When nonmuslim women choose to uncover, it is liberalism. When they choose to dress in layers, it is also a freedom of choice. When they choose to adorn a beautiful scarf on their head, it is a fashion statement. However, when a Muslim woman chooses to don a headscarf, it becomes a national threat. Showing only their eyes, and none of their faces is the potential growth of terrorist ideologies. Even when we very well know, face veils are not what promotes terrorism.
The wave of hatred against Islam has long been a weapon to justify much ill-treatment against Muslims. The bombing, poverty, exploitation, and last of all taking away their rights to clothing. Modest clothing. Western media has well covered the track of Islamaphobic notions but the recent advances in technology and globalism have done nothing to hide the strong Islamaphobic agendas and how politicians use them to their advantage. The world reeks of complete injustice, manipulation, and inhumanity against Muslim women and men.
Sri Lanka’s cabinet recently approved the ban on burqa just as France did a decade ago that slowly followed with a ban on headscarves in public spaces. Islamophobia is no longer visible just in the west but it has spread across the world. These countries are home to more than millions of Muslims and they are condemned for exercising their right to practice their faith. There is no denying the growth. TV’s cover it. Whether you are catching it on IPL live streaming TV free, or you are looking at the latest headline in the local newspaper, it is just disheartening news for Muslim women.
Muslim women can and should be allowed to wear whatever they want. In fact, women should be allowed to wear whatever they want. Some are empowered by modesty and some are empowered by nudity. There is no one right or wrong way of feeling empowered. Why do a face veil and a hijab spark such controversy in countries where they preach feminism, empowerment, and liberalism?
The burqa is a symbol of oppression, according to the west. However, according to the scriptures and religious teachings of Islam, the burqa is a choice. The burqa is one’s relationship with God. A burqa is a practice of one’s spirituality. However, the global shift post 9/11 has credited the burqa with terrorism, extremism, and violence. All things that are not inherent to the Islamic teachings. Many justify their apprehension against the burqa saying that the majority of women Muslim countries do not adorn the burqa. Women of Morocco, Libya, Jordan, or Pakistan do not necessarily cover up their faces. So why cover your face in the name of religion in the western world? Furthermore, many world leaders have chosen to publicly ignite islamophobia and scrutiny against the burqa in their respective countries. Let’s not forget the famous words of the prime minister of the United Kingdom, where he compared “bank robbers” to Muslim women who wear burqas. The same goes to the inherent Islamaphobic sparks ignited by the French president
Hijab is identified as modesty, a veil in Islamic teachings. Different cultures and countries adorn hijab in different ways. No matter how women choose to veil themselves, it is seen as a radical form of Islam and oppression the comments from world leaders do nothing but support the harmful narratives. Politicians say it is not “desirable” just as insinuated by the french education minister who encouraged mothers to take off their headscarves when accompanying kids on school field trips. News media also often fail to note the hypocrisy of the hijab and veiling in politics. The west has exploited, looted, and bombed millions of Muslims and continues to destroy holy places of worship in countries they have no authority in. And they further choose to involve a women’s veiling in their geopolitics.
Truth is of course a disappointment to those believing in radicalized liberalism. Hijab and other forms of veils practiced and adorned by Muslim women are not a sign of oppression. Or even a sign of radical ideologies. It is simply one’s freedom to practice their religious beliefs. It is part of who they are and it has nothing to do with their capabilities, skills, and education. Many choose to equate the act of veiling to female genital mutilation and other illegal acts that are prohibited in Islam. Cultural practices are not the same as Islamic practices but it is often overlooked and misperceived.
Being Visibly Muslim Is An Attack On Feminism
Women have come a long way in their fight for equality in the patriarchal world. This goes for both Muslim women and non- Muslim women. Nudity has been used as a powerful weapon to destigmatize and desexualize the female body and the rights attached to female autonomy. Our body, our rights. However, these rights come to an abrupt stop when involving the support of visibly Muslim women who choose to veil. Their idea of empowerment and fight against the patriarchal order is dismissed because the veil is seen as a patriarchal containment. Even if it was the free will of the women. In many cultures, the pressure to adorn a hijab or a burqa is credited to plural situations. It has elements of societal pressure and Islam.
However, more often than not, veiling is just a bigger part of a Muslim women’s religious daily life. But it seemed impossible for the western world to accept veiling, just like any other piece of clothing that women are free to wear. They say we are free to cover and uncover but Muslim women are not free to uncover and cover as they please. This does not justify the personal attack and political attack on veilings. To understand the act of Muslim veils, it is important that world leaders and the rest of the western world, speak and listen to the words of Muslim women. Not just enforcing and passing laws biased propaganda and prejudices against Muslim women.