Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Voice Behind the Veil...

The essay in this post was reprinted from E Islam, a website that strives "to provide general motivational and spiritually enriching articles about Islam and Muslims in general." The author of the article, Khadijah Natalie Arbee, explains her reason for writing about the discourse regarding Muslim women's clothing which has been the topic of discussion for a while now: "In light of the recent bans being pushed by France, Syria, etc., I felt a strong need, as a one of the women being targeted, to speak up. Below is an article that I have compiled, and I pray to Allah Ta’ala that He use it anywhere, and anyhow to enlighten whomever He wills."


By Khadijah Natalie Arbee

Photo Credit: Daily am a Muslim woman.
I wear the niqaab (face veil).

I'm one of those to whom the new law in France would apply.
I'm one of the ones being discussed by politicians, human rights groups and the media.
I'm one of those whom many feel the need to liberate.
I'm one of those you may think is oppressed.
I'm one of those many of you detest the sight of…
I'm one of those whom you may believe is uneducated; one of the ones you may think has no voice.

But I do. So let me speak.

I am not Arab, Asian or even African. I am Australian. No, not 'first generation', 'second generation', or an immigrant. On my mother's side, I'm of French-Canadian descent, and on my father's side; British. I grew up as a Christian, and attended church occasionally. I was in the school swim team, and district netball team. I holidayed with my family in the summer on the Gold Coast, and I'm educated. I have a university degree.

When I was 18 years of age I was introduced to Islam. I studied it, and accepted it a year and a half later. By the time I reached 20, I was wearing the headscarf, and after I married I donned the niqaab.

Because of my husband? No.
My husband did not want me to wear it, although his mother and sister do, and out of respect for his wishes I didn't do so for two years. But I wanted to, and eventually did, and knowing it to be in line with our religion, my husband knew he had no authority to prevent me, and he now greatly admires my strength.

Then, I wore it because of my father? No. He's a catholic.
Because of my brother? Nope, haven't got one.
My uncle? He's an atheist.
Then because of my son? My eldest is only 8 years old. Then why??
Because I want to, that's why.

And seeing as though my niqaab does not hurt anyone, that should be sufficient reason for all of you liberals of a liberal society; I should be able to finish my discussion right here. But although it may be so for any other style of dress, it isn't enough when it comes to niqaab for some reason. You want more. So I will continue.

What makes me want to then? Two things: Faith and experience.

Faith? Yeah, faith. Faith in my Creator, faith in His decisions, faith in Islam. A deep faith. Many wonder at the faith of Muslims, at their conviction and their commitment. It's a faith, that if you are not Muslim, is hard to explain or describe. The scripture of Islam, the Qur'an has scientific miracles in it, such that have captivated scientists globally, leading many to accept Islam. Moreover, the Qur'an has not been changed in over a thousand years, since it was revealed; not one letter moved from its place. I dare say there isn't a religious scripture like it, and this lends a clue as to the root of such faith.

Photo Credit: Ijtihad.orgIn the Qur'an, Allah Ta'ala tells us to cover ourselves, 'so as to be known, but not molested.' So our covering is a protection; a liberation.

Protection, you ask? Liberation? From what?

This is where I move on to my second reason for veiling. Like I said, I grew up in a Western secular society, in true Western secular style. I dressed secular, lived secular, and enjoyed all the 'liberties' of such a society. Did I feel liberated, free? Suffice to say, we were taught we were, so I never thought to think otherwise. It wasn't until I became Muslim, and started covering, that I really felt liberated, and realised, before that I wasn't.

Yet, time and time again we hear it said that we Muslim women are forced to veil, are oppressed; treated by our men folk as nothing more than 'objects.' And that niqaab, burqa, hijab; whatever term you use, is a form of 'imprisonment.'

But what about the imprisonment of anxiety and depression?
What about the imprisonment of anorexia and bulimia?
What about the imprisonment of frequent rigorous exercise routines?
What about the imprisonment of always feeling the need to look like the super-model on the cover of Cosmo, or the pop-singer in the music video?
What about the slavery to fashion?
What about the entrapment of jealousy??

How many women waste their hard-earned money, destroy their physical and mental health, expose their bodies to vulnerability, abuse and extortion in order to…… in order to what??

In order to gain approval and praise. Who's approval and praise? Men's.

And yes, it seems even other women too. So it seems non-Muslim women are not only slaves to men, but slaves to society as a whole.

Before you scream your disagreement, which many of you may do as a knee-jerk reaction to being told you're also oppressed, stop and think. Look around you, contemplate society today, and its values, its aspirations, its goals, its direction, its past times, its hobbies….

What good has it done for women to doff more and more clothing?
What good has it done for images of uncovered made-up women to be plastered on every billboard and magazine, on the TV, in the movies, and on the net?
Has it really brought any good for women?

The women in the images may aptly feel good about themselves for a while, but what does it mean for every other woman?

Women who look upon these images usually become anxious, jealous, unsure and critical of themselves, or all of these things. Many men who view them will become aroused, or even unhappy, less satisfied with the partners they already have. What can, and does this lead to?

Cheating, dumping, chastisement, and even harassment of other women, and even children by, men who cannot find a legitimate outlet for their constant arousal. And yes, I can hear some of you: 'then the men must control themselves!' Frankly speaking that argument is well spent, not to mention futile, as most men are, inherently, only able to react to that, the same way a hungry lion would react if thrown a juicy piece of steak, and told not to eat it….

Do the uncovered women captured in these images and industries, or parading around, realise or even care how many young girls are starving, purging and stressing themselves trying to mirror their image? No.

It seems they even take perverse pleasure in it. One barely-dressed singer even boldly and crudely sung recently, 'Don't you wish your girlfriend was hot like me?'

What?! What is this woman and her ilk saying?? What are they implying?? What are they doing to their sisters in humanity??!

Photo Credit: ReutersSo many poor girls, eroding themselves physically and mentally as they watch with jealousy and anxiety their partners ogle singers like this. Have the same thing occur to these women, these 'idols.' Have their partners swoon over another similarly attired, and witness their reaction! And when their daughters are molested by men they themselves, or women like them, have aroused, will they reflect?
Will they act? Will society act?
Yeah, we see it reacting: Ban the burqa!

It just amazes me how many women especially, despise my choice of dress. Yet, would they rather their husband's secretary to be dressed like me or otherwise?
Would they rather the waitress serving the table at their anniversary dinner, be dressed like me or otherwise?
Is it me and my sisters who are turning their husband's head, or attracting their boyfriends??
Is it me and my sisters who have led their daughters to anorexia, or their sons to pornography?
Is it me and my sisters whose bodies and faces solicit their husband's/boyfriend's attention on every corner? Is it me and my sisters who have aroused that man to rape or harass their sisters?

Whose mode of 'dress' is truly oppressive and harmful to women??

So now I've spoken, and although I am one, I speak on behalf of hundreds. I've explained to you that the majority of us have chosen this mode of dress, especially in the West. I have told you that we love it, we want it, and I've exemplified for you the inherent good in it.

So to those of you who really are so concerned about 'liberating' me, then you will listen to what I have said, and let me and my sisters be.

Posted by E ISLAM at 12:23am Thursday, September 16, 2010.


  1. I think this was an interesting article to read. A different point of view. I believe that everybody should dress however they want.

    It seems to me like this lady is talking about tolerance and asks other people to understand her veiling herself. However, in the same article she condemns girls who dress less modestly as the reason for men raping other women and children. Where is the tolerance in that argument? And why does she place all responsibility on other women as opposed to the men who are the offenders? Just because they are weak? I think it is offensive to men to give them so little credit for being able to conrol themselves. They are not animals after all.

    1. By nature men have a magnetism to the member of the opposite sex. When a women dresses in a manner that is provocative, it can often lead to some men's desire to overwhelm them. Does this give the man the right to take ill actions (rape...)? No. Islam teaches the modesty in clothing as a precaution because unfortunately men who do not have limits do exist and always have existed. It is for this reason the wearing of the niqab was prescribed; it is a protest against the sexualisation of women, when a person's exterior appearance is hidden from the eyes, one has no other means of judging other then through the personality. I believe this is the point that this sister in faith is making. It is for this reason that men in Islam are taught not to overcome this physical attraction (it is impossible), but rather to limit it. This self restraint is taught through limiting how the eye wanders, Islam encourages that a man should not gaze upon a women who is not lawful for him as it becomes the adultery of the eyes. There is great wisdom behind this as what starts of with a gaze may end with the private parts...

