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The Forgotten Hijab Ban: “I just couldn’t take it off another time!”


Sister Muslema Purmel sent the following email to us, talking about the hijab ban and her interactions with French sisters who actually LIVED the ban. The insights of these sisters are invaluable and provide a window into the psychological torment that these “secular”, “free” societies are imposing upon them. What is the difference, I ask, between forcing the hijab ON (as the West constantly whines about) and forcing the hijab OFF the sisters? Where is the freedom of personal choice? Amazingly, these same societies are perfectly fine with a woman aborting her unborn child (its her body, she can do what she pleases, right?), yet this same woman would be scorned, her rights to education stripped, and other indignations imposed, if she puts a piece of cloth on her head. Could there be a better example of morality turned upside-down? [Amad]. Cross-posted @ Streetprophets & SuhaibWebb

Assalamu Alaikum,

hijab-ban1.jpgI had the opportunity to meet some French sisters who are now here with me in Cairo, and we got to talking about the issue of Islam in Europe.

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It was actually really sad, hard to hold the tears as one sister (from Holland, convert to Islam) told her own story of how she would remove her scarf everyday when she entered work, so she would be left to wear only an allowed small headband just covering the front of her hair, until one day she broke down crying, and kept it on. A few days later, her boss asked her to sign some papers. She asked why, and he said “You’re fired.” She replied, “Allahu Akbar” and signed the papers. “Some scholars said it’s ok, I can take it off if it’s a neccessity, but I just couldn’t take it off another time! I just couldn’t!” she said.

Another sister studied and finished law school before the ban happened. She wanted to be a lawyer and defend Muslim Liberties in France, but now after the hardship getting that degree she doesn’t know if she will ever be able to practice law in France, she is now studying Islamic Law at Al-Azhar. I heard stories of sisters who would break down crying outside the gates of their schools. How a sister in a private Christian school was allowed to wear hijab until parents complained and forced her to remove it. Listening to their stories, I felt like they are experiencing a daily sexual harrassment in order to go to school, go to work, and pay bills. “I feel like someone is telling me to take off my clothes, my underwear, my head is also my private part. But if the girl wants to wear a mini-skirt to school and show everything, no one punishes her. I cannot return to France, I cannot support it.”

She told me about a housewife, who just went to the bank to withdraw money and she was asked to leave and remove her scarf. Now, since a month ago, the hijab ban has spread to some public schools in Holland. As we know it is still a struggle in Tunisia, and Turkey. Are other countries in the world waiting to see how the world reacts so they too can implement hijab bans? As Martin Luther King said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

I remember there was such an uproar BEFORE the hijab ban became law, and now afterwards, where are those same crowds, those same rallies, and talks? Essentially Muslim women are being deprived of one of their human rights. When does it become OK in the 21st century to require a woman to remove some of her clothes and reveal her body in order to participate in public life? Where are the Muslim men who have gheera (chivalry) towards their women, and want to defend them from such physical harrassment, and psychological humiliation?! One sister compared the non-action with regards to the hijab-ban to the reaction people had toward the cartoons (which understandably upset a lot of people) and some countries excercised boycotts.

What about our sisters in France? How did we forget about this crime that occurs on a daily basis? Where is the body of the ummah that feels pain, when one part of it is hurt?

I’ll be honest, all this time in America, I felt this hijab-ban was a crime, but I never truly felt the pain of these sisters until I heard them tell their stories. The voice that said, “I just couldn’t take it off another time, I just couldn’t.” As a woman who wears hijab, I suddenly felt it- the depth of the crime that has been overlooked. I can’t imagine being in the same situation, my impulses say, “I would rather die first than remove my hijab.”

So I wonder, do any of my French sisters walk around school and work feeling like they’ve been spiritually killed? Are they thinking about ways of “escaping France?” From my conversations with the French sisters, they are struggling to retain their sense of identity and Islamic practice. They had always faced discrimination with hijab before, but this Law has really broken the spirits of many. Some sisters just completely removed the hijab even outside of school because they couldn’t cope with the feelings of living a double-life.

Again where is the heart that aches? Where is the body that rushes to reveal the pain of one of its limbs?

I bear witness as an American Muslim, we have an AMANA because of the freedom and resources that Allah has blessed us with in America, to do something for our sisters in France and elsewhere, where the hijab has been banned. May we not be of those who passed by a people being oppressed, and we could have done something, but instead we just passed by in silence.

Can we do anything for them? Can it be taken to the United Nations? Can we hold a campaign for them? Can we access our media and political leaders? Can we do rallies or lectures? Can we engage this phenomena from an academic level? A civic level? Let’s at least make a duaa, and make the intention to try and help if and when there is an organized effort to help our
forgotten sisters.

What are your ideas?

Post-Script (a followup email from the sister) :

Before I get into the reflection, as an update, there are some responses that occurred from those who recieved the email, that I wanted to share with you as both of you were interested in that:

  1. A Muslim Professor of Law for AUC’s LLM program will be here in the beginning of the summer and wants to get the French sisters’ testimonies in an affidavit and have this issue pursued legally through his colleagues in the human rights community.
  2. A second sister is trying to check the possibilities of raising the issue with something called the OIC. She said:
    -Organization of the Islamic Conference. The OIC is an international organization that includes reps from the Muslim-majority countries. It’s mission is to represent Muslim causes and it has standing at the UN. Bush recently appointed a Special Envoy to the OIC Sada Cumber, Indo-Pak businessman from TX). I’m not sure if the OIC has much or any influence, but I think it’s worth at least trying to raise this as an issue.
    Let me know what you think. In the meantime, I’ll try to find out how issues get raised with the OIC, or how to get ideas to Mr. Cumber.
  3. Some young Muslims in CA posted it on their blog: for purposes of spreading awareness.
  4. Scattered emails of support and concern. The reflection is this:
    Initially I was heavily discouraged by some students of knowledge from writing the email on the hijab ban as it would be a “distraction” from my studies. They were right, it is a distraction. But they discouraged because they said , “what can you do from here?” The thoughts that it wouldn’t amount to anything substantial did cross through my mind, but because I was so frustrated with the topic, I still wrote the email, not expecting much response. Subhan Allah, Allah (swt) planned differently.It made me think the role of the Imams and the blogs we have in the 21st century. We hear lots of criticism about blogging as a “waste of time” and trying to effect real change on the ground instead. This experience showed me that your efforts as Imams in the blogging world can go a really long way in effecting change and ARE worth your time. Opening the simple question “What can we do” allows for an e-shurah, and even an e-activism, resulting in e-change. Don’t be discouraged from the voices that shun– you never know what Allah (swt) will allow to result from a simple blog.

