Hi­jab is a sym­bol of Is­lam, not a threat

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD - Naazneen Mo­tala

MUS­LIM women, like all peo­ple in South Africa, have the right to prac­tise their re­li­gion. They also have the right to be treated equally and the right not to be dis­crim­i­nated against or ha­rassed be­cause of their re­li­gion.

It is not only Is­lam that re­quires its fol­low­ers to be mod­est with their cloth­ing, but other re­li­gions and prac­tices as well. For ex­am­ple, in the Catholic Church, the Vir­gin Mary was rarely seen in paint­ings without wear­ing a veil.

A fa­mous quote by Roberto Ma­roni, the Ital­ian prime min­is­ter, said: “If the Vir­gin Mary ap­pears wear­ing a veil on all her pic­tures, how can you ask me to sign on a hi­jab ban law?”

This state­ment re­veals that, ac­cord­ing to Ma­roni, Is­lam and Christianity are sim­i­lar and should both be re­spected. Or­tho­dox Jewish women of­ten cover their heads when do­ing the bless­ing over the Sab­bath meal and pos­si­bly in the Tem­ple or syn­a­gogue be­cause mod­esty is the pri­mary rea­son, in ad­di­tion to pro­claim­ing their loy­alty to Ju­daism, as Mus­lim women do to show they be­long to Is­lam.

A Sikh man would be re­quired to wear a tur­ban which is seen as a gift from God, as would an Or­tho­dox Jewish man be re­quired to wear a kip­pah.

There­fore, on the sub­ject of Mus­lim women dress­ing how they wish, some would ask why shouldn’t they be able to, as there are many other re­li­gions and cul­tures that in­cor­po­rate the same thing.

We live in a mul­ti­cul­tural so­ci­ety where it is nor­mal to see a woman wear­ing the head­scarf in the street. How does that af­fect any­body and how can a piece of cloth­ing be a threat to so­ci­ety?

Re­li­gions like Ju­daism also en­join Jewish women to be mod­est with their cloth­ing, there­fore Is­lam should not be scru­ti­nised for putting the hi­jab into prac­tice.

There are many mis­con­cep­tions on Is­lam, such asit be­ing linked to ter­ror­ism and the con­tro­versy of the veil; how­ever, each cul­ture, tra­di­tion and re­li­gion should be re­spected and treated equally.

Some peo­ple grow ac­cus­tomed to the me­dia cre­at­ing stereo­types of Mus­lims and their brains au­to­mat­i­cally reg­is­ter what­ever in­for­ma­tion they hear or read as “cor­rect”.

Not all Mus­lims are ex­trem­ists and not all Mus­lims think alike.

The hi­jab is merely a sym­bol of Is­lam, and Is­lam is a re­li­gion of peace.

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Sher­wood, Dur­ban

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