Why this Muslim is sighing over 'World Hijab Day'

Today is World Hijab Day (WHD).  Sigh.  

And I whole-heartedly and unreservedly disagree with the idea, the concept, its message and strategy.  

Like the WJD founder I am Muslim.  I too am of Bangladeshi heritage.  That is where the difference ends.  But I am British. Was born in London.  And I have never worn hijab unless the occasion merits it. 

Many of the women in my British community and especially women in the Sylhet region of Bangladesh do. Yet growing up I recall how hardly anyone covered their hair.  I find it interesting.  Because I am not sure the reason is in always about empowerment. 

Today, in 2015 nearly all the Muslim women in my community both in UK and Bangladesh wear the hijab with a black overcoat or the niqab.  And it is starting to really worry me. Sigh. Not the wearing of course - which I utterly support.  It is the why, the how, the when and the who. And how by wearing it - perhaps other more important, insidious issues within our world are hidden and disguised. Obfuscated (my current favourite word). 

Look at this PEW research report on the types of Muslim female head dress. Wow. Do you notice what I notice.  This is now non-Muslims and Muslim men see us. It is still all about what women look like. 

Look, I hear and highly respect the well placed intentions by WHD's founder, an American woman of Bangladeshi heritage who dreamt up her concept as a means to help stop despicable attacks on hijab muslim women.  This I support. For this I commend her.  Yes, action needs to be taken . But the WHD is not the answer.   

I think WHD does and will do more harm than good.  And I also think inadvertently ruins the legacy and reputation of the true message of Islam - which only makes a passion mention to hijab.  Islam is not about Isis either. Or female oppression.  

However look around today - Islam to the world seems to constantly stand for hijab, ISIS and female oppression.  And so much maligned that it has become a parody and a platform on which sick and barbaric belief systems have been looped around its neck and hoisted up - while simultaneously beaten with a stick and sneered at by many New Age atheists and Islamophobes.  

How did poor, lovely Islam get here?   My own take is this.  A lot of it is caused by the corrupt, twisted psychotic Muslims who have entered the fold of Islam. It is they, who are single handedly ruining, destroying and desecrating the reputation of our beloved Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) and of Islam more - than those who are non-Muslims. You see - I expect non-Muslims to attack and criticise Islam. But to see 'Muslims' running amok and ruining the world in the name of Islam - they are my greatest enemy. And I don't mean just ISIS. I mean the everyday faux Muslims hiding under the cover of Islam, under a hijab or non-hijab and bearded or not - to perpetrate and incite hate and fear. And hijab is one such tool used to control many women of South Eastern Asian heritage - to shut up and be compliant.  And to then invite fellow Muslims to call out 'sisters' for not wearing a hijab - as if they are less of a person. Less modest.   Wow. That is so wrong. 

This obsession with what a woman wears bores me. I simply and truly do not care.  Nor do I look at a hijab woman and immediately think she is cool or to be respected.  I only decide that once a woman - hijab or non-hijab - speaks, talks and does.  I watch how a person conducts themselves over a sustained period of time. - and whatever they look like, do, or dress as - it is their words and actions that causes me to respect them.  

Yes that includes British glamour model Katie Price, a mother of four, one of whom is a disabled son.  She is a tenacious businesswoman who has chosen to do what she needs to do, they way she needs to do it. Her way. She pays her tax. So why do we forget her money is also funding Muslim British who fall on hard times or need NHS.  Now I may not agree with what she does and how she does it - but boy she does command my respect.  Because she is honest, upfront about what she does and foremost is very passionate about being a mother.  She also does what she does in the UK, as secular nation,  where she is breaking no law.  So why do people judge her when surely - there are more sick, depraved, immoral corrupt people being feted and lauded - who are destroying and killing humans.  

That same mantra about dress does not impress includes men. So if you are a Muslim man and wear a long beard, a cap or a crucifix, let me tell you right now. I am non-plussed. I respect your right to dress and look how you want.  And defend your desire to be 'seen' as religious. But it is only when you start acting and doing and showing me - then and only then have you got my attention as a person. And respect. Until then - the jury is out. 

But here is the tipping point.  I do start to very much care when a woman's choice to cover or her state of undress has consequences on others who are vulnerable and could suffer from it. Like little kids. Or the fact that it encourages indoctrination.  That includes hijab, niqab forced upon women to scantily clad women or those who work in the porn and sex industry - because it was forced upon them as women.  How on earth can that still happen today in 2015?

