I’ve often wondered, during those deep and mystical moments of my solitude what kind of a world is it that we have come to live in. As I immerse myself further into the depths of my train of thought, all remnants of mysticism appear to be obliterated when reality slaps me hard across the face and looms over casting an evil shadow on my ideal world…my utopia - indefinitely.
“What a wonderful world”, crooned Louis Armstrong back in 1967 with such sentimentally raspy vocals that you find yourself singing along in concurrence whenever the song is played. Even during those days, the world was plagued with a state of quagmires. In fact, looking back at history you will always come across “It was the best of the times and it was the worst of times” kind of scenario.
At particular times in history, some philosophers or schools of thought appear which have for us a very unusual view on life. They think that the world as we currently know it is the best possible world, and there’s nothing we either can do or should do to change it. We should wholeheartedly accept our present reality, coldly look at it and enjoy it. I beg to differ…
Our present state of the world is far from being wonderful or even remotely pleasant.
Today our ever so “wonderful world” accommodates loot and plunder, espionage, racketeering, inexplicable wars fought with massacres of innocent lives for someone’s agenda to be fulfilled, human and drug trafficking, an unrelenting corporate takeover tantamount to imperialism.
What really makes my blood boil is how women can be paid to strip naked yet simultaneously be forced to pay a fine just to be covered! Each and every quandary our glorious human race faces must be addressed yet how about we steer clear from them and tackle the issue of growing global oppression of the burqa/hijab/niqab/abaaya clad Muslim women.
Are Muslim women subjugated into covering themselves?
In the awe inspiring words of Naomi Wolf, a steadfast feminist:
“It is not that Islam suppresses sexuality, but that it embodies a strongly developed sense of its appropriate channeling”.
What must be made crystal clear to the non believers is that being a Muslim means committing yourself to Islam. Our body and soul are in complete unison and answerable to only one deity – Allah. Our ultimate goal is submission to his commandments and subservience in accordance to the revelations of the Holy Qur’an and teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
Contrary to what many people believe, hijabs and burqas are not to be taken as a Muslim uniform, nor does it have any ‘spiritual’ meaning.
Its purpose is simple and very practical, and it is clearly stated in the Qur’an: “Tell the faithful women that they must keep their gaze focused below, on the ground and cover their sexual organs. They must not put their beauty and their jewelry on display. They must hide their breasts behind a purdah. They must not exhibit their beauty to anybody except their husbands, brothers, nephews, womenfolk, servants, eunuch employees and children. They must not move their legs briskly while walking because then much of their bodies can get exposed.” (Sura Al Noor 24:31)
“Oh prophet, please tell your wives and daughters and faithful women to wear a covering dress on their bodies. That would be good. Then nobody can recognize them and harass them. Allah is merciful and kind.” (Sura Al Hijaab 33: 59)
Affirmatively, the only rationale behind why Muslim women cover themselves from head to foot is to protect them from sexual harassment. Why is that so hard to digest and accept without undue judgement and chauvinism? Why is it someone else’s faith is looked and admired at as ‘tradition’ or ‘culture’ yet Muslims are always chastised as oppressors? We Muslim women are not radical extremists or fundamentalist terrorists packing rifles or machine guns under our garb. We can voice our opinions which must be heard.
Global sacrilegious attitude:
Last year, several countries in Europe moved to ban the use of burqas and niqabs in public places, citing ostensibly security reasons.
In April 2011, France enforced a ban on the use of burqas and niqabs in public places as these garments were deemed oppressive to women. The measure imposes a fine of 150 euros and instruction in citizenship. Moreover, anyone found forcing a woman to cover her face may be fined 30,000 euros.
In July, Belgium enacted a ban on full-face veils in public places, saying their use is not compatible with a liberal society. Under the law, any woman wearing a burqa in public may be fined 137.50 euros and may face up to seven days in jail.
In August, an Italian parliamentary committee approved a draft law which would ban women from wearing veils that conceal their faces in public.
In September, the Dutch government announced it was considering a ban on burqas and niqabs in public places, saying their use goes against the equality of men and women. It also cited security concerns in pushing for the measure, which has yet to be passed.
A member of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) is on record having said that his party is opposed to the burqa because ‘it is a physical manifestation of extremist Islam which is intolerant and incompatible with Western liberal democracy.’
Thus in France the burqa is banned in all public places, the fine for a woman violating this law is a small one, but men who force their wives or daughters or sisters into wearing the burqa could face up to a year in jail and a fine equivalent to £25,000.
Shahed Sadullah writes in his section “London Eye” of Pakistan’s renowned English weekly magazine MAG – The Weekly (31 Aug – 06 Sep, 2013):
“To the western mind it is impossible to conceive that a woman would wear the burqa of her own free will. The conclusion, reached unanimously and without even a thought that it may not be correct, is that all women who wear the burqa do so only because some male member of their family, a dominant husband, father or brother, has forced them to wear it.
The burqa is so totally contradictory to the normal dress code of the western woman who does not mind attracting attention by wearing revealing dresses, that the idea that someone would choose to cover herself from head to toe of her own volition, at the cost of becoming not just less attractive but even an object of ridicule and hate, is something they just cannot accept.”
Crimes undertaken donning the Burqa:
The aforementioned writer Shahed Sadullah has written not once but thrice about the issue of the burqa in Britain over the weeks and only just recently in the latest issue of MAG – The Weekly (Nov 16 – 22, 2013). What appears to be giving the burqa a bad name are the demeaning antics carried out whilst cloaked under it.
TPIMs are Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures and are placed on terror suspects by the Home Secretary if officials decide they can’t be charged or deported. Mohamed cut off his electronic tag before he fled and has not been found since.
Department stores and jewelers where those who live a luxurious life and like to spend lavishly at have reportedly been raided by burqa clad thugs. So as far as security issues are concerned, if this point is raised as an alarm over the subject then that is understandable. Moreover, not only are males responsible for injustice to the burqa; women are just as cunning in getting away with crime.
Saduallah shares a case which took place in Britain: “A Muslim woman was charged of embezzling funds from a college where she worked as a purchasing officer, was allowed to proceed with her case wearing her veil, although after she was sentenced to a year in jail, the police issued a mugshot of her face without her veil.
The woman was accused of having systematically stolen thousands of pounds of taxpayers money earmarked for college equipment over a three year eight month period to fund a “lavish lifestyle.” She spent the stolen money on a holiday to Florida, solicitor’s bills for her divorce and builders’ costs including renovations to her bathroom. All that while religiously wearing the niqab!”
Distressing but true. We see it happening in our very own country, where women pose as the ever pious and successfully brainwash naïve people in entrusting their complete faith in them and their “super religious powers” only to be robbed of their valuables and life savings.
What could really help make amends and placate the monstrosity of the situation is if Muslim women took a strong stand and stood united against such intolerable bigotry.
If they could come out and convince the overwhelming majority that it is their choice to wear whatever dress they are wearing, more than half the battle would be won.