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What Does The Quran Really Say About A Muslim Woman's Hijab? - Samina Ali - TEDxUniversityofNevada

Society & Culture  (tags: women, Islam, hijab, history, Quran, Samina Ali, context, manipulation, interests, clerics, insertions, fatwas )

- 763 days ago -
Samina Ali takes us on a journey back to Prophet Muhammad's time to reveal what the term "hijab" really means - & it's not the Muslim woman's veil! So what does "hijab" actually mean, if not the veil? How have fundamentalists conflated the term to deny


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Evelyn B (63)
Thursday February 16, 2017, 12:10 am
In recent times, the resurgence of the hijab along with various countries’ enforcement of it has led many to believe that Muslim women are required by their faith to wear the hijab. In this informative talk, novelist Samina Ali takes us on a journey back to Prophet Muhammad's time to reveal what the term “hijab” really means -- and it's not the Muslim woman's veil! So what does “hijab” actually mean, if not the veil, and how have fundamentalists conflated the term to deny women their rights? This surprising and unprecedented idea will not only challenge your assumptions about hijab but will change the way you see Muslim women.

Samina Ali is an award-winning author, activist and cultural commentator. Her debut novel, Madras on Rainy Days, won France’s prestigious Prix Premier Roman Etranger Award and was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award in Fiction. Ali’s work is driven by her belief in personal narrative as a force for achieving women’s individual and political freedom and in harnessing the power of media for social transformation. She is the curator of the groundbreaking, critically acclaimed virtual exhibition, Muslima: Muslim Women’s Art & Voices.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community.

Lona G (66)
Thursday February 16, 2017, 4:00 am
Though not a Muslim, or of any religion, myself I already knew that the Quoran doesn't prescribe women to wear a veil, but that it's all a question of interpretation of ancient texts, by men. In this regard Islam isn't very different from Christianity, Judaism or any other religion that finds its basis and meaning in scriptures written by men hundreds and thousands of years ago. Learned men in religious schools, only accessible to men, are interpreting these scriptures in all these religions. Over the centuries most religions have seen some efforts to incorporate evolving worldviews into these interpretations and most, if not all, have known a moment of enlightenment at some point in time. However, when religions as an institute feel their power diminishing in society, they tend to fall back to fundamentalism to keep a grip on their followers, especially on women.

Kudos to Samina Ali for challenging this male power perspective in Islam and stimulating Muslima to follow their own path.

Peggy B (43)
Thursday February 16, 2017, 5:49 am
Excellent video. Shared on FB. Thank you for sharing Evelyn.

Darren Woolsey (218)
Thursday February 16, 2017, 9:00 am
Yes, excellent and shared over social media.

fly bird (26)
Thursday February 16, 2017, 11:13 am
ty, Evelyn.


Ivonne C (120)
Thursday February 16, 2017, 11:30 am
Very interesting!

Sheryl G (359)
Thursday February 16, 2017, 3:45 pm
Wow, what a well spoken young woman and well versed. I hope more will speak out as she is doing.

Shirley S (187)
Thursday February 16, 2017, 3:59 pm
What an excellent video spoken by an attractive articulate advocate.

MmAway M (522)
Thursday February 16, 2017, 4:47 pm
Thank you Evelyn and Darren for letting me know. Have NOT watched yet, but noted!

Dawnie W (250)
Thursday February 16, 2017, 5:54 pm
❤️Noted...Thanking you kindly for sharing this informative video. A lot of misinformation has been propagated over the years by zealots with ulterior motives. I found the video fascinating along with the whole speech. ❤️

😉💜ღ❤️Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ😺♥L💜ve, Hugs and Peace go with you all♥😺Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ💛ღ❤️😉

Dawnie W (250)
Thursday February 16, 2017, 5:59 pm
❤️Noted...It is good information to have out in the public domain so we are all informed with facts and not mis information. Thanks again for sending this my way Darren and Evelyn.❤️

😉💜ღ❤️Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ😺♥L💜ve, Hugs and Peace go with you all♥😺Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ💛ღ❤️😉

Glennis Whitney (393)
Thursday February 16, 2017, 6:55 pm
Very interesting, very well spoken and informing . Thank you for caring and sharing Evelyn

Roslyn M (28)
Friday February 17, 2017, 1:54 am
Interesting, but seems many Muslim men still cannot control themselves around women even now.

