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Oppressive: Hijab Or Your Perception?

The blatant display of islamophobia by the prominent nations across the world comes to the notice of all, gets outrage by few. The targeting of the one community is now done openly, showing off to the world. The mass incarceration of Uyghurs in China, terrorising of Rohingyas in Burma, rising atrocities as well as mass approval of possible genocide of Indian Muslims and the increasing abomination towards the Islamic community in the West- this is just the summarization of the whole scenario.

On 30th March 2021, the French Senate voted for the ‘Separatism Bill’ which aims to impose republican principles and to give the state the tools to fight Islamic radicalism. If this bill is approved by the French Parliament, the ban that will follow includes:

  • Any girl under 18 is prohibited from wearing the hijab in public.
  • Mothers who wear the hijab will not be allowed to join their children on school field trips.
  • Public swimming pools will refuse entry to women in burkinis.
  • The hijab ban on the university students will be extended.
  • Will restrict Islamic home-schooling.
  • Will push the hijab ban from public to private sector contractors.
Credits: Lisa Bryant

The ban on the hijab is being justified as a means to “empower” women. What is being implied here is that the Muslim women who practice wearing the hijab are oppressed because they simply lack the common sense that hijabs aren’t supposed to come under liberalism. If these women don’t accept the fact that they have been brain washed and are in dire need of being saved and unshackled, it is the duty of the government to enforce rules which aim only for the betterment of the society. Such a harmonious blend of islamophobia and misogyny.

Women have always been a subject meant for following the principles of an ideal society in order to achieve the status of an ideal component to influence the upcoming generation in the desired way. If women choose to follow the modern trends, they should be taught to remain in limits of the surrounding environment. If women choose to follow traditions and religious customs, again, they should be taught to remain within the boundaries expected from them. If women don’t go with the societal flow, they must be forced to, through suitable means.

Credits: The APC UK

Such policies are not a recent phenomenon. In 2011, France became the first country to ban all women from wearing the veil or the niqab in public. Soon, other European countries including Belgium, Germany, Russia, Netherlands, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Bulgaria and Denmark followed suit, either imposing similar bans or have rulings to issue fines. Thus in the name of law, national identity and integrity, blatant discrimination is done to snatch away autonomy from Muslim women.

If the ‘Separatism Bill’ is passed, the age of consent for sex which is 15 will be lower than the age consent for wearing the hijab which will become 18. Thus women will have the sexual liberty but not the right to dress the way they desire. This extreme need to regulate women’s bodies and their choice of clothing and then justifying all of it with liberalism and secularism is not only pathetic but also the representation of how there is no limit to the hypocrisy of the society.

Indeed forcing a woman to wear a hijab is wrong just like forcing her to take it off. Women can’t be liberated by controlling their basic right to choice and freedom of expression. If a woman is free to show her body, why should she not be free to cover it?

Zaina Shahid Khan is a student pursuing English Literature from Jamia Millia Islamia.

Edited by: Varda Ahmad

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of The Jamia Review or its members.

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Written by Zaina Shahid Khan

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