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Hijab Hijinks Singapore

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Nothing has caused quite a divide in the Muslim and non Muslim worlds than the issue of the hijab.

Within the Muslim community itself, opinions are vastly divided.
Some Muslims see this article of clothing as a symbol of religious oppression on women and that all Muslim women need to take a stand in solidarity against the adornment of this piece of cloth.

Other Muslims, are quick to point out that it should be a woman’s choice on whether they want to wear the hijab or not  as it’s a woman’s choice on how they choose to dress themselves.

As an ex-Muslim apostate who is an atheist and considers himself a libertarian and a liberal, I’m on the side of the Muslims who share the opinion that it’s a woman’s choice. The hijab is just an article of clothing but my opinion shouldn’t matter to Muslims, after all, I am now an ex-muslim a taboo in Islam, and this is a discussion that Muslims within the Muslim community need to work out for themselves.

However, I do wish to address those who consider themselves liberal minded such as myself who advocate the banning of wearing the hijab. My question to you is, Why?
Because in countries where shariah law enforces the adornment of the hijab, women who don’t wear it get acid splashed in their face?
Because women who wear it support the religious oppression of women?
Because women who wear it are terrorist supporters?

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m an ex-Muslim, all of my relatives are Muslims, some of whom are women I looked up to growing up for their tenacity and strength as individuals, therefore I have this unique perspective of having had close relationships with women who do wear the hijab and I find the blanketing of women who wear it under the banner of supporters of abuse, oppression of women and terrorism to be an ignorant and damaging to the progress of Muslims who are paving the way for progression of liberal values in the Muslim communities.

Then there’s the issue of freedom of expression.
Recently in Singapore we had an incident on the trains (MRT) where a Caucasian man went mental over a boy’s shirt that says “I’m fucking special”, if you agree that the boy had the right to wear that shirt, if you agree that women should be able to wear a provocative outfit and not feel threatened, why then do these sentiments change when it comes to an article of clothing used to cover ones hair?

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There are many reasons why some muslim women choose to wear the hijab.
They could be feeling lazy to do their hair and and it’s easier to just cover up.
They could be older women who might feel a little self conscious about their hair not being as vibrant as they used to and would rather cover up.
The weather could be really cold an windy and wearing it provides a layer of protection.

The real problem with the hijab is how much value it has as a religious symbol, this is a problem that is not only in the Muslim Community but shared in the perception of non Muslims and this needs to change, we need to devalue to the religious power by not being so obsessed about it and just remembering it’s just a square sheet of silk and this is why I’m perplexed by this issue of hijabs and uniforms, in this news article.
http://www.todayonline.com/singapore/allowing-hijab-problematic-some-jobs-yaacob

Muslim women aren’t the only people who wear head adornments for religious purposes.
It seems like we’ve forgotten about Sikh men who wear turbans.
What happens when Sikh men are employed in professions that require a uniform?
They wear a turban that matches the colours of their uniform, obviously.
Yet somehow this logic escapes people who think that the hijab would be problematic for professions that require a uniform.

Some professions require you to wear a helmet, as an issue of safety, then obviously the helmet is far more important than the hijab and I hope muslim women are smart enough to agree with this and comply with safety regulations.

To summarize, the hijab itself needs to be devalued as a religious icon and the freedom of expression also extends to women who choose to wear the hijab, as forcing them to not wear the hijab is just equally as oppressive as forcing them to wear it.

– Riz Rashid

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