    2. What a load of horse crap. Men will lust after a bag if they think there is a woman under it. What this type of dress wear causes is men to be lustful even over an ankle or a black image. Next it screams that women are sexualized in the worst way by stating she is a walking vagina or sex object and must bare the brunt and hardship due to men thus creating men to be the predator not the protector. This type of dresswear does nothing nothing to limit a man's wandering eyes or his lustful thoughts only a man can do that except Islam and society ensure he gets the easy way out by putting the blame and the burden on women and not men then allowing women to become the escape goat. Not to even mention the numerous psychological damaging aspect it creates and the harassment to put women in their place though intimidation and hostility.

      Now as far as a great wisdom bull crap again. Modesty is a tool and a word used to control women and always has been. Modesty is a four letter word which is abusive to at least 50 percent of the population and creates predators on the other side of the population.

      Next more women are harassed in conservative countries in public for dress than in non-conservative countries. I find it odd that men and women can go to nude beaches and there is no problem. However women can't even allow her hair out in parts of the middle east without women being harassed. Thus it has created an enviroment of fear, hostility and violence which oppressions your wives, sisters, mothers and daughters because their dresswear defines them not who or what they are but what they wear. In fact girls have been burned alive in a school for not having their dresswear on which shows you just how this control aspect can go terrible wrong. It has been stated that a society that hides it people are the worst of humanity to humanity. In conservative particular religious countries this is shown time and time again to include Islam, Judiaism and Christianity. It is about control and subjugation and nothing more.

      Example after example of how men treat women in cultures like this shows and proves my point and time and time again they are the ones who have the highest hits on pornography and highest street harassment rates and hidden violences against women. It is an enviroment that is not free or open or transparent but hidden, dark, closed and brutal particular for the weaker or outsider.

      Your society and the way it practices Islam has created men predators NOT protectors. Men in saudi have been render an lustful violent dog nothing more. It has infact debased women and de-evolved men to a even less than a instinctual beast.

      Women are human and they are the sum of more than what they wear.

      Men are capable of controlling themselves and are thinking individuals.

      Your system debases and diminishes both it makes both into something vile.

    3. So your argument is muslim men are rapists and treat women badly? Educate yourself friend. My husband is muslim go was raised in North Africa and treats me like a queen. Every culture/race/religion has their good people and their bad. Underdeveloped countries often oppress their women, regardless of religion. Many Christian ad catholic counties that are 3rd world treat their women just as bad.

  2. There is a lot to be said about how women are objectified in the West. Still why doesn't this women simply adopt a mode of dress that is modest without adopting a mode that say that every other women is something close to being a harlot?

    The black cloak and face covering are an odd affection in the West. Most Catholic sisters who are not cloister have adopted a more practical mode of dress. One cannot drive with the face covering on. You cannot eat with the face covering on (assuming on does eat outside of the home). One can also adopt the dress similar to the Amish in the US. Hardly immodest but the face is visible and it allows more freedom of movement.

    What kind of example does this woman think she will set? She is not just accepting Islam but showing that she doesn't seem to know how to find a Western solution that will be equally moral without saying Islam is Foreign.

  3. I don't agree with Khadijah at all. Just like the one before me said, I think the author discredits men. Men can control themselves, and if they can't that's not something women should be responsible for. I shouldn't have to cover myself to evade being raped, neither should I have to feel anxious that my man will leave me just because some other woman looks better than me.
    And when it comes to feeling a need to look good at all times, then I think that's not something that should be solved with donning a niqab or a burka. What good does it do to cover yourself up just because you feel insecure? That's what many women do today, but they use make-up instead. I think people should try to work on getting rid of that feeling of insecurity instead, so they can feel confident without make-up and without covering themselves. Feel confident just being who they are, looking the way they originally look. But I do agree with the author that it's hard to feel good about oneself when there are supermodels posing in every magazine. But still, that's not reason enough to put on a niqab. At least not for me, I'd rather work on feeling good about myself instead.

    I'm sorry about my English by the way. I'm not a native speaker.

  4. Cultural norms are driven deep into one’s psyche. In Islam, it’s a way a life for a Muslim. Islam includes all aspects of their life. Muslim’s embrace their religion. Who am I to say, shouldn’t you dress this way or that way? Who am I to say, why do you pray five times a day, or don’t eat pork? Who am I to say, why don’t you date before marriage? Who am I to say, why do you prepare the body by washing your loved ones after death and burying them quickly?
    I’m a southerner from the state of Tennessee.
    Americans, sorry for the generalization here, “tend to live in our small bubbles of reality here in the states.” When we open ourselves to knowledge of other cultures and social norms, it expounds our thinking.
    I grew up with Amish communities nearby. My Mother, bless her soul, taught me to be opened minded and enriched me with allowing me to experience new cultures beginning with the Amish. She was a free thinker, but a devout Sister in Christ. We bought bread and pies from the Amish women. I longed to be invited into their homes and see how they lived. Amish lived so different than I did. Were they happy, did they want electricity and running water in their houses? I wanted to play with their children. They weren’t overtly friendly; it wasn’t because of why I thought though? I simply, was not one of them. I would never be an Amish. Still to this day, I long to see what makes them so happy and content with their religious choice and their chosen lifestyle?

    In many ways, when I see a woman with a niqaab I want to know more about her life? I am very interested in the choices people make and why? The selfish side of me wants to have a conversation with her and befriend her. The reality how harsh it is. I won’t be allowed to know her likes and dislikes. I’m not Muslim. I would entreat Muslim women to opening up to women of other faiths. We just want to know you.

  5. Hi Susie of Arabia (great name) i saw your blog of the month interview on the expat network so i thoght i'd check out your blog, you are so brave, and i hope you resnt an over-priced sports car convertible every time you go back to the US to visit :P

    this article-I agree with Jerry and Anna, yes i suppose that because it isn't me and the women who wear these aren't hurting anyone i shouldn't have a say, but still, i find the covers slightly frightening. She talks about how its in the Qu'ran to wear these, but who wrote the book? not a woman that's for sure. The same thing goes with the Bible, women didn't write that either. She is going along with a man-plan just as she accuses western women of doing for trying to immitate product beauty. Black is a damn hot color, i have never been to the middle east but i live in brazil, and if i had to wear that i don't know how i would cope. I support the laws passed in France.covering your entire face is just sad to me. it gives women no other identy aside from WOMAN. that's it. nothing else unless she is in her home. i don;t see how that has to do with this woman's faith. i feel bad for her, even though she chooses. and i feel bad for all the women who don't have a choice as well.

  6. I don't care what she does inside her house. On the street I want to see a face, not a covered face.

  7. Firt of all I think you blog is great, I may not agree with you on many matters but I still think it's great.
    I respect the fact that some women want to wear the niqaab especially when they are educated and liberated as the writer claims, The same way I respect the fact that women in Saudia Arabia MUST wear the burka and adhere to the rules and laws of the KSA, the same way I believe that those of us that live in a country that choses to ban or restrict the use of the burka and or the niqaab.
    Again I thank you for your blog it offers a great way of understanding. Thank you.

  8. I'm all for letting this woman and her sisters dress in a black long as Susie can dress how she see fit.

    'nuff said

    1. well this bag of modesty is a 100 times better than the bag of makeup and provocation that your sisters wear with their fake looks. And then they get raped. They are the real slaves to men like you and you would want them to be this way since you can enjoy their revealing body parts without their consent and nothing will stop you. It's the easy way to fulfill your lust.
      'nuff said

  9. I believe in choice. If one chooses to dress a certain way, that's fine; I'm no one to judge, but I shouldn't have to follow suite if that's not MY choice. I most certainly would not follow along if it's a man's choice for me. Choice is liberating!

  10. For this woman it is a choice. My problem is not that she chooses to wear it, but that there are women who have no choice and wear it because someone else says so.

    It is not the physical covering that bothers me, it is the submission that other women are forced into.

    I was raised in a very strict religion that has set in stone dress codes. I was made to feel dirty and sinful because I dared to bare my shoulders on a hot day. There was no choice for me growing up (in the western world) in how I was allowed to dress.

    I will be damned if I ever make my daughter feel like a bad person because of what she is, or isn't wearing.

