It’s World Hijab Day: Celebrate oppression!

Today, February 1, is World Hijab Day.  Ironically, the date coincides with the day in 1979 when Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini returned to Tehran and became the country’s Supreme Leader, helping turn Iran into a theocracy.

Part of the theocratic change involved laws forcing women to wear the hijab. The women of Iran didn’t like that. They took to the streets, demonstrating against the regulation, but it was to no avail. Now women in Iran are being jailed, even for years, for simply removing their hijab in public (see my posts here and here, and the collection here). It’s not optional, but mandatory, and it might as well be mandatory in Afghanistan, where social pressure and the morality police mean that virtually every woman covers their head.

In other places where hijab isn’t mandatory, social pressure and parental and peer pressure mean that even young girls are forced to wear it, and the notion that it’s always a woman’s “free choice” is ludicrous. When someone tells you that wearing a hijab is “their choice”, it behooves you to take that with a grain of salt until you know about their upbringing.

We all know about the origin of the hijab. Although it’s not specifically mandated in the Qur’an, covering the head (and often other parts of a woman’s body) is a religiously-inspired dictate designed to keep men—seen as giant, slavering testicles—from attacking women if they glimpse a head of hair or a bare arm. The headscarf for Muslims is (and I don’t often use this word) patriarchal, reflecting a sexist view that men cannot control themselves and, worse, that the onus is on women to stifle this uncontrollable lust of men. In the meantime, men can dress pretty much as they want.

When I’m in overseas airports I often see Middle Eastern men dressed in Western clothing, with a covered woman (often in burqa) pushing a baby carriage and trotting along behind. It’s the very symbol of women’s oppression, for really, how many women would dress like that if they weren’t compelled by law or custom? We already know the answer: almost none, for women in Iran before 1979 were rarely veiled.

Nevertheless, Western Control Leftists, and, worse, left-wing feminists, celebrate hijabis, seeing them as oppressed minorities, for the hijab is a symbol of Islam, and Muslims are considered people of color. It’s ironic, though, that the very garment that marks these women as oppressed minorities is itself a sign of oppression. Such is the hypocrisy of the Authoritarian Left.

My own view, which I’ve repeated ad nauseam, is that of course women should be able to wear a hijab if they wish, but should never be compelled to do so—not by their government, not by their parents, and not by their peers. Further, I don’t think there should be any laws in the West banning it, or banning any other Muslim garment unless uncovering is required by society in some circumstances (e.g., courts, banks, and the like). Finally, I agree with the take of Alishba Zaremeen, an ex-Muslim activist and feminist (she’s also married to Muslim apostate Ali Rizvi):

So it’s ironic that Khomeini Arrival Day coincides with World Hijab Day, described by its advocates at the official website (click on screenshot below):

Note that it touts “unity”, though of course the hijab is divisive, and the hashtag #EmpoweredInHijab is ludicrous—pure Orwellian doublethink. I see no reason to celebrate a garment designed as a tool of women’s oppression, even if some women wear it “voluntarily”.

It becomes a bit more ironic when you realize that, just last month, Iran’s only female Olympic medalist, Kimia Alizdeh, defected to Europe because she couldn’t take Iranian oppression any longer.  The bronze medalist in taekwondo issued a long statement on Instagram that refers to the hijab; here’s part of it:

How do I start? With a hello, a goodbye or to offer my condolences? Hello to the oppressed people of Iran, goodbye to the noble people of Iran, and my condolences to the perpetually mourning people of Iran. How well do you know me? Have you only seen me in sports matches, on television, or in the presence of government leaders?

Allow me to now freely and without censorship introduce myself.  They will say after this I will amount to nothing. I myself believe that even before this I was nothing. I am Kimia Alizadeh; I am not a historian nor a champion nor a flag-bearing representative of Iran. I am one of millions of oppressed Iranian women who has been a pawn of the regime for years.

They have taken me wherever they have wanted. They dictated the way I should dress and every sentence that they asked me to say, I repeated. At any time they wanted, they paraded me around. They even sacrificed my medals and victories for their oppressive dress code and hijab. I was not important to them. None of us were. We were just tools.

Further, several sources (e.g., here) reveal that Iranian chess grandmaster Mitra Hejazipour was fired by the Iranian team, also in January, because she took off her hijab when playing in Moscow. Apparently if you’re representing Iran anywhere, you have to keep covered. Again, she spoke out against the hijab:

The Iranian female chess grandmaster Mitra Hejazipour who was sacked from the national team for boldly removing her headscarf (hijab) during the World Rapid & Blitz Chess Championship in Moscow, has said that hijab is “limitation” not “protection” as official regime propaganda claims.