Arild Gone for now (174)
Friday February 17, 2017, 4:27 am
Thanks for sharing this info Evelyn.

Rosie Adams (340)
Friday February 17, 2017, 5:00 am
Brilliant articulation of the issues involves. Porn and misogyny. It is not a lack of control that Muslim men have around women. Police files galore where such things are noted and recorded find that those who rape and commit sexually motivated murders, do so from a need to exert their own sense of power and control over their victims. Many do not even indulge in sex with the victim but use the threat of it to torment and terrify. It is all about subjugating women and 'making them know their place' - and that place comes from the very darkest recesses of the minds of men who, like those on the dark webs, enjoy showing others just how very much in control they actually are. Bravo to this highly knowledgeable and brave young woman.

Rosie Adams (340)
Friday February 17, 2017, 5:03 am
Noted, signed and shared also. Thank you Evelyn for this valuable piece of enlightenment.

Sandra Penna (135)
Friday February 17, 2017, 5:26 am
Excellent, thank you very much for sharing, Evelyn.

Sheryl G (359)
Friday February 17, 2017, 8:41 am
Samina Ali, mentions how 1,400 years ago, I believe that was the date, how women were attacked at night going out to relieve themselves. Unfortunately this is still happening today in the world, some places have not progressed from that point.

I recall reading an article about women living today in India and how whole villages are starting a movement to bring toilets into their communities. Women in many parts of India still must go out in the middle of the night to relieve themselves in fields and are attacked. So villages have gotten together to build "common" toilets within the villages to use day and night which they take turns cleaning.

Other villages have a toilet with every bride, they do not allow their daughter to marry someone unless he can provide her a toilet within their own home to use.

When I think of only 8 men, holding the same amount of the wealth that the bottom half of humanity hold together, how much would it cost them to install these "common" toilets into every village around the world that it is needed. Can they not do at least that much? While they sit on their golden seats how can they be so content when this is taking place with so many people.

pam w (139)
Friday February 17, 2017, 10:11 am underestimate the power of their greed.

Yusuf I (105)
Friday February 17, 2017, 11:25 am
Even headscarf isn't in the Quran. Unfortunately most people interpret the quran using hadiths. Hadiths are the problem not the Quran. The Quran has it's downside but it is a lot like the New Testament. Most people who follow the quran without hadiths are a lot more tolerant than people who follow or try to follow hadiths strictly. Head covering came much later from hadith culture not quran. The only parts the Quran says to cover is cleavage, legs and private parts. Again certain parts of the Quran I do disagree with as with all religions.

Yusuf I (105)
Friday February 17, 2017, 11:27 am
(When leaders use quranic verses for bad things it's usually out of context)

Birgit W (160)
Friday February 17, 2017, 1:27 pm
Excellent video! Thank you very much for sharing Evelyn.

Beth M (138)
Friday February 17, 2017, 1:52 pm
Extremely interesting. Through the ages men have always tried to keep women "in their place". Well we are mad as hell and not taking it anymore.

Walter F (129)
Friday February 17, 2017, 7:21 pm
Thanks Evelyn.A great video Samina wouldn't dare to speak like this in an islamic country She would be quickly silenced.The male devotees of their god allah insist on a woman keeping her inferior place in society,and make sure she stays there.

Evelyn B (63)
Friday February 17, 2017, 8:00 pm
You're not entirely right, Walter. I've heard women in countries like Egypt, Pakistan, Jordan who speak on this subject. Your preconceived ideas about Muslims & Muslim countries are showing through!