Related Posts:

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  1. Amad

    March 14, 2008 at 10:26 AM

    I think sometimes we don’t give credit where credit’s due. Indeed this is a blessing of living in America vs. Europe that we don’t have to make choices on religious attire, or be scorned by society for wearing hijab.

    Of course, we are seeing exceptions and the ABC clip recently showed increasing islamophobia is catching on. But NO official or government law has been instituted anywhere in America to outlaw Islamic attire. That is the huge difference.

    • Way2paradise

      October 8, 2010 at 12:21 PM

      I also watched this program and was particularly stirred by the responses of those against Islam. It is incredible the reasons put forward by people who in reality have absolutely no real proof as to the so called dangers of hijab. I mean if you think the hijab oppresses women, give me proof. Plus I don’t see you stopping prostitution in places all over the world like brazil and guatamalo, right? It’s utterly ridiculous. Islam itself is against oppression , it’s the INDIVIDUALS who apply it. In addition, doesn’t abusing wives not occur in other European countries not happen? I don’t hear any major broadcasting channels discussing ways to abolish it.
      There is one campaigner who I particularly support and encourage called Tariq Ramadan, and his views are in my opinions spot on. An article appeared in the Prospect a couple of years ago interviewing him, and I took it to school. There are now more than 50 people supporting him inadditon to the thousands all over the world. This is the way we should be helping our cause. Not sitting on our sofas discussing pointlessly with our friends then commenting on avril lavignes affair with Brady.

    • mary rose inggis

      December 15, 2010 at 7:42 PM

      assalamualaykum warahmatullahi wabarahkatuo
      hijab is the best way to do .because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

      “O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks (veils) all over their bodies (i.e. screen themselves completely except the eyes or one eye to see the way). That will be better, that they should be known (as free respectable women) so as not to be annoyed. And Allaah is Ever Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”

      hijab is the one obligatory of which is muslima.we should protect our self to we must do everthing for the sake of allah swt.This means that they should not display any part of their adornment to non-mahrams, apart from that which it is impossible to conceal. Ibn Mas’ood said: such as the cloak and robe, i.e., what the women of the Arabs used to wear, an outer garment which covered whatever the woman was wearing, except for whatever appeared from beneath the outer garment. There is no sin on a woman with regard to this because it is impossible to conceal it.

  2. Mass

    March 14, 2008 at 11:50 AM

    Comment removed because it is not related to topic. But we did take note of your request to talk about Dr. Sami Arian, a victim of great injustice.

    • Gottatryharder

      October 8, 2010 at 12:27 PM

      We would greatly appreciate it if we could be presented at least with a rough outline if this comment as every view plays it’s own part in our cause.

  3. Ikramkurdi

    March 14, 2008 at 12:08 PM

    It is such a shame that all that is happening to Muslims around the world. I get a headache just thinking about it.
    Muslims everywhere should have made it their priority to discover; What Went So Wrong?
    Regarding the subject of this post, the biggest reason I see for this happening is the huge number of feminine males and masculine females we have in our Muslim nation. Fathers, brothers and husbands no longer take real Islamic care of their women. And women are forced to make hard decisions.
    As the sister says, our men are lacking in gheera (chivalry).
    Allah help us.

    • Gottatryharder

      October 8, 2010 at 12:36 PM

      With respect sister, I really disagree with the notion of gheera. Our job is to think within context. We are in the21 st century not the middle ages. Women now take major roles in the running of businesses, companies and even countries. We shouldn’t victimize ourselves. We are not in need of protection. And besides, what kind of protection or gheera as you put it do you mean? Physical? Learn karate. Do exercise! General influence? I just told you that we are rising in our roles in society. Actually leading a lot of what are you talking about?!

      I really do think we just need to snap out of it.

  4. Dawud Israel

    March 15, 2008 at 2:00 AM

    I remember posting an idea I found re: checkpoints in Palestine. Basically, the idea was for people to protest by setting up checkpoints on roads in Western countries and seeing how people feel. It hasn’t been done yet but I think it could actually be done quite easily.

    A similar project could be in order for this…it would require some massive work but I think we could pull it off if the IDEA is POWERFUL enough. MM has a nice following as well so that could help.

    If some of the stuff described could be filmed than it would make things much easier. Not only that but we could get some insight into certain things. Is there anyone on the ground?

    (I need to discuss the logistics of activism more one day…)

    • Gottatryharder

      October 8, 2010 at 12:40 PM

      I love the idea. It will seriously stir people up. Wake them from their unending reveries. How can we make it happen?

  5. Dawud Israel

    March 15, 2008 at 2:31 AM

    Here are some ideas. Be harsh and realistic with other thoughts…

    1) Purchase as many hijabs as we can and mail them the French government. See this link for their addresses:

    2) Global Hijab-Day involving non-Muslim (women) and non-hijabi sisters and getting them to wear it. If it catches on in the world than it instantly puts pressure on France to accept hijab.

    3) The Palestinian scarf is now a fashion statement–if we can associate it with Islamic fashion rather than just fashion, it could affect things by linking it to a popular thing.

    4) Are the brothers in France allowed to wear the keffiya? It has no religious connotation for brothers so if every brother started wearing a “headscarf” it would be an easier leap for the sisters headscarf to being accepted. And this would obviously reflect on the Islamic-style feminism is a Muslim male thing. :)

    • Gottatryharder

      October 8, 2010 at 12:42 PM

      Amazing idea. Tell us how and when NOW. That’s our problem. Great ideas absolutely no action.

  6. Malik

    March 15, 2008 at 7:11 AM

    “Islamic-style feminism”

    There’s an oxymoron

    Kinda like “Nazi Judaism”

    the two words in each one directly contradict each other.

