"To niqab or not to niqab" That is the question we as many South African Muslimah ask ourselves from time to time. However, this freedom to choose what and how much fabric we put over our faces is a luxury many of us seem to take for granted.
As Europe wages war on the Muslim woman, in both school as well as the workplace, the global community barely blinks an eye as another newsreader calls it an “outward prison”.
You do not need to wear niqab or agree with it, or even be a female for that matter. To know that a basic Islamic right is being violated here and we do nothing is ALARMING.
In fact, it would appear that the rest of the world has already accepted the banning of the hijab in most French and German schools and certain workplaces. Not only is this rule forbidding women from practicing their deen correctly but it also denies them basic freedom of expression rights according to the constitution.
It is this term, ‘freedom of expression’ that justifies on some level offensive symbols such as the swastika to be worn, but a woman who chooses to hide her face in the hopes that it might bring her some protection and comfort during this time if fitna is labeled extreme and stripped of her security.
There have been no calls by the great ulema ‘powers that be’ speaking out against this, no protests or marches or calls to cut trade relations…absolutely nothing! I cannot help but assume this is because those ‘powers’ happen to be male and this is a female issue. So why then are we as the female ummah not standing up for our own rights?
It would seem that the days in which women braved the battlefield alongside men, standing up for Islam died along side our beloved Prophet Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him. I am not saying we should sharpen our spears and get ready to charge on Europe, but I am saying that its high time we stopped complaining about the way we are treated and start standing up for ourselves.
We should be deeply moved by any injustice committed against the ummah, but we should naturally have an even softer spot for women issues. While I am equally critical of the men who should have been more vocal on this issue, I cannot imagine it would paint a very good picture for a group of angry men in beards and thobes to call for their wives to be covered.
If we want the west to stop calling us oppressed, we need to stop acting oppressed, mobilize and stand up for our rights.
What is stopping us as women (who all belong to women networks) from putting pressure on the west to lift these bans?
Perhaps if we stopped planning the most current ‘eat and treat’ or talking about this ones newly renovated kitchen, we would have a little more time for meaningful work.
Journalist / Producer / Presenter
Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa
“Coming from a mixed religious background (my dad is Jewish and my mom Christian), I am passionate about inter-religious relationships, and how to maintain a good relationship with ones family after embracing Islam. I enjoy nature and spending time with my family, which I hope inshAllah will be growing soon! Radio and the media have been a wonderful blessing for my passion and interest in social upliftment, as I have been able to contribute to worthy causes”