The Islamic revival symbolized by the current resurgence of the hijab is often considered as an attempt of Arab Muslims to restore their pride and identity which have been repeatedly undermined by colonization and economic retardation. Man has always had a conservative tendency and reacts against which is new and unfamiliar without realizing whether it is good or bad for him. Some people still think the Muslim women insist on wearing hijab which is the “very symbol of the oppressed situation because they are enslaved by the tradition and are not sufficiently aware of their lamentable situation. “If only”, they probably think, “the movement of the women’s liberation and independence awakes those women’s mind, they will take away the hijab.”
Having been on both sides of the veil, I can tell you that Western male politicians and journalists have no idea what they are talking about when they blame Islam for child brides, female circumcision, honor killings and forced marriages. A careful reading of the Qur’an shows that just about everything Western feminists fought for in the 1970s was available 1,400 years ago to Muslim women, who are considered equal to men in spirituality, education and worth. When Islam offers women so much, why are Western men so obsessed with Muslim women’s attire? Even British government ministers Gordon Brown and John Reid have made disparaging remarks about the niqab, and they hail from Scotland, where men wear skirts.
The following is a documentary produced by a group of students Multimedia University Cyberjaya, Malaysia, featuring opinions from various Muslim women about how they feel about the hijab (or the tudung as it is known in Malay) and streamed from YouTube. It portrays a very good side of Islam that is rarely shown to a Western audience. We feel that this documentary does a good job of dispelling the misconception that Muslim women are “oppressed” when the donn the hijab.
Most of the conversation was done in Bahasa Melayu, but it is subtitled in English.
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