    • yeah right

      February 1, 2011 at 8:16 PM

      You can only argue that Islam is not feminist if you believe men and women are not equal in the eyes of God (swt).

      Just because individuals abuse the concept of feminism and take it to ridiculous extremes does not invalidate the concept. Kind of like Islam’s not invalid just because a few self-described Muslims blow up innocent people.

      • Umar

        February 3, 2011 at 8:25 AM

        To say:
        Men = women
        is like saying:
        Apples = orages.

  7. Abû Mûsâ Al-Ḥabashî

    March 16, 2008 at 9:59 AM

    “‘Islamic-style feminism’

    There’s an oxymoron”


  8. blackbelt9226

    March 16, 2008 at 3:08 PM

    wow, i had completely forgotten about the hijab ban. i guess i just assumed that since it wasn’t in the media, it must have stopped. *smacks head*

  9. Kashmiri Nomad

    March 16, 2008 at 4:33 PM

    Muslim Matters on living under the hijab ban in France.

    Islam and the west

  10. Dawud Israel

    March 17, 2008 at 2:17 PM

    So no other ideas or thoughts? Maaann I’m disappointed…

  11. moja

    March 20, 2008 at 3:00 AM

    It’s something sad seeing muslimah at my country easily wear and take off hijab whenever they like. Obviously, hijab is more than just a piece of Islamic traditional garment.

  12. Aleksandra

    March 26, 2008 at 11:02 AM

    Salam alaykoum,

    I am a convert living in France (Paris) and I would like to help.

  13. Abdullah Ali Syed

    April 14, 2008 at 1:17 AM


    How much this reminds me of old Spain. When it was taken over from Muslims, their spirits were gradually broken, until today we dont find many Muslims who claim that their ancesstorial legacy is in Spain. Why????

    Because they broke the spirit and self-pride in them slowly. So much so that tailor shops that would tailor “muslim” style dresses were BANNED!!! (according to Yasir Birjas). Speaking Arabic slowly became a crime, then slowly worshipping on Fridays became a crime, until most Muslims lost their identitiy totally. Obviously a process that took 200 or so years.

    But the process seems to have started in Europe already!!! Alhamdulillah I am an Muslim American. I am so far free to practice Islam. Of course we lack Muslim arbitration courts and such, but may Allah make it a reality.

  14. Umer

    May 17, 2008 at 2:40 PM

    Oh! God. Help Us All.

    • Gottatryharder

      October 8, 2010 at 12:46 PM

      Stop this victim mentality! Yes Allah ta’la help us but what’s with all the exclamation marks?

  15. Mohamed B.

    May 29, 2008 at 6:57 PM

    it serves me a great deal of disturbance to listen to the words of our muslim sisters in france…

    but we must all remember that alhamdullah, the blessing is still and will always be in the struggle…

    hang in there sisters and brothers dealing with unfair circumstances that donya throws at us, for its only doniya

    but is there something we can realistically do to help?

    and what i noticed is that all the people that are in a position to help, really quite are to selfish or too caught up in their world to help others..

    for shame…


  16. ShameOnChina

    October 8, 2008 at 3:11 AM

    It seems it is very much like Muslims in China who can’t wear hijaab. once you wear them
    Muslimah has either to stay home or work in some private owned business which is muslim-friendly.
    especially, at the west part where majority are muslims there is no way you wear hijaab and go to
    school. and childern under 18 are banned from entering mosque. which is little know to the outside
    world. and those who managed to get out of the country either become secular or live in fear of
    losing their identity since they are so few.
    Personally, I must do whatever we can to help those sisters! speading the word. posting on blogs.
    never give up!

  17. AbuAbdAllah, the Houstonian

    October 8, 2008 at 3:51 AM

    innalhamdolillah. bismillah. may Allah subhanahu wata ala bring relief to the oppressed. and may He awaken in the ummah true Iman.

    Iman that knows in every fiber of every sinew and in the marrow of every bone that all evil is dispelled before the Will of Allah, and thus prays steadfastly for that moment. Iman that never flags before the flag of any nation, before the scorn of the ignorant and defiantly disobedient. Iman that clothes the Muslim like no other raiment can.

    false are they who say that a woman stripped of her hijab or niqab has been freed from bondage, because those same voices imprison her with their ignorance.

    false are they who laud the governments of France or Turkey for “defending women” by shutting women who wear hijab or niqab out of the doors of education or depriving these women of other basic rights. what “defender” of women ever inflicted such senseless harm, other than the much-protesting-abuser?

    false, too, are those among women who say that a woman who wears hijab or niqab cannot truly represent the ideal among all women. these voices resent that the woman who wears hijab or niqab strives for a goal that they have eschewed. indeed they resent any reminder of what they have exchanged for this life’s basest pleasures.

    may Allah forgive us who have been silent, but could have spoken. and may He Guide us all to what is better. and may He answer the duas of the oppressed Muslimah in every corner of His Creation.

  18. Muslima Sheikh

    November 18, 2008 at 9:00 PM

    It’s as clear as the day to see France’s main reason behind the “BANING OF THE HIJAB!” A lot of people are “REVERTING to ISLAM” and this is there way to stop it. Only ALLAH (Subhana Wataala) has the power to put one on the straight path and there is no one who can stop that!!!

  19. bangladeshi

    December 13, 2008 at 3:29 AM

    its realy sad that we r still living in a racist world…be patient..we have to play with our head…not with muscle

    • Gottatryharder

      October 8, 2010 at 12:48 PM

      Way 2 go.

  20. Farhan

    April 8, 2009 at 10:39 AM

    Going from country to country in Europe seems like going to state to state in America. I’d just get educated in the UK if they told me to shave.

  21. Eva Hoffmann

    May 1, 2009 at 4:10 PM

    I work for a non-proft, free human rights magazine at my university. We are writing an article on Muslims in France and the human rights abuses associated with racism. Would you mind if we used the above photo with our article?

    Thanks for your time!

  22. Amad

    May 1, 2009 at 4:16 PM

    Eva, we could not identify source of the photo, so with that in mind, you can use it at your own risk.

    Could you send us a link to the article? We’d love to see it.

    Thanks for stopping by.

