Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
One thing everyone might not be aware of is that the word "hijab" actually just means to veil or cover and is used in the qur'an as a general word for modesty in dress and behavior. Men are supposed to be modest too. Culturally it has evolved that head scarves and loose clothing are very common ways for women to implement the injunction to be modest. But there is no quranic reason to require it, although it does seem to be a reasonable expression of modesty.

Also, some Christian sects in the US specify what most modern Europeans or Americans would consider "repressive" dress -- ankle skirts, long sleeves, sometimes scarves. And, they sometimes are repressive to women in their community who don't want to conform. The only difference between them and muslim immigrants is that they are "Christian" and "Western", if a backward form of it (IMO). But usually the justification for these rules are some interpretation of scripture....the same as Islam.

The point of this is that headscarves are a legitimate form of religious self-expression, but are also misused like all human customs. Furthermore, the only self-expression a woman might have in a repressive culture is her religion. Or the only thing she can take solace in is God. Taking that away by telling her that the expression is bad may further isolate and depress her.

This is not to say that all muslim women in Europe want to be wearing a headscarf, just that the headscarf is, as the original diarist posted, not the thing to be worried about.


by R343L (reverse qw/ten.cinos@l343r/) on Wed Jan 17th, 2007 at 12:15:01 AM EST

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