Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Blame it on the Burqa/This is why I mod

In an era saturated with a love of the symbolic, the burqa has to be one of the most potent, a signifier for female subjugation (by Muslims) in shapeless black fabric.

Never mind that fabric has no powers, oppression is carried out by humans who are usually men.

Still on many feminist blogs and discussion groups, when female discrimination is brought up, there will often be a few remarks about burqas and the poor Muslim women.

This needles me on numerous levels.

On a personal level, I consider myself a feminist. Always have done, insha Allah always will. I have no problem whatsoever reconciling that with my faith. I know I'm not the only Muslim women to feel like this. Disparaging remarks about Islam, shut us out of the conversation. Speak to us, not about us, you might be surprised by what we have to say.

Then there is the matter of people insulting something they know very little about. Have they met or spoken to any Muslim women. You can talk about subjugation under the veil, but have you spoken to anyone wearing it? Ayan Ali Hersi does not count.

Finally and most disturbingly, is the issue of racism. It can be called orientalism, but that academic term often seems to dress up the ugly reality. When there is talk about suffering Muslim women, a frequent theory is: Muslim women are so oppressed, because Muslim men are so brutal. Cue the stereotypes: variations on the theme of the "Barbarous Arab".
Mixed with a White Saviour Complex, this is a heady intoxicant.


I am back to moderating comments. It's an easier way of keeping an eye on things. I don't mind personal insults, but the thought of something anti-Islamic lingering on my blog upsets me.

The best thing about it is, you can delete the comments from your blog but still have a record of them in your email inbox. Great!

Here is an especially asinine one from a notorious troll. It does, however, serve to sum up the thought processes described above.

So you like your rags and not waxing now!
Screw you and hopefully a Muslim man beats you as he's allowed!
Screw Muslims and all their followers!

So Mr Troll, here is my response:

1)Actually it a recommended act for both male and female Muslims to keep body hair neatly trimmed. It is much more hygienic.

2)I think this says more about you and what thoughts you have inside your head then it does about me. Anyway, since you are interested in Islamic marriages, here's another link for you.

3)Hmm, you are rather fond of that verb, aren't you? There is a mistake in this line. You see, Muslims don't have followers, we are followers of Islam.

I am convinced now that you didn't mean to write that comment. No one could possibly be that banal on purpose. I think you meant to write something like this:

So do you like wearing hijab?

To which I would respond, why, yes I do. Aside from the religious reasons, I always used to have bad hair days and it keeps my ears warm in winter. A sister once described hijab as "a hug for your head". I like that description.

Mr Outlines sounds nice, I hope you have many happy years together.

Yes I am rather fond of him, alhamdulilah. Thank you for your wishes,insha Allah this will happen.

Peace to all the Muslims, Peace to Everyone!

Thank you and the same to you.

See, it's so much nicer to be nice!


iMuslim said...

Your rehashing of Mr Troll's comment clearly shows how so much can get "lost in translation". :)

I always thought feminism was about a woman's right to choose. So if a woman chooses to obey Allah by covering, then that choice should be respected by feminists. Alamdulillah, she is exercising her God-given rights!

iMuslim said...

Your rehashing of Mr Troll's comment clearly shows how so much can get "lost in translation". :)

I always thought feminism was about a woman's right to choose. So if a woman chooses to obey Allah by covering, then that choice should be respected by feminists. Alamdulillah, she is exercising her God-given rights!

Anonymous said...

I got mad love for Islamic Feminism. I used to have a shirt from hijabman that said "This is what a radical Muslim Feminist looks like", but I kinda felt like it was a bit heavy handed for a brother to wear it. And these days I mostly wear suits, slacks, etc anyway. On a casual day I look like Smiths-era Morrisey. Anyway, props for staying true to yourself. Your husband is a lucky brother, if you don't mind me saying so.


Alina Popescu said...

I think people blaming it all on the hijab are only considering their own fears and won't-dos. I would never ever wear that, I would never have someone tell me how to dress. True as this might be of someone, it does not mean someone else accepting it is oppressed.

Can these women you fear for vote, go to school, have a choice when it comes to themselves. Do they want to? These are the real questions, I think.

Safiya said...

Salaam Alaikum

iMuslim: My sentiments exactly!

Dave: Whenever I hear the phrase "Mad Love" I always think of that CSS song "Let's Make Love...". My litle sister and I used ring each other up just to say random lines form that song to each other, we loved it so much.

Aside from that, thank for your nice comments. I wish you and your future wife every happiness, insha Allah.

Alina: Very good perspective. I guess there is just too much fixation on trivial matters.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't be surprised if that troll had a very low I.Q

Mona said...

Great post, I just found your blog, I love it! Islam and Feminism go hand in hand if you ask me.

Organic-Muslimah said...

Trolls are nobodies.

Zeynab said...

HAHAHA! There you go! Hilarious!

Anyway, I agree with you. Why is it everyone things that feminism & Islam mix like oil & water? SO irritating to those of us who identify as Islamic (or Muslim) feminists.

And anonymous, why would it be heavy-handed for a brother to wear "This is what a radical Muslim feminist looks like"? I think that Hijabman's intent is to shake up the idea that only women (Muslim women, at that) can be Islamic feminists.

Zeynab said...

Oh, also, I have to point out that "racism" can't completely apply to Islamophobia or Orientalism because not all Muslims are one race (as I'm sure you're aware). It's not a racist issue if a white non-Muslim starts hating on a white Muslim

Ali la Loca said...

I'm sorry you are still getting this kind of hate mail, Safiya. But I must say, you deal with it quite well!

As for the topic of women in Islam, anytime I am asked my opinion on this subject, I honestly say that I don't feel I can answer because I am not a Muslim woman and I don't have enough knowledge or experience to say something that isn't simply parroting another's opinion.

foreverloyal said...

It's been awhile since I came by, love the post. I had a similar troll experience.
Honestly, it's just boring.

Anonymous said...

Allhamdilillah stay strong on your deen sis. It is becoming harder to stick to our beautiful religion while there is so much corruption spread, and corrupted minds in this world such as that idiot. But Alhamdulillah nowadays, I am seeing more and more young bearded bros and sisters wearing hijab. Makes me so happy :)

Oh and hug for the head lol I love that. Muslim woman are the most strongest, beautiful of ALLah (swt)'s creation.

"My wife is like a beautiful diamond. Would you leave a precious diamond to get scratched or stolen in the street? No, you would wrap it in velvet. And that is how the hijab protects my wife, who is more precious to me than any jewel."