In an Instagram post on January 28, the 27-year old grandmaster said the hijab is a clear symbol of an ideology in which women are “the second sex”. “It creates many limitations for women and deprives them of their basic rights. Is this protection? I say definitely not, it is solely and merely a limitation,” she wrote.

Hejazipour who says she was bullied by a relative at the age of six to wear a headscarf, even at home, now insists after years of wearing the hijab at all times and being “an example to others”, she has decided “not to have a share in this horrendous lie and not to play the game of ‘We love the hijab and have no problem with it’ anymore”.

That’s really empowering, isn’t it? I doubt that Hejazipour will be going back to Iran after saying something like that, but I can’t find any information about where she is. If she’s in Iran, it’s likely she’s in jail. (Readers are welcome to find her.)

A final irony: The Swedish edition of Elle magazine, in conjunction with L’Oréal Paris, voted a hijabi, Imane Asry, as having the “look of the year”. Although she wears tons of makeup, which will surely make men go wild and commit unspeakable acts that overcome the purpose of her headscarf (see below), Asry touts her wearing of “modest fashion” in the interview (translated by Google from the Swedish):

Big and warm congratulations! How does it feel?  

– It means so much to me, as a little I dared not dream of anything nearby. I was absolutely convinced that someone who looked like I could not be awarded such an award. In addition, being a visible Muslim woman has an influence in fashion Sweden feels almost unreal! It makes me so happy to see such changes in an otherwise very superficial and homogeneous industry.

You have been voted in tough competition by several other cool women, what do you think made you win?

– I think my style reaches out and inspires so many, not just Muslim women. But also that many can identify with my work. This is a confirmation that it is more than time for us to start normalizing the hijab in the fashion industry. Fashion is for everyone.

Describe your style! 

– Scandi-modest-chic. . . .

. . . .What is modest fashion, for those unfamiliar with the concept?

– It is a term for fashion that includes less tight clothing, very common among Muslim women (including men) who want to dress in a way that meets their spiritual and stylistic requirements because of religious beliefs or personal preferences.

Her makeup, laid on with a trowel, isn’t very modest, but so be it. We don’t know whether Asry was ever compelled to wear hijab, but voting this the “look of the year” is clearly approbation of the hijab. The irony becomes thicker if you accept the report of the Gatestone Institute (yes, it’s conservative, but you can check the statements for yourself) that even in Sweden, wearing the hijab is not always a voluntary choice for women (or let me rephrase that since I’m a determinist: women are often compelled by their families and peers to wear the hijab). Their report:

As previously reported by Gatestone Institute, a 2018 study commissioned by the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency and written by researchers at the Centre for Societal Security (CTSS) at the Swedish Defence University, showed that radical Islam had spread to several Swedish cities and that this meant that in some areas, “There are parents…who put veils on their three-year-olds”. The authors of the study also mentioned that schools and other local authorities did not know how to deal with the challenges created by the radical Islamists.

One example was when a Muslim schoolgirl wanted to take off her headscarf to play hairdresser with the other children, the Swedish school staff did not allow it out of respect for her parents’ wishes. In an example from a Swedish preschool, a little girl did not want to wear her headscarf but the Swedish personnel forced it on her, “even though it felt wrong”, because it was the parents’ wish.

These are not the only examples of Swedish teachers appearing unbothered by considerations about little girls’ rights not to have the hijab forced upon them. In the city of Skurup, municipal authorities recently prohibited wearing of headscarves in the city’s schools. At one school, Prästmosseskolan, six female non-Muslim teachers wore hijabs to protest the decision. The headmaster said that he would never make a student remove their veil; that he considered the decision discriminatory and in contravention of the Swedish constitution, which guarantees freedom of religion. Around 250 Muslims demonstrated against the decision to ban the veil. “The ban is about taking Muslim women’s rights to their bodies away and removing their democratic rights and choices. It is a racist policy”, said Tasnim Raoof, chairman of the organization Malmö’s Young Muslims.

Swedes have always been eager to glorify the hijab; see for example my post from 2017: “‘Feminist government’ of Sweden dons hijabs and body-covering coats in Iran.”

