HIJAB: A choice, a universal right or empowerment | By Zahra Khalid Haq

HIJAB: a choice, a universal right or empowerment

Modesty and intimacy in the hijab, in addition to being an Islamic concept, are particularly expressed in multi-ethnic and multi-religious countries; as, in Eastern Orthodoxy or Catholicism, women wear mitres a distinctive headdress of bishops.

A nun wears her headdress as a symbol of purity, a sign of her belonging to the church, of her submission to God, of her modesty and, to a certain extent, of her separation from the rest of society.

Among Hindus, head coverings are worn by most women and keep “the sari pallu” on the head. In Judaism, the sheitel is a special wig, scarf, kippah used by women.

But apparently the biggest challenge for Muslim women is to wear the hijab which covers most of the body in public, which also affects their working life and lifestyle.

Layering a specific faith, several veiled singers, veiled sportswomen, female reporters, have trolled on social media and made headlines in the recent past and been targeted for choosing to wear hijab.

Recently, a deluge of questions and comments were launched about this Pakistani rapper Eva B wearing the hijab while hailing a music broadcast.

She calls by name as an up-and-coming “niqab-chic” rapper. Similarly, a backlash has been contested in the neighboring country where the daughter of Oscar-winning musician AR Rehman has been targeted and objectified as the rarest burqa singer.

Both defended themselves with the slogans “It’s not your problem” and “It’s my choice”.

The roar of Muskan Khan standing up against the hijab as Indian Muslims captured the ‘brave moment’ to link it to a religious movement.

A Muslim female journalist in American media seeks to inspire Hijab as ‘Representation Matters’ while encountering bigoted and negative labels as a Hijabi reporting team.

Women in France are barred from a soccer field and seek to end up humiliated over the hijab in a ‘sports’ campaign using the hashtag ‘Les Hijabeuses’ in the interest of religious neutrality.

In Algeria, Hijabi is presented for the first time on public television. Conversely, a woman from the Middle East raised her voice against atrocities against women in the form of sharia forcing women to wear the hijab with irrational fear and launched the slogan “Let’s Talk”.

The feminine form – desirable, seductive and sensual in sociability outside the intimacy of the marital home – must be made to appear in the public space.

On my recent trip to a staunchly secular nation, First Lady Erdogan called it building solidarity, empowering, promoting peace in a headscarf.

Her headscarf was more like a smooth headband in appearance, which covered both the hair and the neck, giving women a neat and formal look.

Secularism is about avoiding the Western style of dressing by embracing headscarves, family values, makeup, and contemporary social activities for “the true way” following Islamic teachings.

In most South Asian countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and India, the headscarf does not have a very modern life and academic in the field of linguistics.

Criticism forces women to think about her dress, constantly pushing her to feel slightly embarrassed and learn about Islam and its culture to fully embrace a religious life. Rather early [1965]I like the way [American actress] Audrey Hepburn covered her hair.

Recently, the rising tide of Islamophobia has been heard by the UN designating March 15 as the International Islamophobia Shooting Day as a way forward that presents itself as a step in the right direction of “patience” , “balance” and “tolerance”.

—The author is IKDAR’s regional manager for South Asia and Europe. A writer and researcher for advocacy and communication in a leading SDPI Pakistan think tank.

Comments are closed.