  11. Hi, I've got a blog about the challenges of repatriation to the USA after years of being an expat, called Seen the Elephant. It links to yours. I've just now posted on the xenophobia that's flaring up in this country right now, particularly against Muslims. Though we haven't had the headscarf issues that France does, there is a lot of intolerance, as you've no doubt heard. I quote from Iranian-American novelist Porochista Khakpour's Sept 11 op-ed for the New York Times about how all of this had made her feel. She is not a Muslim as far as religion goes, but her extended family are Muslims, and she is Middle Eastern culturally. She says she has very mixed emotions when she sees women wearing burqa in Brooklyn: alarm, feminist irk, discomfiture, and finally protective rage if she sees teenagers laughing and pointing at them. I find her honesty on this topic very moving...maybe because she stands between the two cultures and can appreciate where each side is coming from.

  12. I've read a few of these accounts by women who choose to wear the niqaab. Everything up to and including the Faith part was fine with me. That was a personal choice argument, the rest seemed like an attack.

    I'd argue that the face covering violates the "as to be known" part of the Qur'an verse, but that's my opinion, the same way the idea of modesty differs between cultures and even people. I'd also disagree that protection = liberation. To me, total liberation of women is when we are no longer in need of protection based on our sex.

    In the second part of her article I feel this woman makes the same sort of broad assumptions "westerners" make about women wearing the niqaab. I am a women who wears western clothes and consumes western media and I am not anorexic, bulimic, subscribing to frequent rigorous exercise routines, always feeling the need to look like a super model, a slave to fashion or jealous. At least not to the point where it's a problem or detrimental to my self-esteem, I would have to be infallible to say I've never been affected by any of these things ever. But I think I'm in the majority when I say most women can adequately deal with these pressures of our society. Quite rightly these are problems that affect women in our culture to a serious degree, in the same way that women in conservative Muslim countries face issues related to their freedom (ie. mobility, making decisions on their own, marrying, working). These "Muslim" issues don't affect her in the same way her list of western problems don't inhibit me.

    The idea of one road to women's liberation is another idea I disagree with, and while she never says wearing a niqaab is the only way somehow I don't think she's very open to other roads. She feels liberated by something other women would feel very oppressed by, why couldn't the opposite be true? Is it so hard to believe there are women out there who feel powerful being able to use their looks to get their way? It's not something I personally advocate, but I don't want to get into other things western women can do that Muslim women sometimes cannot since this article is only talking about empowerment through self appearance.

    Anna and Anon have already commented about her belief in the lack of self control in men, and I agree with their comments. Again on the personal responsibility level why would it be the entertainer's burden to ensure young girls aren't starving themselves in order to mirror their image? Why is a woman who chooses to be uncovered responsible for how other women feel about her? Why is it the waitress' responsibility to not be attractive to her patrons? Why is it completely and totally a woman's responsibility not to attract men?

    As others have pointed out she is also very lucky to have a choice to wear her niqaab. This is not the case for women who live in countries where it is required by law. Regardless of whether they want to or not, they must. And I think, especially in those cases, whether they want to or not it's an expectation of men as well as women that they do.

    1. "To me, total liberation of women is when we are no longer in need of protection based on our sex."
      This will never happen, since that's how God has created us. You want to change the nature, well then best of luck doing that.
      Based on your views, i'm anxiously looking forward to the day when there won't be any segregated toilets in the west. Seems so sexist. Don't it?
      Also anxiously waiting for the day when there will be almost no news of rapes in the world, which somehow always happen to a female and not to a male (almost negligible), kidnapping of ladies from the clubs, then their raping and killing.

  13. Hello Susie and Khadijah (just in case you decide to read our responses to your post),

    I am also an Australian. I respect your decision to wear niqab. I also feel ashamed of the fear mongering about the niqab which is whipped up by some of our politicians and media, particularly at election time.

    I agree with many others who have left comments that a decision to wear a niqab / hijab or other religious dress is a very personal one and best left to an individual's discretion.

    The article is intriguing, however, as it makes a number of assumptions about the consequences of a dress code which obscures a person's body that may not reflect reality:

    (1)I would suggest that the vices of infidelity and jealousy exist in all cultures, including those where people predominantly cover. In fact, in such societies, it may be possible for people to disguise their identities while engaging in less than moral behaviour.

    Jealousy is a human instinct and while people may be governed by strict rules of segregation, individuals' capacity to covet will not be diminished simply by a cloak.

    (2)Those who are in a position to commit sex crimes are not normally deterred simply by the dress sense of a victim. Covering may convey the message to the outside world that a woman is devout and takes her faith seriously, however, generally those who commit sex crimes are driven by the desire to exert their power over another individual. Many offenders know their victim and unfortunately a number may even be related. Dress sense is unlikely to have much of a bearing in many cases. Sex offenders exist in all societies.

    In addition, I think it is absolutely unfair to expect women to somehow be responsible for the way men choose to conduct themselves. Both men and women have the responsibility and capacity to respect others and behave decently, irrespective of choice of dress code. Also, I don't agree that most men can't exercise impulse control, even if they are attracted to a woman. The capacity to be checked by our own conscience is what sets us apart from other animals.

    (3) I agree that, in Western societies, we are fed a daily diet of air-brushed, rake thin models on street corners, television, magazines and other media, which can affect our self esteem, especially impressionable young people. I'm sure this must contribute to the prevalence of eating disorders. It is quite a leap though to suggest that covering up may guard against anorexia, especially as covering up does not necessarily prevent a women having an objectified and unrealistic view of her own body and feeling compelled to compare the way she looks to other women, (given that she does not have to necessarily cover up in front of other women).

    (4) Covering up will not necessarily prevent a person feeling bad about themselves or becoming depressed, as many health, brain chemistry and environmental factors can cause depression.

    I do agree that to a certain extent, we are oppressed in Australian society, by consumerism and gluttony. I personally think though, that all of us, whether or not we choose to cover with niqab can find a balance and lead a meaningful life.

    All the best to you Khadija. Fortunately our society has laws designed to uphold our human rights, including to exercise our religious belief as you are doing. (In the state of Victoria, we have a human rights Charter and all states have laws designed to stop you being discriminated against on the basis of your religion). I hope that we (and especially our leaders) can live up to the promise of freedom and respect provided by these laws and that you can observe your religion with dignity.

    I will be sure to smile at the next niqab wearing woman I see, just in case it is you.



    1. "Those who are in a position to commit sex crimes are not normally deterred simply by the dress sense of a victim."

      The very reason why the west has the highest rate of rape as compared to Saudi Arabia which has one of the lowest in the world. I'm not saying it doesn't have. But at least it's very very very far from the rate at which it is in the US, where the females are considered to have the most freedom. This is what your freedom brought you.
      According to RAINN (Rape Abuse and Incest National Network):
      Every 2 minutes, another American is sexually assaulted.
      1 out of every 6 American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime
      9 of every 10 rape victims were female in 2003.
      According to the U.S. Department of Justice's National Crime Victimization Survey --there is an average of 237,868 victims (age 12 or older) of rape and sexual assault each year.

      if this is not enough then visit their website and find the horrifying reality of your modern, secular and "civilized" society.

      As the great King of Saudi Arabia, King Faisal (May Allah have mercy on him) said:
      "The west does not want the freedom of the women, it wants the freedom to get to the women".

  14. dear suzy, great blog i love it! im from montreal, quebec. we are facign here too a ban of burqa in public insitutions and governemnt buildings! i think it's only fair. by wearign a burqa, u are imposing your view of (radical) islam on everone else. burqa is NOT an islam thing (like hidjab is). it is not polite to impose this voice, this extremist views, this deny-of-womans-body view. i cover my hair when i go to church but covering up,in sucha way is INACCEptable in a modern society. only orthodox nuns cover up in such a way!religion is in the heart, not on the face!!!!! im not sayign "lets all dress sluty' far from it, but no way. if u get to see my face, i want to see yours. it is unfair that men get to dress however they want but women cant, i dotn care that they say its liberating, it'S not! why let an extremist vision be imposed by a small group of people in such a free society???

    1. Hi. I disagree with some of the points you've made. She said it was her choice. It is by her faith. It is her devotion to her Creator. Now, if she gets to see your face, you have allowed to let people see your face. It's her body and she can do whatever she wants with is. And no, she is not imposing her dress code on other people. She is not wearing a sign that says "All women should wear burqas." Why is it okay if an orthodox nun covers up but a Muslim woman can't? That is prejudice. It her in her freedom to dress like that. Now you're going to take her freedom away? Society always changes. What's the point in being a conformist? Why not make your own choices for once instead of following society? Let her be. Small group? My friend, Islam is the second biggest world religion...

