In an op-ed at the Washington Post, Muslims Asra Q. Nomani and Hala Arafa are denouncing the left’s attempts to show “solidarity” with Muslims by inviting schoolgirls and women to don the hijab. Instead, they say Americans are getting “duped” by the Muslim sexist agenda and would rather see Americans stand against the ideology of Islamism that represses women and demands Muslim women cover themselves.
“Journalists and media outlets must stop making the mistake of defining hijab as ‘headscarf,’ furthering a sexist propaganda campaign to equate the two,” the authors write.
In the wake of the most recent Islamic terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California, some in schools who have donned the hijab – the traditional garb for Muslim women – as a sign of solidarity have caught the attention of national media.
At Christian Wheaton College, political science professor Larycia Hawkins wore the hijab to show “solidarity” with Muslims as she also claimed Muslims and Christians share the same beliefs regarding the nature of God and salvation. Similarly, at Vernon Hills High School in Illinois, the Muslim Students Association – with strong links to the Muslim Brotherhood – offered a “Walk a Mile In Her Hijab Day” to non-Muslim students, giving the girls an opportunity to try on the hijab as a way to learn more about the Muslim religion.
“Muslim special-interest groups are feeding articles about ‘Muslim women in hijab‘ under siege,” Nomani and Arafa write. “Staff members at the Council on American-Islamic Relations [CAIR], which has pressed legal and PR complaints against U.S. companies including Disney World and Abercrombie & Fitch, have even called their organization ‘the hijab legal defense fund.’”
“In the name of ‘interfaith,’ well-intentioned Americans are getting duped by the agenda of Muslims who argue that a woman’s honor lies in her ‘chastity,’ pushing a platform to put a headscarf on every woman,” they continue. “Please do this instead: Do not wear a headscarf in ‘solidarity’ with the ideology that most silences us, equating our bodies with ‘honor.’ Stand with us instead with moral courage against the ideology of Islamism that demands we cover our hair.”
The authors explain those who are promoting “solidarity” with Muslims are diminishing the meaning behind the hijab – for their own purposes of pushing their agenda against Christian and Jewish conservatives —when they present it as merely a “headscarf.”
“Not once is hijab used in the Koran to mean ‘headscarf,’” Nomani, cofounder of the Muslim Reform Movement, which advocates for human rights and secular government, and Arafa, a former news editor at the Arabic Branch of the Voice of America, assert. “It most certainly never denotes any act of piety. Rather, it carries the negative connotation of being an actual or metaphorical obstacle separating the ‘non-believers’ in a dark place…”
The writers refer to such “wear a hijab” efforts as a “reminder of the well-financed effort by conservatives to dominate modern Muslim societies.”
This modern-day movement spreads an ideology of political Islam, called ‘Islamism,’ enlisting unsuspecting well-intentioned do-gooders, while promoting the headscarf for women as a virtual “sixth pillar” of Islam, after the traditional “five pillars,” the shahada (or proclamation of faith), prayer, fasting, charity and pilgrimage. We reject this interpretation. We are not too sexy for our hair.
Nomani and Arafa explain that while both were born into conservative families that had no edict for women to cover their hair, following the Iranian revolution of the minority Shia sect in 1979 and the rise of the “well-funded” Saudis from the majority Sunni sect, “We have experienced bullying to cover our hair from men and boys.”
The authors essentially place the Muslim “solidarity” movement — largely a movement of the so-called “feminist” left — on notice.
“To us, the headscarf is a symbol of an interpretation of Islam we reject that believes that women are a sexual distraction to men, who are weak, and, thus, we must cover ourselves,” the authors assert. “We don’t buy it. This ideology promotes a social attitude that absolves men of sexually harassing women and puts the onus on the victim to protect herself by covering up.”
The Muslim Reform Movement, however, supports the right of Muslim women to have the option of wearing the hijab or not.
“As Americans, we believe in freedom of religion,” Nomani and Arafa write. “But we need to clarify to those in universities, the media and discussion forums that in exploring the ‘hijab,’ they are not exploring Islam, but rather the ideology of political Islam as practiced by the mullahs, or clerics, of Iran and Saudi Arabia, the Taliban in Afghanistan and the Islamic State.”