Hijab is a symbol of Islam, not a threat
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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