Christians, Jews & Hindus in the same countries share the same cultural bias of strong patriarchy ... It isn't Islam - it is culture. Just as Samina points out. And one also finds communities in the West that haven't moved far from similar male chauvinism & oppression of their women. Did you register that in Russia they're passing a law decriminalising wife-beating? ("This is our culture" ... and they are "Christians" by tradition ...)

Well said, Beth! But there are still women who believe it's men's right ... even in "advanced" societies! (We've got to keep pushing a way yet!!)

Evelyn B (63)
Friday February 17, 2017, 8:18 pm
Dandelion -
Very true - there are many communities round the world where there aren't latrines & people go into the surrounding bush/fields to relieve themselves ... which often means women go during the night, for privacy (with negative health effects, because it means either not drinking much or stretching the bladder with tight controls) ... or only communal WCs, often located on the edge of the village (& again, many women go at night, because they don't like to "announce" that they are going to the loo ...). Men are much freer to squat by the road & do what they have to do, or use a wall ...
So what's needed is home-based latrines ... and that's quite a big infrastructure challenge if it is to be done without creating health risks.

And the dangers faced by women going after dark continue today.
I've heard women in refugee & IDP camps request burkas ... so that their daughters can move around, especially to the sanitation blocks, without strangers staring, following them & potentially attacking them. Purely as a self-defence measure, not part of their traditional garb (but, as you can imagine, no Western-related humanitarian aid organisation would dare respond positively to this plea for help ... what would the media say if they heard burkas were being distributed???)

Colleen L (3)
Friday February 17, 2017, 11:15 pm
Excellent video. Thanks Evelyn

Julie W (33)
Saturday February 18, 2017, 1:21 am
Dandelion and Evelyn - this sounds like a project Bill Gates could go with. You said ' that's quite a big infrastructure challenge if it is to be done without creating health risks'. Seems to me an ideal situation for composting toilets . Very little infrastructure required, no plumbing, and a bonus every couple of years of free fertiliser when the unit is cleaned. I have seen on TV where this is already happening in some villages.

Julie W (33)
Saturday February 18, 2017, 1:28 am
Well, the Quoran is not so different from the bible, in that it was translated by men. A friend of mine years ago was studying the bible from a feminist viewpoint with a Catholic nun. I remember her telling me that the original word that was translated as 'handmaiden' in the bible could have had several meanings. That's just one word that has probably affected the way men view and treat women - how many others?

Hugh Smith (112)
Saturday February 18, 2017, 2:51 am
Noted , interesting, thank you

Beryl L (78)
Saturday February 18, 2017, 2:54 am
Very interesting and educational. I did not know how this custom came about. Some Men try to control "their" women so that they are more like an object to be used and not one to be respected and honored.
This lovely lady is so well spoken. I also enjoyed the different comments and points of view. Thank you Darren, for passing on the link to me. The world needs to be educated on this subject.
Many Thanks Evelyn

Walter F (129)
Saturday February 18, 2017, 3:01 am
Evelyn preconceived.,come off it,I've good good reasons for my opinion of islam, can you name another religion that whips women for immodest dress ,that hangs them for blasphemy,or stones them for so called adultery.that beheads them in the public,I can't can you?

Miss You All Dearly (67)
Saturday February 18, 2017, 3:48 am
"Bloody Women" ........they don't know if they are Arthur or Martha......????????? LOL......they comply and they don't comply?????? What a fickle bunch.....Walter.........what type of man beats his wife on non religious grounds here in Australia?????????

Margie FOURIE (148)
Saturday February 18, 2017, 4:29 am
If that is what one wants to wear to conform to cultural or religious beliefs, let them.

Ed Site Issues V (198)
Saturday February 18, 2017, 5:14 am
Noted, Thanks

Darren Woolsey (218)
Saturday February 18, 2017, 10:07 am
Walter, Christianity was and has been persecuting people within, for centuries, LOOONG before Islam appeared in the headlines. . .

Naomi Dreyer (43)
Saturday February 18, 2017, 10:23 am
Great video talk. Interesting comments. Do not allow difference of opinion, or diversity of thought to separate you from your fellow-men, or to be the cause of dispute, hatred and strife in your hearts. Rather, search diligently for the truth and make all men your friends. From the Baha’i Faith Writings

Past Member (0)
Saturday February 18, 2017, 11:35 am
A brave woman who speaks very clearly.

