Letter: My hijab is a form of worship, not oppression

October 7, 2013 7:58 am Comments Off on Letter: My hijab is a form of worship, not oppression Views: 1770

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I find it amusing how critics of hijab are always saying that it is a symbol of oppression and misogyny. I also find it amusing how those same critics want to “save” or “free” me from said oppression and misogyny, by defining what MY freedom should be.

I am told to take off my hijab if I want a job, an education. Essentially, if I want to be a contributing member of society, I must take off my hijab; if not, I must live a life of isolation, not contributing to society, not adding to it, forever living like a shadow in the confines of my own home.

Is that not oppression?

“We are freeing you,” they say “We are saving you!” they say, “Take off your hijab,” they say, “and we will give you all the freedoms you desire.”

What they are really saying is, “take off the hijab, it makes us uncomfortable.”

“We dislike what (we think) your faith is and the fact that you choose to practise it angers us.”

But, I ask, who are you saving me from? Whom are you freeing me from?

Twelve years ago I chose to wear hijab; just another form of worship. Please do not hijack my worship by calling it a “symbol” and placing your misinformed, uneducated meanings onto it. I am not being ostentatious in my faith, I’m merely practicing it. If you do not want to, you do not have to, that’s called choice. You can feel angry when seeing me in hijab, you can feel uncomfortable, you can even feel annoyed — that’s your choice — but you cannot take away my choice to wear my hijab, because you feel bothered by it.

Telling me, a woman, how to dress. Blocking me, a woman, from a fair chance at a job, from an education — that’s not misogyny?

No, it’s not misogyny when it comes to Muslim women, right?

I’ve been wearing hijab for the past 12 years, I travel around the world, perform my poetry (my thoughts, ideas, feelings) publicly, work with people from all faiths and backgrounds. I am educated. I wear hijab. But supposedly, I’m oppressed.

I wear hijab and it’s not a big deal. What is a big deal is the fact that people, Muslims and non-Muslims alike, try to force us into making decisions we do not want to make, taking away our freedoms and freedom of choice. Whether someone is forcing you to wear hijab or forcing you to take it off, they are essentially doing the same thing. They are taking away your freedom!

As a Muslim woman — as a woman — I am fed up with people, men and women, telling me how to act, telling me how to look.

Thank you, but no thank you, Quebec. I do not need a saviour, I’m doing great on my own! What I do need is to save myself from you!

Sofia Baig

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