And so the question I always ask (or I want you to ask next time) when I see niqab, hijab, bikini, naked girls on a glossy Nuts magazine or young girls twerking and gyrating is this: 'why does she do this?' and 'is this woman truly empowered or has she been conditioned by society's expectation of her?' Put it this way - if she chose to not do all those things, does she lose status and respect and adoration? And if so is the common denominator - the loss of respect by men? Hmm... you see where i am going with this? 

it is everywhere.  The indoctrination to be the sexual or robotic playthings for men.  I once saw a music video of Pharrell Williams sitting on a chair while all these women were filmed gyrating and twerking for him.  Bleugh.  Cringe. Each time I see him looking through a camera.  He just seems really pervy to me the way he does it but hey - as it is Pharrel - he is deemed to be cool enough to get away with it. 

I did also wonder why Pharrell is not seen happily gyrating and twerking alongside the women so eagerly shaking their booty for - I mean - at - him.  But no chance methinks.  After all, this is now the second video where as a singer in his 40s - he continues to objectify and gloat over women (Blurred Lines).  Clever Pharrell...getting away with being a totty chaser eh (!).    

Back to Muslim issue of hijab.  When oh when will the day arrive, when I finally listen to one Muslim woman start talking less about covering. And more about Islam's reputation as a formidable belief system that protects and gives women rights. 

For the love of Allah - I rarely see any hijab women do this.  Even the prominent ones. (Perhaps I need to change my circles?) 

I am so perplexed as to why not one Muslim man or woman or Islamic TV channel or establishment is inspired to redress the wrongs being done to Islam by sharing and talking about all the cool stuff?  There are pockets of voices like Coming Of Faith, a USA platform for Muslim voices and bloggers, but these are few and far between and dotted amongst forums. Buried deep.  Why?  Well therein lies a deeply troubling answer.  

I think many Muslim women I meet or watch from afar, have forgotten the true message of Islam. Of how the sum of parts is greater than the whole.  And that proselytising is about the showing the proven and real benefits that Islam can bring into someone's life.  As without that is sounds, looks and seems just a ritualistic chore to any non-Muslim.   

These hijab clad sisters (along with the men) will often cry out or preen over the need for modesty (the irony...!), will bang on about their right to wear hijab yet often these same few are also doing little to help their fellow sisters in Islam who are suffering.  

Here is an idea.  Why don't we all shut up (including me !) about hijab and instead put a stop to evil practices within non-Muslim and Muslim communities.  So that world stops conflating hijab with female oppression and bad stuff.  Let's see more on what a woman can do  irrespective of her hijab.  It then follows that surely someone, a non-Muslim or even an ex-Muslim might be led to remark - 'who gives a damn what she wears - I am proud this woman is a member of my community'.  

Why not go even further oh dress inspired Muslims.  How about fighting to reclaim the rights given to children, orphans and women in the Koran? Anyone stepping forward to talk about helping to adopt orphans or support families of prisoners.  You know the stuff where you have to get your hands dirty?  Anyone? Hmmm - often deafening silence. I guess why talk about this issue when it is so much more appealing to focus on dress.....I find this aspect the saddest aspect of the dumbing down of Islam.    

And conversely on the odd occasion when Muslim women do speak up and come across as quite strong.  Watch what happens. Who do I mean?  Here is a modern day living example happening right across the many seas from us.  I mean #freethefour - the princesses of Saudi Arabia locked up for being dissidents about the lack of female rights. Having taken to protesting against the regime headed by their late father King Abdullah - the 1.6 billion Muslim world turns a blind eye to their incarceration.   

They are either gagged, shouted down or nobody is interested so that we can tune into the hijab debate.  Thus taking away room for their voices.  Imagine how powerful it would be for society if such women were given more of a platform and worked to help dismantle the patriarchy which is evident everywhere - be it in the Muslim and non-Muslim world.  

Even the superior intellectual Muslim voices that are deemed to represent Muslim female voice are at it. By that I mean Hijab chat.   Do not believe me? See here.  Myriam Francois-Cerrah versus Yasmin Alibhai-Brown on British TV deemed as Muslim key voices - debating the - yes you guessed it - the Hijab. 

