Hijab/Niqab News: Hijab-wearing women rock!
- Hijab-wearing women rock!
Why hijab-wearing Muslim women have a real affinity for hard rock
guardian.co.uk, Sunday 14 February 2010 19.00 GMT
God gave rock'n'roll to you! So US rock band Kiss chanted in the early 90s, a cover of the original song by British group Argent. My relationship with this "divine" gift started early. At 12, I riffled through my brother's vinyl collection and emerged a fan of U2, Faith No More and Led Zeppelin.
Recently, aged 31, I set out in my coolest headscarf to see the best live band in the world: Muse, on their Resistance Tour. I looked around, but spotted not one of my species – an "undercover Muse-lim", as one friend dubs me. But there are others.
Shabana, a solicitor and mother of three, has listened to rock music for as long as she has worn a headscarf. She has dragged her husband to a Jon Bon Jovi gig; her son has taken up electric guitar. "People are always surprised to find out about my rock collection," she says. "They take one look at my headscarf and assume I'll be into choir music!" I know the feeling.
Veiled women find opportunity to share faith
Muslims say head scarves are a source of curiosity
February 16, 2010|By Lois K. Solomon, Sun Sentinel
Feel free to ask Morinikke Williams a question about her hijab. She's heard them all.
The most frequent: "Why do you wear that?" But "Isn't it hot under there?" is also near the top of the list.
In France, Muslim women might hesitate at similar questions. The hijab, or head scarf, is prohibited in French schools. The French parliament is debating whether to ban the burqa, or covering from head to toe worn by some Muslim women, after President Nicolas Sarkozy said it is "not welcome" in France.
Williams, 30, who became a Muslim 10 years ago, and fellow moms at the Islamic Foundation of South Florida school say they are glad to talk about why they cover their hair. They believe the questions demonstrate a climate of tolerance and interest in their religion and culture.
In South Florida, where the weather spurs many to wear as little as possible, the hijab attracts attention. American Muslims say they are accustomed to this spotlight, especially since Sept. 11 and subsequent violence in the Middle East and attempted terrorist attacks by extremists in the United States and Europe.
About 75,000 Muslims live in Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties, said Muhammed Malik, director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations' South Florida office. He estimates a little over half of Muslim women in South Florida wear the hijab or other head covering.
Many Muslim women in the United States are enthusiastically sharing the reactions they have gotten to their public demonstration of faith.
The Hijabi Monologues, a play performed last fall in South Florida, has been traveling around the country, allowing veiled Muslim women to talk about their experiences, including men's attempts at flirtation and the challenges of finding places to pray.
Hijab... American Experience
Sara Uddin smiles as she adjusts her black hijab after performing Friday prayers with scores other Muslim girls and women.
Now it is time to go out again, and Sara is always ready for any questions, stares or even negative misconceptions about the small piece of cloth that covers her head.
"I want to defeat all stereotypes with my hijab and the only way to do it is to speak out about it," she told IslamOnline.net.
Sara, 22, has been wearing hijab for nearly 4 years now.
"When I first wore it I was in high school in San Diego, California, and it was great. The place is so much diverse there and people are exposed to different cultures and different faiths," she recalled.
Hijab: Always A Woman's Business?
"But when I came back to Washington I did notice a couple of stares from the non-Muslim community, I knew they might not be the same."
Sara says that though she does not receive any real attacks because of her hijab, negative viewpoints are something she certainly faces.
"I feel that it is a good thing whenever I get comments because it gets me to explain that this is who I am and this is why I do it."
Islam sees hijab as an obligatory code of dress, not a religious symbol displaying one’s affiliations.
"I am American, I was born here and I have friends here," says Sara, who works in a bank, confidently.
"And I am a Muslim and these are the rules of Islam and I am sticking to them."
Though there are no official figures, America is estimated to be home to nearly 7-8 million Muslims.
Irish Imams Urge Niqab Acceptance
As an uproar is brewing across Europe on the ban of the face-veil, Irish imams are calling for respect of religious freedom, urging European Muslims to positively contribute to their societies to clear misconceptions.
“While there is no problem with the niqab in Ireland, it is something which is being debated in many places right now,” Ali Selim, Secretary-General of the Irish Council of Imams, told The Irish Times Saturday, February 6.
Several European countries have been gripped by a heated debate on banning the Muslim veil.
A French parliamentary panel recommended last month slapping a partial ban on face-veils in hospitals, schools, public transport and government offices.
The Italian government is also debating a law to ban the veil.
Similar debates are also heating up in Denmark and Germany to ban the Muslim outfit.
The Irish Imams urged European countries to respect the right of Muslim women to wear what suit them.
They said in a statement that calls for face-veil ban violate personal freedoms guaranteed by democratic systems.
Such a ban would also constitute an obstacle to multiculturalism, integration and human rights, they warned.