  23. Dena

    May 31, 2009 at 1:44 PM


    My name is Dena, and I just turned thirteen. I started wearing a hijab last summer, and I now go to a public middle school with it on. It really made me proud to wear it, and I did have some indecision about going to public school, but my twin sister is wearing it too, and it gave me confidence. My mom wore it, too, and she’s a teacher at my school; she got the Rookie of the Year award last year.
    This year was the most academically successful year in my entire school life, and I than Allah for it.
    I’m going to London, Insha Allah, this summer. I was looking for ladies only gyms on the internet so I could swim somewhere, and while doing so I came upon a link to your website. So I wandered around until I came to a wikipedia article titled “hijab by country.” I read about bans on hijabs in France, Germany, Turkey, and other countries too. It was sad, because my sister, Dema, always wanted to go to France, and was thinking about going there from the U.K. I haven’t told her yet. It would break her heart.
    I hope one day I will grow up to make a difference in the world, and then on to make differences.
    I thank Allah I live in America, where most see the hijab and are simply curious.
    Insh Allah, these bans will be lifted and muslims will be allowed to wear what they like anywhere.
    Thank You for reading my post.

  24. Holly Hijab

    August 20, 2009 at 3:26 AM

    ‘Forget or forgotten one’ doesn’t matter. It is against democracy to interfere in someone’s personal choices. Muslim women loves to wear Hijab. Hijab is an expression of sincere faith to islimic belief. If you don’t respect universal human rights, very soon you will see your basic rights are in jeopardy.

  25. A Mennen

    August 20, 2009 at 6:13 AM

    One should follow ones country’s laws and customs. I just cannot understand how one can immigrate to another country and demand special treatment.

    For your information, two thirds of French Imams are on French govt welfare!

    • Amad

      August 20, 2009 at 6:54 AM

      Seems A. Mennen is here to troll around based on his comments thus far.

      So A. Mennen, if you don’t want to ask for your right to put a sundoor on your women, or to do whatever other hindu custom that you are used to, which doesn’t burden other members of the society, then that’s up to you. Muslim citizens are as much permitted to ask for freedom of religion and practice their faith as they wish to, as any other citizen. This is what the West advertises as it’s “enlightened democracy”, then this is what we will seek redress under.

      • Leila

        October 13, 2009 at 5:58 AM

        Dear Amad,

        ‘Enlightened democracy’ as you put it, allows citizens to choose their government, and allows citizens freedoms under its law. Democracy does not however give everyone the freedom to do as they like – this is down to the laws and customs of each country. If a country like France decides to ban all outwardly religious clothing, such as the hijab, that’s it’s choice to do so.

        France is a secular country. Religion plays no part in the role of government, so it’s not a necessary or indeed mandated. And, France has considerable problems with immigrant integration, and much of this is down to the isolation of various communities from each other (and yes – to a degree the level of acceptance by French people to the immigrant population). To remove all religious clothing puts people on an even playing field.

        If you look at Turkey, it’s banned the hijab in educational and government buildings for the same reason – to encourage people to integrate on the basis of humanistic reasons, not religious ones. Which appears to be the cause of the ongoing bloody war in Palestine and Gaza and countless other black marks on world history – defining ourselves against others based in religion.

        The banning of the hijab may seem like an extreme response, but it’s not against Muslim culture. It doesn’t stop you from practicing your faith, it’s about being part of society as a whole. As A Mennen said – if you can’t adhere to what your country asks of you, then perhaps you are not in the right place.

        • Amad

          October 13, 2009 at 6:40 AM

          Democracy does not however give everyone the freedom to do as they like – this is down to the laws and customs of each country.

          You are speaking from both sides of the mouth, sorry to say. “You are free to do whatever you like, as long as you talk, dress and act like us”.

          There are certain freedoms that need to be checked to preserve order in the classic freedom vs. order battle. What a woman wears on our head isn’t one of them. If anything, modesty helps a society. In fact, I would argue for banning nakedness (and I didn’t say nudity), because that would have a chance to fall under preserving the society’s order. So, focus on that Leila. Get the French women to start dressing like human beings, not sex toys.

          There is no doubt in the minds of people that this ban is motivated by islamophobia (yes, even the Turkish secularists are islamophobic). And it will only disintegrate further. Using this for integration is a dream cooked up by idiots diverting attention from more important things in life.

          • Gottatryharder

            October 8, 2010 at 12:55 PM

            I completely agree eith Amad. What kind of debate is this dress and act like me and do whatever you like, but oh yeah, don’t say this and that or else…

        • Magdelope

          October 15, 2009 at 3:54 AM

          The thing is, wearing the hijab is part of practicing the religion. Therefore they are actually being banned from practicing their own faith which is a basic human right. I live in the UK and study theology at university, most of my classmates are either Christian or Atheists but that doesnt stop me at all. They are not allowed to discriminate against me.
          When I read the stories about the poor women breaking down, having to take it off. It just breaks my heart.
          Christians are still allowed to wear their crosses arent they? Even in school? Shouldnt they be banned as well in that case? You cannot make a society religious free as long as people have faith. I do not believe that this rule will accomplish anything and it would be better if people could just go on with their lives and let people wear hijabs if they want, crosses if they want etc etc.
          There is no prosecution of Christians anymore, why are we going back to the middle ages?

        • yeah right

          February 1, 2011 at 8:22 PM

          The United States is a secular nation also. Regardless of what Christian fundamentalists say, the Constitution very clearly spells out that the government is to be secular. Just like France. And yet the United States allows religious freedom.

          I am of French heritage and I’m ashamed of my ancestral country. France helped the U.S. become a free nation and then followed in our footsteps becoming independent itself, why doesn’t it understand this basic concept?

          You can’t ever learn how to associate with people on humanistic grounds if you assume everybody is alike because you’ve outlawed all the various ways in which they could possibly look and act different.

    • yeah right

      February 1, 2011 at 8:19 PM

      what’s so special about letting a woman keep a piece of cloth on her head? French women used to cover their heads too.

  26. Leila

    October 13, 2009 at 11:17 AM

    Amad, let’s try to have an objective debate here. We’re not talking about modesty, we’re talking about religion. Your view that modesty helps a society is a subjective view. And the way you refer to French women as sex toys isn’t very useful to the debate, in fact it only serves to show your lack of tolerance for other people and how THEY wish to dress.

