No Hijab Day: February 1st

Yasmine unveils No Hijab Day contra to World Hijab Day. Monireh, from Iranian prison: “If we get arrested, will you be our voice?" Op-ed.

Faith Quintero ,

Hijabs
Hijabs
Flash 90

“Like the Jews! You want to be like the yahood?” Yasmine’s mother spat those words in response to her pleading not to wear a hijab, “Can I please just shave my head instead? What if I wear a wig?”

In her engaging memoir, Unveiled: How Western Liberals Empower Radical Islam, Yasmine Mohammed invites us to glimpse through the window of her painful type of Muslim upbringing, which hurt her as it does many others.

Detour to the Ex-Muslims of North America documentary page to see mini features of personal stories told by other courageous souls who’ve renounced a faith that aims to punish by death those who do just that. Yasmine tells us, in Unveiled, how her tragic youth motivated her to take steps to make this world a better place. And this remarkable woman has taken countless steps to do just that - to help others, while also fighting for what is genuinely just.

It’s almost impossible to not become enamored by ex-Muslim with their insight, compassion, intelligence and bravery - qualities necessary to uplift themselves from indoctrination to liberation. Yasmine is one ex-Muslim featured in a recent op-ed for Arutz Sheva. Whereas I’ve read her articles and listened to her talk, I didn’t think I’d get much more out of reading her book. I’m so glad that Amy Rosenthal, writer and co-founder of North Carolina Coalition for Israel (NCCI), encouraged me to take that step.

Unveiled gave me more insight as to why Yasmine jumpstarted No Hijab Day / #NoHijabDay - to support women who become even more marginalized as a result of World Hijab Day (WHD). The competing “holidays,” for lack of a better term, are both on February 1st, though those pushing for both Muslim and non-Muslim women to wear the hijab for WHD have been stretching their one day request to a “30-Day Ramadan Hijab Challenge.”

A hijab is not a neutral clothing item. A woman who wears it signals her respect to a credo which, according to her religious texts, created a Hell to burn non-Muslims. “ . . . , garments from fire shall be tailored for them, and boiling water shall be poured from over their heads.” It is one thing to want to, or feel compelled to, wear a hijab that shows respect to a deity that aims to torture non-Muslims for eternity, but it is quite another to ask the would be victims of this Hell to actually display the same respect in solidarity. Suggesting to a non-Muslim woman to wear a hijab is like asking descendants of American slaves, or anyone who objects to slavery, to wear insignia of the Confederacy, or asking Jews to wear insignia of the Third Reich.

Certainly people can, and I do, support anyone’s right to wear whatever clothing with whatever symbolism she (or he) may want to wear, without sporting it oneself. I celebrate the civil liberties granted to all citizens of the United States, Israel and most of the other Western enlightened counties that don’t have laws that punish women for what they wear, be it a hijab, a barrette, a mini skirt or a jeans. Many of the countries that don’t legalize civil liberties demand women wear a hijab upon pain of fines or imprisonment.


Imagine the accomplishments these ambitious and creative women could achieve for humankind if they were free from outrageous persecution and if they had no threat against them for exercising liberties we can and do take for granted in the Western world.
Yasmine’s Twitter account introduced me to Monireh Arabshahi, who made a video on International Women’s Day to fight against the compulsory hijab law imposed on her and the other women of Iran. She asked, “If we get arrested, will you be our voice?” And then, in Monireh’s involuntary absence (she is in an Iranian prison), Yasmine asked, “Will you?” That is when I knew that while being in one of the freest lands of the world, I had to write something in support of Monireh, her beautiful daughter, Yasaman Aryani, also arrested for fighting to end compulsory hijab, and countless other women trading in their freedom in the hopes to make a better Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, etc. for their girls and their girls’ girls. Please join me in joining Yasmine in being their voice.

Imagine the accomplishments these ambitious and creative women could achieve for humankind if they were free from outrageous persecution and if they had no threat against them for exercising liberties we can and do take for granted in the Western world. If Islamism didn’t put so much pressure against women, the gay community, Israel, free thinkers, etc and the victims of such aggression could freely focus on anything else – imagine what progress on health, the environment and technology could be made.

Lacking the empowerment to choose what to wear on a daily basis is awful and yet it pales in comparison to being branded with mischaracterization, being branded as representing something you rather not represent. The hijab is not neutral. Imagine being forced to wear insignia celebrating your rival sports team whether walking among fans of your favorite team, or their rivals.

Who wants to be forced into wearing something that misrepresents their identity –and misrepresents their worldview? A hijab certainly signals a certain worldview. Sure, many people have varying degrees of understanding of their own faith, regardless of which religion they might adhere to. Not every woman who wears a hijab knows that the god of the Quran is determined to inflict everlasting pain on people who don’t believe in what it says. But, for women born into Muslim families, or forced to convert into Islam, who decidedly don’t believe in what the hijab stands for, must suffer either being an imposter, or being harmed by an Islamic government, family or community in the most extreme of cases, which are too numerous.

Yasmine Mohammed’s Unveiled takes us on her journey to being her authentic self and encourages all to join her in achieving such a goal.

And though I’d like to see civil liberties 365 days a year for every single person in every inch of this planet (a planet eerily enveloped by a hijab as the logo for World Hijab Day) , the tragic reality is that it doesn’t exist and we have a long way to go before it does. Until then, efforts like those of No Hijab Day bring us slightly closer to that reality.

Faith Quintero is the author of Loaded Blessings, a family saga that alternates between Inquisition era Spain and modern-day Israel. It's among the Federalist's top books of 2019 list and a Montaigne Medal finalist for the Eric Hoffer awards. The Montaigne Medal is an additional distinction, awarded to "the most thought-provoking books."













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