for a moment, and then it was over. However, I was very thankful to be wearing my faith when I ran into someone who was wearing their beliefs. I was thankful that I was ready "in season and out of season...".

Yes. Headcovering is just a small thing. But so is a cup of water. A child. The rod of Moses. A stone and a sling. A tent peg. An arrow. A visit. A coin. A parchment. ... Nothing is small. Not really.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Some Headcovering Christians: Hutterites

In "Livin the Dream", November 14, 2008:
"Peoples Of North America - Hutterites"

A personal essay, it looks like, and well written. An overview of the Hutterite Christians living in the prairies, with photos. Lots of information you probably didn't know at the linked title above.

Hutterites have a dress code. The dress code is more pronounced with some groups, i.e. the Lehrerleut and the Dariusleut in Alberta and Saskatchewan. The Schmiedeleut Hutterian Brethren's dress code is typically as follows: men wear suspenders, usually black or dark trousers, and any kind of buttoned shirt. Married men traditionally wear a beard.

Women wear below-knee-length dresses; younger women and girls wear brighter colored dresses than older women. Women also wear a Kupf-ti'echle or a black, polka-dot-peppered head covering. Girls between the ages of 3 to about 10 wear a mitz which is bonnet-like head covering.
EDIT: He's got another article on the Amish folks, who also practice headcovering, here.

By the way, do you know how some people cannot understand how you can have driver's licenses without photos? Usually that is a complaint about women who want to cover their face, or at least part of their face: their hair. But sometimes...
Alberta Hutterites won the right to avoid having their photograph taken for their drivers' licenses. In May 2007, the Alberta Court of Appeal ruled that the photograph requirement violates their religious rights and that driving was essential to their way of life. The Wilson Springs colony based their position on the belief that images are prohibited by the Second Commandment. About eighty of the photo-less licenses were in use at the time of the decision. Besides the Alberta Hutterite groups (Darius and Lehreleut), a handful of colonies in Manitoba (Schmiedleut) do not wish their members to be photographed for licenses or other identity document.
Just a funfilled fact to know and tell.

Ongoing Story of Muslim Teen Killed by Her Dad

Listen to This podcast: Toronto Life's Aqsa Parvez cover story, "Girl, Interrupted"
Posted by Graham F. Scott, November 14, 2008, This Magazine

The current issue of Toronto Life magazine features a cover story on the murder of Aqsa Parvez, the Mississauga teen who was killed last year, allegedly by members of her own family, over a dispute about — well, it's tough to say what it was about. Toronto Life's cover calls the murder an "honour killing" because Parvez decided not to wear a hijab, the head covering that some Muslim women wear to observe their religion. As writer Mary Rogan says in her story, there were plenty of other disputes between Aqsa Parvez and her family over all kinds of things, and what truly happened is still frustratingly unclear. But the hijab became the focal point in media reports about the murder last year, because it was an easy-to-grasp symbol that resonated with those Canadians who still feel ambivalent, or outright hostile, to immigrant groups, particularly Muslim immigrants from South Asia.

Last week, a coalition of groups representing women, immigrants, and social service agencies called a press conference in Toronto to formally condemn Toronto Life's story, calling it racist and Islamophobic. There is also a Facebook group that goes into further on the problems that these readers had with the article.

This podcast features excerpts from my interviews with one of the participants in the press conference, Sumayya Kassamali of the group Our Collective Dreams: Muslim Women Speak Out Against Violence, and with Sarah Fulford, Editor of Toronto Life.

Listen to the podcast at the title of the blog linked above. Other links are also available at this article.

Friday, November 14, 2008

And now for something different

After coming across this article: Legacy of the Phrygian cap", in the Aurora History Blog, I also looked up the Wikipedia article on the Phrygian cap. Amazing, the symbolism of headgear in history. Of course, we knew about that. But did you know that besides becoming a symbol of the French Revolutionaries (this link has some disputable statements, but also a lot of illustrations), it "also appears on the state flags of West Virginia, New Jersey, and New York, as well as the official seal of the United States Senate , the arms of the North Carolina Senate, and on the reverse side of the Seal of Virginia"?
Bust of Attis wearing a Phrygian cap (Parian marble, 2nd century BC), from Wikipedia.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

"Hats and a Haircut"

A young man who is serving as a missionary in Southern Sudan writes about his prayerful decision to follow the teachings of 1 Corinthians - and not only those verses in chapter 11.

