Muslims & the Hijab
A question on Quora about the hijab seemed topical at the moment, as Paul Nuttall’s UKIP looks to ban the veil from a position of hate. But what is the position of Islam and the veil?
Disclosure. I’m an atheist. I look at things from the perspective of facts and am interested in why on earth something like a veil has garnered such outcry. It’s a piece of cloth, much like every piece of cloth we wear.
Yet, from my understanding of both Islam and living in muslim countries, there is absolutely no requirement to wear a hijab. The Quran only states requirements covering one’s modesty, that’s it. Some “muslim” influenced cultures then take it upon themselves to determine the expectation of what that means. Almost like law. Where there is a principle, it is then up to the countries/cultures/societies in question to make themselves congruent with that. This is how a functioning democracy and economic union like the EU works for example. It i also how sovereign laws also work, where companies and organisations are expected to adhere to the spirit and principle of the law.
What the vast majority of people don’t realise, including some people identifying as muslims dare I say, is that not every majority muslim country mandates nor even recognises it. Look at the following map.
The areas circled are countries with over 30% of the population identifying as being muslim. You’ll notice one key thing about the one slap bang in the middle. It’s in Europe. This country has always been muslim (at least, since the break up of the former Yugoslavia). Some old women wear a head scarf, but overall, nobody wears a hijab there at all.
This one is a belter! Of all the places you’d assume would require a headscarf, Lebanon would be it. However, there is sometimes rampant discrimination about it!
I mean, think about how ludicrous this is for Western folk like us to understand. Lebanon is a Hezbollah stronghold and they have an extremely strong presence in Lebanon, which we in “the west” see and even categorise as a terrorist organisation, which many more [ignorant] people seem to consider synonymous with Islam, yet even Lebanon doesn’t have a problem with it. I mean, even culturally, a society doesn’t mandate it.
Pew Research did a survey of people in particular muslim countries and asked them what their views on appropriate dress for women is. The results may shock a lot of people, as it turns “our” common view of Islam completely on it’s head.
Note the rightmost numbers, number 6. The biggest proportion of Lebanon’s population consider hijab-less the most appropriate dress for a woman. Note, this isn’t even looking at the European countries nor those of South America (For Donald Trump’s benefit, no, Mexico isn’t a Muslim country, I didn’t circle Mexi… wait… yes, yes it’s Mexico, America is the bit on the right hand side of the left circle, the biggest area right in the middle of the map. Build the wall there. Remember, on the rightmost edge of the leftmost circle will do nicely, thanks).
Ethar Alali, exploding through sh*t since he could sit up. Just as my mother about that cleanup!