Video sharing.

Walter F (129)
Saturday February 18, 2017, 3:02 pm
You're quite right Darren .Christian England has executed a woman for adultery.That was Mary Lathan in 1644 but that was the last one .It hasn't been done since but Iran has hanged several in recent years one being two months pregnant. Ros I can't answer your question what type but they are the lowest of the low.I believe you have a few in Melbourne they appear to belong to the Melbourne football Club drink VB,get boozed to their eyeballs every Saturday and are as mad as cut snakes.

Walter F (129)
Saturday February 18, 2017, 8:03 pm
correction ....Mary Lathan was executed in America.

fly bird (26)
Saturday February 18, 2017, 8:12 pm
it is time for some to get off their high horses, because you don't have to go far or far back, either, to see how women have been mistreated, and still are, in so called 'democracies', and, other place..

It isn't new. Unequal treatment is an age old issue, and pointing fingers, just seems to pretend an assertion that some 'groups' are less, or more, should we say, 'superior' in their treatment, or unequal treatment of women - and others..

fly bird (26)
Saturday February 18, 2017, 8:15 pm
Noted, and thanks for sharing, Evelyn.

Roro l (0)
Sunday February 19, 2017, 1:02 pm

Sheila D (28)
Sunday February 19, 2017, 2:45 pm
As with the Christian Bible, it's all in the way the clerics of the day decide to interpret what they read to what they want. Samina Ali is intelligent, obviously well learned, and articulate. Thank you for sharing, Evelyn.

Patricia N (9)
Sunday February 19, 2017, 5:02 pm
So many great comments. As some said this applies to all religions and that is why I would never join or believe any of them for sure as a woman and happy I live in a country where I can do this with freedom as a woman. This is not possible in any country where some type of religion rules the law and why I believe so strongly in separation of religion and state.

Margie FOURIE (148)
Sunday February 19, 2017, 8:31 pm
Thanks again

Margie FOURIE (148)
Tuesday February 21, 2017, 12:02 am

Nang Hai C (0)
Tuesday February 21, 2017, 3:49 am
Thanks for sharing

Raleighaway k (359)
Friday February 24, 2017, 3:34 am
noted shared - very interesting

Aldana W (23)
Sunday February 26, 2017, 9:40 pm
noted . Interesting video. Can anyone tell me why they didn't use a chamber pot like the Europeans and Americans, and probably the Australians. They could always dump it in daylight. Why didn't they have out -houses? I firmly believe in the separation of church and state and take a dim view of Muslim control of women.

Eleonora Oldani (37)
Saturday March 11, 2017, 12:32 am
Great posting, thank you Evelyn!! Haven't been on Care2 for some 2 months as the page is a mess and - with the exception as today - all is scrambled ... very much like eggs!

As always you're spot on with your postings and comments too - especially in pointing out some misconceived facts. Some people just can't admit that it is

a) culture and tradition more so than religion and

b) - and more important - that women abuse is unfortunately evenly distributed across the globe, societies and religions. E.g. in the US some 92% of 911-calls are because of domestic violence. Which tells us what? That it must be Islam only ... LOL!!


Eleonora Oldani (37)
Saturday March 11, 2017, 12:32 am
Walter - you say "...can you name another religion that whips women for immodest dress ..." I highly recommend you check out the Jewish "Modesty Patrol" as well as the Haredim community in Israel and elsewhere. You'd be in for an unpleasant surprise if you'd bother to check ... and wouldn't make your bias statements anymore.

Eleonora Oldani (37)
Saturday March 11, 2017, 1:26 am
A special one for Walter:

Key Statistics of Violence against Women in Australia

89 women were killed by their current or former partner between 2008-10. This equates to nearly one woman every week.

