Political Islam, By Bill Warner:
Most people see the hijab as religious or cultural, but the hijab is a symbol of the Sharia and has a very political meaning.
Political Islam, By Bill Warner:
Most people see the hijab as religious or cultural, but the hijab is a symbol of the Sharia and has a very political meaning.
Robert Spencer has replied at great length and depth to Robert P. George of First Things and Michael Potemra of the National Review here, but I just want to zero in on one issue.
George writes, “I admire Muslim women and all women who practice the virtue of modesty, whether they choose to cover their hair or not. There are many ways to honor modesty and practices vary culturally in perfectly legitimate ways.”
Unfortunately he is operating under a misapprehension. The Hijab and the Burka and variations of mandatory female coverings have nothing to do with modesty.
The Koranic verse that mandates covering states, “O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks all over their bodies that they may thus be distinguished and not molested” (Koran 33:59)
That’s not modesty. The covering is being worn to avoid rape.
The key words here are “distinguished and not molested”. Whom are these women being distinguished from? Women who don’t cover up and can be molested. One Koranic commentator explicitly makes that very point as I discuss in Muslim Rape Culture.
This isn’t modesty. It’s repression and fear. As Robert Spencer points out, the Hijab is accompanied by repression.
Aqsa Parvez’s Muslim father choked her to death with her hijab after she refused to wear it. Amina Muse Ali was a Christian woman in Somalia whom Muslims murdered because she wasn’t wearing a hijab. Forty women were murdered in Iraq in 2007 for not wearing the hijab.
There’s an endless list of similar cases. Robert P. George might want to examine the religious freedom he is really defending.
A survey conducted in France in May 2003 found that 77 percent of girls wearing the hijab said they did so because of physical threats from Islamist groups.
We can’t dismiss a number that large as the work of a handful of extremists. And this isn’t taking place in some Third World country. It’s happening in France.
More often the girls were under orders from their fathers and uncles and brothers, and even their male classmates. For the boys, transforming a bluejeaned teen-age sister into a docile and observant “Muslim” virgin was a rite de passage into authority, the fast track to becoming a man, and more important, a Muslim man…. it was also a license for violence.
Girls who did not conform were excoriated, or chased, or beaten by fanatical young men meting out “Islamic justice.” Sometimes the girls were gang-raped. In 2002, an unveiled Muslim girl in the cite of Vitry-sur-Seine was burned alive by a boy she turned down.
Jane Kramer, Taking the Veil, New Yorker
This isn’t modesty. It has nothing in common with modesty in the Jewish and Christian traditions which is about individual character.
Islamist activists and settlers in the West have learned how to phrase their arguments to tap into the worldviews and moral codes of indigenous cultures, but it would be a mistake to confuse the argument with the reality.
The Hijab and the Burka are not voluntary and they have nothing to do with modesty. The various Islamic coverings are motivated by fear, shame and abuse.
By SUZANNAH HILLS:
The way Muslim women should dress in public has been a strongly debated topic in recent months.
But a new study has now revealed what the citizens of different Muslim countries believe is appropriate female dress – and how widely views differ between them.
The survey was conducted across seven countries – Tunisia, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey – which all have a majority Muslim population.
And the research from the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research found that most residents in these countries prefer women to cover their hair with a traditional hijab, al-Amira or head scarf rather than cover their entire face with a full burqa or niqab.
Researchers asked respondents to pick their favoured style of female Muslim dress from a chart, assembled by the Pew Research Center, showing a range of clothing from the full burka (see image one on the chart above) and niqab (see image two) to types of hijabs (image four and five) to no head covering at all (image six).
The majority of those questioned – 57 per cent in Tunisia, 52 per cent in Egypt, 46 per cent in Turkey and 44 per cent in Iraq – believed the white hiqab or basic al-Amira (shown in image four) is the most appropriate dress for a Muslim woman.
But the more conservative black hijab or chador (shown in image three) was the second favourite choice of citizens in Iraq and Egypt.
And a 63 per cent-majority of those polled in Saudi Arabia chose the second most conservative form of dress, a niqab, which is depicted in image two.
Read more at Daily Mail
by Soeren Kern:
The law [banning the veil] also liberates women because the wearing of veils “is totally incompatible with the very idea of equality,” according to Annie Sugier, head of the International League for Women’s Rights.
“[H]er aim is not to annoy others but to feel at inner peace with herself.” — Part of Court’s summary of the case.
The court has deemed the case to so important that it has taken the unusual step of referring it to the Grand Chamber, the Court’s highest chamber.
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has opened a landmark hearing to consider the legality of France’s ban on wearing Islamic veils in public spaces.
