Muslim culture and dress targeted


The Muslim world occupies a vast stretch of contiguous land extending from Morocco in the West to Indonesia in the East and from the Ex-Russian republics in the north to the borders of Uganda in the south. But a considerable number of other faith groups besides Islam exist within each country, such as Christians (Eastern Orthodox, Coptic, in addition to other denominations), Jews, Hindus, Bahais, Sikhs, Buddhists, Druses, Zoroastrians, etc.

Lebanon, for example, has a majority Muslim population, but its constitution assumes proportional equality with Christians. India, on the other hand, has a majority of Hindus, but its Muslim population equals that of Pakistan. There is a substantial Muslim population in other countries, including Europe and the Americas, with six to eight million in the United States. 

But having a Muslim population does not mean it is monolithic in its composition. Thus, in addition to the Shia (with its subgroups) and Sunni division, within Sunnis there are four major schools of thought. And because Islamic sacred sources allow of a variety of interpretations, there is always room for additions.

Also, there is a great cultural diversity within the Muslim community, composed as it is of various ethnicities, intermixed with the local customs and traditions.

Thus it not uncommon to confuse cultural diversity with the requirements of Islamic faith, especially when it comes to outsiders with a vested agenda. This is particularly the case with issues concerning women.

"The Western feminist gaze has become the dominant lens through which the realities of Muslim women's lives and the societies in which they live are interpreted and defined," write Jasmin Zine and Katherine Bullock in a special issue "Islam and Women," of the prestigious American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences. [14(4), 2002]

"Despite a few more recent exceptions, these negative and essentialized representations have maintained their currency through the persistence of colonial stereotypes as recurrent motifs. The meanings that have been inscribed on the Muslim woman's body as 'oppressed' or as a passive victim of patriarchal domination provide limited ways of understanding the complex narratives through which Muslim women actually live their lives as actors and resisters."

For example, in Afghanistan, burqa-clad women became "the trademark of Islamic repression." And these images served, at least partially, "to justify all forms of military action under the trope of 'liberation,' as was the earlier formula for colonial intervention in the Muslim world."

It is ironic that those very women still walk burqa-clad, which constitutes part of their culture, but they are now a forgotten commodity, as is the rest of Afghanistan, laden with landmines, bombed-out buildings, and steeped in poverty.

President Jacques Chirac of France presents another extreme in his recent backing of a proposal to ban headscarves, or hijab, in public schools. Wearing of modest attire constitutes neither a cultural practice, nor a political statement but a fulfillment of a religious requirement.

The proposed ban would also apply to Jewish yarmulkes and large Christian crosses, but it is widely regarded that it is aimed at restricting Islamic religious practices. Christian and Jewish religious leaders in France and throughout the world have opposed any ban on religious identity.

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams described the French government's move as "provocative and destructive."

Chirac says the ban was needed because France's cherished tradition of secularism was under threat. But such a radical understanding is contrary to the basic concept of freedom, and contravenes the French constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights. As a result, thousands of women took to the streets protesting this violation of their religious right.

Here in the USA this type of approach would be contrary to the American concept of separation of church-state, whereby American tradition restricts itself from involving in personal religious matters.

 

Siraj I. Mufti, is a researcher and freelance journalist, and is an active member of the Tucson community.


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  37 Comments   Comment

  1. mariam martin from BAHRAIN

    Mashallah good artical and very accurate.

    May Allah keep us steadfast.Ameen thuma Ameen

  2. Nick Cameron from United States

    The French need to get their priorities straight. As the Jerusalem Post has stated, law-abiding Muslim women who live devoutly are not the problem. No, the real threat are the minority of barbarians within France's Muslim immigrant communities as well as its own native-born extremists like Le Pen who cause militancy.

    Chirac, leave Muslim women alone!

  3. AAAhmed from UK

    Thank you Katja for injecting a bit of sanity and good old common sense into this matter. I believe the level of illogic and outright hostility prevalent within the opposition to the hijab, or any modest attire speaks for itself.

