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To Hijab or not to hijab

Reader comment on item: Hijabs on Western Public Women

Submitted by Brenda Franks (Australia), Mar 23, 2008 at 21:27

Dear Daniel Pipes

I so admire your articles and features and agree with 100% of what you say. I am a Jewish woman originally from London UK living on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia and I work as a volunteer tutor in one of the technical colleges we have here helping newcomers with their English.

There seem to be quite a large influx of Muslims (primarily refugees) who have recently arrived from Afghanistan, the Sudan and Iraq and some of them wear no head covering, some the hijab only and some are completely covered up with just their eyes showing.

I simply do not know what to think. One minute I relate their dress as comparitive to Orthodox Jewish women (including members of my own family in New York) who wear wigs and head coverings and can accept it completely. Then I swing away from that and feel that perhaps it is a "political statement" and not necessary - at least not the completely covered up ladies and I think they are overdoing it..

I feel perhaps that the wearing of hijabs or headscarves by those women of whom you sent out photos was a sign of respect for their hosts. It seems to me that Muslims appear to have an extreme inferiority complex and they need constant public displays of this - even my own beloved Queen Elizabeth covers up with she visits Saudi Arabia.

I am not quite sure what you honestly think these women should have done? Should they just dress conservatively and perhaps wear a European hat? Or by wearing a hijab, are they respecting the sensitivities of their hosts or bending down too far to the will of Allah?

And how should I feel about the girls at the college where I go? Do I smile at them and let them feel at home? Or do I scowl at them in disapproval? I want them to feel welcome and to be comfortable here but .............................. Then I see marvellous photographs of young Ethiopian girls who arrived in Israel a few years ago all bundled up in bed sheets now wearing modern dress with their heads uncovered. Is that the way these Muslims should try to go?

It is a conundrum for sure with no easy answers.

Submitting....

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Daniel Pipes replies:

"I feel perhaps that the wearing of hijabs or headscarves by those women of whom you sent out photos was a sign of respect for their hosts."

Please see my reply at http://www.danielpipes.org/blog/833#reply.

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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