Sunday, October 22, 2006

How I Came to Love the Veil

Yvonne Ridley wrote in WaPo I used to look at veiled women as quiet, oppressed creatures -- until I was captured by the Taliban.... Two-and-a-half years after my capture, I converted to Islam, provoking a mixture of astonishment, disappointment and encouragement among friends and relatives

Who probably figured you were insane.
.... Having been on both sides of the veil, I can tell you that most Western male politicians and journalists who lament the oppression of women in the Islamic world have no idea what they are talking about. They go on about veils, child brides, female circumcision, honor killings and forced marriages, and they wrongly blame Islam for all this -- their arrogance surpassed only by their ignorance.
If those things are not supported by the Quran, or any of the other Islamic books, why are they all practiced in Islamic countries, and, with a few exceptions, not in Western countries.
These cultural issues and customs have nothing to do with Islam.
Islam does not prohibit them, and the Islamists bring that cultural baggage with them when they come to the West.
A careful reading of the Koran shows that just about everything that Western feminists fought for in the 1970s was available to Muslim women 1,400 years ago.
And a careful reading of Christ's teaching shows that 2,000 years ago things were supposed to be a lot better than they are.
Women in Islam are considered equal to men in spirituality, education and worth,
Then why under Sharia Law must a woman have four witnesses to prove rape, and if she cannot prove it, why may she be stoned.
and a woman's gift for childbirth and child-rearing is regarded as a positive attribute.... Yes, it is a religious obligation for Muslim women to dress modestly, but the majority of Muslim women I know like wearing the hijab, which leaves the face uncovered, though a few prefer the nikab. It is a personal statement: My dress tells you that I am a Muslim and that I expect to be treated respectfully, much as a Wall Street banker would say that a business suit defines him as an executive to be taken seriously.
Then why not wear a business suit?
And, especially among converts to the faith like me, the attention of men who confront women with inappropriate, leering behavior is not tolerable.... Some young Muslim feminists consider the hijab and the nikab political symbols, too, a way of rejecting Western excesses such as binge drinking, casual sex and drug use.
There are many Christian women that reject those things, and do not feel they have to wear a hijab to do it.
What is more liberating: being judged on the length of your skirt and the size of your surgically enhanced breasts, or being judged on your character and intelligence?
You can dress conservatibly without wearing a hijab.
In Islam, superiority is achieved through piety -- not beauty, wealth, power, position or sex.... Under Islam, I am respected. It tells me that I have a right to an education
Then why did the Taliban, who captured you, forbit girls from going to schools, and why are they now attacking the schools our military has built in Afganistan for girls.
and that it is my duty to seek out knowledge, regardless of whether I am single or married. Nowhere in the framework of Islam are we told that women must wash, clean or cook for men.
And what do you think the women in Saudia Arabia, Pakistan, and other Islamic Countries are doing? Seeking out knowledge by studying in the Universities? In Saudia Arabia a woman cannot drive a car, and cannot go out in public unless accompanied by her husband or a male relative.
As for how Muslim men are allowed to beat their wives -- it's simply not true. Critics of Islam will quote random Koranic verses or hadith, but usually out of context.
Here are three translations of 4:34, see for yourself.
If a man does raise a finger against his wife, he is not allowed to leave a mark on her body, which is the Koran's way of saying, "Don't beat your wife, stupid."
According to this article he may "beat" her, though it must be without "hurting, breaking a bone, leaving blue or black marks on the body and avoiding hitting the face, at any cost." Maybe that is why the hijab is used, which covers everything but the face, and why some wear the nikab, in case their husbands even leave marks on the face.


Anonymous said...

please try to understand WHY muslim women are ordered to wear hijab before you slam it right away and quote supposedly verses from the quran from the internet. get yourself a real quran, pray that if allah is real, for him to reveal himself to you, then open the quran up and read. you may not be able to catch the meaning right away, so i suggest you go to a muslim person and ASK, CLARIFY. your hatred for islam and everything associated with it is clouding your heart. before you fully understand what islam is about, do not condemn it just yet. ASK, my friend. ASK.

Don Singleton said...

I have a copy of the Quran, and access to several more online.

Which verses in the Quran order a woman to wear a hijab?