While hijab is an obligatory code of dress for Muslim women, the majority of Muslim scholars agree that a woman is not obliged to wear the face-veil.
Scholars believe it is up to women to decide whether to take on the veil or burqa.
The Irish Imams called on European Muslims make positive contributions to their societies to help clear misconceptions.
“Muslims are the minority in most countries,” Selim said.
“[They] are therefore faced with many challenges and how they deal with these is important.”
Islam, the world's second biggest religion after Christianity, is widely seen as Europe's fastest growing faith.
However, European Muslims have been facing ferocious smearing attacks by rightist groups, amid efforts to restrict their religious rights.
In November, Swiss voters backed an initiative by the right-wing Swiss People’s Party to ban mosque minarets in the country.
Calls have also been growing in Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands to ban the minaret construction.
Opposition is also growing in Denmark over plans to build the first two large mosques in the capital Copenhagen.
Ireland is home to some 50,000 Muslims, making up about 1 percent of the total population.
France denies citizenship over veil
The French government is refusing to grant citizenship to a foreign man who forces his wife to wear the full Islamic veil, amid a fierce debate in the country about national identity.
Francois Fillon, the French prime minister, said on Wednesday he would sign a decree barring the man from receiving French nationality, adding that he "has no place in our country".
The decision comes just days after a parliamentary panel called for a law to ban the wearing of full Islamic veils in public institutions such as schools, hospitals and transport.
"It's French law," Fillon told Europe 1 radio. "The civil code has for a very long time provided that naturalisation could be refused to someone who does not respect the values of the (French) republic.
"This case is about a religious radical: he imposes the burqa, he imposes the separation of men and women in his own home, and he refuses to shake the hands of women," he said.
France, don't ban the niqab
You need a much better reason than personal discomfort to outlaw something in a free society
Italy Moves to Ban Face-veil
CAIRO – The Italian government is debating a legislation to ban the face-veil in the country, following the footsteps of neighboring France, reported the Daily Mail on Saturday, January 30.
“A law is being studied that would ban the use of a burqa and niqab, which are not religious symbols,” Equal Opportunities Minister Mara Carfagna said.
She said Italy will follow in France’s footsteps in banning the Muslim veil.
"I completely agree with the French initiative, which I think will push other European countries and hence, also Italy, to enact laws on this issue.
"This is about a sacrosanct battle to defend the dignity and rights of immigrant women.”
A French parliamentary panel recommended last week slapping a partial ban on face-veils in hospitals, schools, public transport and government offices.
French Prime Minister Francois Fillon on Friday asked the top court to help the government draft a law banning the face-veil.
Fillon wrote to the State Council, the country's highest administrative court, asking it to "study the legal solutions enabling us to reach a ban on wearing the full veil, which I want to be as wide and effective as possible."
He asked the court to "help the government find a legal answer to the concerns expressed by parliament's representatives and to rapidly submit a bill on the subject to parliament."
The State Council is to submit its findings by the end of March.
While hijab is an obligatory code of dress for Muslim women, the majority of Muslim scholars agree that a woman is not obliged to wear the face veil.
Scholars believe it is up to women to decide whether to take on the veil or burqa.
The young French women fighting to defend the full-face veil
The debate over a proposed French law banning the niqab in public buildings features some unexpected divisions
Lizzy Davies in Paris
The Observer, Sunday 31 January 2010
On a grey Friday afternoon in Paris, Amina and her girlfriends are carrying fake designer handbags and wearing trainers sodden by the rain. Their heads are enveloped in the fur lining of their jacket hoods, and they are chatting vivaciously, swapping numbers on their shiny mobile phones.
But there is one factor that distinguishes this group of young women from a standard cluster of 20-somethings in the capital. Amina, 21, is dressed in a black veil that covers her entire body and most of her face. And, as she speaks, her eyes flash with pride and indignation.
"I choose to wear this. Not every day, just now and again. But when I do wear it, it is entirely of my own volition. No one is forcing me," she says, standing on a busy street corner in the heavily Muslim northern district of Barbès. "If they make us take it off, they'll be taking a part of us. I'd rather die than let them do it."
Amina, who is studying for a degree in Arabic at the university of Paris, is in the eye of a storm that in recent months has swept through France and left resentment in its wake.
Citing concerns about laïcité – secularism – and equality of the sexes, MPs voted last week to push through legislation that would forbid women from wearing the full Islamic veil in official spaces such as hospitals, post offices and buses. Figures from all political parties, feminist groups and even an imam have condemned a piece of clothing they describe as a "walking prison".
The proposals – denounced as "stigmatising" by some and as too lenient by others – were the result of a parliamentary inquiry that has raised fresh questions about what it means to be a Muslim in France. If its path through parliament is smooth, the partial ban could come into effect by the end of the year.
For and against the face-veil