Stop the OBSESSION with hijabs

The hijab is a religious veil worn by the women of Islam to preserve their modesty. It’s what defines, liberates and empowers them as strong women and plays a key part to the Islamic culture.

Yet, in Western countries, it’s considered oppressive and ‘backwards.’

The West seem to have an obsessive relationship with the hijab, whereby hijab bans have risen in prominence in countries across Europe such as France, Belgium and Bulgaria.

However, In the last couple of days, we have also seen a rise in supposed ‘liberation’ of Muslim women within the UK.

Pimlico Academy in Westminster, Central London sought to ban colourful hijabs and natural hair in their new uniform policy. One that disproportionately affects two communities- Muslims and Black youth. 

The Muslim Council of Britain identified: ‘Muslims form 4.8% of the population of England and Wales’ whereby ‘76% of the Muslim population live in four regions: London, West Midlands, the North West and Yorkshire and The Humber.’ 

‘Muslims make up 12.4% of London’s population, with an increase of 405,000 between 2001 and 2011.’

Pimlico School in Westminster, Central London. Credits: TechnoTrenz.com

Pupils from the school have since, protested against this ‘racist’ uniform policy with many teachers threatening resignation as well as passing a vote of no-confidence for the headteacher.

Moreover, The French Senate has voted in favour of banning the hijab in public spaces for minors (under 18), wearing a burkini ( a modest swimsuit) as well as those wearing hijabs that attend school trips. This is just one of many hurdles that many French Muslim women face that affects the way they are perceived in society.

Photo by Mihai Surdu on Unsplash

“The French government’s denial and rejection of the term Islamophobia and the evocation of an arguably much more vague idea of ‘Islamism’ functions to demonise and otherise French Muslimness on multiple levels,” says East-Daas.

The irony behind these situations is that despite assuming hijab bans provide any good or rescue Muslim women, they are instead doing very much the opposite- oppressing them.

Discrimination against Muslim women with hijabs infiltrate throughout society whereby a study found that, ‘18% of Muslim women were unable to find a job when wearing a hijab (and in one case, the niqab) but once removed, they all found employment.’

If it isn’t forcing women to remove the hijab, its attacking those wearing it. The majority of anti-muslim attacks tend to happen to the women who wear a religious garment. 

According to MAMA (Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks) verified data, ‘attacks on Muslim women accounted for 58% of all incidents reported to it. Of those, 80% were visually identifiable (wearing hijab, Niqab or other clothing associated with Islam).’

Photo by Gabby K from Pexels

Women in some Muslim majority countries such as Iran are forced to wear the hijab yet in the West, they are being forced to remove it. It appears that the problem isn’t the hijab or the women, its men in these governments with a desire to dictate what a woman can or can’t wear.

Either way, stop obsessing.

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