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I’m a non-hijabi Muslim woman. On occasion of World Hijab Day, let me say that we shouldn’t be judgemental of those who make a choice to wear the hijab.
A woman should be free to decide about what she wears or not wear. Nobody should decide /dictate a woman about it, neither in the name of patriarchy nor in the name of ‘feminism’.
If you are criticising a woman’s choice of clothing in the name of ‘feminism‘ you are no different from the patriarchal ideologies, your ‘feminism‘ becomes redundant once you start forcing your ideas on others.
Though it might be difficult for many to understand, it is a fact that many Muslim women have made a conscious choice of wearing the hijab. Conditioned or not, it is their choice, and if you fail to respect this choice you don’t have the moral ground to lecture on ‘feminism’. These women are very well aware of the biases /prejudices they face and yet have made a choice to wear the hijab and we need to stop being judgemental about their choices. Although I do find it unfair that little girls are sometimes forced/ conditioned to wear hijab, and this needs to be discouraged.
Surprisingly, there are many young Muslim girls even from non hijabi families who are making the choice to wear a hijab. Young, educated girls are making this choice, fully aware of the consequences, and many even against the wishes of their families, and there is also an increase in the number hijabi women at work places. They are aware that they might be treated differently and in the worst scenario they may even be discriminated against, but yet they choose to wear the hijab. This is a brave decision to go against the norm, and not an easy choice in the present times.
I do not want to glorify the practice, but I definitely support these girls /women who are making these choices. It is highly possible that there have been a conditioning of young minds, but doesn’t conditioning play an important part in every aspect of life, be it choice of food or choice of clothing? These women are free to choose about what they wear and it is when they start imposing their choice on others that they need to be called out.
I am a non hijabi Muslim, and am not going to force my views someone else nor will welcome it if someone tries to judge me or force their ideas on me.
While discussing about the hijab, it is not fair to ignore the fact that it is used as a political and non political tool in a few countries to control women, and in many of these, women are also legally punished for defying the rules. While these women are rightly fighting for their cause, it is also a fact that hijabi women face discrimination and at times violence which can’t be ignored.
Like the women fighting against forced /imposed hijab, these hijabi women who are making a choice also need support and solidarity from other women. Sadly this issue has mostly become a political tool between the right wing and liberals worldwide, where the discourse is mostly hijacked by men, and Muslim women are rarely able to express their point of view. Instead of being judgemental about their choice we need to hear them more and stop stereotyping them.
Hijabi women are not always forced or oppressed, a piece of clothing doesn’t give an indication of a person’s abilities or intelligence. Look around you will find many hijabis who are working as teachers, lawyers, doctors and techies. Their abilities and dreams are not crippled by their hijab, rather, many have used it for their own good.
Women’s empowerment comes in various forms. We need to look beyond the stereotypes, we need to acknowledge that ideas different from ours are not always regressive or wrong. A hijabi woman standing up for her rights is as strong as any of us, and judging any woman’s worth based on her choice of clothing is highly obnoxious. Women from ages have fought all kinds for discrimination, and will continue to fight for themselves. The need is to support each other in this fight.
Image source: pixabay
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Dentist ,writer ,blogger and strongly opinionated .
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