  4. Katja from U.S.

    First I am a Catholic American,I know about BiH. I have been there for three visits.Ispeak Bosnian. My personal take is that Christians these days are seldom in complete observation of Christian rules on dress. Lest we forget, Christians are required by their faith also to dress modestly. Maybe the rules are not so strict as is seen in many Islamic countries, but even modern female business attire, ie 'corporate dress' is contrary to true Christian teaching. Therefore I never wear it. I do wear a scarf, and I wear a good sized Celtic cross because not only am I partly of Croat heritage, but I have Irish ancestry as well. I wear it what ever other jewelry I wear. This is because while I have utmost respect for Muslims and for Jews, I am Christian. I have taken abuse from other Christians over this issue from time to time. It is a view I held since early in my life, that the Bible, both Books requires modesty of women, Catholic Cannon law does too. I observe it. Western European and American women are totally victims of the fashion industry and further, however 'liberated' they are at the total mercy of men in a lot of ways. There is in the Western world plenty of domestic violence. There is rape, and there has been genocide. Some of it aimed at Christians who didn't conform to local variants of Christianity, some aimed at Jews, (it happens I'm half Jewish) Some of the genocide has been aimed at Muslims in Bosnia Hercegovina and in Chechnya. My take is that a LOT of the abuse Muslims and Muslim women in particular come under is that Christians have in many instances failed to fully practice their own religion, so they abuse Jews and they abuse Muslims, because Jews and Muslims do not throw away their religion. Most Jews do observe most or all of their law, most Muslims I've met observe most or all of their law. The Pope said we Catholics need to be friends with Muslims and Jews not persecute them. France is doing a persecution. As a Catholic Christian I object.

  5. djermana from bosnia and herzegovina

    i am from bih,europe. we still elhamdulillah do not have the kind of the law the french president is proposing but we are starting to be affraid of it. our sisters in france will not be able to attend public schools and work in public institutions. i am affraid it is only the question of time when will other counties start thinking bad about hidjab and if that comes muslim women will be denied education and jobs. that would lead us to the complete catastrophe. i would like to do something about that but i do not know how to make things better.

  6. Romesh Chander from US

    Note on posts by HA and Halim Aziz:

    Please don't threaten with "Mass Hijra"; just do it. I bet you could not find enough muslims ready to leave US to fill a plane; life is too good for them to leave for the sake of religion.

    Regarding shuttong off oil, please do so. In 1973, US planned to take over Saudi Oil fields; this time, the US plans are far more advanced; this time they will not only take over the oil fields, pump all the necessary oil, but also don't pay for it. If you want to see that happening, please shut off oil. Don't worry, GWBush is the only mad president US will have; his successor will not be any better; read the history of US for the last 200 years.

    Good luck on Mass Hijra. How quickly we can have it. GWBush and Jacques Chirac are counting on you; even Tony Blair will join the chorus.

  7. Hamza from Denmark

    I have read some of the comments to the article. Something strikes me as strange. To stop the rhetorical speeches is one thing, but to be pragmatic, is a catastrophy! We are not supposed to be pragmatic, meaning accept the situation and adjust ourselves to that. We are supposed to adhere to the Sharia'a and not change it or neglect it. Reading the seerah we find that some Muslims fled to abassinia (yemen). Did they conform to the situation? Did they change their principles? Absolutely not! When they were put before the negus (the christian ruler of Yemen), they were asked about their new viewpoint about life, about Jesus and the obvious contradictions between what Islam says about him, and christianity. They showed us, who live in the west, the way to present and explain what Islam is about. No pragmatism and no conformity to the situation. Rather, explaining Islam as it is, and nothing more. Don't change the meaning of Jihad, don't show (so-called) similarities with capitalism and socialism. Or democracy. Take responsibility for your life, and be steadfast.

    May we be able to do this, with strength and vigour..ameen ya Allah

  8. halim aziz from malaysia

    Comment by Binta is ok, but dont have to threat the West or the European.When people not of your kind do not want you or hostile, just Hijrah to where the people of your kind that can accept you.Hijrah was very much encouraged and might be the solution to all these problems.We must not forget the spirit Hijrah.We cannot blame the European or the West, they love their country and will do whatever they have to, to safeguard their future. They have every right to protect themselves. The problem with us Muslim, we love other people country too much and abandon our own.Even Muslims of European and Western origin, when the time come they must Hijrah!- maybe the time has come, believers and non-believers must be seperated (YASSIN)- for rich muslims they can start to invest in poor muslim countries, those people need your help. Leave with dignity and gentlemanly, do not hate the West and the European because they were also your friends at one time ago.