What a shame ladies.  So bright. So academically distinguished.  But on this issue an utter epic fail.  You start talking about clothes but not once talk about Islamic female rights? Come on.  You have not been living under a rock.  After all that studying it comes to soundbites on dress.  

And by the way, I totally and vehemently disagree with Yasmin Alibhai Brown. Had I been there, I would have loved to have debated with Ms Brown to ask her - why she, as a liberal feminist seems to propagate the divisive idea that a non-hijabi woman is better than those who cover up!  This is ridiculous assertion.  She even says the 'some of my best friends wear hijab...'  I am ashamed as I thought she was a  true original feminist .  I guess such feminism is all about 'my way or the high way' with very little respect for real feminism which should be all about self-identity and choice.  

So what if there are many Muslim women who actively CHOOSE to cover? It is their means to control their identity. And boy do these women get my respect.  As any woman should know, true feminism is about abolishing gender inequality. It is about creating debate about practices that cause the oppression and violation of a woman be it financially, emotionally, physically or sexually.  Feminism in 2015 is all about having access to the same platform, opportunities and treatment as men - not at the expense of a men either. Wait. I know a belief system that already does that.  Islam. 

So if someone covers up to make a statement about their identity, with the implied consequence that it empowers them as a woman -  good on them I say.  That is good for society.   But please fellow Muslim women - do not cover because you think it is the ideal solution to repel rapists, sexual assault.  What message does that send to young girls and boys.  No.  Men are born capable of being loving, respectful partners and men - even when confronted by uncovered women. I know as Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) was one as are many of the men I meet - who have shown me nothing but respect.

Wear hijab for the love of Allah. Not for the weakness of protecting yourself from bad men. I beseech you.  Help support and recognise Muslim women like me still on our own journey to discover true Islam.  And teach our Muslim men this  - stop looking and start changing.  

Next.  Let us see all of us Muslim women join hands to start speaking out on changing attitude towards slut shaming. Victim blaming is so wrong.  But many Muslim women (let alone the non-Muslims) are doing this.  It is all mothers, sisters and female relatives and friends to teach to call out bad behaviour.  To ask their men 'control your behaviour and conduct' even if they are faced with a naked woman in front of them.  That is really the message that ought to be spread. 

The responsibility of protection and decency must lie with the man - not us women who for centuries across the world have had to carry the burden of shame, stigma and blame of inciting carnal desire within a man - purely for the way we were created.  Be it what we wear, what we say, what we do and how we do it. Enough.  No more.  

Moreover.  I agree with Myriam on the one valid point made in this TV debate where she says: 

"'Yet again we are having a national discussion about women's dress. And I think that is holy inappropriate. Whether that would be about mini-skirts or headscarves. Why are we talking about what women are wearing?'.  

Bang on Myriam.  Why are we talking about this stupid subject.  Just a shame you did not use that platform to talk about all the rights given to women in Islam that I can only fathom have been stripped and demolished by Muslim men. Yet nearly all Muslim women do the same. Jabber on and on.  Don't believe me.  Moving on to another Muslim 'reformist' female - who demands reform but fails to talk about promoting the female rights that does exist in Islam.  Irshad Manji.  So consumed is she on the narrative of playing into the hands of Western narrative and changing Islam she fails to connect with many aspiring Muslim women like me - let alone practicing ones.

So it behoves that since I started moaning about the incessant talk of hijab - I must talk about the rights afforded to women Islam. Ok here goes. Some thoughts.  

Can Islam be a feminist?
Yes, yes, yes.  In my opinion Islam and Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) is one of the first, if not the first: global feminists. And Islam IS about rescuing women.  How about we start THAT dialogue. The why. And the how? I know I will be doing so.  As nobody else seems to.  Watch out for the link that will soon come here - in this very sentence (give me time - I need to write it up).  So until more voices come along - am going to try and change the discourse on Islam so that is soon stops falling only ever into one of these pots - ISIS/HIJAB/TERRORISM

How do I know it is feminist.  I know as Islam practically did rescue me.  I am not talking about the spiritual - I am talking pragmatically.  Shocking to think so I know.  Islam gave me help that still does not exist for any woman in the Western Hemisphere.  I will spill more in time to come in that link I mentioned earlier. But for now, please hear me when I promise you this.  Islam tries to rescue women but alas, today it is no longer cannot as its legacy is in the hands of patriarchy. Under these hands it has been mutated, maimed, chopped and edited so gleefully from a stunning solution and means to empower women to a limping blinded concept that is an easy target of a farce for atheists and haters.  islam is today twisted and beyond recognition.  And I know I need to prove it. Watch this space. 

