Wearing a Veil is My Right

By Sana Ahmad
Can you imagine being made to feel like you do not belong? Can you imagine being made to feel that you are inferior because of a piece of clothing? That your ideals are wrong if they are different from the norm? This is something that people face even today. With time, our society is becoming more and more judgmental and narrow minded. Today, we see various campaigns trying to promote diversity, trying to make people feel comfortable in their own skin. But the moment a yellow flower appears in the midst of red roses, it is plucked out. We are indeed promoting diversity but only vocally, the truth is that tolerance for difference of opinion is scarce. Everyone wishes to be different but is not ready to accept the individuality of others.

Recently, a controversy commenced in Canada regarding the hijab that Muslim women wear. A few days back a Quebec judge refused to hear a Muslim woman’s case only because she was wearing a headscarf. In her defense, the judge recited Article 13 of the regulations of the Court of Quebec. That article states: “Any person appearing before the court must be suitably dressed,” so, leaving it to the discretion of the presiding judge. What this article does is send a message to the people that if a judge decided to discriminate against a certain person then he or she has the right to do so. Basically, the law in this case gives the judge a free hand. This can backfire easily, like it did in this case. Canada is known for its peaceful and tolerant environment, and indeed it is so but here a person of the law tried to abuse their power, while in reality it was not abuse at all. It was actually approved by law.

This sends us a dangerous message. A message that courts can now openly condone discrimination while using the excuse of secularism. The irony is that the first and foremost reason why the hijab is worn by Muslim women is so that they are not subjected to superficial discernment and are not judged by their attire and outward appearances but are rather judged by their character and views. Alas, the western world has objectified Muslim women by reducing them to the garment they choose to wear. It is sad but the fact is that liberals are liberal when it comes to their own use. If it clashes with their own ideals then even the liberals back off.

We have reached the 21st century but the debate over a womans clothing is still going on. What’s mind boggling is that society accept women with revealing and minimal clothes, but if she decided to cover herself up then it must be condemned. Why is it so unfathomable to imagine that a woman might not feel comfortable in exposing herself to the world? What we do not realize is that revealing and minimal clothes are accepted because man feeds off of them while covered clothes are looked down upon because they do not flaunt a womans beauty enough to pleasure a passerby’s eyes.

The thing is, no matter what a woman decided to wear, it is her choice. It is absurd to think that if she decided to cover herself then she must have been forced. While no one considers the fact that maybe she was forced to reveal herself by wearing mini skirts or shorts by her family. Yes, Islam does ask its followers to cover themselves and practice simplicity, but why is Islam always targeted? Why doesn’t anyone question why the nuns cover themselves? A Muslim woman can be asked to take off her head scarf, which to her is not only a garment but a safety blanket while a nun will be respected because of her veil.

In my experience, mostly people appreciate and respect women who wear a head scarf. I have never been targeted because of my veil but to think that in a part of the world, the act of a woman choosing to cover herself is banned is ludicrous. Today, almost every nation speaks of gender equality and diversity. Then why was the ban of the headscarf in France not condemned enough? Isn’t it atrocious to ban a person from following their beliefs? Beliefs that are not hurting or proving to be injurious to anyone. On what basis can you ask a woman or even a man to leave their beliefs. On what grounds can you ask them to stop following the teachings of their religion when they are not hurting anyone.The result is that Muslims and other minorities are being made to feel like second or third-class citizens in their own homes.

The positive outcome from the case in Canada is that many people have condemned this discrimination. There is no logic in banning a piece of clothing other than to impose your will on another person, ‘live and let live.’ The point is not just about a Muslim woman. It is about diversity. A diverse nature and people make our surroundings beautiful and it is the responsibility of those in power to ensure equality and tolerance , only that will make us a more and open society.
Tweets at ‘@sanaahmad95

  • Kamath

    Saad Hafiz Sahib:

    Where are you? Can you express your views on this special case when a woman from Pakistan who still an immigrant refused to remove her niqab during citizenship service in the prov. of Quebec? I am told the ceremony lasts only for an hour only and everybody is expected to dress properly. After that the immigrant is declared a full fledged citizen entitled to wear any dress including a burqa-tent or bikini.

    We like to hear your views.

  • Canadian

    No, it is not just as walking around naked isn’t your right either. Take your rights to Islamic countries.

  • Paul

    Sana Ahmad, when your husband wants to marry three other women as part of his religion, civilized people will oppose that too.

  • binteahmad

    @Canadian then wearing a scarf by a nun isn’t her right either. Why don’t you oppose that?

  • tajender

    Paul says:
    March 27, 2015 at 9:00 am
    Sana Ahmad, when your husband wants to marry three other women as part of his religion, civilized people will oppose that too

    wife of european christians is fucked by 100.atleast 10 i have fucked.foolishman marrying one is church law not chrisyianit. restriction on 4is
    underspecial condition is islamic.in uk women is like pepsi bottle.every women is commercial commidity has price.sell pussy whenever in need of money.marriage among christians is ,prostitution legalized.

    paul waiting use mind not ass before writing.

