Written by Mona Kareem, Global Voices
With Islamists rising in post-revolution Egypt, fear of religious oppression is growing among youth, minorities, and women. Recently, a group of Egyptian women started a Facebook page in Arabic called “Echoing Screams” pointing out sexism in their society and the oppression that might be coming with the expected arrival of Islamists in power. The group has also started an event “Wearing Hijab in solidarity with women” that had the following description:
They say the veil (Hijab) is a personal freedom and not a sign of enslaving women whom they look at as a sex object, a commodity, an Awrah, yet they use Hijab as a reference of disrespect when saying “men who wear hijabs” as to insult their manhood. Thus, those who call on women to wear Hijab should not attack men if they chose to wear Hijab.
The group posted several pictures of men wearing Hijab in the event page, one of which was taken from the campaign that Iranians launched online two years ago in support of a male student who was arrested for dressing up as a woman to escape Tehran, as authorities claimed. Tunisian netizens have also taken part in this event and have commented with laughter on the event’s wall, leaving sarcastic comments against the Ennahda party, which won a majority in Tunisia’s constituent elections last month, and its head Rached Ghannouchi.
I support my brothers who want to wear Hijab in solidarity with Ghannouchi who prefers the Chador!
Men who will wear Hijab in solidarity will unfortunately be a small minority.
I cannot agree to this, women should not cover up either, women are not a disgrace they are as equal in rights to any man if not even needing more rights as they are the ones responsible for the reproduction of the human race they are the queens of our world.
People calling for women to cover up are discriminatory and bigoted and should be persecuted, if women were a disgrace, then why were they created this way, this cover up issue is some men’s idea of control. A women’s hair is not 3awra, it is beauty, people who want women to cover, are basically unable to control their sexual needs and should be prosecuted as menace to societies.
No to using religious signs and no to politicizing religion. Religion is sacred and religious beliefs are agreed upon while political changes are open to interpretation and disagreement.
Arab Spring should not be about toppling dictators. Democracy starts at the mind level. We have to topple the taboos that are holding back our innovative potentials: patriarchy, misplaced religiosity and sexual obsessions. Hijab is an ancient Semitic custom- experienced at one time by so many cultures. Although it had seemed to be on its way of vanishing in the 20th century, it persisted and has gained wide currency all over the Arab world in our present time. Clearly, an indicator of our dire need to take the revolution up the cultural and mind levels.
If men wore Hijab in solidarity with women that will be a confession that Hijab is part of a woman’s femininity and I do not see it as an Islamic must.
This post was originally published by Global Voices.
Photo from DVIDSHUB via flickr