  9. Mohamed from USA

    Reading the comments I'm finding out that people should stop the rhetorical speeches and be more pragmatic.

    Islam today is deeply misunderstood and the perception of it hasn't changed since the time of the crusades.

    The west ignore in its vast majority that whatever rights women gained in the second part of the 20th century were enjoyed by Muslim women for the past 15 centuries .

    Muslims need to break their isolation and go out to address this ignorance .Let non Muslims find out what Islam really stand for .But before doing that I think Muslims should understand the reality and the system of values of the westerners. Understand it without being judgmental of it . Then we can help them understand where we are coming from and in this case what's the status of women in Islam .Let's dialog with the west instead of wasting time blaming them for their ignorance of our religion. It's our duty of Daawa.

    I don't know of any guest who upon arriving at the guest starts commanding him of how to run his house. Do that in my house and you can be sure I'll gladly show the door.

    Brothers and Sisters , the problem we are facing is an IGNORANCE problem and Ignorance can only be addressed through education . SO GET OUT AND START EXPLAINING IN A SMART , LOVING AND PRODUCTIVE WAY RATHER THAN IN A CONFRONTATIONAL WAY.

    The duty of muslims is to spread the message and it's up to people to decide for themselves if they want to become muslims and please allah SWT.

    Assalumu Aalaikum

  10. saidat from Nigeria

    i think am in support of what a brother said that we should stand up and claim our right and defend Islam there should be muslim delegates to france and again there should be awareness for muslims concerning Islam and our right.Something like that happened in nigeria too,in university of ife sisters using face cover are not allowed to register and the most tourching part of it was that it was a muslim that went to tell the school authrity that they should noy allow them that they are security risk

  11. To Ramesh Chander from H.A. from Sachkatchewan

    My dear Hindu Fundamentalist Brother,

    Yeah!!! We, Muslims, are going to do a mass "Hijra" back to our Muslim countries soon and a certainly MASS joining to Al-Qaida, simply to keep you and your "CIVILIZED" Western friends wake 24 hrs/day with "FEAR ALERTS".

    Only nineteen kids have made you sound the "TERROR alerts" more often than the weather alerts.

    Is that what you want for your New Year's resolution from now on?

    Do you want all the Muslims to join the party at Tora Bora?

    We can make your life more interesting. We can make you feel the pain by cutting off oil (the engine that runs the west and its economy) from Muslim lands. Hmmm...I wonder if my terroist brother have enough energy to walk to work. I hope your boss don't fire you for being late.

    Dear Hindu terrorist!!! (good job!!! Keep burning Muslims alive in Gujrat and demolishing mosques....Way to go!!! Hurrah!!!)

    Ever heard of Mohandas K Gandhi?

    If he (M.K. Ghandi) loved the WEST and its values so much, why did he oppose the western occupation in India? Aren't you glad to be free?

    I think you really need to seek professional help. The lobsters you chew with money coming from other Hindu terrorists at ALL YOU CAN EAT BUFFET is damaging your thinking.

    Don't worry... Keep enjoying lobster!!! &

    Let the clock do its ticking....Muslims are going to make your life very very interesting.

    Simply fasten all the belts out there that are fastenable!!!

    To be fair...Don't panic!!! Also if you don't H.A. to raise your blood pressure, Don't post such stupid comments. It's just a healthy advice, NOT A THREAT.

  12. Hamza from Denmark

    Brother Shuja (I think brother, please correct)

    You are right. Among other things we are to blame for our situation today. Among other things! Our greatest enemy is Iblees and his friends, may Allahs curse be upon them all. The reason why I quoted these ayaat and ahadith (and they are in the right context absolutely), is because we are Muslims, and we should view this world with Islamic eyes, so to speak. I will quote another ayah from the Glorious Book, Qur'an il-Kareem: "Verily, Allah does not change the situation of a people, until they (first and foremost) change, what is within themselves." [Translation of Meaning chapter A'raf, ayah 11]

    This ayah is general and includes the europeans when they transformed their societies from one state to another, into capitalism and socialism. We have to take the reigns, and do what we can to serve Allah (swt) the way He wants us to serve Him. Not what we feel.