The court’s ruling—expected to be issued sometime during the middle of 2014—will determine the fate of the debate over so-called burqa bans (here, here, here, here and here) that have been raging across Europe for many years.
The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France. The ECHR is considering the legality of France’s restrictions on wearing the Islamic veil in public. (Image source: CherryX/WikiMedia Commons)
The court has deemed the case so important that it has taken the unusual step of referring it to the Grand Chamber, the court’s highest chamber that handles the most significant and leading-edge questions affecting the interpretation and application of the European Convention on Human Rights.
The court began hearing the case—which is being brought by a 23-year-old French Muslim woman identified only by her initials S.A.S.—on November 27.
According to a summary of the case published by the court, S.A.S. sued the French State on April 11, 2011, when legislation banning people from covering their faces in public places came into force. The document states:
“In the applicant’s submission, she is a devout Muslim and she wears the burqa and niqab in accordance with her religious faith, culture and personal convictions. As she has explained, the burqa is a full-body covering including a mesh over the face, and the niqab is a full-face veil leaving an opening only for the eyes. The applicant also emphasizes that neither her husband nor any other member of her family puts pressure on her to dress in this manner. She adds that she wears the niqab in public and in private, but not systematically. She is thus content not to wear the niqab in certain circumstances but wishes to be able to wear it when she chooses to do so. Lastly, her aim is not to annoy others but to feel at inner peace with herself.”
S.A.S. argued that the French law violates six articles of the European Convention on Human Rights. These are: Article 3 (no one shall be subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment); Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life); Article 9 (freedom of thought, conscience and religion); Article 10 (freedom of expression); Article 11 (freedom of assembly and association); and Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination).
France’s “burqa ban” entered into force on April 11, 2011. The law—which prohibits the wearing of Islamic body-covering burqas and face-covering niqabs in all public spaces in France—was enacted amid rising frustration that the country’s estimated 6.5 million Muslims are not integrating into French society.
Read more at Gatestone Institute
by Soeren Kern:
Many Muslim groups…have been marketing themselves as “inter-faith” schools in an effort to qualify for [free school] government funding. More then 80 free schools — at least a dozen of which are catering specifically to Muslim students — are currently operating in Britain and another 200 are in the planning stage.
A taxpayer-funded Muslim school in England has inflamed public anger after it emerged that the institution is operating according to Islamic Sharia law.
Islamic fundamentalists running the Al-Madinah School in Derby, an industrial city in central England, have ordered all female teachers — including those who are not Muslim — to cover their heads and shoulders with a hijab, an Islamic scarf.
In addition to the strict dress code, pupils have been banned from singing songs, playing musical instruments, or reading fairy tales, activities deemed to be “un-Islamic,” according to non-Muslim staff members at the school.
The Al-Madinah School in Derby, England.
Girls as young as four are required to sit at the back of the classroom, behind the boys, regardless of whether they can properly see the chalkboard. Girls must also wait for all the boys to get their lunches before they can eat.
When teaching children the alphabet, staff are prohibited from associating the letter ‘P’ with the word “pig.” Female staff are banned from wearing jewelry and are instructed to avoid shaking hands with male teachers to prevent “insult.” Naturally, all non-halal food is outlawed at the school.
The revelations about the un-British goings-on at the Al-Madinah School — some staffers have compared the working conditions at the school to “being in Pakistan” — are fueling outrage over what some are describing as underhanded attempts to establish a parallel Islamic education system in Britain.
Critics say the school — which originally marketed itself as an “inter-faith” school in order to qualify for taxpayer monies — promised that at least 50% of its students would be non-Muslim. Now that it has obtained £1.4 million (€1.7 million; $2.25 million) in government financing, however, the administrators of Al-Madinah are switching gears by operating the school according to Islamic law, apparently to ensure that the school will be 100% Muslim.
The Al-Madinah School opened in September 2012 as a so-called free school, which is similar to a private school in that it operates beyond the control of local authorities, but is different from a private school in that its operations are paid for by British taxpayers.
Free schools were introduced by the ruling Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government in 2011 based on the argument that such schools would create more competition for public schools and thus drive up educational standards.
The new free school policy makes it possible for parents, teachers, charities and businesses to set up their own schools, along with the freedom to decide the length of school day and term, the curriculum, teacher pay and how budgets are spent.
More than 80 free schools — at least a dozen of which are catering specifically to Muslim students — are currently operating in Britain and another 200 are in the planning stage.
