Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Hijab

The French president Mr Sarkozy has ordained that the Muslim women in his land shall not be allowed to use the veil anymore... the decision has caused an upheaval all over the world, Muslim or non Muslim. I live in an islamic republic and have so many friends who practise islam. My Muslim girlfriends in particular, are immensly accomplished. Highly educated, well travelled and deeply intellectual. They come from all walks of life and it is an honour to be friends with them. I dont see them being forced in to covering up by anyone whatsoever! If anything, they are some of the most liberated women I have come across. No, I dont get distracted when I interact with them and no, neither does it take anything away from their lovely personalities. So when a decree like this comes from a supposedly politically and culturally enlightened nation like France, it makes me want to take sides.

It is said that the islamic veil is not a religous symbol but rather a personal choice and an effort to seek closeness to God and a certain degree of detachment from vanity, an effort to focus on the holy and the godly manners which might be pleasing to God. I say what is wrong with that?
Precisely if it is not even a religous symbol why should it bother anyone? I dont find it offensive or weird or reggressive or even remotely reminiscent of a millitant minded individual out to bomb us all! It is a personal choice, for godness sake! It is a dilemma for me because I cannot imagine someone coming up to me and ordering me to cover up! What I find troubling is the way France is going the Saudi way... dont we know the strict dress codes imposed on one and all in Saudi Arabia, we all disagree with it but cannot do much about it. Why does a country like France need to emulate them? I think it doesn't bode well. What I find reggressive instead is, that any government or nation, man or woman imposing rules on us and taking away the right to choose. I as a woman will decide the way I want to dress myself.

In the same vein, what is so great about showing skin like you dont even value yourself ? What kind of satisfaction does a woman get out of flashing skin and getting stares from all and sundry? Why would she enjoy this kind of attention? I for one, endorse the idea of modest dressing completly. It is something I admire and encourage young girls to adopt. It especially takes courage to take a stand and say no popular culture and to be able to swim against the tide. If I had a daugther I would be pretty upset if she felt admired, accepted, considered hip and modern only if she bared her skin! It would reflect on my parenting standards if she sought such thrills... to be admired for her brains, pleasing manners, skills, and intellect would make me feel proud to be her parent. It wont take rocket science to figure which side I am on!

So no, I dont think Sarkozy should have announced this weird edict. And anyways, I really feel he should focus on more pressing issues like a failing economy and loss of jobs and similar such stuff. Leave the clothes (or the lack thereof) to us women Mr Prez! Now now, nobody is forcing your lovely wife to cover up are we??

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