    I’m not entirely convinced that banning the hijab will have the positive effect of integration many claim it should. But why can’t you at least admit that when you live in a secular country, whether democratic or not, that the onus is on you to respect the laws and culture of that society? And aren’t you happy to be living in a democracy where your rights as a woman go without saying? Would you exchange those rights at the expense of the ‘enlightened democracy’ you seem to hold dear?

    • zara

      March 29, 2010 at 1:43 PM

      Isn’t it the fundamental secular standard – that one cannot demand that any individual surrender an unobtrusive religious observance?
      how does removing religious clothing put people on an even playing field when it is not what the people believe in??? when they are forced to do so?

  27. Maverick

    October 13, 2009 at 12:51 PM


    Modedsty is subjective, as I’m sure you will agree. Otherwise France should have no problem if women wanted to walk around freely in the streets completely naked. But you know they wouldn’t allow that – why? Because French society still has some decency when it comes to modesty.

    So why are they opposed to others practicing modesty, if its clear that modesty is subjective?

  28. lezbzepplin

    May 21, 2010 at 5:42 AM

    It makes me so sad to see that small girls are being brain-washed into thinking they should wear a scarf constantly, even in 45 degree heat. This is madness! Today’s fabrics are mixed with polyester, a form of plastic. When heat cannot escape from the scalp the brain’s blood supply is over-heated, the girls are unable to think clearly and often feel faint. Women have often had impositions imposed on them through the culture they happen to have been born into for example… It is normal to wear a headscarf all day in extremely hot weather…. It is OK to put rings around the neck and stretch it like a giraffe…It is OK to wear shoes that fold your feet over or cause sprained ankles….It is OK to drink alcohol in the company of men you do not even know…It is OK to wear an extremely short skirt revealing the underwear…The problem is that women are powerless and obliged to do whatever their particular society demands that they should. Notice that men wear whatever they like and fit in with the dress standards of whatever country they are in. When men go overseas they change their clothes according to their surroundings. In England where it is cold, women used to wear scarves but now it seems that they do not because they do not wish to be mistaken for a women from a different religion. The problem is not that women need to be liberated but that the scarf needs to be liberated. The queen of England wears a scarf when its cold and windy. Benezir Bhutto wore a scarf and moved it around to fan the heat away. Scarves are OK. It is the obsession with being seen as acceptable to other members of ones culture that is the problem.

    • layla

      June 13, 2010 at 10:35 AM

      if the issue is heat and scarf material, then there are many fabrics to chose from (silk, cotton, etc).. i do not understand the way you describe wearing a piece of cloth on your head to stretching your neck and folding/spraining your ankle purposefully… those examples aren’t exactly similar, wouldn’t you agree? the hijab is not causing any sort of physical harm or discomfort, it is not mutilating any part of the body.. the desire these women feel for wearing the hijab is not because of culture and what society would think. if that was the case, then the ban would have been the perfect excuse for them to take it off. instead, they feel a sense of attachment to it because they believe in it with all of their heart and they understand that the true freedom every human longs for was granted to them through the blessing of the hijab
      I pray that things get easier on our muslim sisters and that we all do our part in getting this ban lifted, insha’ Allah :)

    • yeah right

      February 1, 2011 at 8:23 PM

      No, actually, wanting to be acceptable to other members of one’s culture is NORMAL. It is part of the human condition. Why does modern society want us all to turn into thoughtless robots?

  29. allahuakbar

    June 13, 2010 at 10:25 AM

    subhanAllah, it is our duty to help our muslim sisters and make this one of our main causes. we should be spreading awareness in universities and places of knowledge.
    let us all do our best to pursue this cause insha’allah

  30. Rosie

    July 14, 2010 at 7:07 AM

    Peace to everyone,

    I felt compelled to write about my feelings about the Hijab – and the Niqab, which I at times I feel European societies get confused about. (Possibly at times on purpose).
    I have started to wear the hijab for the past few weeks, having being a westernised Mulism, and always wanting to openly state in the past that my religion was internal, and I did not need to wear a covering for my head.
    Howvever – now I have started to wear the hijab, I did so for my own self, and no one else.
    I am a proud and patriotic londoner, of asian/african decent, but British born.
    I do however feel that the Niqab is a cultural norm, and without getting wrapped up in the ethics of wearing the niqab, its not a obligatory to wear it in Islam.
    (I must also state that there are muslims from all over the globe, and we cannot all be type cast as arabs, pakistanis etc, some of us come from peaceful islands that get on well with our christian, hindu, sikh, athiest colleagues, neighbours etc – I hate it when the news, even other fellow sisters and brothers seem to think we all have issues with others – I can’t say that I do.
    I have Jewish, hindu, buddhist etc friends, and we all get on, love and respect eachother – we may have views that others dont share, but we still hold eachother in high esteem).
    It is my understanding that the niqab/face covering was a practice of the companions wives of the Prophet (S.A.W).
    But one must take on board, if you want to practice this, as well as the other practices that are not feasible in this country, then it would be common sense to do it in the land of where it was practiced.
    Does that sound harsh or ignorant? I could be wrong, but I am sure no companions of the Prophet s.a.w practiced the wearing of the Niqab in Britain at that time.
    (Additional note – It saddens me that children as young as 4 are wearing the hijab, this to my knowledge, and my apologies if I am wrong is not the correct practice, as a young girls of menstruating age are required to wear the hijab).
    Also, for personal safety it worries me to not be able to see the face of person, particularly on London Transport, and that is me saying that as a Muslim wearing the Hijab.
    Why is that so? Well the London bombings that affected me personally was committed by those in the name of Islam – now I could be wrong, but unless anything else is proven, this was the case.
    So because of this, I would like to live in an environment where we are all able to practice our religion but with respect, and in accordance to the laws of the country we live in.
    And those countries must also play their part in wanting to be sympathetic to the ethics of the various religious beliefs.
    It is not my intention to turn my back on my muslim sisters, and I would be deeply hurt to be portrayed that way.
    Since wearing the hijab, I have been looked on weirdly, even avoided on the tube/bus etc.
    At work, I emailed a few to tell them what I was about to do – why? because I wanted to, and I didn’t want to bring negative connotations to my faith/beliefs, I would have done the same if I was about to shave my hair off.
    Now I feel I am a better person (and more colourful!), and I am not a hardcore fanatic – I am still the mellow person that I am , its just that my realationship with God (Allah s.a.w) is more spiritual.
    And I make a point to be more extrovert, as I do feel that I am a representative of muslim women, and I have no problem showing others, or speaking about it.