British Education Secretary Michael Gove has said that Muslim fundamentalists would not be allowed to set up free schools, and the Department of Education has established guidelines to discourage Muslim separatism. As a result, many Muslim groups seeking to establish free schools have been marketing themselves as “inter-faith” schools in an effort to qualify for government funding.
Read more at Gatestone Institute
By Daniel Greenfield at Front Page
When Shaima Alawadi was found beaten to death in her own dining room with a tire iron, CAIR and countless Muslim organizations rejoiced, and not just for the usual reason that Muslims rejoice when a woman is murdered, but because they had their own living dead proof that Islamophobia was the biggest problem in America since German Measles.
A note lying on the floor read, “Go back to your country, you terrorist;” which clearly meant that Shaima Alawadi’s murder was a hate crime, probably by someone who spent a lot of time reading Robert Spencer, joining militias and working on a Kibbutz.
There was talk of organizing a One Million Hijabs for Shaima Alawadi march, which in Saudi Arabia is just known as another Wednesday. Muslims and useful idiots began uploading photos of themselves in Hijabs with signs reading “I Am Shaima”. A Sojourners blog used the murder to compare Islamophobia to the Holocaust and the Rwandan genocide.
The truth about the murder of Shaima Alawadi was that she wasn’t murdered by someone who hated Islam, but by a Muslim, in keeping with the teachings of Islam which permit husbands to beat their wives. Shaima Alawadi was indeed murdered because of her Hijab, not because of prejudice against her Hijab, but because of the misogynistic culture that the Hijab represents.
Like so many Muslim women, Shaima Alawadi was murdered in an honor killing by her husband. Like so many Muslim women, she was forced into an arranged marriage at a young age, 15, and lived an unhappy life. Like so many Muslim women, she perpetuated the generational oppression of women, passing on the same misery to her unhappy daughters. And like so many Muslim women, when her desire for freedom conflicted with the Islamic patriarchy, she was murdered for it.
According to court documents revealed in the New York Times, Alawadi’s eldest daughter, Fatima, was found in a car with a 21-year-old man. After her mother picked her up, Fatima said “I love you, Mom” and jumped out of the car going 35 m.p.h., sustaining injuries. While recovering in the hospital, Fatima told authorities that she was being forced to marry a cousin in Iraq — not the man with whom she’d been in the car. Alhimidi, Alawadi’s husband, is in Iraq with his two eldest children (Fatima and her brother) for her funeral. They are expected to return the U.S. later this month.
This is the true hate crime here. Not American hatred of Muslims, but Muslim hatred of women and Muslim women participating in the oppression of other Muslim women until the dam breaks.
There ought to be a one million march of Hijabs for Shamia Alhimidi, empty Hijabs commemorating the Muslim women murdered by their husbands and their brothers, those who committed suicide, jumping out of cars, drinking acid or hanging themselves.
And it’s time for us to wake up to the meaning of the Hijab and the Koran.
One final note
Alzaidy told the newspaper her father and Alawadi’s husband had previously worked together in San Diego as private contractors for the U.S. Army, serving as cultural advisers to train soldiers who were going to be deployed to the Middle East.
A Muslim man who beat his wife to death with a tire iron and then tried to blame the crime on Americans is who we were using as a cultural adviser. And it makes sense. Because that is the culture of the Muslim world.
As the number of 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.
Read more at IPT
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.
Many are the lessons to be learned between the Iranian Revolution of 1979 and the current revolutions of the Arab world.
Consider the issue of the hijab, the female “veil”—the proliferation of which, according to one former Islamist and associate of al-Qaeda’s Ayman Zawahiri, is associated with a Muslim society’s downward spiral into oppression and terror.
Prior to Egypt’s presidential elections, the Muslim Brotherhood candidate, Muhammad Morsi, assured the nation’s liberals and secularists that, as president, he would certainly not enforce the hijab: “Many people are speaking nonsense, saying that I will impose the hijab against the will of the people; no one is going to force anyone to wear a specific uniform.”
These are famous words, spoken almost verbatim some 33 years earlier, in Iran, at the time of the 1979 revolution. In fact, during the early days of the revolution, Ayatollah Mahmud Taleghani, a popular mullah, to reassure the secularists who participated in the overthrow of the Shah that an Islamic government would certainly not interfere with their freedoms, declared in the March 11, 1979 edition of Iran’s newspaper, Ettela’at, that “The hijab will not be a matter of coercion.”
The rest is history. Within months of the founding of the Islamic Republic, the 1967 Family Protection Law was repealed, female government workers were made to wear the hijab, women were barred from becoming judges, sex-segregation laws were promulgated, the marriage age for girls was dropped to 13, and married women were barred from attending regular schools. Today, Iranian women are regularly beaten if they are not dressed in appropriate hijab.
