New Age Islam
Thu Jul 18 2024, 11:01 AM

Islam, Women and Feminism ( 22 Apr 2011, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Comment | Comment

Women’s Dress and Temptation

By James Paul

If a Muslim woman is prevented from wearing niqab or burqa in public in France or any Western country, that is a violation of her religious, and therefore, human rights.

If a non-Muslim woman is forced to wear a veil or abaya in a Muslim country, no violation of her religious injunctions is involved because nowhere is it said in a Hindu, Buddhist or Christian scripture that a woman should not wear veil or abaya. So Muslims are as justified in demanding that their women be allowed to wear burqa or purdah in a Western country as they are in enforcing Islamic dress code on non-Muslim women in a Muslim country.

Should not one respect the laws of the land where he/she lives? Here again Muslims can and do demand exemption. Yes, one should respect the laws of the land provided it does not go against one’s religious teachings.

But let me ask a simple question: Muslims demand that their women wear a dress that does not reveal their face or beauty. This, they argue, is beneficial for both sexes. Niqab or purdha saves Muslim women from the lustful eyes of potential rapists. But women are not the only beneficiaries. Men are saved from temptation and possible sin.

Let us ignore the fact that only a very limited number of Muslim women in France (fewer than 2,000) wear niqab — one reason why even moderate Muslims object to the French ban. But in a Western country nearly all white women wear revealing clothes or that is the impression created by many of the letters appearing in these columns. Some are scantily clad. Some go in bikinis. Many Muslims find even the sari worn by Indian women provocative. Don’t these white women attract men including Muslim men leading them into temptation? Of course, Muslims can’t demand that Western/Indian women dress in a way they find appropriate and modest. So what is the solution? How are Muslim men going to solve this problem — by having their eyes shut while they are on the streets and in shopping malls and other public places?

There is a simple solution. Leave the Western countries, go back to the country of your origin or settle down in another Muslim country where you will not face any dress restrictions or temptations. But if you suggest this, you would invite charges of racism and Islamophobia.

Source: Arab News