    But by doing a close study of the Sunnah, we will see that this is not something new. Our beloved Messenger (saw) also met strict resistance from the society of that time, but he was under command to work in a specific way, not haphazardly. We must do the same, follow his (saw) example. By doing that we will make change absolutely. The way Allah (swt) wants us to serve Him.

    May we be able to achieve victory, in this life and the next..ameen

    waSalaamu 'aleikum

  13. Shuja from Toronto, Canada

    Br. Hamza, instead of putting prophet's (saw) sayings and Quranic verses in the wrong perspective, put the blame and onus on Muslims only. How come a negligible population of Sikhs are able to change the laws of Canadian police, French Police and Administration while millions of Muslims are helpless. It is easy to say Br. Hamza that this period is for test and tribunal. Allah-0-Akbar. Where is the resistence? We are committing a crime by not even initiating to turn the tables, and yet we bring well-wishing Quranic quotations and sayings of the beloved Prophets(saw) to substantiate our laxiness. These times are tough because we are idots. These times are predicted and foretold by the prophet (saw) because we will become ignorant, selfish, cunning, reckless, insensitive and love for the world. We have not become this because prophet (saw) has foretold. On the contrary, he (saw) has foretold because we will become like this. Don't put the cart before the horse. Stop putting words into prophet's (saw) mouth. Appalling. And Mr. Salim, instead of blaming Human Rights, tell me something, what kind of relationship does Muslim community has with Human Rights? How many times did you or your friends have donated blood into the blood banks? What is our position in the world? Nobody will listen to us because we are aloof. We are busy building glass-garrisons one after another. It is easy to blame others. How many Muslims are ready to even participate in turning the Hijab ban? Not one. We can protest, sit in our homes, blame Bush and Blair, but we are good for nothing.

    Shuja

  14. Hamza from Denmark

    This is our test in this life. Our Prophet (saw) said, "There will come a time when adhering to Islam, will be like holding on to a burning hot piece of rock."

    Allah (swt) says in His Glorious Book, Qur'an il-Kareem: "And do they think, they will be granted Jannah, without being tested? ...(this way) He will know the truthful, and those who lie.." [Translation of Meaning]

    We should not be surprised, if they ban everything. Allah (swt) says, "Verily the Kuffar use their property to make others deviate from the Path of Allah; and they will (absolutely) continue to do this..." [Translation of Meaning]

    So we should have patience, persevere and strive to show to mankind, that this will not make us compromise whatsoever! Muhammad (saw) said to his uncle, "By Allah, O uncle, Even if they put the sun in my right hand, and the moon in my left, I will never leave this matter (Islam), until Allah gives it victory, or I die working for it."

    We should obey Allah (swt) always. Then even if we die trying, we will the pleasure of Allah (swt) in this life and the next, by His Grace. But if we do not, we will be disgraced in this life and the next! He (swt) says, "Is it only a part of the Book, you recognise, and do you reject the rest? What is the recompense for those among you who do this, but disgrace in this life, and on the Day of Judgment, they will ascribed the most griveuos punishment!" [Translation of Meaning]

  15. Romesh Chander from US

    Comment on post by Binta:

    So, you think that the european economy is heavily dependent on muslim immigrants that they could not prosper without immigrants; and that you are threatening "Mass Hijra".

    Please don't threaten. Rather you must urge every muslim in the west to do "Mass Hijra". You will find out that europeans will love that idea. Probably, they want you leave.

    Don't call your bluff; they will take you up on it. May be they are eager to rid of this 'muslim disease'. Since 9/11, there have been strict unofficial restrictions on muslim immigrants into europe; in US, it is the reverse -- no muslim immigrants; and if any muslim leaves, don't let him get in; that is why US is mandating muslim students to go home over the summer and re-apply for visa (which will be rarely granted).

