The millions who live under theocracy

Maajid Nawaz expands on his thoughts about “wear hijab day.”

Simply wearing a headscarf on World Hijab Day falls terribly short of our moral responsibility. It is, after all, being called World Hijab Day. So, it is not only Western Muslim women who must be considered here, but the millions of Muslim women who live under theocracies around the world, for whom World Hijab Day is enforced every single day, and for the rest of their lives.

That’s why I would never in a million years wear any form of hijab.

Did these non-Muslim women—indulging their Orientalist fetish by covering their heads—not stop to consider for one moment that their counterparts in Saudi Arabia, Iran, and under Taliban or ISIS rule also require our solidarity in taking their hijabs off?

It is simply an undeniable fact that most Muslim women attacked around the world for how they dress are attacked by other Islamist and fundamentalist Muslims, not by non-Muslims.

When I suggested this in a tweet, it caused a bit of a Twitter storm, which, sadly, was predictable.

I am a liberal. The headscarf is a choice. Let Muslim women wear bikinis or burqas, liberal societies have no business in legally interfering with the dress choices women make. I have consistently opposed the ban on face veils in France, just as I oppose their enforcement in Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Outside of this legal debate though, and as a reforming liberal Muslim, I reserve the right to question my own communities’ cultural traditions and taboos. And, as a liberal, I reserve the right to question religious-conservative dogma generally, just as most progressives already do with Christianity.

But people jump all over him when he does. I’ve seen some remarkably ugly (and casually made) accusations over the past week.

Why is a woman in a headscarf deemed more modest than one without, and what implication does that have in attitudes toward the “honor” of women who do not cover? Only a racism of low expectations would prevent liberals from asking these questions of my religious-conservative fellow Muslims. No idea is above scrutiny, just as no person should be beneath dignity.

Sounds fair to me.

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