But let me be clear.  I defend the right for anyone to wear what they want. It is an abomination that Muslim women are being treated badly, spat, verbally and physically assaulted for choosing to control their dress sense. It is outrageous.  

Femen - the bad 'feminist' look
If we did not have the hijab, the world would be a sorrier place.  Look what us women might or who we might be left with. Women on the other side of the fence using their bodies to change society and get redress. They call themselves Femen.  Oh dear.  What fools.  I watch the Femen organisation in agog - the 'activist' organisation that undresses to campaign against patriarchy and female oppression.  Zzzz. Oh the irony.  They do not not that men do not behave like this. Yet they advocate the idea that to respect and power we women must undress?  Is it really lost on them that many men are pointing and citing 'rotfl' on social media as they get a good free eyeful of the numerous protesting breasts and bottoms. Do they really need to resort to being topless to speak out and be heard? Would we ever see men waving their penises and chests to be heard?  I mean seriously! 

Why must Muslim and non-Muslim women have to resort to the use of any dress, or the bodyform, or hijab to talk about problems and the solutions we need attention on? It only stokes the fury for horrid people to admonish other non-hijab women. Look at this 'Muslim' site - it horrifically enjoys being the pointy fingered judge, jury and executioner style of subtle slut shaming by despising and mocking in its tone of any 'sister' who refuses to wear the Niqab.  Are these really people who have read the Koran?  Know the names of Allah and read the story about Prophet Muhammed who time and time again intones love, compassion and peace? 

Next. The Big Q.  What about men?
Why is there no World Beard Day or WordThawbDay.  'Thawb' is the long sleeved white dress worn by Arab men) or as I would call it 'WorldTIGDay'.  

Why do I say 'TIG'? Acronym that spells out anArab man's headress.  

Tagia -> A small white cap

Igal - the circular ringed cord to keep it all in place. 

Gutra - A large square cloth made of cotton 

Watch the video here below. I have such respect for this attire.  But yet to see Muslim men in UK opt in to wear this?  Guess it is not as cool as Superdry eh Muslim lads.  Yet many Muslim women suddenly and happily seen wearing the black niqab.  And why black?  Any answers, let me know?

On WHD Itself
I get that WHD tries to get the world to empathise with the horrendous treatment of hijab ladies. And the growing stats are shocking. 

But where I must draw the line is on the videos and wording used on the site to reinforce the subliminal message about how the Hijab is about modesty.  

On its website, WHD reveals that the founder (in her own words) wore the hijab since the age of 10 and had come across to USA from Bangladesh at around that age. Yet she does not explain the process of why she came to wear the hijab. How she came to chose it.   Why she was influenced. As surely that would also help people understand and learn to respect the wearing of hijab.  After all, if you create a platform such as WHD - surely audience ought to be told. While I have the utmost respect for WHD's founder's passion and sincerity - what saddens me is to see how so many young Muslim women are continuing to inadvertently and unwittingly feed into the patriarchal narrative within the Muslim community that is not reflective of Islam. You see some might argue that WHD is more pressure for us Muslims who embrace Islam but do not feel we need to wear hijab.  We are chastised or often compared to the growing ranks of Muslim women who pro-actively focus attention on how a woman must dress.

This constant chat and obsession by many Muslim women about hijab is, sadly and with much sighing - probably doing more harm than good.   Many Muslims will loftily cite that there is no compulsion in religion when talking about ISIS. But do these same people extend this sentiment and message to fellow Muslim sisters and young girls who do not wear hijab? What happens to those Muslim girls who say 'but I do not want or need to wear hijab". Who will support her?

In many Muslim communities Hijab IS used to oppress women from a young age - and any Muslim woman who says otherwise is talking rubbish. It is a fact.  But it is instantly denied. And therefore debate is not allowed and suppressed. 

Why are we not asking this: why would any Muslim family force a young girl to wear hijab from a young age citing 'modesty'.  Can a child really be taught that a character is chiefly determined by how someone is dressed? Really? Would you speak up against this family? What reasons are given for them putting hijab on a child? Why is she not allowed a choice? Do we really think hijab is the the most important element of her identity?  Do these such families who put hijab on their daughter ever tell her 'we will still love you if you choose not to wear the hijab." It is such questions that have been known to keep me awake at nights. 

