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Some Interesting Dots Which Need to be Connected

Reader comment on item: Female Desire and Islamic Trauma

Submitted by Chris Chrisman (United States), Dec 24, 2003 at 09:37

Dear Mr. Pipes,

I recently stumbled across some facts while researching the history of the controversy behind the Islamist headscarves in France. These facts are closely inter-related, and hopefully you can connect them in your poignant style.

The headscarf was "invented" in the early 1970's by Mussa Sadr, and Iranian mullah who was leader of the Lebanese Shi'ite community. He urged women to wear these scarves to ward off sexual harassment and rape by Yasser Arafat's Palestinian gunmen who at the time controlled southern Lebanon. Later, these scarves were used as a symbol of opposition to the Shah's regime in Iran. In 1982 a law was passed in the new Iranian Republic making the scarves mandatory because "scientific research had shown that women's hair emitted rays that drove men insane." Now the scarves are seen on Moslem women all around the world, even though there is no precedent for them in history and there is no requirement for them in the Koran. (The Koran talks about women covering their bosoms and protecting their modesty only.) The fact that several colors of scarves have been authorized points to the political content of this fashion item. Mussa Sadr said he copied the scarves after those worn by [French] nuns. France is in the process of drafting legislation to ban the scarves along with other large sized religious symbols worn by people of different religions. Meanwhile, Mussa Sadr disappeared in 1978 while on a trip to Libya. Libya and Lebanon are still at odds. It would be interesting to know what the newly reformed Moamer Ghaddafi knows about Mussa Sadr and where Sadr is today.
Submitting....

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