  15. I wear burqa because my society forced me to.

    I hate Men's "dirty eyes" very much. So once upon a time I decided to wear that kind of abaya that looks like a huge black bag. I decided to wear it because I thought it's the ugliest type of abaya, that would make men escape from me. I started wearing it when I was 19. I thought it would protect me, and I would feel safe with it.

    So can you imagine me? a girl with a burqa and that ugly abaya?

    Anyway, don't expect it did the trick.

    Men's never stopped annoying me with their eyes. I've never thought a boy would come to me, with this abaya on, and ask me for my number to call me. But it happened. This is why I started to think it's always men's fault.

    I was a sincere muslim girl. No-one appreciated that.

    I love fashion, so that was like a sacrifice I made for the sake of being a real muslim. I'm 21 now and... back to sexy abayas! (lol, not sexy, but let's say fashionable). Those men made me doubt hijab too. Where is hijab protection those scholars are talking about? I don't see it.

    If you thought those ladies in media are not modest, I'd have to agree; they need some modesty. But we burqa wearers need some fresh air, moderation?

    And men here have to find a way to be able to think of us as humans, individuals, in some situations, not women.

    1. if this is what annoyed you just the mere glances of men in Saudi Arabia, then I don't know how are you going to survive in the US where every 2 minutes a female is sexually assaulted, not just stared. Nobody is saying that Saudi Arabia is perfect. No place is perfect.
      The issues you are citing have nothing to do with your abaya here. The media has influenced the youth to become lustful. And who makes them like this, the provocative females of the west that appear everywhere semi-nude, sometimes almost completely nude on the media. What effects this would put on a conservative society? So women are to be blamed here more to agree to the male-dominant world to sell their bodies and provocate men.

  16. My response is going to be in several parts as I exceed the character level for one post!

    I'm sorry but this girl has drank the koolaid. I have seen many converts at around age 18-20, spout the same rhetoric, almost verbatim. When she says she was raised Christian, sorry, attending church once in awhile does not a Christian make. She doesn't really understand or know much about Christianity nor truly being a Christian. And, the Koran is not perfect from it's beginning. Starting with it was originally written in Sryi-Aramaic, not Arabic. But she is again, regurgitating the party line that I hear every age 18-20 convert. At that age, you haven't fully developed your world view or yourself. It's been proved that physiologically human's brains and body's are not fully developed until a few years later. So, if you convert then, your new religion and what you are told without truly investigating it, will seem like the "gospel" truth (pardon the pun).

    Rape, is not about sex. It's about power over someone because you are insecure and weak.

    It's very common to hammer into Muslim women's head an oxymoron that:

    1. Your womanhood is so powerful that if a man views it they are so weak that they can't control themselves, so could you please cover yourself so this weak man can control himself.

    2. But why in the rest of the world, for centuries, has men living in other countries where women aren't covered up, men can and do control themselves?

    The problem is that Islam, in this area, allows men to not develop self control over their arousal along with respect for women, and then excuses their generationally ordained and trained negative response to an uncovered women.

    The worst thing is that if the man takes advantage of what seems to be a legal religious excused right to "jump" and sexual abuse any woman who doesn't cover herself. And, what's even worse, the man isn't chastised for his lack of self control, the woman is punished for his lack of self control.

    It's the perfect pyschological trick to play on women to control them and make them walk around on eggshells and make them assimulate into a second class status. Any time you must change your lifestyle and freedom, dress in this example, and you are punished and held responsible for someone else's control of themselves, you are a second class citizen and not equal to the other person who is excused from self control and even worse, while you are standing there with rivers of sweat destroying your carefully applied makeup, hair style and clothing, while the other party is able to wear anything they want and go anywhere they want and pretty much do anything they want while you must restrict yourself, sorry but you are a second class citizen with less rights.

    Don't drink the koolaide!


  17. My response is going to be in several parts as I exceed the character level for one post!

    I'm sorry but this girl has drank the koolaid. I have seen many converts at around age 18-20, spout the same rhetoric, almost verbatim. When she says she was raised Christian, sorry, attending church once in awhile does not a Christian make. She doesn't really understand or know much about Christianity nor truly being a Christian. And, the Koran is not perfect from it's beginning. Starting with it was originally written in Sryi-Aramaic, not Arabic. But she is again, regurgitating the party line that I hear every age 18-20 convert. At that age, you haven't fully developed your world view or yourself. It's been proved that physiologically human's brains and body's are not fully developed until a few years later. So, if you convert then, your new religion and what you are told without truly investigating it, will seem like the "gospel" truth (pardon the pun).

    Rape, is not about sex. It's about power over someone because you are insecure and weak.

    It's very common to hammer into Muslim women's head an oxymoron that:

    1. Your womanhood is so powerful that if a man views it they are so weak that they can't control themselves, so could you please cover yourself so this weak man can control himself.

    2. But why in the rest of the world, for centuries, has men living in other countries where women aren't covered up, men can and do control themselves?

    The problem is that Islam, in this area, allows men to not develop self control over their arousal along with respect for women, and then excuses their generationally ordained and trained negative response to an uncovered women.

    The worst thing is that if the man takes advantage of what seems to be a legal religious excused right to "jump" and sexual abuse any woman who doesn't cover herself. And, what's even worse, the man isn't chastised for his lack of self control, the woman is punished for his lack of self control.

    It's the perfect pyschological trick to play on women to control them and make them walk around on eggshells and make them assimulate into a second class status. Any time you must change your lifestyle and freedom, dress in this example, and you are punished and held responsible for someone else's control of themselves, you are a second class citizen and not equal to the other person who is excused from self control and even worse, while you are standing there with rivers of sweat destroying your carefully applied makeup, hair style and clothing, while the other party is able to wear anything they want and go anywhere they want and pretty much do anything they want while you must restrict yourself, sorry but you are a second class citizen with less rights.

    Don't drink the koolaide!

    And, please don't generalize about what Western women feel and think about themselves.

    You, again, are spouting the party line that has been fed to you about how life is for Western women. You guys always repeat the same tired rhetoric verbatim. I get sick of reading it. When I start to read an article like yours, as soon as I start to read the same tired rhetoric, I could most likely tell what age you converted.

  18. Wait until you lose that smooth skin, get some wrinkles, gain some baby weight and are still believing that no man can resist himself from abusing you. It's usually about that time, depending where you live, that you get traded in for the new irrestible model. I'm not trying to be mean but I have seen it again and again. How does this explain the model that you have been fed?

    And, I'm not saying that it doesn't happen in Western culture, too. But we are not living under a fairy tale that we must hide ourselves in order to be safe and respected. Women are not responsible for men's behavior.

    And, rape and sexual harrassment is not about sex, it's about power over women.

    If you want to cover yourself - go ahead - but please don't try to feed me some tired line that men can't control themselves. If that's your world view, then realize that you are living within a religion/way of life that excuses men from just reacting from their lowest level of behavior and legally excuses them, too.

    Imagine if you were reading a book about a society where this was taking place and was different from your own. You would be telling all of your friends about this book with a crazy land where women were held responsible for men's behavior but had to lose most of their rights at the same time and cover themselves and were still punished for the man's lack of self control, if somehow, after all the woman's adherence to the rules and her efforts to hide herself still ended up with a man raping them. You'd be up in arms about how these women had to live.

    I just had to get this off my chest because I am so tired of being told that I am starving myself and desperate to get a man so I am engaging in negative, non-self respecting behaviors toward myself.

    FAIL! You left living in Western society too soon to be able to make this determination. Even if you are living as a Muslim woman in Western society, you were removed from Western culture early enough and fed the party line often enough to corrupt your view point about how life really is for Western women.

    I'm not saying life is perfect. But if I get raped, I don't have to worry that in court I will be held that my behavior caused it as science and psychology has proved that men rape and sexually harrass even if you walk around covered form head to toe as what is currently happening in Saudia, Egypt, Afghanistan, etc...

    There is no bearing on whether or not a woman will be raped or not based on how you are dressed.

    Why when Muslim men come to Western countries to attend college, somehow, when they step down on Western soil that suddenly their self control is in place and works??? Explain that one! Go and ask your local mosque leader or whomever told you that men can't control themselves at the sight of your face or arms. Please come back and write another article about their explanation about how men's sexual self control mechanism suddenly works when they live or vacation on Western soil. I'd love to hear.