I hear the call to hijab all the time.   As I heard it all the time since I was a child.  Last year I was at a wedding in Bangladesh. I was the only a handful of women not wearing hijab. I felt the burning looks - the 'how dare she' from cousins who have now adopted the covering. Girls with downcast eyes.  The 'good, pliant women' who will be the 'mothers of Islam' as one man told me. Horrific.  No wonder these women grow up to be women then wringing their hands when they learn their Muslim son or daughter has disappeared to Syria having been brainwashed by a cult.  Ask such women to talk about Islam and the rights for women - they cannot.  

Often these closeted Muslim women I meet (many in Bangladesh) will laugh shyly or look askance.  I know they have little clue. Fed on the diatribe of patriarchal, tribal 'Islam'.   In fact many Muslim women I have met in the UK, having to face secular society end up being  ignorant, racist and supremacists - fed on Islamic tribalism - a concoction of deadly diatribe and rhetoric that is a mix of Muslim rituals and national tribal customs.   

Then there are the earnest Muslims - those who are chilled and lovely and will speak passionately and intelligently about the wonders of hijab. Who had lovely parents who taught them the true beauty of Islam.  They seem oddly ignorant at the very idea hijab can and is forced upon little girls who are not given an option.  Who are beaten and told to wear the hijab.  Yet rather than worry about the kids, or speak up and say they disagree - they will jump to defend Islam and right to wear hijab. 

I suspect these well meaning Muslims are from well educated or well informed Islamic families or have access to intelligent circles. They have no idea of the writhing carnage of my own British Bangladeshi Muslim community.  Surely these serenely and passionate Islamic Muslims (I call this the Rapunzel syndrome) are speaking from their lofty ivory towers about a world below they have no idea about. I know - because I keep meeting them. When I tell them of the hideous abuse and rituals of abuse rife in 'Muslim' communities - they appear freaked out, dazed and in shock. One Muslim man even told me last week in a strangled embarrassed voice 'I am too distressed to hear all this; yes you are right, we are and have failed the women in our Muslim society'.  

Wake up.  This is how hijab can be dangerous.  Hijab - when used the wrong way, as a means to indoctrinate and subjugate a woman creates its own shop of horrors. A cycle of abuse.  By the victim and those who grow up wearing and misunderstanding hijab.   How does a constant focus on hijab often become complicit in covering up honour violence and colluding with patriarchy.  Ah.  Well.  You see under a hijab or a beard - you can get away with anything? Who will stop you? Who will dare to challenge you? Add age and hijab - wow.  Instant approval. Add age and a beard - instant quick win.  

If right now you are balking at what I have written, think again.  You think hijab women are not capable of abuse? Bearded men do not abuse?  They are rife.  And spotting and exposing them from within a deeply embedded community is a nightmare as that is where they fester and populate - discreetly spreading hate under the guise of Islam.   Horrible people were made horrible or taught to be horrible but then the cover themselves in the cloak and style of an 'Islam' fashioned and edited  - that allows cover up for many horrid little hearts and minds that do horrid big crimes.   We know because non-hijabi British Pakistani Muslim woman like Ruzwana Bashir spoke out to tell us how her parents and her community did not want her to name sexual  abuser.  Instead got shunned.  Yes shunned.   WHD are you listening? By 'Muslim' people.  I was so moved to tears by her story.  How vile.  So dress, hijab means nothing to me.  

The way hijab is constantly referenced as a means of modesty is frightening to me. It gives permission and licence to silly, silly young men who think they know about life.  Oh yes, the spotty 'dawah' boys who preach Islam are a disgrace.  The constant reference to keeping their sisters 'chaste'. And slut shaming. And patrolling.  Pity they are not as worried about Boko Haram girls being bombed or screwed over by militants.  Or Jihadi brides and Yazidis being captured and sold as slaves to Muslim men and of a 17 year old girl being stoned to death by her own father and ISIS. Stop the hijab debate.  And start with such injustices.   Of course as why bother with the ones who are not chaste.  Deep at the heart of such proselytising often you can find deep misogynistic conduct.  