  • Rex Minor

    Then why was the ban of the headscarf in France not condemned enough?
    Sana Ahmed,
    I am afraid, you have a very limited knowledge of Canada or France!!
    Integration is the key term used for peaceful community life in civilised societies. If you or a group of people like you cannot integrate into a modern and progressive community, then in Canada you have the ossiblity to live in a colony of your kind like the mennonites do in several parts of North America, and the Amish people practice sharia in the bible belt counties of the USA. There is no ban on head scarf in France!
    There is no specific dress requirement in Islam for a man or a woman!
    Any one who tells you differently is telling fibs and should not have been allowed entry into Canada.

    Rex Minor

  • tajender

    rex head scarf is part of christian nurse.so how christian countries object on it.u are right headscarf is not part of muslim dress code.

  • tajender

    My q for WC:Will India ever have a tourism &immigration policy that will allow over 60pc crowd in a cricket match to support a foreign team?

  • tajender

    Apparent crowding at a religious ritual near Bangladesh’s capital has led to a stampede, killing at least 10 Hindu pilgrims.

    The accident took place in Langalbandh, a Hindu pilgrimage spot on the banks of the Brahmaputra river, 20 kilometers (12 miles) southeast of the capital, Dhaka, local police chief Mazrul Islam said.

    The fatalities in the Friday incident, seven women and three men, were caused when Hindus swarmed the river in their thousands to perform annual ablutions.

    The ritual is performed during the yearly Astami Snan festival. The festival’s concurrence with public holidays marking Bangladesh’s national day apparently attracted a higher number of people to the event.

    Witnesses said at least 50 people had been injured in the stampede at the festival.

    “We are investigating what triggered the stampede, but it seems that the tragedy was due to an unusually high number of pilgrims,” said police inspector Nasir Ahmed. “The stampede involved a huge number of people as thousands of shoes could still be seen on the road an hour after it happened,” he added.

    The police chief said that the bathing ritual continued after police controlled the stampede and helped the injured.

  • Pakistani

    @tajender how can you say that wearing a headscarf isn’t part of the dress code of Muslims. That statement is ridiculous. Look into the teachings of Islam before saying something like that. In Chapter 24 known as an-Nur (the Light), in verse 30, Allah commands Prophet Muhammad as follows:

    قُلْ لِلْمُؤْمِنِيْنَ يَغُضُّوْا مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِمْ وَ يَحْفَظُوْا فُرُوْجَهُمْ, ذَلِكَ أَزْكَى لَهُمْ.
    “Say to the believing men that: they should cast down their glances and guard their private parts (by being chaste). This is better for them.”

    Besides, the point is that if a woman wants to cover herself then let her. I agree with @binteahmad. Why aren’t nuns targeted of covering themselves up? It’s just that Muslims are targeted because they are in a bad light these days.

  • pavan

    A muslim woman has to put on a veil to silence the evil tongues of other muslim women and block the evil eyes of muslim men and to declare the coming victory of islamic totalitarianism and machoism and fascism in order to terrorize on downgrade the non-muslims.

    All other debates about this are just fake and meaningless.

    Everything that a muslim does, even his so-called chastity or obedience, is in the service of islamic fascism.

    The more islam becomes fascstic the more the muslim women will wear the veil “free of choice”. The more muslim women wear the veil the more fascistic islam will become.

  • saadhafiz

    Kamath sb: good to hear from you.

    From my recollection, a citizenship service has specific requirements. Not wearing the niqab for an hour or so shouldn’t be made an issue.

    In my opinion, there are far bigger issues and challenges in life and wearing or not wearing the niqab is not one of them.

  • saadhafiz

    Goa Village Bans Kissing, Drinking in Public – Outlook India

    A village panchayat in Goa has banned kissing in public claiming that such “obscene behaviour” by some couples create nuisance.

    Salvador do Mundo village panchayat, located near Panaji, passed a resolution recently banning kissing in public, liquor consumption in public and playing loud music.

    “We took the resolution following several complaints from the locals about the obscene behaviour. We had to control it,” said Reena Fernandes, deputy sarpanch of Salvador do Mundo.

    According to the panchayat, some locals had complained about the obscene behaviour of the couples and groups having picnics there.

    They had also installed banners warning them against such behaviour.

    Goa also recently witnessed debate on moral policing with state directorate of art and culture department banning jeans, sleeveless top and other informal dresses in the office.

  • Anjaan

    You live with your rights in your own Muslim country of origin … you have no b2usiness to be there in Europe or N America … !!

  • 123

    @Anjaan That has to be the most lame excuse you could give. Everyone is entitled to equal rights. When christian churches are burned in Islamic countries then should they not be condemned because well why are Christians praying in an Islamic state. We have to develop tolerance. This is no excuse for that the judge did to that woman. She has a right to cover her head. It’s her body and her own morals. You cannot ask her to change them when they are not hurting the society.

