Stories about hijab

Offended by a veiled woman holding a bra?

I have been asked to comment on this picture by the blog editor of The Express Tribune, probably because the last time I blogged about the niqab, I took a controversial stance that earned me hundreds of comments, at least a thousand “likes” and retweets on Facebook and Twitter, and the ire of several dozen internet trolls who branded me as the blogger who “supports nudity”. Rather than provoke an equal amount of ire this time, I decided to do things a little differently: I posted the picture on my Twitter account and asked people what they thought about it. Given the ...

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The day I wore a niqab

Books have been written about it, feminists have insulted it, Muslim feminists, however, have defended it, and international laws are being passed against it. While there are some extreme cases where women are forced to wear a niqab (veil), most of the niqab-wearing women I know in Toronto and Karachi wear it due to a personal choice.  I have some experience with the performing arts and expression, whereby one uses the body and it’s form as a canvas to initiate reaction and to enable visual dialogue between the performance artist and the viewer. Therefore, as a social and creative experiment, I decided to ...

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Not with that thing on, sister

So it turns out, I cannot enter a nightclub in Dubai. To those who haven’t ever visited the city, Dubai is a place where there are more nightclubs than mosques. Here, alcohol is a ready consolation for all and sundry. When I was visiting, I was forced to put a pillow over my head in a desperate attempt to drown out the noise from the clubs nearby. In Dubai, according to the Emirati who drove our Land Cruiser over sand dunes for the desert safari earlier in the day: “We Dubai people, we do this every day. We get tired of clubbing and partying, ...

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Nudity, Niqab and the illusion of ‘free choice’

Today, I read what are possibly the most beautiful opening words of any essay or opinion piece ever. It went like this:  “When a woman is the sum total of her headscarf and hymen – that is, what’s on her head and what is between her legs – then nakedness and sex become weapons of political resistance.” This comes from a powerful essay by Mona Eltahawy in the Guardian, called “Egypt’s Naked Blogger is a Bomb Aimed at the Patriarchs in Our Mind” (Eltahawy was recently sexually assaulted and beaten by police in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, her left hand and right ...

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9 stupid generalizations about women who don’t wear hijab

We are a polarized society, and we are not just one set of poles. We’ve got a whole bunch of diversity that ranges from language to religious denominations and ethnicities. The kind of social exclusion that stems from this is nothing short of frightening. You would  think, wouldn’t you, that a diverse society like this would exhibit more tolerance? But surprise, surprise. On the one hand we’ve got people rallying and brandishing roses for Mumtaz Qadri, while on the other, we have those holding vigils for Salman Taseer and Steve Jobs. We’ve got one bunch that celebrates Valentine’s Day and one bunch ...

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9 stupid questions you hear when you wear hijab

I wear a hijab, and contrary to popular belief, I am not sheltered. I have a thriving social life and enjoy talking to different people. However, I am always amused and sometimes irked with the looks of curiosity people direct towards me. Even though the hijab is becoming a popular fashion trend in most countries, and in some as an act of rebellion there a few people are still suspicious of it.  I have come across some hilarious questions -being a polite person, I generally don’t answer as I would wish to. But if  I did answer these questions the way I wanted to this is ...

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Profiling and personal fatwas

We, Pakistanis, are an opinionated lot -that much is certain. But, when criticism turns in to censure then soon enough we see personal fatwa machines, depicting yet another poor prognostic sign for Pakistan. Muslim-Americans fume at being profiled and singled out for scrutiny at airports, but happily join the melee of labeling people based on appearances – a hijabi is purity incarnate and only the morally corrupt wear shorts, don’t you know? Prejudices are transmitted and bolstered by parents and families, and a good number of unfortunate people go through life not examining the outlandish mindset, let alone the fact that they ...

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