  16. Hamza amin from Denmark

    This is our test in this life. Our Prophet (saw) said, "There will come a time when adhering to Islam, will be like holding on to a burning hot piece of rock. Allah (swt) says in His Glorious Book, Qur'an il-Kareem: "And do they think, they will be granted Jannah, without being tested? ...(this way) He will know the truthful, and those who lie.." [Translation of Meaning]

    We should not be surprised, if they should decide ban everything. Allah (swt) says, "Verily the Kuffar use their property to make others deviate from the Path of Allah; and they will (absolutely) continue to do this..." [Translation of Meaning]

    So we should have patience, persevere and strive to show to mankind, that this will not make us compromise in any way whatsoever! Muhammad (saw) said to his uncle, "By Allah, O uncle, Even if they put the sun in my right hand, and the moon in my left, I will never leave this matter (Islam), until Allah gives it victory, or I die working for it."

    We should obey Allah always. Then even if we die trying, we will have the pleasure of Allah (swt) in this life and the next, by His Grace. But if we do not, we will be disgraced in this life and the next! He (swt) says, "Is it only a part of the Book, you recognise, and do you reject the rest? What is the recompense for those among you who do this, but disgrace in this life, and on the Day of Judgment, they will ascribed the most griveuos punishment!" [Translation of Meaning]

  17. Hamza Amin from Denmark

    This is our test in this life. Our Prophet (saw) said, "There will come when adhering to Islam, will be like holding on to a burning hot piece of rock. Allah (swt) says in His Glorious Book, Qur'an il-Kareem: "And do they think, they will be granted Jannah, without being tested? ...(this way) He will know the truthful, and those who lie.." [Translation of Meaning]

    We should not be surprised, if they ban everything. Allah (swt) says, "Verily the Kuffar use their property to make others deviate from the Path of Allah; and they will (absolutely) continue to do this..." [Translation of Meaning]

    So we should have patience, persevere and strive to show to mankind, that this will not make us compromise whatsoever! Muhammad (saw) said to his uncle, "By Allah, O uncle, Even if they put the sun in my right hand, and the moon in my left, I will never leave this matter (Islam), until Allah gives it victory, or I die working for it."

    We should obey allah always. Then even if we die trying, we will the pleasure of Allah (swt) in this life and the next, by His Grace. But if we do not, we will be disgraced in this life and the next! He (swt) says, "Is it only a part of the Book, you recognise, and do you reject the rest? What is the recompense for those among you who do this, but disgrace in this life, and on the Day of Judgment, they will ascribed the most griveuos punishment!" [Translation of Meaning]

  18. MUH.NAFI BIN ABDUL AZEEZ from NIGERIA

    As-salam Alaykum,

    Alhamdulilahi for this opportunity.

    Brothers in Islam first and foremost i want us to

    thank ALLAH for his great mercy on we muslims 'cos

    being a muslim is not by birthright.

    Now come the issuse on ground i want every muslim to know that saying KALIMAT(SHAHADAT),PRAYING FIVE TIMES DAILY,FASTING,and the remainings doesnot garanty one the AL-JANNAT which every muslim believed in the hereafter.

    Until one is a practising muslim i mean real practising before he or she can be granted the JANNAT.

    In my community for example a muslim sister is being identified or recognised by her mode of dressing and if to say or erradicate this honorable mode of dressing therefore what we are sayining here is that there shouldn't be diferent between male and female in the society. But let those who agaist this mode of dressing knowthat the HOLY PROPHET(S.A.W)said "woe to a man who try to immetate a woman....".

    ALLA(S.W.T)said while enjoying all believers through His messanger"...that is the best way to recognized them...".

  19. Mira from UK

    i think that it is really bad that france is trying to ban scarfs because at the end of the day that just goes to show that don't respect other people

  20. Romesh Chander from US

    I am for provision of Muttawa (religious police) in the western countries and creation of Department of Morality and Prevention of Vice in every western country; the laws will apply to everybody irrespective of religious affilation.

  21. M. Salim from USA

    why don't i hear human rights group saying something against france? Oops.. they are not paid for this!