November 8, 2008: "Why I cut my hair and thoughts on the relevance of passages from 1 Corinthinas to life out here in Sudan", by Ryan Weeks.

Spending some time reading through his reports has been interesting and enjoyable too.


For more thoughts on the woman's headcovering from 1 Corinthians, see:

November 09, 2008, "A call for a new Reformation in the church: Headcoverings?", by Arthur Sido at "the voice of one crying out in suburbia" [Michigan] blog.

"Headcovering". An article with links found at The conclusion from this article:

Our freedom in Messiah allows the Lord to bless us without regard for anything beyond simple faith - to a degree. While we are young, and, for a season, the Lord allows us to be weaned on the milk of the word, and there is in that early season of our development relatively little expectation about our behavior. As we mature, we come to a place of greater expectation, learning the Lord’s discipline for those whom he loves, and we are brought into a place of abiding. The Lord draws us closer and we learn to enjoy Him particularly as a friend, while at the same time coming to greatly respect his holiness and authority. The Lord deals with us individually, in a way very personally suited to who we are. Now, you may rightly say that the Lord has blessed you greatly despite any prior ignorance and neglect of certain practices. However, there comes a time when the holy spirit convicts us of the need to change. Perhaps the spirit has been moving upon you with regard to headcovering.

Headcovering as a practice of the church is similar to the practices of baptism and the bread and wine communion.They should be practiced in the proper ways giving the Lord due honor; bringing blessing to those who practice them and bearing the appropriate and intended powerful testimony before witnesses. They should not be viewed as merely carnal practices but rather as they are in truth; spiritual. Proper instruction concerning them is certainly the duty of those appointed to minister to the assemblies of saints through teaching, but, indeed, each man is personally responsible to search out truth for himself whether what he is being taught is actually so.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Are you the only one covering?

Read a conversation between members of the community: "if you wear a mantilla.. ". Regarding Catholic women who desire to wear a head covering, but what if you're the only one? Be encouraged.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Quebec versus the Headcovering

Do you remember the recent world making news that France rejected a woman from becoming a French citizen because she held on to her extreme form of modest Muslim dress including a face covering? (She had learned French very well, and had "integrated" in other ways.) So that this won't happen to them, perhaps, and for other reasons, the French Canadian province du Quebec has outlined a more clearly written list of requirements, so that you may know in advance what will be and will not be accepted from its citizens, should you consider moving there.

"We have consensus- Charest"
The Gazette, Montreal, November 8, 2008

The crisis over reasonable accommodation of newcomers to Quebec, seen by some in the province as a threat to their identity, has been settled, Premier Jean Charest said yesterday

"Today, we have a consensus on the measures that we have adopted," the premier said on a campaign stop in the Mauricie region, where the identity debate was set off two years ago when the village of Hérouxville adopted its code for living, which banned the burning of women, genital excision and attributes of non-Christian religions, such as head coverings and kirpans [Sikh ceremonial daggers].

"Not everyone will agree and we don't expect we will get unanimity on these measures," he added.

Starting in January, immigrants to Quebec must sign a declaration saying they will respect Quebec's common values and promise to learn French, acknowledge they understand that men and woman have equal rights and that political and religious powers are separate.The immigration application of anyone who refuses to sign the declaration will be rejected.

I hope that I don't sound ignorant for asking how the village of Herouxville adopted a code which banned "attributes of non-Christian religions, such as head coverings", when head coverings are an attribute of many varieties of those in the "Christian religions", including Roman Catholic.