    Kind regards to you all, of all faiths and beliefs.

    • sebkha

      July 14, 2010 at 2:56 PM

      I will never understand the ridiculous “public safety” nonsense in regards to niqabs. It’s completely unfounded and paranoid to the nth degree. I live in the US-the land of guns, guns, and more guns. The state I live in allows people to carry concealed weapons in banks and shopping malls, and on public transport. And I am fully aware that at any given time there could be bad people out there who own guns illegally that are carrying weapons around in the same places I may frequent. Somehow, myself and millions of others manage to go about our business in this country without quaking in fear. I don’t see how anyone could find any contrived threat or be worried around women with niqabs on. Do women carrying large purses make people so terrified that they should be banned as well? Allah only knows what’s in that big purse after all! It’s just silly, and there are so many other issues to be on alert about when out in public.

      When women move to places where niqabs are not commonly worn, their basic human rights to practice their religion in whatever manner they deem fit do not suddenly get thrown out the window, even if no one else around them is wearing what they wear. And it’s nobody else’s business whether or not parents put a hijab on their small children. I’m not putting one on my daughter while she’s in elementary school unless she asks to wear it, but it’s not my business if other families feel differently. Their child/their choice. Why is it something to feel sad over? I feel far more grief over seeing children dressed like sex objects, which is not an uncommon sight unfortunately. It’s far more disturbing, and sending far more dangerous messages to little girls and little boys than a kindergartner in a hijab.

      • Rosie

        July 15, 2010 at 6:26 AM

        Assalam Alaykum wrbkt….Sister Sebkha,

        I think it is sad that you feel that way.
        I think it is best to get on with everyone, without having to compromise ones views and outlook.
        It is not a breach of human rights to say that a woman should not wear a niqab, as it is not a religious pre-requisite in Islam to do so.

        One must understand that Islam has got very bad press at the moment, and the peace loving, clean and well structured religion seems to have been portrayed as a terrorostic backward religion.

        I do not take on board your views, as you are clearly angry for no justified reason.
        As I have previously stated I was caught up in the 7/7 bombings and therefore as an ambassador for my religion, rather than get hot headed, I embrace talks with other religions and nations to show and educate others that Al-Islam is one of peace.

        With respect – if you think a woman with a large purse can be used as an argument against the hijab, you clearly do need to re-educate your thoughts, and also put yourself in the position of others that are clearly scared of the unknown.

        With reference to young children and the hijab – you are misinformed.
        A child should not have to wear this at an age of 4 – and why?
        One of the main reasons is, rather than thinking so insular – if a child is at risk from others, as well as elders, then one should remove her; and if society as a whole is becoming a risk then re-education, support, and guidance is needed.
        Rather than look down on others that dress their children like sex objects, why not get the time to know the mothers, and re-educate them?
        I know of many reverts that have seen sense, and become strong pillars of the community.
        We are one Ummah – sub division has so many negative connotations.
        If we all had the attitude of just throwing litter because the next person did – what a state the country would be in?

        Sister Rosie

        • sebkha

          July 15, 2010 at 1:47 PM

          Wa alaykum assalam. Rosie, not to be rude, but is English your first language? Because my comment seems to have gone completely over your head.
          When you make statements like “it would be common sense to do it in the land of where it was practiced” in regards to niqab, you are being judgmental, and creating boundaries and limits that you don’t have the right to make. Islamically, women have the right to wear niqabs wherever they want to, even if no one else in that country wears one. When it comes to man-made laws governing individuals’ basic human rights to practice their religion in any manner they want, regardless of what anyone else around them is doing, a woman’s right to wear a niqab wherever she wants is supported by that standard too.

          There are scholars who mandate that wearing a niqab is required. There are others who say it isn’t. Regardless of who you agree with, women still have the absolute right to choose to put it on, whether they feel it’s required or not. Some women just want to wear it. So leave them alone, and worry about yourself. Their clothing choices are none of your business, and no one has the right to take their rights to choose away from them.

          I fail to see how any of this makes me seem “angry”, and I don’t understand why you are trying to degrade my point of view by classifying it that way. I’m not angry, but I will not stand idly by when there are Muslim women like yourself who say that other Muslim women shouldn’t practice their religion in the manner they choose to because being around women in niqabs makes you uncomfortable. I did put myself in the position of others who are clearly scared of the unknown-I pointed out some of the things going on in the society my family lives in that we need to be cautious and concerned about. Niqabs are nowhere on that list. They are not a matter of fear and worry in my daily life, the way they seem to be in yours. And it’s ridiculous that they are a source of fear and worry in your life, because there’s no valid reason for it at all.

          You completely missed the point of my comments about young children in hijabs as well. I clearly said there that I’m not putting one on my own child while she’s in elementary school, unless she asks to wear it. Obviously I know it’s not required of her when she’s this age, which is why she’s not wearing it. But other parents choose to put it on their young kids. While I obviously don’t agree with it, since I’m not doing it, it’s still none of my business how other parents choose to raise their children, as long as it is not mentally and physically hurting them. It’s not a reason to be sad, it’s just different from the choices my husband and I make for our daughter. End of story.
          And I never said anything about looking down on people who dress their young children like sex objects. I said I felt far more grief (ie sadness) over seeing that then I do over seeing little kids in hijabs. Since it is completely impractical for me to befriend and re-educate every parent I see in public who has their child dressed in an objectifying manner, at least I can provide an example through myself and my own daughter.

          • Rosie

            July 16, 2010 at 4:19 AM

            Asalam alaikum Sister Sebkha,

            I really do feel your hot headed and uncompromiseable attitude is one that quite a few share.
            Regardless of whether or not English is my first language; I feel that you are the one that has misread the thread.

            I think that unfortunately – you cannot grasp an equal argument, as to why even a Muslim sister would not comprehend wearing the niqab.
            But as I stated in my response to Ibrahim – we do have the benefit of living the in the UK/US where the support of religious/political groups are on our side for which ever belief we may have.

