Monday, January 21, 2008

Stupid, Dumb or Brainless


If all Muslim women stopped wearing the burqa and even the hijab from tomorrow, then what? What will happen in their lives and the lives of countless non-Muslims who want empowerment for Muslim women? How will that help terrorism? How will it empower Muslim women?


I have seen fiercely independent women who wear the burqa and I have met women who don’t even wear hijab but are victims of domestic abuse. Muslim women’s clothes has very little to do with their empowerment or the lack of it.

There are two, intertwined issues here.

1. Context
Of course, if only the burqa or the hijab were to disappear, then Muslim women wouldn't really gain much freedom. The bigger problem is the mindset that worships the burqa and keeps women caged in it.

If we could have removed the tatooed numbers on the arms of the Jews in Auschwitz-Birkenau, would that have made them "free"?

No. Therefore, those numbers had nothing to do with their freedom or lack of it. Not quite. Those numbers, and their grim environment, represented the distillation of an evil mindset. The tatooed numbers wasn't the problem but they surely symbolized the inhumanness of their wretched hosts.

2. Choice
Do most of the Muslim women in the world have a choice in wearing the burqa or not? I'd have to say, "No."

Of course, every society, school, and workplace has rules on what is and isn't acceptable attire but that doesn't mean that Muslim nations are just like the West. As far as I know, girls haven't been killed in the West because they weren't wearing proper clothing and none have been beaten and bloodied by Western police for the same offense.

A concerned Muslim woman wrote to me yesterday (hence this post) telling me that she is looked down upon by some women who think all women who choose to cover their heads or faces are “stupid, dumb or brainless.”

Question to readers: What would your reaction be to someone who wore a black tent and looked like a nazgul?

My reaction: Stupid, dumb and brainless.

I'm smart, really!

Though, the sword is cool.

Does that make me a Nazgulophobe?

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