The 2001 census showed the population to be 83.4% Catholic Christian (including 83.2% Roman Catholic); 4.7% Protestant Christian (including 1.2% Anglican, 0.7% United Church; and 0.5% Baptist); 1.4% Orthodox Christian (including 0.7% Greek Orthodox); and 0.8% Other Christian; as well as 1.5% Muslim; 1.3% Jewish; 0.6% Buddhist; 0.3% Hindu; and 0.1% Sikh. An additional 5.8% of the population said they had no religious affiliation (including 5.6% who stated that they had no religion at all). - wikipedia/Quebec

So which heritage and identity are we going for there, Quebec?

Friday, November 7, 2008

Christian Men in Hats?

The Gadfly blogger posts on November 6, 2008, "Right Message, Wrong Backing", concerning the reason why men are asked to remove their head coverings during a chapel service.

Malone University [Ohio] has mandatory Chapels. That is to say, there are gatherings twice a week in a room that used to be a sanctuary in a building that used to be a church where we go to sing Contemporary Christian Music and/or listen to speakers with varying degrees of spirituality and sports metaphor in their content, and we are expected to go to twenty of these throughout the semester.

Chapel has always requested that we remove our hats, hoods, and other head coverings while in Chapel. I have no issue with this. They also ask that we have our cell phones set to silent. This is no issue, either. Both are signs of respect, and I do my best to give respect where it is due.

Last school year, I noticed that the overhead displays asking us to remove our hats weren't just asking for their removal. They were asking us to remove our hats as Moses removed his shoes before the Lord (a reference to Exodus 3:5).
Therein lies the problem, says this young man. How is this verse a reason for removing a hat in worship? And isn't there a more appropriate Scripture? Reading the whole essay at the title link above, and notice his concluding remarks:

I make no judgments about Women who do not cover their heads while praying. It could well have been contextual. The references to the created order clearly require some sort of separation or distinction, though. The options are: in the context in which Paul wrote, the specific sign that was necessary was Women covering their heads and Men having their heads uncovered, but those specifics are no longer necessary, OR Paul was writing for all time and Women ought always have their heads covered, men, uncovered. I personally feel convicted by this passage of scripture, and so I always remove my hat to pray, even if I am only praying for a few seconds.

My response to the claim that we are neither Man nor Woman in Christ is simple: this is true. Neither sex nor gender has any bearing on our salvation. However, it is ignorant to think that this means we are no longer distinct. Just as Christ's sacrifice did not physically remove differentiations between Man and Woman, it has not changed the way in which we relate to the world either. Eve was a helper to Adam. A "helper" is not one who does the same exact thing as the one they help. Neither is the helper a slave or even a servant. A helper fulfills a role separate from but not inferior to the one being helped. And there is nothing to suggest the removal of this distinction, especially in light of the many New Testament references to the differing roles of Men and Women.

Malone is right to tell us to remove our hats (at least, the men). I respect their rules. However, to use the example of Moses and not Paul disrespects the passage in Exodus for using it to support what it was not intended to, the passage in First Corinthians for not using it to support the very thing it was explicitly written about, and us as students for not considering us smart enough to notice or respectful enough to follow the rules for their own sake.


And if you are considering Christian men in head coverings during worship and are wondering about why some men in the clergy do wear caps while they serve the church, when you have the time, please read the "St. Mary the Protectress" blog, November 6, 2008: "Phiro d’Kohnutho - THE FRUIT OF PRIESTHOOD - The Skull Cap of the Syrian Priesthood", an essay by Kuriakos Tharakan Thottupuram, Ph.D., D.D., including history and information on the Jewish tradition, as well as of the early Orthodox and Roman traditions. [Since I wonder about these things myself and had always read the passage in 1 Corinthians the way the young man above read it, I did find a few answers. It has to do with working in the traditions and understandings of the Jewish ways and the culture of the Roman Empire. If I am reading this right. what do you think?]

On many occasions I was asked about the significance of the skull cap worn by the priests of the Syrian Church, both in the Middle East and in India. Recently there were some inquiries about it by our readers. Hence we are trying to educate our readers about the relevance of skull caps worn by our clergy.