    The other warning that Muslim women hear is that if they had just stayed in their home most of the time and were accompanied by a male every time they left the house this would somehow ensure their sexual safety. What a joke. This is just another method of control so the insecure male knows your every move and can be assured that you aren't cheating on him and injuring his previous honor.


  19. (last part)

    Again, Muslim women are held responsible for the family or man's honor. And, to do this, you must refrain your independence and freedom of movement because your very presence so excites men.

    Again, this is untrue. There are thousands of stories about women accompanied by males outside of the home and they are raped or sexually harrassed.

    There is no guarantee that covering yourself or having a male along will ensure that other males comply and are able to control their arousal.

    I just don't see how you can feel that you are somehow more liberated and somehow existing on a higher level of perfection as a woman because you cover yourself and tend to stay home more or tend to leave home with a male.

    Don't get me started about Muslim's tendency to feel that they are somehow superior to non Muslims. It is this that turns me off the most about what is taught in Islam.

    Muslims are no better than any person who follows a different lifestyle. In Islam, because of the idea that when you conquer others and if they don't convert and if they are lucky enough to be allowed to live, while they continue to follow their own choice of religion or lifestyle they are considered to be dhimmni or a lesser level of human and must pay the "jiz" tax so they are allowed to live and exist. They may live side by side the Muslims, but are considered to be lesser and given less rights then their Muslim conquerers.

    How do you think the slang, "jiz" came into existence? Think about it. The joke is paying the "jiz" tax. What does the slang word, "jiz" refer to.

    Well, I feel about you? Please don't drink the koolaide about how Western women live and feel that is being told you. It is so wrong.

    You may live as a Muslim in a Western country. Your experience is so different from Muslim women who grow up under Sharia law.

    You have legal rights in a Western country that you would never had under Sharia. And, if you are telling the truth to yourself, you know that your rights are protected in a way and your husband can't ask or require you to conform even if he wanted to.

    Also, it seems like your husband may have not grown up under Sharia either when it comes to his ideas.

    Please go and live under Sharia for awhile and then come back and write us an article about how you feel. As long as you live in a country where you have a choice, you can't tell us about or judge Western women on anything about how we live.

    Thanks for listening. I listened to you, too.

  20. The real issue with the burka or niqab is security. How can you verify that the person handing you their ID is whom they say they are?

    But the spin has been put forth that this is about women's freedom of dress and expression.

    It's about security and nothing else.

    And, unfortunately, the majority of terrorist in the word hail from Islam.

    Want to solve the issue, moderate Muslims need to come forth enmass publicly, loud and clear in forms of books, news articles, rallies, chain e-mails (whatever LOL) personally expressing their views about Islam, terrorists and that it isn't Islam. They need to express this view at work and socially to non Muslims that they don't agree with the Muslims that are being terrorists.

    This is the cross that Islam has to bear in today's world. Until this is done, the issue surrounding the burka and niqab will continue and spread.

    So, instead of telling us how we Western women are inferior to Islamic women, get busy with shutting down the terrorist loud mouths and movement within your own lifestyle, religion and way of life.

    1. Moderate Muslim speaking..
      About Khadija's article: Like someone before me said, I mostly agree with everything she said about her right to dress however she wants, but later her opinions were based on wrong assumptions and generalizations.

      I get the security part about the niqab (I personally seldom wear it; the only time I wear it is when I have party make-up on and I feel truer to my hijab by veiling my face), but I don't see why anyone would ask me to take my hijab off. It's my hair, my neck, my body; my choice. I honestly love my hijab. I'm not sure I could convince any other woman to wear it, but to me, it's enough to just have faith in my religion. I don't have to explain myself, and at the same time, I won't judge other women for making personal choices different than mine.
      I live in KSA, and I have lots [ok, not lots, but a couple] of friends that don't wear the hijab. My closest friend was a non-muhajaba Muslim, but this year, she CHOSE to wear it. And believe it or not, her family DOESN'T want her to. They're not supportive of it (which is hard for her), but they let her make her choice.
      Anyway, what I'm trying to say is, I'm a Muslim (not a perfect one, but I try) and I respect other people's choices. Yes, I have MY values, but I won't presume to enforce them on people who believe otherwise. At the end of the day, we're all humans and we can think for ourselves. It's not my right to judge anyone but myself.
      Btw, I don't think anyone is inferior to me; if I did, I wouldn't be a good Muslim.

  21. I think that even freedom has got its limits. Obviously, veil on the face obscures identity and in public spaces I would like to see who I am dealing with. When i get on the plane, tube, train, go to a bank I would like to see who is boarding with me. They should have every right to wear a headscarf, abaya and whatever they want but I think that in public space everyone should be able to identify themselves and face is needed for that. At least in places where it is not customary to veil.

  22. Ahhhh, the age old argument......women who cover in abaya and burqa are oppressed and women who dress in tight, revealing clothing are hooches and sluts. Quite frankly, who are we to judge what is in a person's heart by the way one chooses to dress? It is so not fair to judge a person's beliefs or persona just by how they dress. There are the most pious of women who do not cover and there are the those who lack in faith who cover from head to toe. Only God knows whats in a person's heart.

    To each their own so long as it doesn't force someone to have to accept something they don't want to. Even from an Islamic standpoint..."there is no compulsion is Islam".

    Yes, I am an American Muslim who chooses to wear Abaya and burqa. This is a form of worship for me. Now, do i feel that every person who doesn't dress like me is inferior or lacking in faith? Absolutely not!!!! Yes, there are many opinions on what proper Islamic dress is. But, the bottom line is I have no right to judge someones situation or belief by how they are dressed.

    And.....if a guy wants to approach a woman it really doesn't matter what she is wearing. I'm here to tell you i was propositioned on 3 different occasions,in an Islamic
    country, wearing a full head abaya with a full face covering standing next to a building with my back facing the street. So, it really doesn't matter what a person is wearing. Now, do i think that dressing in a revealing way doesn't provoke being approached? I feel it may increase the chance of it happening but it is also how one conducts themselves in public as well. Moreover, I do not feel that the majority of men are uncontrollable animals that chase after every woman that walks by. Even Islamicly, men have a responsibility to control their urges and their behavior and will have to answer to their behavior just as equally as women do. Islamicly, for those who believe in Islam, there isn't a double standard on what men and women are able to get away with and are judged equally.

    I feel everyone has the right to express their views, beliefs, what have you, whether it be a Christian who chooses to wear a cross or nuns that wear a habit; a person of jewish faith who wears a yamaka; a Sikh who wears a Dastar or whatever one uses/wears for their belief so long as it doesn't impinge or force someone else to accept their belief system. Now, if someone wants to learn about that particular faith it should be their right.

    I think if everyone did a little more research into different belief systems and learn to respect different opinions the world may be a more peaceful place. I think it's funny how one little piece of material over a women's face stirs up so much drama!

    Fortunately, I have had the pleasure of answering questions about Islam from people who have approached me on the street or have asked me at my work. I'm so appreciative of their courage to ask and I'm so happy to see how they appreciate me answering. I always get the phrase, " I've always wanted to know about this but was afraid to ask". I always stress to them by all means ask and don't feel that one will be offended by asking. The only way a person is going to know about something is to ask, read, etc.

    This is just my "two cents" . Hopefully, it helps in trying to bridge gaps and encouraging tolerance and respects for all beliefs.

  23. I am so pleased with all of your comments and I thank you. I wholeheartedly agree!
    I think on the whole this woman is an extremist. Much of what she stated is overexaggerated and cannot be proven one way or the other. I believe that everyone is entitled to her own opinion - that's why I published what she wrote, even though I don't agree with her.
    In my experience here in KSA, women still face the same issues with men here as women all over the world. Wearing niqab or hijab or abaya clearly doesn't seem to make a difference. Responsibility for one's actions should fall squarely each person's own shoulders, and using the excuse of what women wear or don't wear should be irrelevant.

  24. Go Um Zacharia! Perfect response!

    I'm also Muslim, and for me the issue with this lady's article (although I have no problem with niqab) is that she seems to think that hijab/niqab are all about sex. No they ain't sis. We cover cuz we believe Allah commanded us to. NO other reason should be put before this. A woman who wears niqab certainly should be wearing it for piety, devotion, faith, for God, not for mankind.

    By the way, I noticed someone said that the Quran was originally "Sryi-Aramaic"?????? Where did you get that info from? Arabic is my first language and the Quran is acknowledged as the greatest literary miracle in Arabic ever, whilst I've never even heard of Syri-Aramaic. If the Quran had been translated I doubt that it would have been half so perfect. Why would there even be a reason for the Quran being that language if the Prophet was Arabian?