  • Sadia

    I do not know much of the Canadian rules and why the judge asked the Muslim woman to take off her hijab.. but I do have a question, if there was a nun in place of that woman, would she have been treated the same way? Let’s all take a moment to think about that. I’m not pointing fingers but my point is that Muslims are treated harshly nowadays because of a certain sect of them that believe and practice in terrorism and because of that certain sect we feel we have the right to misbehave with all Muslims. Thinking that all of them are the same, but according to me that is truly unfair. There is always a bad seed so I think we should overcome our prejudices.

  • Rex Minor

    Tajender,r having lived
    The nurses are under no obligation to wear head scarfs; but traditionaly the nuns who are in the service of the Church still wear and so do the chistian royalty when they enter the church or attend funerals.
    The problem with Indians and Pakistanis is more of a fundamental nature. After having lived in British colonies for centuries, they are more or less paralised to comprehend the duties of a citizen in an independent country. The North American countries as well as Australia are the ideal countries for them to migrate to and they could very well form their ghettos in the vast area which is not yet settled; however, if they want to abour in major cities then they must conform to and do what the Joneses do and not make fools of themselves masquerading with new identities and refuse to integrate with those who migrated before them. These countries need pioneers for development and not parasites coming from another continent and carrying cliches which the ancestors of the Americans, canadians and Aussies once lived with.

    Rex Minor

  • Rex Minor

    You have a point! I can only repeat Mr Obam instructions to the Americans to keep low profile while in Europe, and not to invite reprisals against the yanks for American military aggression in the middle east. It is prudent for men and woman muslims to do the same wheneever necessary for personal safety in western countries, because of the terrorist attacks.

    Rex Minor

  • silkroute

    No muslim does anything by free will.
    Islam means submission.
    Once you do the idiocy of becoming a muslim then you are a mental prisoner and slave of this 7th century arab fascism and arrogance.

    Muslims claiming that muslim women do this and that voluntarily “for the glory of allah” (or whoever) are just lying or just being naive fools.

    We are not living in any “glorious” past of some arab ideology – we now know the tricks and lies, deceits and self-deceits of islam and muslims more and more.

  • tajender

    @tajender how can you say that wearing a headscarf isn’t part of the dress code of Muslims. That statement is ridiculous

    PURDAH ON MUSLIM WOMAN WAS IMPOSED BY TAIMUR.he was not religous leader.was imperialist.most probably atheist.conquered 6 subcontinents and 68 countries
    in his lifetime.
    upto early 20th century muslim women were ahead of their european sisters in every field.islam gave them power to choose their husband,own property,right to divorce and right in property of father.british lady used to hand over their salary to her husbad.
    divorce was very easy,just declare that ur wife is witch,church will burn her alive.

  • Pakistani

    @Tajender The Holy Quran asks Muslim women to cover themselves and even today Muslim women have all these rights, a Muslim woman is free to study and work, she has a right to marry who she wants, she can file for a divorce. My point is that the Muslim women I know all cover themselves because they choose to- no one forces them.

  • Rex Minor

    well said! It was quite normal for the nobility in the orient and occident to have a veil on their face and not become the subject for gossip, but not meant for commoners who worked as slaves in the fields or households or in factories after industrialisation. There has also been the practice to separate woman from men ensamble so that women have some sort of protection from casanova men. Even today in the Ukraine and other parts of the orthodox christian communities women regularly wear head scarfs, whereas the orthodox jews do not permit women to travel in the Bus carrying men in the Jerusalem city. Not to ignore the hindu women in Rajistan area, who wear a dresed to men s completely clad without exposing even their hands and are married to men who are not allowed to see their face until the marriage ceremony is completed.
    These are all traditions and cultures which people are reluctant to give up and have no religious basis for it.
    Pakistani should not read Quraan suras out of context. Remember always that Mohammad, the Prophet of God(pbuh) was an employee of a woman enterpreneur who later married him as well.
    She was not required to wear a veil but men were instructed to loer their gaze!!

    Rex Minor

  • Rex Minor

    You are an infidel and non believer and do not belong to the world of believers! I can understand your frustration, my advice is to work hard while you can and will be allowed to live on in the service of the believers, since this Earth will not give you any space after you death when you will be lost in the nirwana black hole.

    Rex Minor

  • Rex Minor

    There is no muslimness in beards for men or dress culture of men and women , nor marrying more than one wife among sunnis and marrying several women on a contractual basis for people who call themselves as shias! These are all make believe thousand and one arabian night romans and reflect ancient traditions which the homo sapiens lived and progressed into.
    The religion of Islam is very straight forward and begins with the awareness that there is no other God than the one who is known as God of Ibrahim and Mohammad(pbuh) is the Prophet and massenger of God.
    All knowledge emanates from and is imbedded in the divine scriptures of Quraan and those which appeared before Quraan.

    Rex Minor

  • silkroute

    to rex

    who gave you the right to decide who is infidel or non-believer?
    your words are typical for someone with an islamofascist, narrow-primitive, arrogant mentality.
    what else can we expect from a muslim?
    has any god given you any certificate to decide who is a non-believer?