In the Syrian Church this skull cap is called Elbishto d’Kurobo, the cap for offering the sacrifice, and it is also called Phiro d’Kohnutho, the Fruit of Priesthood (one may find different spellings for these terms in other publications).

Clergy of other churches also wear the same or similar caps or skull caps during their liturgical functions. But all these practices share the same traditions.

. . .

We have already explained that the Jewish priests and rabbis had been covering their heads during prayers and religious services. Christian priests and bishops also followed the same custom, because they considered themselves to be the ministers of a perfected Judaism, not as a separate religion. It was the same tradition of Jewish priests that the early Christian priests and bishops accepted when they celebrated the Eucharist, which is the mystical Paschal sacrifice of the New Covenant. Thus the black skull cap became a common headwear for Christian clergy as a continuation of the Jewish priestly practice. The Christian clergy continued this practice even after the separation of the Church from Judaism.

. . .

In the Syrian Church the bishops and chorepiscopi take off their linen/velvet crown (bathrashil) or black biretta (miter) when they sing the prayers of Eucharistic consecration, when they read the Gospels, and when the Eucharistic elements are exposed. The skull cap for the Syrians is a symbol and the fruit of priesthood and it symbolizes the crown of Jesus while He was offering the eternal sacrifice; and hence it will remain on the head of the priest even during the most important moments of the liturgical services. On the other hand, crowns and birettas are objects signifying authority, and therefore are to be taken of when the Sovereign of the universe is present sacramentally or through the Word of God in the Gospels. Moreover, it is logical to think that priests are slaves before the King of kings, and have to cover their heads before their Master like the Roman slaves did.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

We Just Can't Agree

Disagreements abound. Christian, Jewish, Muslim, secular. What kind? How big? What about see-through, like lace or sheer material? When and how often to wear? Necessary or not? Just for modesty? How much is modest? What kind of modesty (totally humble and plain or just not sexually immodest)? What about submission? Is it cultural? How much a part does fashion play in it? What about practicality? And what about wigs? Can one find any of these answers in the letter of the law in the Books? Or is it really only a matter of each woman and her husband's hearts?

Sometimes people argue about these things, putting those whom they disagree with down, insulting them. Sometimes people respect someone else's understanding and choice. Sometimes, people just present their point of view out loud, knowing that someone may be searching, and they may be able to say something to help them make the most appropriate decision.

Here are some various points of view:

"Sheitels: Holy or Evil?" posted by Reb Akiva, 11/05/2008, at Mystical Paths

"The Jilbaab and what garments can substitute it" Posted on November 6, 2008, by melbmuslims, at Everyday Muslims

"WHAT’S IN A DRESS CODE ? Bare or burkha?", November 04, 2008, in Miriam's Topical Topics

"Muslim's suit over scarves in Calif. jail settled", by GILLIAN FLACCUS, November 3, 2008, AP

"Muslim artist gets death threats", BBC, 31 October 2008

Mr. Poll results on 1 Corinthians 11:2-16


A couple more articles:

"Untangling the Controversy Over Wigs", November 7, 2008, in Little Frumhouse on the Prairie blogger

"Should Muslim women be allowed to wear scarves in jail?", November 7, 2008, By SALVADOR HERNANDEZ, The Orange County Register

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Christian Headcovering Testimony

I found this to be a lovely read.

