To Wear or Not To Wear: Hijabs in the West

Hijab could be seen as the symbol of Muslim women especially in the Western countries. Most of those who cover their hairs with hijabs are proud of their hijabs; on the other hand, there are also quite a few Muslim women who do not wear hijabs. What is good and bad for both options?

First of all, here is the positive side of wear choice. Hijab is often described as the identity of Muslim women. It clearly shows who she is and what she believes; therefore, most of those who wear hijabs are proud of their hijabs. Next, it only defines her face but other parts of her. Think of an eyeliner. It makes women’s eyes highlighted and gets other people’s attention in the eyes and people tend to ignore something else. So Muslims think hijabs can protect women from sexual harassment and crime as the Arabic word “hijab” originally means “protection”.

Negative side is the harassment especially after 9/11. The impression toward Islam and Muslims has been worst, and they often got bullied by other people. Since hijab definitely shows who she is, hijabi women spent hard time right after 9/11.

However, there are even some non-Muslim women who wear hijab. World Hijab Day is the day when non-Muslim women wear hijab to know what Muslim women with hijabs feel in daily life and it has been established after 9/11. Also, even though this kind of case is very rare, there are a few non-Muslim women who decided to wear hijab because they thought hijab is “beautiful” and “cool”.

Secondly, there are some reasons why some Muslim women do not wear hijabs. Its positive side is of course they can easily fit in non-Islam society. You do not have to be afraid of haters’ attacks or insults, and spend normal life like the others. In southern part of the US, this choice is very effective since it is famous for the place of redneck Christians.

The negative side of not-to-wear is that they may get harsh objection from other Muslims because they think wearing hijab is a part of practice of Islam. Indeed, it could be violation against Qur’an, but non-hijabis claim that there are much more important doctrines to follow such as prayer and hajj.

In conclusion, there are various choices about hijab based on many reasons. Fortunately, both sides are confident of their own choice. Moreover, hijab is becoming a part of fashion for some non-Muslim women. After all, wearing hijab is surely the matter of individual feeling.

2 responses to “To Wear or Not To Wear: Hijabs in the West

  1. This article would benefit from a better understanding of the quran, hadiths etc with regard to women, ‘purity’, ‘modesty’, the sharia and ‘conformity’ on the part of the author.
    The hijab has many potential meanings for different people accepted. One of them is an outward sign of conformity to the terms of the sharia. It does not show the world what one believes, but rather the image that one would like to project. You touched upon it but many people wear hijab for a quiet life, to be free from judgement and or threat (of being disowned or of violence) from their family. They also wear it because they have been given it to wear from a young age and it therefore becomes a part of their identity, something familiar, which they feel ‘undressed’ without. From the religion, there are often many ‘lessons’ accompanying this action, which (unfairly) asserts the sexually rapacious nature of men and the impurity/immodesty of women who do not wear it.
    Also the covering of women, including the ‘hijab’ has many analogous traditions. Indeed it was part of many ‘Middle Eastern’ traditions (of which Arab tradition is one) from before Mohammed, but was simply incorporated into his instruction for his followers. Indeed many older generations of women in Europe still cover their heads with shawls and it is also very common in Eastern Europe (Orthodox Christian) cultures. However, as these cultures have tended to orient more towards individual choice and a human rights paradigm of ethics, this has declined somewhat. Not so in those sharia dominated jurisdictions, which include communities in European countries where sharia is promoted and in some cases enforced behind closed doors.

  2. Covering ones head used to be, and in some places still is, customary within churches, not in society at large.

    In principle I do not like comments, as seen here at least partly uninformed, from someone from one culture about adherents of a second culture within a third culture without the commenter at the least saying something about this within their own culture.

    It would be interesting to read what would be the reaction within Japan of muslim immigrants wearing and following a muslim dresscode, given that Japan is one of the most xenophobe cultures of this world.

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