Saturday, December 31, 2005

On the British Court of Appeal's grant, to a Muslim schoolgirl, of the right to wear the hijab, in a uniform-wearing school

In March 2005, a Muslim girl was given the right to wear the traditional Muslim dress, the hijab (or, in Bengali, the jibab) in schools that have, up to now, had a school uniform.

This is as unhelpful a decision as the decision was some years ago for Sikh boys to be allowed to wear a turban in school.

Neither is essential to the religions concerned, according to their own texts.

A turban is a traditional sign being "respectable" in traditional Indian society and is worn by people of EVERY religion in India either all the time in public (for example, among landlords) or on appropriate public or ceremonial occasions (e.g. marriage). Sikhism elevated all converts to sikhism to the upper-caste and the turban was the sign of this elevation.

Similarly, the neither the Koran nor the Hadith says anything about wearing the long shapeless robe that was traditional for women in the Arab world and has now become part of the fashion for some religiously-committed Muslims also in other parts of the world.

What Islam is adamant on (and, in my opinion, given the sorts of minds men have, the Islam is quite correctly adamant on this) is that women should be modestly and fully dressed.

That requirement does not have to be met by a jibab. It can be met as fully with a school uniform as it can by a salwar kameez (traditional dress among Muslims and NON-Muslims in Pakistan, North India and areas of the world influenced by fashions there).

The requirement can also be met by long Western dresses.

By contrast, there are now some highly expensive and fashionable long Arabian dresses, that are supposed to be hijabs, that can be quite as sexually-provocative as any short Western dress.

The ignorance of Cherie Blair in representing this case is only topped by the unbelievable ignorance of the British Appeal Court.

We will next be told that all sorts of other totally non-Islamic things are also "fundamental" to practicing Islam.

These kinds of decisions do nothing to bring the law into respect with most British people today, whether they be Asians or others.

So this is now the end of the school uniform, which has been the single greatest leveller of class in the UK.

We will now have materialists who will no doubt claim that it is part of their fundamental right to practice their religion to wear diamond-encrusted clothes and accoutrements to school – leaving those students who can't afford these, or whose parents on principle object to such displays of wealth, feeling like second-class citizens.

Shame on the Labour Party for further accentuating such nonsensical divisions within schools.

This "victory" for Islam is a classic case of winning on something superficial, while losing thereby something equally valuable and much more important: equality in schools.

In Western societies, Muslims ought to focus on decreasing, not increasing, class differences.

In British society (unlike most Islamic societies), the girl concerned certainly has the right to wear whatever she wants outside school, and she would of course continue to have the right to wear whatever she likes after she finishes school.

There are much bigger and more important battles for Islam to fight. In so-called "Islamic" societies, Muslims need to focus their energies on working towards freedom of religion, as freedom of thought is the fundamental building block of personal happiness, social well-being and economic prosperity - and all of these are at risk in all so-called "Islamic" societies today.

ENDS Sphere: Related Content


indscribe said...

Dear Prabhu bhai
You have put your point nicely. I agree to what you say. But then so many religions, so many such issues. Like in India only Sikhs can carry large kirpans.
Take care
Khuda Hafiz

Prabhu Guptara said...

Dear Adnan Bhai

You are right. But the large number of issues should encourage us to use our minds to think through at least a certain number of them.

Some Sikhs do carry large kirpans (swords). Others carry real or even symbolic daggers quite inconspicuously. However neither the real daggers nor the large swords protected the Sikh community when politically-inspired (almost exclusively Hindu) mobs attacked and murdered thousands of innocent Sikhs in the aftermath of the assassination of Mrs Indira Gandhi. (Hindu mobs also have a shameful record of attacking Muslims, Christians and others - and this has little to do with religion, almost everything to do with the economics of seizing the property of others, political power, and other even less mentionable motivations). Shamefully, such incidents go almost entirely unaddressed in terms of law, justice and compensation, in our societies.

On the other hand, sikh hordes have unlawfully occupied large parts of Eastern Uttar Pradesh!

So no community is free of blame, just as no individual is entirely innocent.

It is best for all individuals and communities to have a little bit of critical self-examination and acknowledgement of where we go wrong on the basis of the standards that God gives all of us even if we don't like HIM or His standards, and we can also make efforts to put ourselves right with the help of the power God is willing to give all of us, specially if we are willing to turn to Him.

Khuda Hafiz