16/12: Where There Is A Will, There Is A Way - The Hijab Dilemma

The issue of hijab riles many people and is considered an oppression by some. A news report recently came to my attention which provides yet more credence to the fact that the issue is not so much about it being unfair on the wearer than the society just being hesitant to adopt a change and accept it. This paranoia can be detrimental to a society and the values it adheres to.

The news item is titled "More Muslim girls wear scarf in games". Miss Dewnya Bakri should be an inspiration for other Muslim girls and women who hesitate to wear hijab due to taunts and questions about it asked of them. She proves that where there is a will, there is a way for young Muslim women to be an active part of the society while not leaving their religious obligations at the side.

Hijab - courtesy Wikimedia, modified by myself

No one can force a Muslim women to wear a hijab, but if it is indeed her choice to wear it, no one can stop her since it is her right except where it may cause her or those around her any harm. Considering the controversy of banning the hijab in some European countries and a few women losing their jobs in Britain, unless all religious items are banned (which would include crosses, the skull cap for both Muslim and Jewish men (Kippah)) it is discrimination if only Muslim women who want to wear hijab are stopped from doing so solely on the basis of other people feeling intimidated.

In doing so, we ignore the wisdom of hijab. It covers the head and bosom of a woman. One may wonder exactly what function this serves. It basically enables a woman to be judged on the basis of her qualities other than her physical attributes which certain men seem so fond of doing. Let's face it, not all women are blonde hotties (as the term goes - no offence intended to blonde women). What are women, who lack the impressively dimensioned physical attributes to do while the others get all the attention? When we bring in the prevalent insecurity in women about how they look and what people think of them, this becomes all the more of a serious concern. Ultimately, a woman becomes an object rather than her own person who is intelligent, clever, witty and charming. Would a woman really want to be treated as an object rather than her own person?

As far as my opinion goes, I consider it to be an insult that a woman be considered an object which is evaluated on the basis of physical looks and not on her other qualities. Indeed for some women, it could be a liberating experience to not be judged solely on their looks and physique.

Some excerpts from the news item are:

For much of her life, the 20-year-old Muslim has found a way to balance practicing Islam and playing basketball, including wearing a head scarf and long pants on the hardcourt, even if it's meant taunts as she blazed trails on her middle school, high school and college teams.


Experts and advocates say the number of Muslim girls wearing the hijab on the court, track or field is rising because girls are growing more comfortable pursuing mainstream activities while maintaining religious traditions.


Even so, Bakri and current players at her former school, Fordson High, players say they've heard trash-talk that goes beyond the usual on-court chatter calling them terrorists, telling them to go back to their own country.


In the U.S., the National Federation of State High School Associations' rules say state associations may allow a player to participate while wearing a head covering for religious reasons as long as it isn't dangerous to another player and unlikely to come off during play. The rule-making federation also allows pants, shorts or skirts.


"Some schools are used to seeing girls in the hijab, but other schools find it different, odd," Hyatt Bakri said during a break from a recent practice. "After Sept. 11, they feel like we're a threat to them even though we didn't have anything to do with it. So they look at us differently."


"Nothing in our religion says we can't go out and do other things just like everybody else. It's just while we're doing it, we have to be more modest maybe than everybody else," she said.

Dewnya Bakri lets young players know there are ways to deal with the taunts that don't mean getting rolled over, like the time when opposing players insulted her scarf-wearing teammate during a high school tournament.

"I looked at (one of them) and said 'This is for you.' I shot six threes in that game. I was guarding her and she scored zero.

"That shut her down."
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Comments made

Very interesting, Asad!

ITA about women being treated as objects, and it's starting even younger now. I have the hardest time finding modest clothing for the girls, and they're just 6 & 8!! I don't want my daughters to look like mini-Paris Hiltons.
18/12 22:00:13
@ Meg:

Interesting in what sense? :D

Unfortunately, mini-Paris Hilton-esque clothing is what the society is going towards. How about the mum making her kids some decent modest clothes? You might as well take stitching up as a hobby just like sewing is for some women. :P
19/12 23:28:18
Reading the young women's thoughts was interesting. I also didn't know that about the US sporting rules. Then again, I don't recall seeing *any* students in my two K-12 schools wearing the hijab.

Some modest clothing is coming back in style in the US, than goodness. I can find shirts with longer hems and pants with higher waists...but the styles are all rather plain. So, I should really learn how to embellish! Fashion fortunately cycles, so I'm hopeful that some of the styles I remember from the early 90s become "in" again. Long skirts, multi-layered tops, items that are flowing rather than skin tight, etc...
24/12 13:13:19
Poppycock, it is forced upon women by the extreme misogyny of the Muslim man. Any Muslim woman would rather wear one of these than get a mosque-sanctioned beating from her pious husband. Women who don't want to leave Islam sadly have no choice now but to accept it and try to ignore or deny the oppression it symbolizes. You may say you like it but deep down you know that it is a pointless needless encumberment. Muslim women have lately decided they hate the west more than the oppression from their husbands and therefore have had the question made easy for them. They have to accept it now or face being called "Western".
21/03 02:36:05
@ Max_Normal:

You are a patent example of ignorance regarding this subject.

You project this as being forced upon the woman by her husband and being mosque sanctioned. That is poppycock. Having lived in an Islamic country and having met a lot of people, I have yet to find a single case of wife abuse. In fact, women who take up a hijab do so of their own accord and aren't forced into it. The oppression you seem to think of it as, is merely a figment of your imagination. And you round up the circle with "hate for the West". Have you actually thought about why the West is disliked so? Simply stated, if you kill any of my family without just cause, as collateral damage, I will do my utmost to hunt you down and make you suffer. You make your own enemies and create more. No sane person would even think of adopting this strategy.

Somehow you seem to think you know what I think deep down when we have never met or interacted before. It shows who is the presumptuous ignorant here. Tell me what is there not to like about a woman who respects herself first and foremost, who doesn't thinks that her physical assets should be the first thing upon which a judgment regarding her is made and who knows her rights and privileges and exercises them to the fullest extent possible?

Your last assertion is plain ridiculous. It seems you would go to all lengths possible to live in denial. I will give you some food for thought since you are from the UK. Think of the high rates of rapes and sexual harassment in the UK. Think also of UK having the highest rate of teenage pregnancies in the world and the associated problems it brings alongside it. Don't forget the recent news about that 13 year old boy Alfie Patten becoming a father:

It represents a society of men who can't sexually control themselves and of women who want to be judged based on their physical attributes.

Now think if the women wore hijab, will they be harassed or raped so? Will there be teenage pregnancies at the high rates seen now? Definitely not.
21/03 14:51:07
Hi, My name is Dewnya Bakri I was the girl featured in the article you are discussing. It was very heart felt to hear you inspiring comments. I really appreciate them very much. The issue of hajjab in sports is expanding rapidly there is actually a girl who will be playing basketball for the university of memphis here in the next season who wear hajjab. Inshallah our faith and ideas will change the US image of who we are and what we stand for.
08/07 21:26:50
@ Ms. Bakri:

That is great news indeed! Keep up your good work and never feel any embarrassment in wearing the hijab - wherever and whenever you want to wear it.
15/08 01:35:34

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