Next. WHJ blatantly implies that those who do not wear hijab cannot be modest.  In one of the videos I watched on the WHD site, I was shocked to see a Muslim woman claim that because she wears the hijab she is taken more seriously at work.  She cites her headscarf as a reason that it does not distract men. What the...?  Are you serious sister? Are you telling me that we women should be inspired to cover our heads so women so we get taken more seriously.  Someone should advise her on the sexual discrimination laws in place for workers.  

The idea that men are not only capable of functioning unless we women cover up is preposterous.  How on earth does WHD day account to Muslim women about those women who do not wear hijab - such as Sheryl Sanderbg, Marissa Myer? 

I read this article in Vogue about Marissa Myer - utterlty respectful and yes she does it all by NOT wearing the hijab.  How about all women - muslim and non-muslim take a leaf out of her book? 


So when i saw the WHD video recommending that hijab makes female workers to be taken more seriously, I was shocked.  This is such a huge slur on the Muslim and non-Muslim men I personally know who in all my many careers have almost always been respectful towards me.  I have never heard an offensive comment and even if there was the slightest remark, after it had been slapped down by me - the man in question was instantly apologetic.  The only ones who have attempted to sexually be vile were in fact by chance - mostly Muslim men. And they did so not because Islam tells them to - but they are just doing what bad horrid men do best - of being perverts and weirdos.  So when a man has been rude it, it is not his skin colour or his race, creed or religion I blame - I blame him.  Him alone.  

I have never worn hijab during my career. Ok.  I do so when I deem it is respectful in those events or places where not to do so would upset or offend.  So take mosques or perhaps when I visit an Islamic school. 

I am writing to tell you that I have worked for IBM, Disney, Barclays as well as large consultancies.  Perhaps the men thought differently in private but all I know is that they were lovely. Respectful men.  And I know this now as I met a ex-colleague a year or so ago.  Who told me that at work, many male colleagues were interested in me but knowing that I had a religious belief system like islam made it hard for them to approach me. Add to that I was teetotal so not really down the pub therefore unable to get access to talk to me - and so often were very intimidated by me.  And took it as read I would not be interested.  

You see many men can and ARE respectful.  I know, I know many are not.  But what about the ones who are. How do you think they feel.  WHD comes along to be even more divisive.  As it does not involved  men in anyway.  How me, me, me.  And moreover shifts the blame onto women - why on earth should wearing the hijab get a woman protection? Sort the menfolk world!  This is wrong, wrong, wrong. How sad.  The solution lies in changing women's attitudes as well as that of men into stopping slut shaming and victim blaming.  It is not the job of women but the job of society to change - and teach us all that women must be respected however they appear.  Hijab, non-hijab.  That we judge a woman on her merit - even if other women choose to dhow their bodies and twerk and strip. It is all about a choice.  Even if we disagree as trust me I find Nicky Minaj conduct et al very vile.  

I cannot help it and often wonder if Muslim women wear hijab to protect themselves against our own men?  Many of whom (not the good brothers of course) who DO use the beard, the Koran the act of Namaz prayers and chant 'Islam Islam' on autocue all to hide their own predatory ways.  Could it be possible? Why do we never talk about these vile elements in our society and the women who collude with them? This group turn a blind eye to suffering? Rather than all the non-Muslim bigotry that we quickly rise (and rightly so) to condemn. 

I am also interested in the debate to be had of the Muslim women who are wearing hijab for all the wrong reasons - because they they deem it is modes. Really? Because does that mean i am immodest? 

These are my problems about hijab today. Where one word in the Koran is mentioned about 'hiding your adornments' compared with all the others texts reminding society of its duty to protect and cherish women. Now I wonder how and why that message has been lost today? because a woman wearing a hijab suits the narrative of a patriarchal Muslim Ummah today.  

More problems with WHD. 

It is  not representative of those Muslim women like me who choose not to wear hijab. 

Does not talk about the stigma and shame inflicted upon women to wear the hijab.  I know as I have had first hand experience. Even earlier this year a relative asked out of frustration 'oh when will YOU wear hijab - is it not time!' - the proverbial black sheep being urged to walk with the flock.  I retorted 'when I see YOU start to practice Islam, I might think twice'. 

Negative hijab is happening.  As already mentioned - definitely tied to some in Muslim  societies who brainwash some of their girls from a young age this message: that it denotes modesty and chastity. 

Nobody is measuring how many girls and women 'choose' to wear it as opposed to women indoctrinated by their parents and relatives to wear it. 

