Stories about hijab

It is time for Trump to say, “I won the campaign, guys, you can stop the racism now!”

Donald Trump ran an unscripted and an unpredictable presidential campaign and took American politics to an unchartered territory, one that was hideously troubling and rocked the very core of our value system. What Trump’s inflammatory message did script, however, was a very predictable future – a fiery and fierce future, one that will bring out the worst in people, wake up the sleeping demons and cause a socio-political stir of schizophrenically unprecedented proportions. It is painful to witness the plight. It’s apocalyptic just to think that we, as a nation, by electing Donald Trump as president, have decided to put ...

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Should the Wheaton College Professor have been suspended for wearing a hijab?

Whether in Islamic theocracies or places with visible minority Muslim populations, from China to the United Kingdom, the hijab twists conservatives and liberals in their support or opposition to dress normally associated with fundamental religion. We see bullies “rip off” hijabs; one such incident recently took place in New York City. On the other extreme, groups like the Taliban declare, “wear hijab or be disfigured.” And they carry out such threats. Nushin Arbabzadah summed up this contrast in The New York Times: “Women may want to express ‘solidarity’ with Muslim women by covering up. But Muslim women don’t need to cover up. This act ...

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Of course she is oppressed, she wears a hijab!

The hijab has always seemed to invoke extensive debate in Muslim and non-Muslim societies. There have been numerous cases of harassment of hijab-clad women in the western societies, with the French going to the extreme of banning it. The west believes that hijab is a symbol of oppression towards women. When you see a woman wearing a hijab walk into the coffee shop, and order a mocha latte, do you wonder if she’s oppressed? Do you wonder if her male relatives watch her every step? Do you wonder if hijab limits her in any way? Do you feel sympathy for her? How many of the above-mentioned ...

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An open letter to my younger self

Dear Tanzila, Today your wish will come true. You will get what you had always wanted. Remember that hair straightener set? Mum has gotten it for you. It has curlers too! But I have some bad news: you will forget about the beloved straightener within three years and never think about it again. Why? Because, you will embrace the hijab as your identity – don’t freak out! You will love it. Today, as the 26-year-old ‘you’, I have reached out to you of the past to share some lessons. Some of them I learned in Sweden, some as I was sitting in a training session ...

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How can France assume the basis of our choices?

The dupatta has been around in our part of the world for thousands of years. The word itself is of Sanskrit origin, ‘du’ meaning ‘two’ and ‘patta’ referring to a strip of cloth. In ancient times it was worn as a symbol of modesty as part of an outfit that was comprised of three pieces and, as centuries passed, it became part of the cultural, religious norms in this region – not just for Muslims but also Hindus and Sikhs who cover their heads when walking into a religious building. These days it is worn by many young girls as ...

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Killing patriarchy, one headscarf at a time

Every once in a while, I come across news that fills me with hope that patriarchy will indeed perish someday, and that all is not lost in vain. And the news about Iranian men donning hijabs, in solidarity with their wives was one of those rare moments. For the past few days, several men have been posting pictures of themselves wearing the hijab – and some even wearing the full burqa – to not only show solidarity with their wives, who have been forced to cover up in accordance with the strict ‘modesty’ rules of the country, but also to protest ...

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Facebook’s Ramazan greeting spreads dangerous myths about Islam

Facebook produced their own Ramazan greeting which popped up on news feeds as users logged onto the website. Though this may appear to be a simple, generic seasonal greeting, there are several underlying issues with its visual message. The first thing that struck me was that the female figures in the greeting are wearing hijab. Let me make it clear that I have no objections to the hijab, niqab, or any other type of covering that people may choose to don, as long as it is done with knowledge, awareness, and understanding. With regards to the hijab, this pertains to the ...

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If you ever travel on an American airliner, just remember this curly haired economist

Things have been really tough for the Americans since 9/11. All those people in and out of the country speaking so many languages, and if you’ve never gone beyond your local 7/11, how on earth would you be able to tell this language from ‘that’ one. You know, the one that all terrorists speak; Arabic! Which explains what happened to Guido Menzio. Menzio took an American Airlines flight from somewhere to somewhere, right? And the intelligent woman next to him caught him writing something and how was she to know what it was? Acting on the principle, that anything that does ...

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My teacher told me that if I didn’t cover my hair, Satan would urinate in it

I have always loved Sesame Street. It was the only children’s show, along with Fraggle Rock, that I eagerly watched as a little girl while growing up in Saudi Arabia. I especially love how culturally diverse the show is and how, through multicultural elements, it aims to teach young children the value of mutual acceptance and cross-cultural friendships. In a nutshell, the show is perfect in all aspects of what a children’s show is supposed to entail. So, it did not come as a surprise to me when I learned last week, through an Instagram photo a friend had tagged ...

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They call it Taharrush gamea

Author’s note: Islam has nothing to do with taharrush gamea; the act contradicts the teachings of the religion. At the same time, there is no denying where the incidents are taking place, and who the perpetrators are. Denying this out of some misplaced sense of political correctness has only exacerbated the issue. Not surprisingly, the attacks are more sophisticated than a coordinated assault from a pack of hyenas. These are predators after all. The incidents usually take place in the cold black of the night at locations where women are more vulnerable; at the end of an alley, near a tunnel, in ...

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