  25. But let us take it other way... :) If the women was ugly, unatractive, being laugh at by people who see her face... Wouldn't face cover help her - if she was competing to get a job in let's say media fashion as a secretary? in a television as a speaker? What if her face was so much disfigured that she would not be able to go out during the day, because people would stare at her constantly and the children would be scared of her... What do you think? Would a face cover be helpful for her?

  26. I agree with her views on "liberation". It's funny how the world sees Muslim women and automatically start yelling that they need to be liberated.
    Yes, it is a matter of choice, and I respect that, but there is nothing in the Qur'an that tells women to veil. Yes, they have to cover their hair, but not once does it say to cover your face, simply because you cannot hide your face. The Prophet even ordered women NOT to cover their faces during Hajj - if you do, you have to sacrfice a goat and feed the poor. It was a cultural norm back then.

    So the veil is banned in France. Can I wear a paper bag on my head? Would that count? Or is this just because of the fact that it's considered Islamic? Am I allowed to wear mask? What about Halloween?While I don't support the burqa, I do support having the right to wear it. If I can walk down a street on the coast of California and see people OK with a woman in a string bikini with her boobs hanging out, then I can see a woman who chooses to cover her face.

    I didn't like her argument though. If a man wants to rape someone, it won't matter what she's wearing.

    But I'm not really a fan of the way some women dress in the United States and Europe. I'm most comfortable in a tee and jeans, but if a woman who's wearing a skirt that covers less of her body than the average belt, then she can't complain that people are staring at her, and at that point, I'd probably call her a bit slutty myself.

    And while there are a lot of problems in places like America like the ones she mentioned, you cannot reverse-stereotype others.

    Now, don't quote me on this, but wasn't Aramaic the language the BIBLE was first written in? There's still a community in Syria that speaks that language. Where did the dude a couple posts up get his info?

  27. i'm sorry girlfriend but wether you are covered or not, a man who wanst to rape you, WILL rape you! the middle-east is a rape-free zone? i think not. i notice only new converts are such gun-ho on the "hey lets cover-up cuz god will like me more!" attitude, trying to be more catholic than the fucking pope! insanity i say! i heard women coming to canada from islamic country saying : goddam! we ran away from these extremists and now we face them here! WTF?!".... thank you multiculturalism, in canada, where you can live, eat, pray in tour language without carign for your welcome society or bother to learn the official language.. *claclap* woman wake up! god will not love you more if you do more than the regular practitioners!

  28. I don't give two hoots what your religion is or what your beliefs are. If you want to be in a public space then you need to show your face at all times, so that everyone is identifiable.

    One of the 7/7 bombers escaped the UK through Heathrow by wearing a burka. There are countless examples of crimes committed by men in the GCC while disguised as women (ie covered in a black bag). Check the Arab News website.

  29. "So the veil is banned in France. Can I wear a paper bag on my head?"


    "Would that count? Or is this just because of the fact that it's considered Islamic"

    No it's because it covers the face, thereby obscuring the identity. Perhaps you could check your facts before posting a comment that merely serves to advertise your lack of knowledge.

  30. in France the veil has been banned because the law requests women and men to be recognisable. That is it.
    As for the article. Interesting stuff. If it is true that the funky australian chick wanted to veil, please do not forget that there is a majority of women that would love to "be slave of modern fashion" and are not as lucky as the chick on the article whose father is catholic and doesn't bury here because Muhammad said so.
    additionally, allow me to say that the Sura you all use when "justifying the modesty of the Muslim women" was only referred to Muhammad's wives. Plus, read Asma Barlas and see why he "was inspired" to say so: he was a man, as jealous as a man can be and as a possessive man would do, used his power to protect what he loved the most: Aisha.
    Go and read some history and exegesis before you talk and publish these articles that only make me laugh!!!!

  31. Sorry, but an anecdote from one women in a free society who is free to choose just doesn't stir me.

    And All of her arguments are weak. Anorexia and bulimia are not caused by seeing super models on tv and in magazines or most women in many countries would be hospitalized. Without going into too much psycho-babble, these diseases are often caused by various, yet traumatic reasons that typically occur early in life. Many cases can be traced to emotional or physical abandonment at a young age, physical abuse or profound loss, any of which can lead to a distorted sense of self.

    Similarly, rape is a crime of violence rooted in control needs, it is not an uncontrollable desire to have sex with a hot looking woman. Clothes and looks have little to do with it.

    Slavery to fashion? What about the scores of women in uniforms like nurses, etc? What about the scores of women in business suits?

    And what about the scores of women, single and married who happen to love fashion and look great and have good, healthy lives living in free societies where the men are NOT pawing at them and harassing them on a daily basis?

    I don't really know the kind of men this woman rails again in this article. Really, I don't associate with these kinds of people, men or women. Nor would I.

    She can wear what she wants but please -- STOP telling the rest of us that covering yourself from head to toe and becoming a faceless object is a choice-- in your fee life-- when we know too well that this is FORCED upon many women around the world. As long as it's FORCED it remains a symbol of OPPRESSION.

    And, STOP telling us that this oppressive objectification is in the Koran. It simply is NOT.

  32. Hi Susie I just want to point out that the banning of the veil in Syria (which is just in schools) is not new, this is an old ban which was brought to light again because of what's going on in France. I was in Syria almost 3 years ago and went to school there where many women wore the niqab, ALL of them were required to show their face once they entered the building. This again is nothing new to Syria and 20-30 years ago you weren't allowed to even wear hijab to school

  33. This article really throws a wrench in part of Khadijah's argument:

  34. Hey Susie, I'm not being sarcastic or anything, I'm just wondering which argument you are referring to. Thanks.

  35. There is a misconception about rape as related to what a woman is wearing or not wearing - this is the argument I was referring to. There is also another misconception that rape doesn't occur in places where women cover themselves up with layers of clothing. I think there are a lot of holes and generalizations in her arguments.

  36. An interesting post, although we've heard the "I'm free" line before.

    The only trouble is that while Khadija is free to wear whatever she wants(thanks to her living in a Western country), women like you Susie, are not.

    So...sorry Khadija, but the day Susie will be free NOT to wear the niqab, we will stop saying there's a problem with it.

    As for the relation between a women's dress code and rape or cheating, ha ha ha. Go back to 19th century litterature and see if the sight of an ankle wasn't enough to send a man's thoughts to blaze.

    Thank you to the many who have commented before me, lots of great things were said. My special thanks to Umm Zacharia - right to the point.

  37. And yes of course Susie your last comment is perfectly apt. Rape and cheating have nothing to do with a women's dress code.

    If you ever doubted it, go back to 19th century literature where the sight of an ankle was enough to send men's thoughts flaring.

  38. The main reason that we wear the hijab is so we can be seen to be muslim women. That is the reason that is stated in the Quran and the Sunnah. Then we wear as a sign of our taqwa in Allah.
    I don't think that any muslima believes that wearing the hijab alone is going to protect her from a voracious predator who is determined to take her innocence from her. As a muslima who wears abaya..I never felt this way and I don't know anyone who feels this way either.
    The point that she was making was we are not oppressed. If you understand why we wear the hijab then you will not feel oppressed. You will wear the hijab joyfully because you understand that it is something legislated from the religion. Someone who understands that doesn't have to advocate for it to people who don't share the same commitment to their creator. We hear and We obey. Its simple.
    I feel sorry that anyone is offended by the sight of a woman covered in black or finds affront to her face being covered but we are muslims and we do as we do.

  39. My friends have lived in Canada over 20 years. All their children were born and raised here. One of the daughters married a man from back home and sponsored him to come to Canada, they have children. This woman is in her late twenty's. She has always been fashionably dressed, yet modest at the same time. The last time I saw her in person she looked like a shadow of herself.

    To shorten the story, she was being abused by her husband and her parents let her move home for a short time. Her parents spoke to her husband and threats of police involvement were made. She went back to her husband after a short time. When I questioned the mother, the mother said that the situation was now in her daughters hands and she must deal with it on her own! Nice mom heh? One month later, this woman in her late twenty's who had never worn a hajab was now wearing one! I was blunt enough to speak with her mother about it, and her mothers reply was "well her husband wants her to wear it, she has no choice".

    All Muslim women wear it because they have made a free choice to do so? NO.