  22. Kiran from England

    Aslamu alaikum. First of all i think that by banning head scarfs france is just causing more trouble, this will make more people rise to protect their believes and france hasn't looked at the fact that their country will be losing alot aswell. They will lose respect from muslims around the world,which will affect industries such as tourism aswell. Its not like we go to the churchs and ban nuns from wearing their gowns!!! And what happened to human rights, Muslims are human aswell. I wear my headscarf all the time, and its apart of me, it would be like losing a limb. OUR DRESS CODE IS NOT A TERRORIST ATTACK OR WEAPON OF MASS DESTRUCTION!

    ALLAH HAFIZ

  23. Cyrus Shahrzad from US

    You know, when I read about this stuff, it just makes me appreciate the US so much more. I love this country. We have no idea how lucky we are to be in a country like this. I was born here, and not once have I been discrimminated for my religion here. France is an insecure, reactionary state. They are just insecure that they have lost their past glory. Everytime a Starbucks opens in France, the people hate it. This is all about totalitarianism. France is just against anything that is non-French.

    A government should have no role in telling people what to wear or how they should practice their religion. It just pisses me off when I read about people saying that, "secularism protects muslim women from being oppressed by the hijab." This is the kind of racist, intolerant, orientalist, bullcrap that is typical of Europeans. My parents are from Iran, and there they are forcing women to wear hijab...which is also wrong. Religion is an individual issue. If the state either forces a religion, or forces people not to practice a religion...there is no difference.

  24. Kamillah Jones from USA

    It is a very scarey time for muslims throughout the world, even through there are 2 billion muslims, the worlds perspective is that Muslim equals terrorist. Do all the Muslims have to suffer for what happened at the New York trade center?

    Why is it so important to Ban the Hijab? Do we American Muslims have a freedom to choose how we dress? I prefer to follow the religious requirements set down by Allah (God) in the Quran and I feel most comfortable wearing my Hijab and Jilbab(outer clothing). If I were not allowed to wear my Hijab in public, I would no longer have the freedom to go out to the mall, shopping, and to other outside functions that I love. I would feel the need to stay in the house and not go anywhere. For I will never disobey Allah for anyone because this is my own personal religious belief. I love to wear the hijab for two reasons, one it pleases Allah and it also hides my beauty for only my Husband to see.

    I must add I was born and raised in the United States and I embraced Islam in 1979. I always loved living in the United States because I was proud of our first Admendment to the United States constitution, Freedom of religion, Freedom of Press, and Freedom of Speech. I pray that these freedoms will never be taken away from us and I will continue to be able to wear my Hijab.

  25. Binta from USA

    Salaam. Do you know the Muslims shouldn't cry about this. We should pack our bags, go to a Muslim country and let's see how much they love their secularism. The Prophet said, there will be a time, when the leaders will not give you your right, but still give him his right. Muslims should've never immigrated to Western countries to start with, and approve their economy, aid them to build weapons to use against other Muslims, as you see now. Okay, you will say I was born here in the West, so one word. "HIJRAH", look and see what the blessing of Hijrah is. Also, we as Muslims are too comfortable in the west. We work, eat, sleep, and just cry inside when the Muslims are humilated. Woe! to us. Allah will not change the conditions of a people until we change our conditions. Change it in Morrocco, Algeria, Somalia, all the area where the Muslims are the majority. The west is motivated by "money" if you move and leave them without people to make this economy strong. You will see a big change of heart. When the African Americans stop riding the buses, and stop the companies money flow, they changed quickly. Ha Ha! Call their bluff, let an Imam call for Mass hijrah, then and finally then you will see, France will forget about securlism.

  26. Aneesa from South Africa

    Strange how a pice of cloth can cause so much controversy! Western feminists as seen in the world today are obsessed withseeing Islam as the bogey-man. Although these women consider themselves to be "enlightened", I find them an irritance as they delight in using their righteous benchmark to measure others- sort of like: "My way or the highway"

    They are guilty of stereotyping of the worst order. They naturally assume that because Christian women were made to "pay for the sins of Eve" by men, that naturally Islam is no better. Another totally false accusation is that Islam is partiarchal. Are they aware that Hadhrat Aisha (R.A) and other female scholars like her during her time are responsible for passing down and preserving much of the teachings Muslims practice today. Good grief!! she's repsonsible for the narration of a couple thousand hadeeth still treasured by our Ummah. Hadhrat Khadija(RA) was an astute business woman!

