Asalamu aliakaum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatoo (May God’s peace, mercy and blessings be upon you) and Hellooo!
Talk about an attitude problem. I just happened to read the recent case of 16 year old Najwa Malha in Spain, who was expelled from her school for wearing the Muslim headscarf/veil or hijab.
Just between us-I am a Muslim.
I speak two languages fluently, have my driver’s license, graduated and got a B.A. (with distinction) in English Language and Literature.
And yes, I wear the veil, or hijaab.
My older sis graduated from computer engineering and and right now, she’s finishing up her Masters.
She, too, wears the veil.
By now, you’ve probably heard it before (well, at least I hope you did!)-- the hijab is not a symbol of oppression but I’m going to tell it to you again.
When schools make rules that prohibit the wearing of the veil (like this recent case in Spain)- then girls are not educated.
When judges enforce such unfair laws—then, girls are not educated.
The simple matter is this:
What stands in the way of a veiled girl’s life is not her veil- it is the attitudes around her surrounding the veil.
It is only ignorance that acts as a real barrier to education…to a better life
Picture this. You visit a country, say Egypt, where practically 75% of the women (from the native population) don the veil or hijab. What do you find? Are these girls all stuck at home? Are they all barred from an education?
The girls attend schools, universities, colleges, etc.
Egyptian women are doctors, nurses, secretaries, interior designers, computer engineers, etc.
Even with their veil?
Yes, even with their veil! Nobody questions it because they understand that the wearing of a veil is simply a woman’s attempt to obey the command of God. That doesn’t make her an outcast of society.
Now, let’s go visit another country... let’s go to Turkey. The year is 1999 and Turkish medical student Fatma Orgel, a senior in university who has come very close to achieving her dream of becoming a doctor, is facing the decision of a lifetime. A law has been enacted banning the wearing of the hijab on campus.
Eventually, Fatma makes the decision… not to give up her veil, not to, in her eyes, disobey God. (Thankfully, she does find a way to complete her degree, but that is by traveling to another, more tolerant country).
But what had stood in the way of this woman completing her education?
It wasn’t her veil. Obviously she had already completed 5 years with the veil on.
It was the attitudes around the veil.
And this is what needs to be addressed…and erased as soon as possible.
We keep talking about how we are a global people and that we should accept diversity in all its sizes, shapes and colors. Yet, do we really practice what we preach?
The veil does not mark a person physically or mentally incapable of achieving what others around them can. The veil does not oppress a woman-