    Khadijah and Aaishah you are both very naive. And no where does it say in the Quran that women must cover their hair or even wear abaya or Nikab, no where!

  40. The writer is clearly not well educated, most certainly not about Islam and what is written in the Qur’an.

    There is nothing in the Qur’an that demands the veiling of women. There are also no “scientific miracles” in the Qur’an.

    The Qur’an has certainly been changed over the centuries. The Caliph Uthman burned the versions that did not please him.

    The Qur’an, like all other religious books, was written by men; men who made up the rules that were beneficial to men and not women!

    Veiling renders women into ultimate sexual objects and the mere property of men as nothing else can. For what reason are little girls made to veil, other than to objectify them and take away their human rights?

    There is no reason to make this an issue of the West vs. Islam, because Muslims are only 1/5 of humanity. What of the African women who wear revealing native dress? What of east Indian women who wear alluring saris? What of south American women who love to wear sexy clothing? How about those slinky Chinese dresses? Are all these women in the world with their beautiful costumes supposed to don the Muslim sack that imprisons women?

    Apparently the author can’t cope with her femininity or Western culture and is paranoid that all men will lust after her if she doesn’t don a black-sack. Evidently she only knows men who behave like beasts rather than gentlemen. That is very sad.

    As a married, western woman I enjoy looking at other attractively dressed people, both women and men. It is both creepy and offensive to see a woman covered all in black who believes that she is superior to the rest of the world for wearing the in-your-face garment that makes her a “slave” of Allah.

    I do not want to be waited on by a woman in a black sack! Neither do I want to have such a woman work anywhere in my line of sight because it offends me that someone would “choose” to be a lesser being than a man. I trust my husband implicitly and know that he too is offended by the veil.

    In the Islamic world men are notorious for harassing women, whether veiled or unveiled. The veil does nothing, but make a woman ugly in a walking shroud. It does not protect her from lecherous men!

    The Islamic burqa or even head-scarf is not appropriate outside of a Muslim country and then only on a Muslim woman! Forcing non Muslim women to wear a veil violates their human rights. The burqa/niqab renders women second class citizens and that is not acceptable in the free world. The burqa/niqab takes away all the rights of equality and humanity for which both women and men have fought for so long.

  41. Although I believe in every person's right to wear what they please, I cannot help but be offended by extreme Islamic dress (niquab, burqua, etc.).

    No one can convince me that this is religious dress: it is simply the expression of a misogynistic culture that is still stuck in the Middle Ages (or before).

    Justifying such Islamic clothing by citing the oppression of Western women and how it is expressed through bulimia or anorexia is ridiculous. Two wrongs don't make a right.

    Misogyny is misogyny, whether it hides behind a religion or not.

  42. I'm sorry, but most of you have no idea about what you are talking about.

    This woman's article is simply her opinion and good for her that she has such strong convictions about her beliefs.

    I find it really funny that in today's western society, that we even tolerate half naked fashions for both men and women! Now, i'm sorry, but i'm a 24 year old mother and i would rather drop dead, then see my daughter dress like these stupid men & women in our western society today!! The truth is, western society is getting progressively worse...and your kidding yourselves if you want to call it liberation! Theres no damn liberation in revealing yourself to the world!

    Liberation is finding contentment between yourself and this world and really just being a good person. I thank GOD/ALLAH that i was born with an inherent desire to always want to dress modestly and not reveal what is private to strangers in the street. I much rather live in a society where men and women must dress decently and behaive decently then live in our degrading and loose western system.

    Good on you to those who cover up! We should be more concerned with how we raise our children -to be good members of society and prevent indecency in ALL forms from influencing our children - then to make such a big deal a bout women and a religion who are only striving to live as good citizens in this life!

    My opinion is that you all GET OVER YOURSELVES and wake up and stop trying to convince us that the niqab is offensive! I live in the West and i'm bloody offended by see-through tops, nipples, visible g-strings and men wearing their pants almost down to their knees! Where are my human rights? I don't want to see boobs, butts, and penises everywhere!!?? I don't want to see drunk teenagers out in the middle of the night in the streets and shopping malls!! So, you tell me, where are MY HUMAN RIGHTS to not have to live surrounded by this? At least these covered muslim women and societies don't let these things happen and wont be the ones out in public doing disgusting things!

    Yea, maybe your ideas about men may not bee 100% fair... but as i woman, i get what your saying dear.

    So,to all my covered muslim friends, good on you for covering up and doing your best to live a decent and moral way of life! I much rather have you and nuns as my neighbors, then the majority of theses lost Westerners!

  43. You think that dressing this way makes everyone behave? Come to Saudi Arabia, cover up and watch how you get leered at. YOU don't have a clue as to what you're talking about.

    But if you would really rather drop dead than see your daughter dress trampy - by all means go live somewhere else besides the degrading and loose west and make room for someone else who appreciates it.

  44. I really enjoy reading all these comments and particularly agree with Leeana.

    Maybe what I would like to keep from all this is this : Muslim or Westerners, what we need to focus on is female solidarity worldwide. WHAT BRINGS US TOGETHER? WHAT IS OUR COMMON GROUND ? There's a lot I know. How about focusing on that?

    Perhaps we'd find that Muslims or Westerners we're still far from free from the self-image standards that our cultures want to impose on us (and which we unknowingly pass on to our children)

  45. right. muslim women dont want to look pretty, beautiful or attract men.

    so Natalie, please tell me why in the photo have the women blinged up their abayas, are wearing gucci sunglasses, have kohled their eyes, have diamonds on their wrists & fingers, and plucked their eyebrows?

    so why are there so many muslim girls that are anorexic here in the middle east, depsite their clothing?

    so how does that niqab covered woman feel when her husband takes a younger wife than her & him by 20 years?

    so rape and harrassment of women never occurs in muslim countries?

    most non-muslim men & women have no problem with abayas & head scarves, no problems with dressing modestly. but dont pretend it solves society's ills. all the niqab / burqa does is anonymise and isolate the woman behind the covering.

  46. Heys

    I'm 20 from Singapore and have lived in Australia for almost a year and I have niqab on when I go out.Its a personal and religious choice.I do not think that it's extreme at all.What I see as extreme is wearing nothing but a pair of bikini barely covering your breasts and private part.I'm not in the opinion that niqab is compulsory however, I would like to emulate the prophet's wives and predecessors, the people I admire.It's been a few months now and it's becoming easier for me. Eating and walking in public is no problem. I even joked with my husband about being a pro.If asked for identification, I'll just ask for a female or reveal my face for identification purposes which is allowed in Islam btw.What I fail to understand is Western women think that niqab is extreme and being almost naked is not? Sure men take responsibility for their actions.But we have to practice precaution. Islam is a religion you have to enter completely. The likelihood of you getting rape is slim if you 1) Dress modestly 2) Do not go out at night unless it's important 3) Go out with a male relative if you have to go out. You can say why do I have to subject myself to all those conditions. Well if you don't, face the consequences. Even if man were caught raping a woman and put to justice,it does not change the fact that he's raped her.And many statement about men being able to control themselves, well the cases of rape is increasing not declining. And it may be true that rape is about empowering someone else but it's also true that it is triggered by other factors such as sexual attraction, pornography (which would not have existed should shariah rule the world). Are you going to tell me that you can't be bothered to lock up and set up security alarm at your house and the burglars should instead control themselves from breaking in?

  47. Interestingly in Japan and Korea, they have the public shower or sauna where all people from both sexes can jump to the pool together nakedly....and there's no report of harassment or rape, they don't even bother to check other people's private parts with staring eyes. Of course report on rape would also come up occasionally, but that's not due to nakedness or sexiness or anything visual. I wonder if these people can handle this matter casually, wouldn't all people be able to??? Hmmmmm.....apparently it has much to do with the values of people, culture and many aspects. I also wonder if God in Islam forgot to mention that these people are real and exist, and that maybe the Arab should learn from them. LOL...

  48. Wendy: Thank God for freedom, since you don't get to make that choice for other women, just yourself!

  49. Khadijah Natalie ArbeeJan 10, 2011, 7:10:00 PM

    I there everyone, guess who??

    Yes, it's me Khadijah. Yes, I wrote this article.

    I had no idea until now, that it had been published here, and with my limited time, I have tried to read as much of the comments as possible, I just hope that my counter-comment will reach those it is directed towards.

    As I said, I have limited time presently, so I have not read the comments in their entirety to be fair. But firstly I'd just like to remind Susie of her warning above in capitals 'BE NICE, OR I WILL NOT PUBLISH YOUR COMMENT'.... perhaps you could reflect on this in future before publishing comments, some of the above are far from nice.