            There is a big question to ask oneself about re-education.
            Culture is so often mixed up with religion, my argument on young children wearing the hijab still stands.
            Your negative attitude on befriending others is sad – and we do not live in an Islamic state,
            However – to have the thought that you have failed if you cannot befriend every parent that has scantily dressed child is ridiculous.

            As a Muslim in a western country – I have a right to freedom of speech – that is why I take on-board what you have said, but your insular views show that you need to see arguments from all side.
            That does not mean you have to compromise your views and actions,

            You are angry – and I hope that through Salat and Dhikr you find peace – as you need to stop ranting, and take the time out to see how people react to topics from all areas of the globe.
            And rather than look so negatively – look from both sides of the argument.

            With regards to clothing being none of my business; well that also stands for you as well – and I commented on the perception of the Niqab for security reasons, as well as the hijab for young children that are not supposed to wear it in the 1st place.
            I did not put my two pence in about other dress code.
            If you honestly feel that the niqab is one of a positive step forward then I respect you for that.
            I on the other hand do not, and will never see it in a positive light.

            It has way too many negative connotations on from all sides.

            Sister Sebkha – chill-out and may Allah always guide you to the straight path.
            Try to see all sides of an argument, I have taken your views that I know are shared by many on-board.

            Wa’salam Sister Rosie.

        • suhail

          July 16, 2010 at 10:29 AM

          First of all if Islam is getting bad press do we throw our fiqh out the door and do what pleases the Kuffar so that we can get good press. That is absolutely the attitude that Prophet(SAW) has denounced when he said to his companions that you followed other than Allah(SWT).

          Secondly you need to provide us an evidence that Niqab is a customary thing not something that is legislated in Shariah. Fiqh does not go with what we think is right or wrong. Fiqh is based on the Quran and Sunnah, thus if you are telling the muslims that Niqab is customary habit then you need to tell us where do you get this ruling from and how did you come to this conclusion from reading Quran and Sunnah of the Prophet(SAW).

          As has been said on this thread there are two opinions amongst the scholars of Islam. One who say that Niqab is Obligatory and the other half who said it is not obligatory but Mustahab i.e. recommended. There is no other ruling about it.

          So please provide the evidence for your stance on Niqab. If you do not have any evidence or any scholar to support it than you should fear Allah for speaking about Allah’s deen when you are ignorant about it is a big Dhulm and sin.

          • sebkha

            July 16, 2010 at 2:06 PM

            Wa salam Rosie, you are still not understanding what I am writing, as your responses so clearly indicate. I do not know how to make it any clearer other than saying-anyone who feels fear or paranoia because there are women who wear niqabs in their society is a ridiculous human being, who has allowed bigotry and ignorance to seep into their heart and mind. I’m not saying you have to think they are cool, I am not saying you have to think they are required of every woman walking the earth. Just leave them alone to practice their faith in the manner they want to. End of story. It’s none of your business what other women wear, and it’s nothing short of bigotry to feel fear or paranoia around women wearing it.

            Of course I can comprehend why a woman would not want to wear a niqab. I don’t wear one myself. I don’t think I have to, and I choose not to. But other women do want to wear it, and believe it is required. No one has the right to tell them they are wrong to wear it. They are free to make their own choices. Choices that you, in your ignorance, have said they should not be free to make, because of where they live. If you want to use that argument for yourself, to provide a reason why you don’t wear one, go ahead. But leave other women out of it. They are not bound by your reasoning, but that of fiqh.

            I am not in the least bit angry, at all. But I don’t keep my mouth shut when I hear people who want to take Muslims’ Allah-given rights away. Especially when those people who want to take those rights away are fellow Muslims. Or when there are other Muslims who can’t keep their noses out of other families’ business in regards to putting hijabs on little kids. There are immigrant children suffering from malnutrition, crushing poverty, poor performance in school, parents struggling to learn English so they can find better employment, etc., and there are people who want to sit and complain about 6 year olds wearing a scarf?! Great priorities. Way to show you care about children.

            And quit twisting and distorting my words to try and make me look bad. I do not have a negative attitude on befriending others. I have lots of friends, who I’ve met in all kinds of places. All I said was that I simply don’t have the ability to be-friend every single person I see outside my home, even parents who don’t dress their children appropriately. If I’m outside shopping with my children, I don’t have the ability to approach every single mother I come across. Neither does any other human being. I make friends when the situation allows for it, and hope my children can be a good example for everyone who sees them.

  31. ibrahim

    July 15, 2010 at 7:10 AM

    The Uk attitude is different – a bit like the US I think. It is more libertarian and there will be plenty of politicians, commentators and opinion-formers who will defend libertarianism. That is why a niqab or hijab ban is unlikely in the UK, insh Allah. Also muslims seem more organised in the US and UK and certainly in the UK they are staring to make use of political institutions to defend muslim rights – in the face of some muslim opposition I may add.

    If you go to continental Europe the atmosphere is totally different. There rascism runs very deep – look at the way the French historically treated their muslim colonies. They hate the sight of people of different colour and they will hate even more the sight of muslims wearing veils. They say that their societies are based on liberty and freedom but you can see an aparthied emerging – freedom and liberty for white french non-muslims – humiliation, intimidiation and restrictions for Muslims.

    There is one other issue that I have. Are all the niqab ladies activily campaigning or are they leaving this fight to the rest of the muslims and to sympathetic non-muslims?

  32. Rosie

    July 15, 2010 at 9:59 AM

    Salam Brother Ibrahim,

    Thank you for your response – I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
    (Hence I am making a point to stay active on this thread).

    You have given an insight into factors as you so rightly state that in the UK/USA we may take for granted; that we have an an option to speak out, debate and make use of political/religious organisations that are sympathetic to Islam.

    I would hope to think that there are sisters that wear the Niqab that would speak out about their religious choice, and I would be more than happy to live in a world, or society where a religion can be practiced, as well as a cultural norm (niqab), without being compared to a terroristic act etc.
    However, just because I say I am scared, does not mean I am trying to be a scaremongerer, or turn my back on Islam.
    I too get the same treatment, but I make a point to be outwardly spoken, so that the person who does feel threatened sees that I am of no threat.