Rates of violence against women and men since the age of 15:

1 in 5 Australian women had experienced sexual violence
1 in 6 Australian women had experienced physical or sexual violence from a current or former partner
1 in 4 Australian women had experienced emotional abuse by a current or former partner
1 in 3 Australian women had experienced physical violence

1 in 22 Australian men had experienced sexual violence
1 in 19 Australian men had experienced physical or sexual violence from a current or former partner
1 in 7 Australian men had experienced emotional abuse by a current or former partner
1 in 2 Australian men had experienced physical violence

It is more likely for a person to experience violence from a male rather than a female perpetrator. Over 3 times as many people experienced violence from a male.

And here are some more info about Australia

But ... it seems women are catching up! Let there be no mistake: the stats worldwide show a similar picture for every country ... irrespective of the predominant religion or non-religion.

Which tells us what? It must be Islam only ...


Eleonora Oldani (37)
Saturday March 11, 2017, 1:29 am
Walter - you may also check this out Domestic Violence Facts [Worldwide]:

Facts about Domestic Violence Around the World

(Copyright WCC/Peter Williams)

- Worldwide, 40-70% of all female murder victims are killed by an intimate partner.

- In no country in the world are women safe from this type of violence. Out of ten counties surveyed in a 2005 study by the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 50 percent of women in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Peru and Tanzania reported having been subjected to physical or sexual violence by intimate partners, with figures reaching staggering 71 percent in rural Ethiopia. Only in one country (Japan) did less than 20 percent of women report incidents of domestic violence. An earlier WHO study puts the number of women physically abused by their partners or ex-partners at 30 percent in the United Kingdom, and 22 percent in the United States.

- The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that the costs of intimate partner violence in the United States alone exceed US$5.8 billion per year: US$4.1 billion are for direct medical and health care services, while productivity losses account for nearly US$1.8 billion.

- In 2006, 89 countries had some form of legislative prohibition on domestic violence, including 60 countries with specific domestic violence laws, and a growing number of countries had instituted national plans of action to end violence against women. In 2003, only 45 countries had specific laws on domestic violence.

- Around the world at least one woman in every three has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime. Most often the abuser is a member of her own family.

- In all, women are victims of intimate partner violence at a rate about 5 times that of males.

- In the US, domestic violence is most prominent among women aged 16 to 24.

- In the US, poorer women experience significantly more domestic violence than higher income women.
(Sources: UNIFEM, Amnesty USA,,

But yes, it only happens in Muslim communities ...

Eleonora Oldani (37)
Saturday March 11, 2017, 1:53 am
I just can't let go of this one:

… researchers from the World Health Organization found that rates of partner violence ranged from a low of 15 percent in Yokohama, Japan, to a high of 71 percent in rural Ethiopia.

Nota Bene: Ethiopia with the highest rate of 71 percent is a predominantly ... Christian Orthodox ... country!

Eleonora Oldani (37)
Saturday March 11, 2017, 1:54 am
I hope this last posting goes through – had to re-load the page umpteen times until I had all the boxes in place :-( …

The UN has this to say after more than 20 years have passed since promising to end violence against women. They declared in 1993 (!!) that it is a pandemic … yet … more than 20 years later, 1 in 3 women still experiences physical or sexual violence, mostly by an intimate partner!!

Various forms of violence It is estimated that 35 per cent of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or sexual violence by a non-partner at some point in their lives. However, some national studies show that up to 70 per cent of women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime [1].

Women who have been physically or sexually abused by their partners are more than twice as likely to have an abortion, almost twice as likely to experience depression, and in some regions, 1.5 times more likely to acquire HIV, as compared to women who have not experienced partner violence [2].

Although little data is available—and great variation in how psychological violence is measured across countries and cultures—existing evidence shows high prevalence rates. Forty-three per cent of women in the 28 European Union Member States have experienced some form of psychological violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime [3].

It is estimated that of all women who were the victims of homicide globally in 2012, almost half were killed by intimate partners or family members, compared to less than six per cent of men killed in the same year [4].