The upshot: Knowing what the hijab means and how it originated, the idea of glorifying the headscarf, celebrating a Hijab Day, and “normalizing” the garment as “empowering” by the media, is something that makes me ill. But I also feel that women should be able to wear one if they’re not compelled to, that there should be no laws in the West against wearing one, and that nobody should discriminate against a woman because she’s wearing one. But let’s not glorify the equivalent of a ball and chain worn on the head.

I give the final word to Iranian activist and journalist Masih Alinejad, who founded the My Stealthy Freedom campaign that supports women in Iran who want to remove their hijabs. She’s sort of a hero of mine, as is Ayaan Hirsi Ali, but of course both of these women have been either ignored or demonized by the Left because they’re considered “Islamophobic.” They should be heroes to all feminists, for they were in fact Muslims and are now tireless campaigners against Islam’s oppression of women. As I wrote when I posted this before:

This is a brave and heartfelt plea, and at 8:20 Alinejad waxes particularly eloquent, calling European female politicians “hypocrites” for bowing to hijab laws. At least listen to the last minute, and if you like that video, watch this one on the My Stealthy Freedom campaign.

h/t: Malgorzata

39 Comments

  1. yazikus
    Posted February 1, 2020 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    Well said.
    As for ‘modesty’ – my current personal rules are as follows:
    Is the attire appropriate for the activity at hand?
    Is the attire weather appropriate?
    Fin.

  2. Posted February 1, 2020 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    Why not have a “World FGM Day” as well?

    • pablo
      Posted February 1, 2020 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

      I’ve heard it’s liberating and empowering!

    • Posted February 1, 2020 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

      Just thinking about it makes my “giant, slavering testicles” shrivel into insignificance.

  3. GBJames
    Posted February 1, 2020 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    sub

  4. Posted February 1, 2020 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    A feisty member of those Russian feminists, Pussy-Riot, said that behind every woman wearing a hijab, is a bearded man with a
    Knife. I once taught Iranian women wearing hijabs, but it was inappropriate to bring it up in conversation, so I just listened. They did say that the looked forward to going home and taking it off.
    The ongoing oppression of women is one of the miseries of our age… and let us not forget those Human Rights workers thrown into Saudi Jails… In particular, Loujain al Hathlool… All subject to electric shocks, and minor sexual humiliations…. We think of you women
    Every day.
    It baffles me why Saudi Arabia would voluntarity project such a nasty, vulgar face to the world….

  5. Posted February 1, 2020 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    Thank you, Jerry, for speaking out against this “liberation.” I don’t get it. I just don’t get it.

  6. yazikus
    Posted February 1, 2020 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    I should note, I have quite a few hijabi friends. Hijabi, that is, while in their home countries of Oman, Brunei and the like. As soon as they travel, off come the scarves.

  7. Curtis
    Posted February 1, 2020 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    I don’t mind a hijab that is just a scarf. The more it covers, the less I like it.

    In general, I am for allowing people to wear what they like but not burqas. They turn woman from individuals to a nameless, generic “woman” and I think wearing one is a act of oppression. I understand that the US government cannot ban it but I think all employers could and should have a rule saying that a person’s face should be visible.

  8. FB
    Posted February 1, 2020 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    Isn’t makeup for women un-islamic? What’s more disrespectful of the Prophet: Kimia Alizdeh without the hijab, or the hijabi winner of the “look of the year”, wearing a ton of makeup, saying “fashion is for everyone”? I vote the latter.

    • pablo
      Posted February 1, 2020 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

      The prophet himself wore eyeshadow. It’s called kohl. Of course that doesn’t mean that women can wear it without getting their head chopped off. Islam has so many rules.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted February 1, 2020 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

      Yes, make-up is also against the rules if you apply them strictly. I’ve written about this and also World Hijab Day at length.

      Even not wearing socks is bad. Presumably the writers of that part of the Qur’an (let’s not pretend it was Muhammad) was feeling guilty about his foot fetish.

    • XCellKen
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 12:20 am | Permalink

      About a year or so ago, I saw two women in burkas exiting a Victoria’s Secret store here in Houston, bags in tow !!!

  9. Mark R.
    Posted February 1, 2020 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    Now if a muslim woman in Iran shaved her head, could she go without a hijab? Maybe that would be a good way to protest. Just think if all the women in Iran shaved their heads and threw out the hijab; might make the men think.

    • phar84
      Posted February 1, 2020 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

      To shave their hairs is a western freedom which they don’t have, their societies will not allow it either.