    The problem with the West and some so-called Muslims is that they continuously see the West as the bringer of civilization to us lesser people with our "barabric" ways and of course it's up to them to save us. What they should do is stop wallowing in their own stupidity-you know- the way a pig delights in rolling in its own mud.

    How can muslims take the west seriously when many of them think that Makkah is in India or that Buddha is a Islamic figure?

    Chirac showed his true colours when he said that the hijab was "aggressive". If that's not Islamophobia then I don't know what is.

  27. hyat from canada

    It is really depressing that Muslim women always have to defend their dress code.

    The hijab is a part of our faith and a sign that we are obedient to our creator. We don't wear a hijab because we are oppressed, or forced as some people thing we are, or that we are terrorists. We wear the head covering because it is part of the discipline to our faith and to Allah. You know Apples and oranges are different but they are fruits. Arabs, Americans, Europeans, we have different customs, beliefs and speak different languages but we are all humans. And we have human rights don't start taking that away from us. Most likely it was the 9/11 that gave Mr. Chirac his fears and to go ahead and impose this ban.

    I think it is fear on behalf of the President of France and total ignorance for doing what he did. I don't see how are girls wearing a hajib or head covering affect or change the school system? We pray to Allah that this will be over turned.

  28. Muzammil from Malaysia

    Like Bush, this Chirac has turned into another world-class screw-up.

    His government stand by their decision to ban 'hijab' based on the notion that secularism must be upheld.

    And he is also reported to be saying upholding secularism means giving Frenchs liberty to practice the religion of their choices.

    In his weirdo word to Radio Classique, he foolishly said "Secularism is the freedom to freely exercise one's faith, while respecting those of others,"

    Oppss.... Chirac has joined Bush to screw up big time.

    Listen fools! By banning hijab, you disallow Muslim ladies to practice one aspect of their religion. And you do not respect Muslim's faith! Don't you get it? Are you really that stupid Chirac? May I give you free kindergarten review lessons?

    You fool hypocrites! Hopeless bag of bull...

  29. Dr. Asad U Khan from Canada

    In present environment of fear and uncertinity caused by the terrorism on the name of Islam by the people of Osama B ladin's persuation, the western governments and public are justifiably apprehensive of Mulims amongst their midst.The Muslims living in west have to share the blame for their predictament, by tolerating and or ignoring these bigots and in some situations supporting them.

    So now the Western Governments are telling Muslims well if you want to live in our country and take advantage of our civil societies you have to live on our terms, you will dress and speak like us and follow your faith privatly as we do, this dictum is OK with at least one MUFTI of Egypt's ALHAZAR university.

  30. Ahmed from UK

    Its interesting to note that western "conservatives" who generally loathe femenists are more than happy to advance the image of Muslim woman as oppressed, often in tandem with femenist anti-Muslim prapoganda. Strange bedfellows indeed. Its heartening to see that the western world can unite behind something, too bad its petty hatred against you know who.

    Back when I was younger I was under the erroneous impression that westerners were simply ignorant about Islam and watched too much TV, however it is quite apparent to me that now they are jealous and hatefull, a petty people whose history of murder against even fellow "Christians" is well documented. The history of the 20th centiry alone shows this. If they feel threatened by children in school with hijab, what does that say about their "civilization." They hate us because we have something they dont, FAITH and CULTURE.

    This is why european civilization is on its way out. Harsh, but true. Oh well, I'll get over it.

  31. Zinedine from Morocco

    Salamu alaikum,

    Yes, we know that France is one of the least tolerant Western countries when it comes to dealing with Muslims but we Muslims do not wish to absorb the spirit of Islam instead we prefer its litteralist interpretation.

    I believe that some Muslim women still wear the Burqua because they leave in constant fear thinking that the brutal Taliban may always come back & have no trust in expedient minded Afghan government & their leaders in the White House. They also believe it is mandatory in our religion. Well, it is not. Why? because the Niquaab was the result of Muslims weakness in responding to the threats coming from their ennemies during the Battle of Alkhandaq (Alahzab).