    I am fully aware that Muslims are collectively having a hard time at the moment – and over history.
    But I would like to look forward; and be part of a change in views.
    I am frustrated when the only person that is called upon in the media to comment on an Islamic issue is 9/10 a man that cannot speak English very well, and his arguments are not structurally strong to stand up against his opponent. (And portrayed by others who is veiwing him for his culture, as opposed to his religion).
    On the other-hand, I also do not want to be represented by someone who is claiming to be Muslim, yet even talks against changing the pillars or Islam.

    There are so many educated, well spoken, muslim men and women from all walks of life, I just wish they would (including myself) stand up and represent Muslims in the land that they live in.
    And be admired for their beliefs and practices – not ridiculed, bullied, and even killed.

    Sister Rosie.

  33. The Red Abandon

    July 16, 2010 at 6:06 AM

    Firstly, This is about protecting Islam, whether or not you believe in the niqab or not. A muslim in a niqab and a muslim in a hijab are both muslims. Both must stand up for the other. Both must be united.

    You all see that we have sides, ideas, beliefs, that may be seperate from each other, but together, if we can avoid heated argument, we can use it to our advantage.
    As many of you so ingenously said, we must use our heads. This is a game of action, but the actions must be smart and well-played. Our Ummah is huge, connected, and most importantly, powerful – but only if we are united. Think, now…are we united?
    Then a course of action. This discussion is interesting and informative, but unless that information can be slavaged and used, it is a loss. What a tragic loss it would be, too, with all of your collective knowledge.
    You people have got good ideas. Enough people, those ideas can be used against this pitiful excuse for a law. You are the French muslima’s last hope. Will you leave them in their time of need?

    Think about it –
    The Red Abandon

  34. mary rose inggis

    December 15, 2010 at 7:51 PM

    Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

    “… and not to show off their adornment…” [al-Noor 24:31]. The general meaning of this phrase includes the outer garment, because if it is decorated it will attract men’s attention to her. This is supported by the aayah in Soorat al-Ahzaab(interpretation of the meaning):

    “And stay in your houses, and do not display yourselves like that of the times of ignorance” [al-Ahzaab 33:33]. It is also supported by the hadeeth in which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “There are three, do not ask me about them: a man who leaves the jamaa’ah, disobeys his leader and dies disobedient; a female or male slave who runs away then dies; and a woman whose husband is absent and left her with everything she needs, and after he left she made a wanton display of herself. Do not ask about them.”

    The purpose of clothing is to prevent fitnah (temptation), and this can only be achieved if clothes are wide and loose. Tight clothes, even if they conceal the colour of the skin, still describe the size and shape of the body or part of it, and create a vivid image in the minds of men. The corruption or invitation to corruption that is inherent in that is quite obvious. So the clothes must be wide. Usaamah ibn Zayd said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) gave me a thick Egyptian garment that was one of the gifts given to him by Duhyat al-Kalbi, and I gave it to my wife to wear. He said, ‘Why do I not see you wearing that Egyptian garment?’ I said, ‘I gave it to my wife to wear.’ He said, ‘Tell her to wear a gown underneath it, for I am afraid that it may describe the size of her bones.’” (Narrated by al-Diyaa’ al-Maqdisi in al-Ahaadeeth al-Mukhtaarah, 1/442, and by Ahmad and al-Bayhaqi, with a hasan isnaad).

    • Mantiki

      February 2, 2011 at 7:49 PM

      Mary Rose you are over-reacting. In my opinion the disguise the shape of the female body with impractical, stifling and unnattractive covering is a gross sexualisation of women. It sends a message that women are nothing but powerful sexual objects that they must be completely and utterly rendered unrecognisable as human beings.

      The extremist fashion solutions you would like to impose on the world represents a distortion and perversion of common sense that locks women into a position of inequality and self-shame.

      Its like requiring us to liscence and lock-up blunt butter knives because there is potential for them to be used as weapons.

      • Maverick

        February 3, 2011 at 10:04 AM

        Mantiki, cool it with the hyperbole please.

        Hijab is neither impractical nor was it ever advised that it must be “unattractive”. The key purpose of clothes is two-fold – for modesty and protection against the elements, and a third purpose being beautification.

        Common sense amongst women is to have modesty. Hence you see women being self-conscious about themselves if they’re wearing short or revealing clothes while being around a bunch of ogling men.

        If women want to be in a position of equality, its by dressing respectfully and competing with men by using their mind. This is the case in every culture – whether Eastern or Western. As you may even notice (depending on your professional experience) here in the West, women in the workplace who move up through the ranks are those that have the ability to lead with professional behavior. Those who dress with revealing cleavage or short skirts are just viewed as objects and treated with veiled contempt.

        • Mantiki

          February 3, 2011 at 2:55 PM

          I agree totally with you Maverick. But if you read carefully Mary’s post, she goes much further than simple modesty. For example, she “includes the outer garment, because if it is decorated it will attract men’s attention to her.” She includes the requirement to wear “broad” garments, “gowns” underneath “thick Egyptian materials, lest the “size of the bones” are displayed, and also that women should “stay in your houses”. This is beyond modesty and towards psychological imprisonment. Really there is no need for my “hyperbole” but Muslims are too polite or afraid to take issue with extreme views drawn from their sayings and history.

          For goodness sake, she even quotes sayings in support of slavery! Look again and think or else you may also appear to support such practices.

  35. Z-Man

    February 1, 2011 at 10:36 PM

    O Muslims do not be disheartened by that which is not under your control.

    • Mantiki

      February 2, 2011 at 7:40 PM

      O Z-Man what is the meaning behind your post?

  36. khan

    June 14, 2011 at 3:07 AM

    in todays world u c that if v dont use hijab, der r so many hasitation and harasment to d girls r women

  37. Pingback: The Forgotten French Hijab Ban | Jamaal and Muslema's Blog

  38. Syed Mansoor Ali Shah (LMH)

    July 5, 2012 at 5:22 PM

    i love muslims and i hate those who hate my religion

    thans for ur kind information bro
    girls r looking good with hijab and with the help of hijab they didnt attracts the evils of the society

    plz send some more pics of that small little french muslim baby with the original story and her link as well

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