      • mike cracraft
        Posted February 1, 2020 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

        And even if they did, the sight of a naked female head would surely cause men to explode in an out-of-control, unholy lust.

      • Mark R.
        Posted February 1, 2020 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

        I didn’t know that, thanks for the info. But if the entire country’s women shaved their heads, what could the patriarchs do? Imprison half the country? Islam sucks.

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted February 24, 2020 at 8:16 am | Permalink

      Excellent question!

  10. Debra Coplan
    Posted February 1, 2020 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    I can’t thank you enough for this post.

    • Claudia Baker
      Posted February 1, 2020 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

      +1

  11. simonchicago
    Posted February 1, 2020 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    It is

    ad nauseam

    Nauseum seems “more Latin” but it is a typo. The noun is nauseA (1st declination) and the ending is AM for singular dative (indirect object, an argument “to make you nauseous”)

  12. RPGNo1
    Posted February 1, 2020 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    I wonder. Would the regressive left also celebrate the female dress code from “The Handmade’s Tale” as liberation or progress if it were introduced by a patriachal government?

  13. Posted February 1, 2020 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    On banning the hijab.
    “It is a racist policy”, said Tasnim Raoof”…
    no, its an anti women suppression, anti theocracy policy, as it doesn’t matter what country, skin colour, as long as wearing a hijab is not a choice.
    Nothing to do with race.
    Of course, banning anything is problematic, if you are fully indoctrinated in hijab use, then nothing will change until some seismic shift in the values of the wearer or the culture that exerts it’s use.

    • Deodand
      Posted February 1, 2020 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

      The problem is that the ‘Woke’ seem to believe that culture (or in this case religion) has a genetic basis.

  14. Posted February 1, 2020 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    I used to work in retail in New York, and some years ago I was ringing out some customers when some of my coworkers told me excitedly that they had just helped some princesses. When I asked the customer I was helping for ID (she was using a credit card) I realised she was a princess as well. I then also noted she was a Saudi Arabian princess, and that she and the other dozen or so princesses shopping with her were not wearing any type of covering at all. They were all dressed like any other western woman and had no problem talking to a man. This led me to the obvious conclusion that in their home country they really don’t have a choice. But I guess when you’re a princess you get more freedom when travelling.

  15. Heather Hastie
    Posted February 1, 2020 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

    I wrote about World Hijab Day on the third one ever. It only began in 2013. I’m not sure when Masih Alinejad began her campaign, but I’ve often wondered whether World Hijab Day was begun in opposition to the work she’s doing.
    https://www.heatherhastie.com/world-hijab-day-1-february-2015/

    In 1958, Muslim leaders were mocking the idea of compulsory hijab:

    In case you’re interested, here’s a post I did regarding the rules women are supposed to follow regarding Islamic dress:
    https://www.heatherhastie.com/islam-and-womens-clothing/

  16. Posted February 1, 2020 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    Some stares have laws against appearing in public with face covered/wearing a mask. Laws were passed to stop the KKK from covering their faces with sheets. The laws are still on the books and enforced. Except for Halloween.

  17. rickflick
    Posted February 1, 2020 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

    Yuck! The far left and some feminists seem to be tone deaf on the issue. The far left must be sent somewhere for reeducation.

    • Deodand
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 7:39 am | Permalink

      Not so much re-education as ‘Extreme Remedial Training’…

      • rickflick
        Posted February 2, 2020 at 8:34 am | Permalink

        I’ll start writing the syllabus while you begin herding them up.

    • Roo
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      While in general I take issue with many aspects of the Woke Left, I do think there are multiple ‘tones’ surrounding the hijab depending on where you live. I do contract work so I’m often in and out of many different places – in the past few years I’ve noticed more (a small number, but still more) of my coworkers in those settings wear a hijab or even chador. I’m human and, like everyone, of course my first instinct is to want to support the people I know. In that context, women saying they want to be able to wear a hijab without prejudice, negative assumptions, or limited opportunities – the way a Sikh man should be able to wear a turban – is understandable. They are in a free country with a law enforcement system that supports them if they choose to go against family expectations and not wear it. Yes, there may be social pressure, but the same could be said of any religious garment. I understand their wish for people not to subconsciously discriminate against them due to what they’re wearing, and exposure is a big part of that. The context surrounding the hijab in a place like Iran (and, on the other end of the spectrum, where Muslims are reportedly rounded up into reeducation camps, China,) is very very different. I have thought about it and don’t have a good way to resolve those contradictions. I do wish that, if there is going to be a hijab day, there would at least be an acknowledgement of the very important role of choice there (perhaps there is and I haven’t seen it, but this is not my understanding of the day.) If something about “freely chosen, never imposed” were in the byline somewhere, for example.

