If you Google the word ‘hijab’, it states that it is a head covering worn by some Muslim women. Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? Despite that, whenever someone mentions this five-letter word, you can immediately relate it to the conflicts and political agendas surrounding it. It kind of makes you think, how can a simple piece of cloth cause so much bitter dissension between so many parties?
I would like to start by saying three things.
One: If you’re white and/or non-Muslim, please spare us your loud convictions regarding this issue. You can listen, you can learn, you can boost our voices, but don’t ever speak for us.
Two: To my Muslim sisters who feel they are liberated by wearing the hijab, I am happy for you. I truly am. The hijab is beautiful, and don’t ever let other people tell you it isn’t. You made your choice, and I’m extremely relieved to hear that you have that privilege.
Three: Please remember that not all of us have the privilege to make said choice.
Frankly, it’s frustrating to see women who are forced to wear the hijab get silenced by Muslim ‘feminists’ when they try to voice out their experiences. It’s just sad, really, when you don’t even attempt to listen to the struggles of women who you claim to be your sisters. In an ideal world, women can wear whatever they want. In an ideal world, the hijab is just another item of clothing that you can don at your will. It’s going to be a long, probably never-ending fight to achieve this world though. And we may all emerge battered from it.
Just last month, the E.U. court ruled that employers are allowed to ban the hijab in the workplace. Regardless of what the European Court of Justice (ECJ) says, it absolutely is discriminatory. By banning the hijab, you are directly targeting thousands of Muslim women in the EU. Muslim women should have every right to make individual decisions and be in control of their own body because it is absolutely their prerogative. Many people expressed outrage in regards to the court ruling, and I’m glad that there are people out there who are defending the right of Muslim women to wear the hijab.
Discrimination against hijabis (women who wear the hijab) is not only circumscribed to the E.U. The number of violent hate crimes against hijabis rapidly rise in the U.S. and other countries where Muslims are a minority group. And while we should do everything in our power to protest these repulsive acts and demand justice for the victims, we should also concurrently fight for the right of women to not wear the hijab.
Over the years, there has been countless news where we see Muslim women being abused, tortured, and persecuted for not wearing the hijab and in cases like Aqsa Parvez’s, killed. These actions are utterly repugnant and abominable, but instead of crusading against these acts of crime against women, many Muslim liberals are busy educating white people about how the hijab isn’t a symbol of oppression. Personally, I really don’t have anything against this. It’s good to educate, but at the same time, you also need to open your eyes and acknowledge the fact that for some Muslim women, it is a symbol of oppression.
The point I’m trying to get across is this: don’t erase the issues other Muslim women face just because you’re uncomfortable with it or you’ve never personally experienced it. We have to help one another, and if you are in the position where you are able to do more, then do more. I’m being completely candid when I say we can’t rely on most Muslim men to fight for us because more often than not, they are the reason our sisters suffer. As women, we can only reach true solidarity once we fully acknowledge the challenges each of us face and fight against the systematic oppression we are subjected to because in the end we really only have each other.