Friday, 12 September 2008

There is no compulsion in religion. Except for women.

Being neither a Muslim, nor a scholar of Islam, I wonder how Muslims reconcile what appear to be cultural and social compulsions that receive a religious legitimacy from their faith?

Let there be no compulsion in religion. Truth has been made clear from error. Whoever rejects false worship and believes in Allah has grasped the most trustworthy handhold that never breaks. And Allah hears and knows all things. [Sûrah al-Baqarah: 256]

So what can we say when a father murders his daughter for not wearing a hijab? No tabloid paper is going to pick up this news story and run it under the headline "Muslims condemn sickening brutality in name of Islam", because that's not their line on anything to do with Islam and because there is no outcry.

Turkey and France ban the hijab in universities. German states ban the hijab for teachers. More young Muslim women are adopting the hijab as an expression of defiance and an assertion of Islamic identity. But compulsion, force and violence in the name of Islam, persist in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, etc.

I listened to a girl wearing a hijab working in Primark explaining to her work colleagues (another teenage girl) why she wore the hijab:

It's part of my religion. It's a religious symbol.

But isn't it a cultural symbol from part of the Middle East and now a religious fashion statement? Modesty doesn't mean a rejection of beauty. It is less about appearance and more about humility, the way your carry yourself and the way you treat others. There is no modesty in forcing your opinions or culture onto someone else. That's chauvinism.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments with links, feedback, etc. greatly appreciated. Spam will be deleted.

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.