"The Sign on My Head", by Muhala Akamau of "Testimony and Truth" at blogspot, November 03, 2008. Here, from the beginning:
I've enjoyed wearing headwraps, so I was on YouTube flipping through various tutorials on different ways to wrap a headwrap. Pretty simple, right? Somehow or other, I found myself confronted with the notion of covering my head. The emotion was so strong, it was undeniable. I felt strongly that God was dealing with me about covering my head (that is, in the biblical sense of head covering). I thought this was crazy! It just didn't seem to make sense. It seemed unreasonable. Something I'd seen on YouTube started me on a hunt. I caught wind of what sounded like some sort of crazy movement: some modern day (non-Mennonite, non-Amish) Christian women covering their heads. What?! I thought it sounded a bit ridiculous, yet I was strangely engrossed and wanted to learn more. I found myself undeniably attracted to this form of faith profession. I did more research --- Bible study tools, internet research, looking for books at the library, back to the Bible again, and to the passage that started this whole thing: I Cor. 11:2-16. It all felt so strange, so I talked to hubby, took it up with my pastor and talked about it with an old and trusted friend. I felt troubled in my spirit and it seemed I couldn't think about anything else but covering my head. ...
Please read her full entry at the above title link.


You may also find this an interesting testimonial:

"Plain Clothes Revisited: Empathy for Muslim Women", by Laura H. Weaver, in Mennonite Life, 2002.

Found via the Artizara Blog.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Quote of the Week

... What I saw at the Feast [of Sukkot] convinced me that if women of today weren't surrounded with all the garbage telling them that head coverings are "not necessary" or "bad" or "suppress you" or "are things of the past" or "just not necessary" or any of the other bogus and completely useless and unscriptural reasons to not ever wear one---then they would probably not be so opposed to it. Unfortunately our society has actually been the force suppressing women from being and doing what comes natural--head coverings in attire among other things.

- from a blog entitled: The Bemidbar Newsletter: October 30, 2008, "Returning" : "I am now returning from Sukkot--8 days of pure rejoicing before YHWH... 8 days of Beards and Tzitziyot (Tassels) and Head coverings and modest clothing ... and all the other things this world lacks which are proper and have been proper and always will be proper."

Why Hijab (Muslim Headcovering)

"iHijab 8-)", at A Beautiful Vision, wordpress, explains the choice to wear hijab while in London. Her explanation is simple, as she states: "My decision to wear wrap my first hijab and walk out into the world was one of understanding, excitement, honor, and fear." Beginning:
I came to London ready. Ready to learn, to be exposed to whatever, to experiment. You know, when in Europe, do as the Europeans do. But, something else was in store for me, mashallah. I went out twice during the first month in London but quickly decided that drinking and partying with drunk, crazy Americans was not fulfilling in anyway. Furthermore, I knew that I would rather be making meaningful connections with interesting people that I could learn from and share with and feel blessed. This was not going to happen, most likely, observing gals and girls feast on each others’ vices.

And being in London, weeks later I saw so many Muslimahs (a Muslim woman) with their hijabs and felt so inspired. Their grace humbled me. After thoughts and discussions, about a week ago, alhamdulillah, I took Shahada and declared my desire to strengthen my Imaan.

Part of this rediscovery has been constant reading of the Qu’ran and other texts to strengthen my knowledge. As expected, I came across the decree for women [and men] to be modest and lower their gaze. To dress modestly and guard their private parts. And, for women, to cover all except what is apparent, thus, requiring the at least a hijab.

Image above taken from this blog entry.

"My wife wears the hijab. I wish she didn't", by Robin Yassin-Kassab, in the UK Guardian's "The Observer", November 2 2008. A "he-said, she-said" article with personal points of view and understanding on the choice to cover, and its interpretations, by the author and his wife. At one point, he writes about the various meanings and understandings of the headcovering:

The hijab or its absence are symbolic of many different things in the bigger world out there. The cloth has become a flag waved by Islamists and Islamophobes to define each other. A Western-dressed Muslim woman may be stereotyped as a heroically uncaged virgin, or as the key sign of Muslim cultural loss. A veiled woman may be seen as authentic, or, more usually in the West, as ignorant, backward, repressed and oppressed. To some, Muslim women in headscarves look like unity, power, cultural pride. To others, they look like abused cattle. The hijab is compulsory in public in Saudi Arabia and Iran, and discriminated against by the regimes of Tunisia and Turkey. In some Middle Eastern countries, women's veils have been forcibly removed by soldiers in the street. Removing it, and putting it on, are loaded political acts.