      • rickflick
        Posted February 2, 2020 at 11:15 am | Permalink

        “Yes, there may be social pressure, but the same could be said of any religious garment”. True, but I can’t think of any other religious garment that is such an oppressive symbol.

  18. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted February 2, 2020 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    Swedes have always been eager to glorify the hijab

    As a rule, no, you shouldn’t lump (“colorify”?) nationalities – and the example you gave raised severe criticism among Swedes as was described in the link.

    I vill not read the report as of now, but its author Magnus Ranstorp has good merits and his general take has been that Sweden is unprepared for, and ignorant of, handling authoritarian movements [ https://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnus_Ranstorp ].

    There are added problems in remaining special pleading for religion in Swedish and EU law, which both implicitly allow for religious clothing in schools – though burka is prohibited [ https://www.skolverket.se/regelverk/juridisk-vagledning/elever-med-heltackande-sloja-i-skolan-1.165928 ]. “Why can’t we all get along” has been the guiding star I guess.

    By the way, we seem to have problems with Control Leftists as well:

    I do not know this at all, I was told that I was excluded through media. I honestly do not know why the struggle for all women’s equal value is so sensitive to the Left Party. They are anxious to talk about veil on children and anxious to talk about Islam.

    When asked what she has plans for in the future, Kakabaveh says:

    – I will fight for women’s rights and fight Islamic fundamentalism and racism. This is the decision of the leadership, but not the members of the Left Party. Most who support me are angry.

    [ https://www.expressen.se/nyheter/vansterpartiet-utesluter-amineh-kakabaveh/ ; through google translate and light editing.]

  19. RPGNo1
    Posted February 2, 2020 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    “A schoolgirl from Hamburg will be allowed to take part in fully veiled lessons at a vocational school from Monday onwards. This was decided by the Hamburg Administrative Court in a summary proceeding. The city of Hamburg now wants to take action against it and has appealed the decision to the Higher Administrative Court. School senator Ties Rabe (SPD) announced on Sunday that he would change the school law if necessary to enforce a ban.”

    Translated with http://www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

    https://www.spiegel.de/panorama/hamburg-16-jaehrige-darf-vollverschleiert-mit-nikab-zur-schule-a-76761cf0-5d07-4b5b-b106-8ad9f99a6ef3

  20. Stephen Wilson
    Posted February 2, 2020 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    The hypocrisy in the Muslim world is just face-palming. Two personal experiences:

    1) Temporary assignment to the US Embassy, Muscat, Oman. Had diplomatic passport so, as occasionally occurred, was bumped to 1st class. On inbound flight, aisle seat opposite mine was an Arab man in traditional dress, sloppy drunk, with another bottle of Johnnie Walker Red in hand. Just before landing at Dubai or Bahrain (I forget which), he goes back to coach and comes back with a toddler girl. He said, wink, wink, the wife and kids were in coach. Puts the JW in his pocket and puts the girl astride it on his hip. Winks again and says, “For customs!”

    2)In Oman, alcohol is for sale but must have an MD certify you an alcoholic to buy it, and, surprise, there were a damned lot of them! With that in mind, asked expats if there was anything like a pub in town. Was told about the “Diplomatic Club” at the airport. As dip passport holder, I thought it for expats/diplomats. Was not a pub but a lounge. Just before I was kicked out (not really for diplomats, apparently), saw multiple men in traditional dress, all drinking, each with a much younger European airline stewardess (still in uniform) under arm (Rumor was that the ladies could get US $1500+ for their “company.”)

    The Muslim world is an area I never want to go to again!

  21. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted February 24, 2020 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    You know what we need?

    World No Hijab Day

    We will point to particular people who are enormously successful despite the absence of a hijab in a representative photo. So :

    Simone Biles
    Ada Lovelace
    Marie Curie
    Abdus Salam
    Reza Aslan

    … and so on and so forth. This will illustrate something in the way that World Hijab Day doesn’t.

    • rickflick
      Posted February 24, 2020 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

      Reza Aslan?

      • ThyroidPlanet
        Posted February 24, 2020 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

        Sure – his writing is successful in a number of ways, I think. Useful, one might say.


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