Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Hijab-What is its Significance?

Cross-posted by Gary Fouse

On a recent posting, I described an event at UC-Irvine hosted by the Muslim Student Union and made the observation that the overwhelming majority of the females in the audience were wearing hijabs-the headscarf that many Muslim women choose to wear. For this, I was taken to task by one of my readers as to why I even mentioned it. I answered the question, but I think the whole issue of the hijab merits a posting in itself because I have a lot of questions about it myself.

In light of world events involving Islam-or perhaps, I should say militant Islam, it seems to me that more and more Muslim women are choosing to don the hijab. Of course, in some parts of the Muslim world, such as Iran, Saudi Arabia and up until the removal of the Taliban, Afghanistan, the hijab has been mandatory, indeed Afghanistan mandated burkas and Saudi Arabia requires full-facial covering out of doors. On the other hand, in France, for example, the hijab has become so controversial, that the country has tried to ban it in certain public venues like school as an affront to the idea of assimilation.

To be specific, my question is why women wear the hijab. I invite any Muslim readers of this blog (and I know you are out there) to share their insight.

On the one hand, I have an admiration for female modesty-especially given some of the outrageous ways some Western women choose to dress-not that I am a prude by any means. I also think that the headscarf appears quite feminine and attractive in its own right-though I also think that long, black hair is downright beautiful to look at.

The choice of whether to wear the hijab or not I believe should be left to the woman herself and not dictated by other Muslim men who may or may not even be related to her. If the woman is forced to wear it, I think that is unfortunate.

But assuming the individual woman chooses to wear the head-covering, the question remains why? Is it truly because of religious piety? It is my understanding that the Qu'ran does not dictate it. Is there some other statement that the woman is making-especially in Western society? Is it a statement of militancy? Is it a statement that "I am different from you, and I reject Western society"? Is it a warning to non-Muslim men to stay away and not even think about making an advance? Or is it just because my family or peers insist on it?

I think the answer depends on the individual. My perception tells me (perhaps, erroneously) that more hijabs are being seen in the US in light of recent events, and that this could be an ominous sign. There again, I could be completely off-base, and I welcome any enlightenment from Muslim readers, male or female.


  1. If a woman chooses to wear the Hijab that is her decision, unless she is wearing it because if she doesn't her family will kill her.

    Too many women wear the hijab to please others without realizing that by doing so, they lose their freedom of choice.




    1. Please copy this letter (or alter/replace it with your own letter) and post/email to

    Mr Ernst Hirsch Ballin
    Dutch Minister for Justice
    Postbus 20301
    2500 EH Den Haag

    Dear Mr Ballin

    Amsterdam Court of Appeal vs. Mr Geert Wilders

    As you now seek to jail Mr Geert Wilders on charges of discrimination and hate speech I wonder if you will also seek to ban the Qur’an that has page upon page of discrimination and hate speech, calling for death and punishment for a vast range of activities which are perfectly legal in The Netherlands - such as for not being Muslim, particularly for being Jewish, for being an apostate or an adulteress or for a selection of other actions or beliefs that would hardly rank as indiscretions or misdemeanours by any non-Qur’anic terms of reference?

    That we have all witnessed the words of the Qur’an inspire some Muslims to commit the most discriminatory and hateful actions in recent history is a matter of public record and cannot be denied. That the passages of this book were used in the movie ‘Fitna’ along with footage of Muslim leaders and Imams is also a matter of public record and cannot be denied.
    If Mr Wilder’s is to suffer the charge of discrimination and hate speech for quoting passages of the Qur’an, then the Qur’an itself must face the identical fate.

    Thank you for your time,

    2. Go to and sign the growing petition in support of Geert Wilders, which reads:

    To: The Dutch Government
    WHEREAS Geert Wilders has exercised his fundamental human right of freedom of expression and spoken out, with facts and evidence, of the threat posed by radical Islam;

    WHEREAS certain elements within Islamic communities have threatened a boycott of Dutch goods if Geert Wilders is not punished by the Dutch government for exercising his freedom of expression; and

    WHEREAS certain elements in Dutch industry and the Dutch government are suggesting that Geert Wilders be prosecuted civilly or criminally, in order to prevent such a boycott;

    IT IS RESOLVED that, in the event that the Dutch government attempts, in any way, to punish or prosecute Geert Wilders, civilly or criminally, for exercising his freedom of expression, the undersigned will initiate a boycott of any and all Dutch goods.


    While your at it, please go to and support the Global Statement Against Sharia Law and the UK One Law For All Campaign and Petition.

    Sharia Law is the legal culmination of religious efforts to curb freedom of thought and speech. It will be demanded by Islamic dogma in countries where it gains political power. Sharia Law is to be avoided AT ALL COSTS.

  4. They have been treated like domestic animals all their lives, they don´t know any better LOL

    If it´s not compulsory, what is it then? Stoopidity?!

  5. Letter sent.

    And that will be a lot of Heineken's.