    Also, I want to clear up my age - I am 32, not some foolish 'naive' 18-20 yr old as has been wrongly cited. And i have been wearing niqaab for 10 years.

    Furthermore, my article does not seek to attack or belittle anyone, and would not have ever been written if it were not for the attacks and belittlement constantly directed to myself and others like me. As I mentioned at the onset of the article.
    Moreover, no, my choice of dress is definitely not purely based on men's sexuality, - I wear it first and foremost out of faith.. what I strove to illustrate in my article is some of the wisdom and good in it for women, that although I wear it for faith, it is not a blind-faith - I see much good in it - the good that was intended by my Creator.

    Also, I have been to Saudi, and I certainly agree that even my strict mode of dress does not always serve as a deterrent to many men and their base desires, but I am happy knowing that I am certainly free of being responsible for their behaviour, and God-willing I will continue to wear it anyway.

    It is also surprising how many of you keep trying to explain to me 'western women' as if I myself never was. Indeed I was, and yes I did experience all of what I have cited in this article, and I know for sure most, if not all of you, have as well, which perhaps explains the defensive tones....But do rest assured I am not advocating that any of you must dress like me, I am only explaining my choice and my decision in response to what has been hurled at me.

    Also, someone commented regarding security issues - unfortunately the link that I had included in the article regarding this has been edited out - so for those of you who are concerned about security please see
    for an excellent refutation of these arguments.

    At the end of the day, no matter what is said and thought - this mode of dress IS my choice, and I wish to continue wearing whether anyone understands it or not. And just like the women here take offence to their mode of dress being the object of criticism, so do I, and many sisters like me.....

    So as you wish for me to respect you and your mode of dress, then I certainly wish for nothing less...

  50. I agree with this woman's right/choice to wear the niqab, but disagree with many of her arguments. I too live in Saudi Arabia and find it the most sex obsessed place I've ever been to. I find that Saudi women are also extremely image conscious underneath their niqaabs- far more than most of their western counterparts. However, if women feel the need to wear this, fine, except in situations which require security. I believe individuals should also have the right to ask for visual identification (ie uncovering) in public buildings, shops etc- you most certainly can't walk into shops with balaclavas or motorcycle helmets and, for security reasons, I don't think the niqaab should be different.

  51. This is a reply to anonymous who posted his reply in 3 parts.
    All your reply is dealing with and explaining one line that that women are responsible for men’s lack of self control. Let me explain that Islam makes everyone responsible for their own actions. In Islam every child is as innocent as angels and will go to the paradise unless he chooses otherwise. When Islam asks women to cover themselves at the same time it asks men to lower their gaze. I don’t know any Muslim country which punishes women being raped due to less clothes. Islam doesn’t punish women for being raped.
    Now as it is said that human brain is not mature at 18-20 years of age compared to elder people. If elderly and experienced people are wiser, then what about the Creator: who created all the creations and all the brains. He knows better than all His creations. The car manufacturer knows that what’s good and bad for the car. The owner’s manual tells us that what kind of oil should be used and when it should be changed, what type of tires should be used and pressure of air, and all the do’s and don’ts but we don’t object because it’s good for our car and for our safety as well as the others around that car. Then who are we to object the laws made by the Creator of all the creations Who knows His creations better than the creations.
    When a doctor says that don’t eat this and that in some disease then we don’t object rather accept his advice happily and eat wisely so who are we to object the One who gave wisdom to the doctor. That Creator knows everything and He has set some guidelines in user’s manual known as the Holy Quran.
    We don’t object if someone abides by the Car user’s manual or accepts the advice of his doctor. So why do we object if someone wants to live according to that manual (Quran).
    If we think that women are suppressed by men and treated as second class citizens and we want them free then we should let them choose what they want to wear. Don’t you think we are forcing them to wear the clothes that they don’t want to wear when we say “Ban the Burqa/hijab”. If they are men’s slave by wearing hijab in some countries they are still men’s slaves in other countries by not enjoying the freedom to dress as they like. So don’t you think they are second class citizens again in liberal world?
    Thanks for listening. I invite you to read the translation of Quran as you are more mature than 18 years old. Please read at

  52. In response to shezy, I believe under sharia law a woman can be punished for adultery when raped unless a number of Muslim men witness the attack and will testify it is rape. I've heard of Iran, Saudi Arabia and a number of African countries doing this.
    Khadijah, your references to males comparing them to lions chasing uncovered meat or similar was remarkably similar to those views published by sheikh al-hilaly, the imam from the lakemba mosque in Sydney. It was abhorrent when he spouted those views and so it is with you.
    Personally I couldn't give a toss if you wear a hijab, but a niqab or burqa I feels overdoing the modesty and I like to see a face when I talk to people.

  53. I do have a funny entery on my website, which is a complete joke to some extent, but I am telling the truth when joking, about veiling and gender equality. I just hope you find it funny.

  54. Hi,I have read the whole article & almost all the comments.The article is wonderful!Thanks to Khadija for writing it thanks to Susie as she has posted it.I strongly agree with Shezy's comment.
    I am a muslim woman.I wear a burqa & Niqab from a very early age of 11.
    First I want to response to those who has said about Quran."Quran is our religious book & it has been written by our Lord who has created us & knows us best.No man wrote it.
    Some has said there is no verse in Quran about Hijab.I'll suggest them to read the Quran first & then to talk about it.
    Now I m going to tell my opinion about Hijab.Hijab is not just a dress,traditional dress of Muslim women as many say.Allah has ordered us to cover ourselves up when we go outside.& she'll be loved to Allah who'll respect his decisions.When we all will die we all will have to go back to Allah.There we'll be asked for our deeds in this world.If we don't listen to Allah's orders we'll be sinner.What will we answer about the sins of not doing PARDA(covering oneself in front of man whom one is not related to)??
    So Brothers & Sisters!listen,we,muslim women neither wear a Burqa to get the benefits of wearing a Burqa nor to satisfy the male members of our families,we wear it for only Allah.For only to satisfy our Lord.If Allah becomes satisfied to anyone He/she automatically gets benefit from the subject.Thats why there we get so many benefits from the wearing of Hijab.& EVERYONE'LL REALIZE THE VALUE OF HIS SATISFACTION AFTER DEATH.

  55. I think this is a fasinating article and while I believe people should fight for what they believe in,I also feel people shouldent mess with peoples cultures and their way of life.I have read other articles like this where young girls starting at age 9 were married of but who are we to judge I am for that part of it but am familliar with their beleaves and thats why I think people should be happy with their own beleaves and let people be happy with theres.

  56. I think for me it's about freedom of religion.
    As a Buddhist, I am glad to live in a country where my religious freedom of choice is respected.

    I wish to afford and respect the same choice to practitioners of other religions.

    If it is part of their religious practice or in line with their religious beliefs or inclinations, or a helpful practice for them to wear a veil, then as a religious freedom, they should have the right to do so.

    I think it's reasonable to ask them to show their face when needed for security purposes.

    Such as on a bus, in the US most busses have security cameras. I think if using public transportation, one might be expected to reveal their face to the camera for a moment for security reasons, and then go about veiling themselves again. As an example.

    If it makes other people uncomfortable?

    Well, we don't have the right not, to feel uncomfortable.

    If we did, it would apply to everyone, and everyone does something that makes someone else feel uncomfortable.

    I actually once, donned a full covering like as a muslim woman for an afternoon to see what it was like.

    It was a very interesting experience.

    It helped my understand things from their perspective.

    Acceptance not just tolerance of other people's differences;
    that we actually are different as individuals with different goals, ideals, tendencies, likes, dislikes, spiritual needs, personalities and makeups is a very helpful and long step towards living in peace.

    Not all women want to be equal in a domestic relationship for instance.
    Nor do all women want to be Muslim, or Buddhist, or Christian, or Jewish or Hindu, or Psychology.

    Everyone is different in form and feel.
    We can live in peace if we accept one another.

    We are not so different in that we want acceptance, need food, water, shelter, enjoy kindness, compassion, generosity, understanding, sympathy/empathy, tenderness... these are all basic human needs and wants.

    Seeing what we have in common, and accepting the differences between us while at the same time examining our own beliefs can go a long way towards peace and understanding.

    I am glad everyone shared on this page, it was very helpful to me.
    I read everyones writing.
    Thank you.