To mark International Hijab [’Hijaab] Solidarity Day 2005, Protect-Hijab hosted a conference on Hijab Unveiled: A Day of Reflection’ at the Kensington Town Hall, London, on September 9.
“Despite a huge growth in the number of Muslim women who choose to wear the ’hijaab in Britain today, there are still many stereotypes and misconceptions that surround this piece of clothing.
One of the aims of Protect-Hijab is to educate and raise awareness and the Conference did both of these”, said Chair of Protect Hijab, Rajnaara Akhtar.
Shey’k Haitham Alhuddad, a member of the Islaamic Sharee’ah Council, argued that the’hijaab was “waajib” (obligatory) using various verses from the ’Qura~n and sayings of the Prophet (peace be upon him).
Alhuddad said, “It is clear that it is a matter of obligation according to ’Qura~n and according to the Prophetic traditions and the practice of the companions. That’s why all Muslims with their various affiliations and inclinations agree upon the obligation of the ’hijaab.
I can challenge anyone to bring me a single scholar, Sunni, Shia, Mu’tazila, Khwarij, whatever - all of them have agreed on the principles of the’hijaab and the principles of jilbaab.” Shay’k Alhuddad said that: “We Muslims are part of the society and according to the obligation imposed on us by Allaah the Almighty; we have to work for the betterment of this society.
How can we do that?
By being good Muslims and by passing the message of Islaam. Part of passing the message of Islaam is passing the Principles of ’hijaab. We as Muslims promote ’hijaab.” The former President of the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB), Dr. Anas Al-Tikriti, said that he supported the campaign of Protect-hijab. “People are quite familiar with and recognize it. Wherever I go, whether in Malaysia, Australia or South Africa, people recognize and admire the ’hijaab campaign and try to emulate it. This campaign, which is driven 100% by women, is a testimony to the fact that gives them far more credibility than we do some time.”
“Inequality is not just a Muslim thing; inequality is a universal global problem. But enemies of Islaam will seize upon the inequalities within the Muslim world and use them to demonise us,” said Yvonne Ridley, a journalist and Editor of the Islaam Channel. “These very same enemies attack the’hijaab and say this is a sign of oppression and subjugation.
The presence of so many sisters with the ’hijaab here today simply proves that is not true,” she said. Ridley argued that the hijaab was not the mark of oppression, rather it is “part of the Muslim woman’s business suit. It says that I am a Muslim; therefore you will treat me with respect.
This business suit tells you that I am in business and you have to take it seriously. And so the ’hijaab tells the non-Muslims I am a Muslim woman.” Ridley agreed with Shey’k Alhuddad that the’hijaab is an obligation.
“It does not matter how you interpret the ‘Qura~n, the’hijaab is an obligation. If it is the symbol of oppression as Cherie Booth and Laura Bush said, then shouldn’t they say to the Vatican to liberate all of those Roman Catholic nuns?”
Ridley was alluding to the international press conferences in November 2001 following the invasion and bombing of Afghanistan where Laura Bush and Cherie Booth “tried to justify their husbands’ actions by talking about this veiled oppression of Afghan women” and added that Laura and Cherie were “horribly exploited by their powerful husbands to go in front of the camera and try and justify the obscenity of the bombing in Afghanistan.”
MAB member, Raghad Osama [Ra’gad Ousaamah], spoke about the rights accorded to women by Islaam.
She said that women had a right of inheritance, the right to choose their spouse and their equality with men. Osama said the reason behind the ’Hijaab was to “protect the basic unit of society in Islaam, and that’s to protect family not individual.
The whole society works to protect that unit, wife and children. In Islaam sexual relationship before marriage is forbidden. So Allaah asks us not to indulge in adultery and not to have illegal relationships. He has given us a tool to survive. To show a sign of modesty.”
Respect Party member, Salma Yaqoob [Salma Ya‘qoob], said that every religion, whether it is Judaism, Buddhism or Christianity, stands for modesty. She quoted both from Old and New Testament about covering of the head. “There is also a verse in the ‘Qura~n (Chapter 24, verse 30) which says to the believing men to lower their gaze and maintain their modesty. It also says to the believing women to lower their gaze and guard their modesty.”
“’hijaab is protection, it is a part of our social structure. Islaam is moderation with limits, freedom with limits. I am not suppressed.
For me that is liberation,” said Salma Yaqoob.She added that Islam has given a social system about protecting the family unit.
“This is how the concept of the ’hijaab works. Protection is better than cure. Wedding band or wedding ring is a signal to the people that I am attached. As the western society does it by wearing wedding ring, for us it is our ’hijaab, by wearing the ’hijaab means we are not available.”
Caroline Lucas, the Member of the European Parliament from the Green Party, said she has tried to raise awareness on the issues of the ’hijaab in the European Parliament and with the EU policymakers across party platform.
“We worked together and put forward the resolution, saying it is an infringement of human rights (to ban wearing of the ’hijaab), particularly the European Convention of Human Rights.” She urged the French Government to “eliminate the ban and investigate to improve the opportunity of religious as well racial minorities.”
• Originally published in Muslim News.
• Republished in cooperation with rotect-Hijab: www.prohijab.net
|< Prev||Next >|