Hello everyone it’s Zainab here, welcome or welcome back to the blog! So, this post is going to be a bit more of a serious tone, as I want to write about the mainstream uproar regarding a woman’s right to choose. This was sparked after incidents in Iran to do with Mahsa Amini, but a woman’s right to choose is not restricted to one country. Globally, women are lacking this right and this has been happening for years. So today, I want to look into this situation (sort of using the recent situation in Iran as a case study) and sharing my thoughts. Let’s jump into it!
What Is Happening in Iran?
Incase you are unaware of what has been happening in Iran, it all began on the 16th of September when a woman named Mahsa Amini died while in custody of Iran’s mortality police. The mortality police are Iran’s Islamic religious police (known as guidance patrol) who detained Mahsa for not complying with government hijab (headcovering) standards. The cause of her death while she was arrested is unclear and controversial – some say she had a medical problem while others say she had been a victim of police brutality.
This sparked global protests against Iran’s laws regarding hijab. Many woman have been burning their hijabs or cutting of their hair in solidarity. This has resulted in further lives being lost as security forces tried to combat their protests.
So far, nothing has changed yet.
How Is This Restricting A Woman’s Right To Choose
As I stated previously, the cause of Mahsa’s death is unknown. But, this becomes irrelevant because she shouldn’t have been in their custody anyway, because she had the right to choose how she dressed. And it was not respected.
Of course, I am fully aware that Iran is a theocracy and Islamic state – and a lot of Muslim women see hijab and modestly dressing as compulsory in Islam and choose to practice this anyway. But, not all Muslim women do, and that’s up to them, and it’s completely against Islam to force the hijab or any other practices on anyone. It’s up to the woman herself to decide whether she wants to wear hijab or not.
So, the Iranian government are not only forcing Muslim women, but also force non muslims and people who aren’t their citizens to wear hijab everywhere. Nowadays, people are a lot more respectful, and most people would dress modestly or wear a scarf if they’re going to a mosque or a religious gathering; out of respect. And people do this out of respect for many different practices worldwide. We’ve seen many women do this in the past when visiting Islamic or religious countries out of their own free will.
But forcing women to wear it is wrong, and forcing them to wear it everywhere is even worse. Because, ultimately, it’s a woman’s choice where she wants to wear hijab or not.
The Other Side Of Choice
This entire post is examining choice. We’ve spoken a lot about the right to choose not to wear hijab, but what about the right to choose the hijab? There has been a substantial amount of media attention regarding Iran and other countries that enforce hijab, and rightly so, I fully support this. However, there are countries that ban the hijab – and the women who want to wear it aren’t given enough attention and support.
This is where I urge you to please ask yourself, am I really supporting a woman’s right to choice and freedom, or is this an agenda against Islam and hijab?
One of the countries contributing to this is France. Back in April 2011, France passed a law to ban face veils (such as burqas and niqabs). At the time, this did not include hijabs – until 10 years later in April 2021 the French Senate voted to ban the hijab for girls under the age of 18 and not allow mothers with hijabs to accompany their children on school trips. This was only a bill (proposed law), and honestly I’m not sure if it’s come into effect yet (maybe someone knows and can tell me!) There was not as much media coverage for this, but on social media the phrase #HandsOffMyHijab started widely circulating
India has also contributed, one of their states, Karnataka banned the hijab for students in their classrooms. This created huge controversy, and very recently was taken to court. So far, the decision has been split with no idea on what the final verdict could be (this could change in the next few days).
One of the key things to note, particularly from these 2 countries, is that this ban is affecting the younger generation the most. How can countries deprive women of their right to choose, when we want to be able to assure the next generation that they have this – but now people in our generation can’t? This does so much more than just affecting one generation, it has a knock on effect!
The Overarching Message Of All Of This
I think the key message to take away from all these situations is that every woman deserves the right to choose what they practice, what they believe and what they wear. The most vital part being that choice works both ways. Please remember this! For me, I am stating very clearly that I am against the force and the ban. It’s frustrating to me that countries are doing this – I hope one day we can live in a world where everyone truly has freedom and choice.
If you’ve read all of this, thank you for reading! I know this situation began over a month ago but I really wanted to gather my thoughts and do the right research before writing about this. If you want to have conversations about this, do feel free to comment.
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