In 2012, a study conducted in New Delhi found that 92 per cent of women reported having experienced some form of sexual violence in public spaces in their lifetime, and 88 per cent of women reported having experienced some form of verbal sexual harassment (including unwelcome comments of a sexual nature, whistling, leering or making obscene gestures) in their lifetime [5].

Worldwide, more than 700 million women alive today were married as children (below 18 years of age). Of those women, more than 1 in 3—or some 250 million—were married before 15. Child brides are often unable to effectively negotiate safe sex, leaving them vulnerable to early pregnancy as well as sexually transmitted infections, including HIV [6].

Around 120 million girls worldwide (slightly more than 1 in 10) have experienced forced intercourse or other forced sexual acts at some point in their lives. By far the most common perpetrators of sexual violence against girls are current or former husbands, partners or boyfriends [7].

At least 200 million women and girls alive today have undergone female genital mutilation/cutting in 30 countries, according to new estimates published on the United Nations’ International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation in 2016. In most of these countries, the majority of girls were cut before age 5. [8].

Adult women account for almost half of all human trafficking victims detected globally. Women and girls together account for about 70 per cent, with girls representing two out of every three child trafficking victims [9].

One in 10 women in the European Union report having experienced cyber-harassment since the age of 15 (including having received unwanted, offensive sexually explicit emails or SMS messages, or offensive, inappropriate advances on social networking sites). The risk is highest among young women between 18 and 29 years of age [10].

An estimated 246 million girls and boys experience school-related violence every year and one in four girls say that they never feel comfortable using school latrines, according to a survey on youth conducted across four regions. The extent and forms of school-related violence that girls and boys experience differ, but evidence suggests that girls are at greater risk of sexual violence, harassment and exploitation. In addition to the resulting adverse psychological, sexual and reproductive health consequences, school-related gender-based violence is a major obstacle to universal schooling and the right to education for girls [11].

fly bird (26)
Saturday March 11, 2017, 10:50 am
all posts went through. Thank you, Eleonora.

Interesting and very relevant information, on point, too.

Excellent. Thank you

Evelyn B (63)
Saturday March 11, 2017, 12:16 pm
Eleonora - good to see you back - and as always, adding sound facts to the discussion! ****************

Walter has a blind sport when it comes to the very similar culturally-based traditions in conservative Jewish & conservative Muslim communities! He thinks the practices are an exception to the rule for Jewish communities (if not outright inventions by anti-Semitic groups) ... but more "the rule" among Muslims. Whereas in reality the extremes he cites are practiced by small, very conservative/ extremist sub groups in both cases ...

And the proportion of cases of violence against women is no greater within Muslim communities than within non-Muslim ... despite the fact that religious-based family laws in some parts of the world - e.g. the Middle East - DO tend to leave loopholes for "legal" VAW. BUT - please note - the SAME loopholes apply in Christian and Jewish Family Laws as well as in Muslim Family Laws in these countries!! Viz Lebanon and Egypt ... There are amendments being made to these laws, but it is a slow process as all three religious groups (and the sub-groups - which have specific Family Laws) have male leadership that resists changes.

Eleonora Oldani (37)
Saturday March 11, 2017, 2:43 pm
Thanks Evelyn - I was myself surprised that for once Care2 site was almost normal ;-). I even could access my inbox for a change and when I saw your posting and read some of the comments I couldn't resist the temptation - LOL.

Walter's blind spot is unfortunately in today's time not uncommon. It's rather the norm that everything Islam is singled out in a negative way and the very same in other religions - rather cultures and traditions - is swept under the rug as it doesn't fit the popular narrative!

Your last paragraph puts it in a nutshell - but this is not to be said as it goes against all propaganda. What always amazes me though are the outcries by "Western" NGO's and governments when rapists in some Islamic countries get the death penalty for their heinous crime! Isn't it ridiculous?! The case in the US (approx. one year or so ago) when a rapist got a 1 day jail sentence - yes, one day!! - didn't make any waves; raping a women seems to be more of a "chevalier's crime" in some modern countries ...

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