Hijab is often all part of a bigger fantasy where Muslims women are expected to be modest and be good pliant virgins to be transferred across as property by their father house to their husband's house.  This is one of many evidence I share about Islamic tribalism which is all about rituals and cultural traditions and tribal sectarian thinking mixed in - rather than pure Islam which makes no reference to women as property. 

The wearing of hijab to me is no evidence nor sign of a woman's modesty.  As anyone living in London will testify. The hijab is also worn as a means by some women to offload the attention. And do crazy stuff. 

Often wearing of hijab is treated by some as a means for spreading supremacy over other women. The "i am more modest' than you. 

Please. Muslim people around the world.  Wake up and smell the coffee. It is happening under your noses. All around you. Do not look away.  Why not tackle that first? Then the non-Muslims might have more respect for Islam.  

It is so worrying to see the entire Muslim and non_muslim world chatter on and on but without resonance.  We must listen to good voices trying to stem the divide between men and women.  Like Antigone - the brave women's organisation trying to combat the extremist ideology and hate expressed by idiots such as Femen. 

Check out these wonderful women here.  Boy - where is the Muslim version of this. 

So I sat and thought deeply. There have to be other ways to support the right of Muslim women dress how they please.  

We need more - not just a handful of Muslim women, niqab and hijabi clad - as well as non-hijabis like me to change the discourse.  We need Muslim men too.  And we need to take back our Islam and change the narrative. 

And maybe what we need is WorldIslamDay  - the chance for non-Muslim men and women all over the world to discover Islam in a fun, light hearted and positive way.  That shows the sheer brilliance and thinking of why it is practiced by 1.6 billion people and why the belief system inspires us to remain doggedly in love with it.  And then we can help stop hate of Muslims globally -- because actually people get they are just like you and me. Happen to do and wear things that are different for sure.  But that as individuals Muslims and Islam is valuable to our global society.  And why the world relax and start to cherish Muslims because without them the world is a duller and more negative place.  

That way perhaps  Muslim women choose to wear Hijab will at last be laid to rest. Allowed to be just left alone.  So that we all can unite and turn our attention to more important matters.  

What are these?

The rise of Islamophobia. 

The disgusting treatment of Muslim women jailed for driving.  

The harsh lashings on Raif Badawi - whose only crime was to talk about reform in Saudi Arabia. 

The unjust trials of 

The desecration of Islam's reputation and the reputation of our Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) who unlike Buddha is often now a source of revulsion and lampooning.  He is erroneously accused as having married and had sex with a child. Outrageous. 

The rise of Isis, jihadists.  

The innocent kids and adults of all faiths and creeds dying across Middle East  Like the injustices being done by meddling Govt regimes (UK, USA) and how we expose this.  

The existence of Guantanamo Bay. And how innocent Muslims such as Omar Deghayes was made to suffer under cruel torture. 

The consequences of our weak brainwashed minds in our Muslim community.   

These are issues we must make a stand on non-Muslims so we stop all the above extreme elements from destroying humanity, and providing ISIS with recruitment propaganda fodder. Minority of horrid Muslim and non-Muslim people are destroying the world for us and for our future generations. 

Perhaps WHD could be more about how Islam can inspire us.  About helping others who wear hijab and non-hijab who need protection.  And rather than focus on being covered up and the pain and slurs to rise above it all as Prophet Muhammed did (pbuh) and instead continue to give back. So you demonstrate how Muslim women - despite CHOOSING TO be covered up - are aspiring, achieving and wonderful positive member of humanity.  Which Islamophobe can fight that eh?

WHD also prompted to buy the worldislamday.org domain - as a site where one day, everyone can find some good old stuff about Islam that will make people admire, smile, wonder or be inspired by. Because trust me - I could find little.  

By the way. To show some support for my hijab and niqab clad Muslim women.  A photo.  A very special memory of why I on the odd occasion will  wear the hijab - when situation requires it.  

Here is me wearing hijab when I visited an Islamic School in a remote village in Bangladesh a few years back. I had no idea I would be speaking about my career and spent time with the lovely shy girls.  In my next trip I hired a minibus for the young achievers from this school who were taken for a lunch and a jaunt to the Osmani Museum - a soldier who helped fight for Bangladesh's independence.  
Yasmin C


Image copyrighted to YasminC. 

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