"The Role of Women in an Islamic Society", by Maryam Chaudhry, USA, The Review of Religions, August 1995; re-posted to the forums. To introduce this article, or speech transcript, the author includes these thoughts:
Before I continue, however, I want to give you a brief introduction to Islam. Being a convert who was born and raised a Christian, I realise that your understanding of Islam is either limited or contains a lot of totally erroneous information. Also, if I talk about the role of women in Islam it will make no sense without a basic understanding of the religion. I am going to ask you to put aside your paradigms for the next hour or so and to keep your mind open to new ideas. I will pose some questions and I will present to you different alternatives. We will play a game of what if? What if you are not here today by chance? What if what you hear today is the truth and could be the beginning of a whole new life for you? Bear with me patiently for a while. ...

And to take a portion of the talk out of context (you will read patiently through the author's thoughts to get their full understanding, but I present this here for a sample of her thoughts.):

Going back to the question of modest dressing, nuns dressed modestly because they did not intend to marry therefore did not want to attract the attention of members of the opposite sex. But Islam wants all women to be pure, and all men also, no double standards in Islam. What you wear affects both how you feel about yourself and how others view you. For example, at my school, which is not air conditioned, the principal always wears a suit, no matter how hot it is. Teachers and parents know that well dressed children feel good about themselves, and teachers subconsciously view them as well cared for and treat them better. Well dressed children do better in school. Many public schools are now adopting uniform policies for the students because wearing a uniform puts the student in a learning mood and makes the teachers view them as potential learners. This affects both the student and the teacher's behaviour so that the entire atmosphere becomes conducive to learning. Also, even in my childhood, women used to wear veils when they entered the church which points to the relationship between dress and attitude.

Islam prescribes modesty for both men and women in order to maintain a pure Islamic society. As a matter of fact, the responsibility to create and maintain this society starts with men:

Be chaste and your women will be chaste (Hadith).

Saturday, November 1, 2008



I'm currently listening to, but haven't finished yet, listening to the preacher at the site above speaking on the passages in 1 Corinthians discussing head coverings and women in worship. The preacher is handling this as a touchy, difficult passage, so it takes him quite a while to get to the subject, because he's trying to deal with the sensitivities of his audience and soften things with a conversational (almost rambling) tone. But he makes some good points in there about obedience and authority. [The important subject is that of the role of women, as presented in the Bible, and it is not a well-received or understood topic in our part of the world; but it is necessary to understanding the place of "headcovering".] A three part lesson so far, each section about an hour long.


Please read the first comment below for a response from the preacher, Trevor Hammack, regarding his purpose, and links to his Bible talks at I can certainly appreciate the idea that many people interpret this (and other) scripture in a variety of ways, which is why I did like his comment in the first talk that we must agree to obey God, even if we don't like what we hear. Thanks to this preacher, and others who have posted blogs and audio or video online, regarding this subject - to share thoughts and learning, and to help others understand more of why one book written in black and white can appear in a rainbow of colors, depending on the shade of glasses a person wears when they approach its teaching.

Head Coverings, Hollywood, and Jewsh Religious Perspective

Seraphic Secret: "Hollywood, the Head Game"

Photos of early Hollywood lady stars in head coverings of various styles, and in the comments, an answer, with links, to the poster's question on telling the difference in a Jewish lady's religious perspectives in Israel based on what head covering style she wears. From the comment, and no claim to being absolutely correct:

Hats (with minimal or no hair showing) -- usually Modern Orthodox

Snoods --
(a) knitted -- Modern Orthodox
(b) solid-color, Turban Like -- Chassidic

Wigs with small hat-like covers -- Chassidic

Wigs alone -- Modern Orthodox, Yeshivish, or Chassidic

Wigs (in a woman wearing pants -- Chemotherapy )

Kerchiefs -- Modern Orthodox / Settlers / Kibbutzniks

Traditional Sephardic Women have differently designed headcoverings, depending on their original communities, although also sometimes just wear 'wigs alone'



A short list of links to websites on the subject of Christian headcovering and modest apparel