    I would like you brother author to wear the Burqua for one day & you tell me if you like it. You won't because it is not part of the human FITRA.

    The Burqua was justified in Islam a result of an event that took place in Yatrib where the women of the dignitaries of Quraish & Madina were forced to wear the Burqua instead of what they used to wear which is Alkhimar to prevent rape. The King of Madina, Abdullah Bnu Ubay and his Munafiqueen hypocrits)gangs were rapists. It was Khalifah Umar Ibnu Lkhataab may Allah bpwh who suggested the idea of wearing Niquaab called Burqua in Pushto because Abdullah Bnu Ubai bnu Salool, the head of the hypocrits told Umar that the free women of his city wear the Niquaab and the Ima'a (slaves) dont and that when they decide to rape a woman at night, they target the ones that are not wearing the Niquab simply because they know that they are slaves. Muhammad pbuh waited for revelation and Allah revealed to him that Muslim women must wear the Niquaab not because it is a sign of piety but it was because it protects them from harm. Muhammad pbuh instructed Asma'a to only reveal her face & hands. He never asked her to cover her face. Please know that the Niquaab was a temporary solution and not to be held forever. Pls read Quraan & Hadith caref

  32. Marian Musse from USA

    France and all others are missing that Muslim dress is about choice, and to quote Prophet Mohamad (peace be upon him) "Every faith have innate character. The character of Islam is modesty"

  33. Sam Nicholas from USA

    Salamu Alaikim,

    I am truly ashamed of the Muslim leaders who have done nothing to inhibit Chirak from banning the Hijab in France. This is one more reason that the Muslim leaders are doing nothing to protect our Muslim wives, sisters, and daughters. I am not then surprised that the French President proudly enforced his opinion on millions of Muslim women. Go figure! Until when are we going to take a passive and tacit posture of this nature??

    After all, I am very proud to be an American. I am also glad I was not a pervert French leader.

  34. Tony Melosh from USA

    Salamu Alaikum,

    For me there has not been one true Muslim country like the Great USA. It is indeed a great pleasure for our community of 8 million Muslims to be part and parcel of this land. Our adopted country remains persecution-free; thanks to our leaders and most of all our cherished Constitution. Muslim Americans hardly come under any sort of discomfort from the government or the rest of the population. We have been always welcome under all circumstances including those of September 11 of 2001. Europe, on the other hand, has always been a land of controversies, contradictions, and at times chaos (WWI and WWII). As I have mentioned once before, Hijab remains a symbol of purity and self-respect for all Muslim women while it is a symbol of oppression and lack of self-expression to the lustful and reason-bereft French leaders. The irony of the matter is that these so called "leaders" do not make an effort in studying Islam before taking action against its tenets including the Hijab. If they did, they would have embraced it wholeheartedly. The last two Italian ambassadors to Saudi Arabia converted to Islam because it did make sense to them. How could anyone be wrong about the unmatched wisdom of Islam once they study it?

    There will be a time of reason when all women will realize that Hijab is more of a protective gear against the perversion of so many out there than the thong and the mini-skirts. Many Christians and Jews are waking up to the fact that their daughters, sisters, and wives are under the perennial onslaught of the big corporations and special interests around the globe which are trying to pervert their morals and their family cohesion especially the porn and vanity clothing industries. It is time to wake up so that we can keep our societies protected against the decadence of these greedy moguls who are bent on destroying our societies.

    God's promise is undoubtedly in the works.

  35. Safiyyah Yufenu from USA

    No! Muslim culture is not being targeted. Islam is being targeted. Don't ever think non-believers are fighting you for your culture and dress. This is a smoke screen. So change the title to "Secularists Hide Behind Hijab In Fight Against Islam" The information in the article is eloquently stated and true. As Salaamu Alaykum.

  36. halim aziz from malaysia

    The west is increasingly restricting Islamic religious practices and other rights of the Muslims. Muslim nations cannot have nuclear weapons as a deterrent, cannot wear hijab, ban on Muslim slaughter and others maybe on the list. It is just like building reasons for clash of civilization !

  37. Dania from Syria

    You're right,Doctor.

    In the past,Muslim Culture and Dress were targeted indirectly Nowadays,they do it directly