Home » Opinion » Opinion: Not every country has doors open for Muslim women

Opinion: Not every country has doors open for Muslim women

Please follow and like us:
Facebook
Google+
Twitter
Towson high school student Amara Majeed has provided commentary for CNN on issues affecting the Muslim community. She founded The Hijab Project, which is meant to foster social awareness of prejudice in the United States against girls and women who wear head-scarves. She also wrote a book of biographies on Muslims to help dispel disparaging opinions that people have of Muslims. (Algerina Perna/Baltimore Sun/TNS)

Towson high school student Amara Majeed has provided commentary for CNN on issues affecting the Muslim community. She founded The Hijab Project, which is meant to foster social awareness of prejudice in the United States against girls and women who wear head-scarves. She also wrote a book of biographies on Muslims to help dispel disparaging opinions that people have of Muslims. (Algerina Perna/Baltimore Sun/TNS)

It’s rough for Muslim women around the globe.

They’re oppressed in Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Nigeria, India and Saudi Arabia, among other places.

For many of them, waking up in the morning to attend school is a dream. Driving a car is a dream. Many are beaten, raped and dismissed so frequently it’s second nature.

What’s the response from most leaders in those countries? “Islam does not allow it” or that “It’s God’s laws, not men.” The truth, however, is that it’s not Islam. It’s not God’s law.  It’s culture.

Most people believe Saudi Arabia not allowing women to drive is because Islam prohibits it, but that’s completely bulls—. There’s not a single mention in the Holy Quran that says so. Islam regards women as jewels and ones to be protected. After all, women of all religions do the harder labor — literally, they’re in labor delivering the world’s population. Respect.

Many people assume that Muslim women in the United States of America are considered free. Again, that’s BS. They are not as constrained in a small box as other countries, but they are still placed in a box — one with a little more room.  

Instead of not being allowed to drive, they’re not allowed to wear a hijab — a veil that covers the head and chest, usually worn by Muslim women when in public — for certain jobs.

This problem mostly rises in employment with government jobs, like the police force.

Recently, The Columbus Dispatch reported a Somali-American and Muslim woman, Ismahan Isse, dropped out of the Columbus police academy after being informed hijabs are not allowed to be worn by officers. The division refused to change the policy and was backed by Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman.

“I strongly believe that our police force needs to be reflective of every corner of our city,” said Coleman to The Dispatch during an interview.

With all due respect to Mayor Coleman, the above quote does not make sense at all. Isn’t hijab “reflective” of the city’s large Muslim population? Aren’t Muslim women one corner of the city?

This situation saddens me because it’s another case of a Muslim woman not seeing her dream come to fruition because society, specifically America, hasn’t adapted to her.

Most have fled to the states from their home countries to live a life of potential and have the opportunity to pursue happiness to its full capacity. And that is a journey Isse was on when she earned her associate degree in criminal justice and then entered the police academy.

There is good news for Isse: She has received offers to join the Edmonton Police Service in Alberta, Canada. She told The Dispatch that she is considering joining, but has not made up her mind yet. The police service in Edmonton has designed uniforms to accommodate candidates, but they do not have any female Muslim officers yet.

Other cities around the country like St. Paul, Minnesota, have accommodated Kadra Mohamed, who is their first female Muslim police officer.

But I think one fear that’s holding America back is the fear of radical Islam “taking over.”

It’s not only in the states where Muslim women face these hurdles. After the January 2015 attacks on the satirical news magazine Charlie Hebdo and a supermarket in France, many Muslim women have faced backlash for wearing hijabs in public. A professor at the University of Paris 13 told France24, a news organization based in Paris, that he does not support “religious symbols in public places,” referring to a student in his class wearing a hijab.

I’m Muslim and I have two sisters. Both wear hijabs by choice, not by force. I’m fearful that they will be restricted as to where they can go and where they can work.

It’s wrong and idiotic for Muslim women to receive backlash around the world when they are the most innocent.  They have kind hearts, they work hard — incredibly hard — for the people they love and everyone else.

I think it’s time that we all, regardless of where we’re from or what religion we practice, lend a hand so that Muslim women can live a life full of prosperity.

8 comments

  1. Here’s a wacky thought- instead of a society of 300+ million people “adapting” to this woman, maybe she could adapt to the society she made a choice to enter?

  2. Here’s a wacky thought- instead of a society of 300+ million people “adapting” to a woman, maybe she could adapt to the society she chose to enter?

    • She’s not here to adapt to western values she is here to modify our values to match Islam’s.

      I mean why would any of us have a problem becoming more like Saudi Arabia, Iran, Somalia, Pakistan, Yemen, Syria, Iraq and the like> {sarc/off}

  3. Muslim women are legally free to wear a hijab under almost any situation. As far as wearing hijabs on the job, there is a reason that certain jobs have dress codes, including sanitation, safety and the branding by which a corporation sells its products. Ford Modeling agency would not hire me or a hijabi because we cannot fulfill the requirements of the job.

    Here are my questions to the woman who wants to wear a headscarf on the police force: Are you willing to do undercover work which would require you to take off your hijab? Are you willing to have physical contact with men in the course of your training? Are you willing to have physical contact with men for the purposes of restraint or aid in the course of your job? If not, why should you be hired to the police force? You plan to dictate your behavior and dress in such a way that you cannot fully fulfill the role for which you are being hired.

    Muslim women in the West are in an absurd battle to be fully accepted in their hijabs. Guess what? No one is obliged to like you, your religion or what your wear. You have the same rights and freedoms as any other odd dresser in America. You can join Catholic nuns, the Amish, Hasidic Jews, Sikhs and any other number of people who draw curious looks in public, but don’t need to set up organizations to complain about it. Go ask one the Hasids wearing a huge fur hat, knee pants and a long silk coat how he copes with not being able to get a job at Hooters. I’m sure he would have some good advice for you.

    • Why can’t we be like Saudi Arabia and ban the hijab and force her to wear black burkas?

      Amazing, isn’t it? In the 1970s in Iran and under the dictator the Shah of Iran Iranian women had many, many freedoms. It was not a perfect society, mind you, but there were far more freedoms than today under a strict Sharia state. And this women apparently prefers today’s Iranian standards. Amazing, isn’t it?

      My advice to her? Take your hijab and move to an Islamic nation where you can still one instead of being forced to wear a burka. We don’t want your dress code, your Sharia law, your barbarous treatment of non-Muslims. Take it back to where your family came.

  4. If the situation was reversed and I choose to become a citizen of a country that had a practice I objected to, should I ask them to make special concessions for me and or learn to assimilate in the society I choose to live in? It seems to me this is a small concension to make when you take in the reason that it is for safety and being part of the professional uniform of that particular job.

  5. The Quran in Sura 4:34 says for men to hit women:

    4:34 . . . If you fear highhandedness from your wives, remind them [of the teaching of God], then ignore them when you go to bed, then hit them. If they obey you, you have no right to act against them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.