The parallels between Iran and Egypt do not end there. While today it is standard to think of the 1979 Iranian revolution as a purely Islamic affair, in fact, many of the revolutionaries were secular, liberal, Marxist, non-Muslim, etc. The one goal that glued them altogether was the desire to overthrow the autocratic Shah. Many of these Iranians did not want an Islamic government, certainly not a theocracy. And indeed, not just the Ayatollah Taleghani, but the Ayatollah Khomeini himself played down Sharia’s draconian role to mobilize all these divergent segments of society—until he was fully entrenched in power, that is.
In short, the Iranian Revolution began as a heterodox affair, with different revolutionary factions and different ideological agendas, but it ended with the rise of a totalitarian Islamic republic.
Sound familiar? This is precisely what is happening today in Egypt, where the one unifying goal of the revolution was the overthrow of the Mubarak regime; where many Egyptians are secularist, liberal, Christian, etc., and certainly do not want an Islamic government; and where the Islamists, like the Muslim Brotherhood, are busy reassuring everyone that all their freedoms will be preserved.
Based on the Iranian model and the ongoing “Arab Spring,” two lessons emerge as to how Islamists manage to consolidate power: 1) through outright lies and false promises, justified through Islamic doctrines like taqiyya and tawriya; and 2) through gradual implementation. This is how the mullahs achieved power in Iran, and this is how the Muslim Brotherhood—which is on record saying that its gradual, long-term goal is “mastership of the world“—is working to achieve power in Egypt, seen as the first domino on the road to caliphate.
Read the rest at Front Page
The above caricature, which first appeared on CagleCartoons.com, has been making the rounds on the Arabic blogosphere, and points to how democratic elections are serving to Islamize Egypt: average women enter the ballot box—“overseen” by the Muslim Brotherhood—only to emerge thoroughly veiled, thoroughly Islamized.
Speaking of veils and the Brotherhood, here’s an interesting video of Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser (1956-1970), showing just how much times have changed.
Speaking before a large assembly, Nasser told of how back in 1953 he wanted to cooperate with the Muslim Brotherhood, and met with its leader. (Nasser eventually learned that the only response to the Brotherhood is suppression, not cooperation, a lesson John Kerry and others in the current administration would do well to consider.)
According to Nasser, the very first demand of the Brotherhood leader was for the hijab to return to Egypt, “for every woman walking in the street to where a headscarf.”
The audience erupted in laughter at this, then, ludicrous demand; one person hollered “Let him wear it!” eliciting more laughter and applause.
Nasser continued by saying he told the Brotherhood leader that if they enforced the hijab, people would say Egypt had returned to the dark ages (to more laughter), adding that Egyptians should uphold such matters in the privacy of their own homes.
But the Muslim Brotherhood leader informed him that, as Egypt’s president, Nasser himself must enforce the hijab, to which Nasser replied:
Sir, I know you have a daughter in college—and she doesn’t wear a headscarf or anything! [laughter] Why don’t you make her wear the headscarf? [laughter] So you can’t make one girl, your own daughter, wear it, and yet you want me to go and make ten million women wear it?!” [burst of laughter and applause]
Gamel Abdel Nasser and wife Tahia, back in an era when the idea of institutionalizing the hijab provoked laughter and ridicule
Half a century later and none of this is a laughing matter: the hijab, if not the full burqa, is commonplace in Egypt, even as the Muslim Brotherhood—who for decades were banned and imprisoned for trying to return Egypt to an Islamic dark age—are now poised to govern the nation, all under U.S. tutelage.
As Sheikh Osama al-Qusi recently said, the great “mistake” of Nasser’s successor, president Anwar Sadat, was
not that he released these groups [Muslim Brotherhood] from the prisons after Gamal Abdel Nasser had incarcerated them; but rather for giving them the green light to work in all fields of Egyptian society, thinking he would use them to get rid of his Socialist and Communist opponents. So he permitted them to work in trade unions, school unions—giving them every opportunity to hold official positions [Emphasis added].
In other words, Sadat’s great mistake—which cost him his life—is that he conferred a degree of legitimacy on the Muslim Brotherhood, thereby allowing them to worm their way into Egyptian society.
At any rate, such is the way of time: left unchecked, what was once ludicrous to suggest—for instance, the Brotherhood’s 1953 request “for every woman walking in the street to where a headscarf”—slowly and gradually becomes part of the culture.
It is for this reason that Sharia poses a threat to the West—not because it will be imposed on Westerners, but rather because, little by little, decade after decade, aspects of it may gradually worm their way in.
Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum.