The Veil


07_10_2006_1842Growing up I came into contact with plenty of Muslim women. My church served the large refugee community in my hometown who came flooding in from the Iraq/Afghan conflicts. But the veil was not something that was ever spoken about. Some of the women I met wore the Hijab, and some did not. I could never ask them why they did or didn’t veil, because their scarves were off-limits for conversation. It was a taboo subject at my church, in my community, and even in my own home.

When I was a little older I had the courage to ask my mom what I thought was the simple question of why the veil exists. All she would say about it was “It’s part of their religion” and “Those poor girls”.

dX-7h4A2tDcTPCgddOJQ1BtTYk57G-hQwAkoURmGB4zHH_CnHGaBZGb7mvDiL8RzOklMNYBAMrtmgA68qwHiiAIt wasn’t until I came to SPU that I was allowed to explore and discuss the Hijab and why Islamic women wear it. I learned that it was originally meant to be a symbol of a woman’s dedication to her religion. I learned that when Islamic women are given the choice to veil or not veil, some will choose to veil as a sign of their religion, and some feel just as religious and justified in following the Quaran without veiling. I learned that throughout history, some women protest their freedom and faith by not veiling when veiling is the law, and some women protest their freedom and faith by putting on the veil when not veiling is the law.

None of this is what American media will tell you about the Hijab.

o-SAUDI-ARABIA-DOMESTIC-ABUSE-ADVERT-570To the left is one of an image that Westerns would use to claim all women who wear the Hijab are poor, oppressed people who would automatically choose to drop it if given the chance.

When really, it’s an ad from Saudi Arabia supporting newly passed laws against domestic violence.

I’ve spent my whole life looking at the veil through the veil of Western perspective. But now I’m learning how to take off my own veil and see theirs properly for the first time. I am still learning about the Hijab, what it means, and why women choose to veil or not. But what I know now that I didn’t before is that the veil is not a sign of oppression, or the patriarchy; it is a sign of faith.

And that is something I can get behind and support.

tumblr_m40pkwwBt61r6xpo1o4_1280Hijab babies


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