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HIJAB in NOT a choice in Saudi Arabia
By Judith A. Klinghoffer (bio)



SINFUL PLEASURES: Risking the wrath of the religious police, a woman in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, loosens her veil to eat an ice cream

“We must all reach out” Ezrinal Azis (author of Heart Stories) recommends quoting Queen Rania sympathetically: 

The hijab is a choice — a woman wears hijab because she believes in it and she has the right to wear it, not because she is forced to.

Hijab should be a choice. There are places where hijab is a choice. But often it is NOT. Not only was a 16 year old girl living in Canada murdered by her father (and/or brother) for not wearing it but there are places where it is mandatory, a Saudi human rights activist reminds us:


In Saudi Arabia (the birth place of Islam and home to its holy shrines) if a woman does not wear Hijab, she incurs humiliation, interrogation, stigmatization and sometimes lashing and prison.The Westerners do not reject Islam because it’s Islam; they resent the faith because of what’s being done in its name and its Shariah laws; such as stoning, oppression of women and religious minorities, incitement and fatwas against noon-Muslims, endless supply of suicide bombers, chopping people’s heads and extremities and lack of tolerance for non-Muslims.

Christian churches, Jewish synagogues, Muslim minorities’ shrines and Buddhist Statues are attacked, demolished and are not allowed in most Muslim societies.

Instead of being defensive and defend what’s obviously wrong, we Muslims must think of revisiting the interpretation of the Quran, the Shariah law and the Hadith and see if Islam has been hijacked by extremists and dictators or is it inherently violent faith as many non-Muslims seem to say and think.

This is our challenge and this is what we should think of doing and in my opinion, the sooner the better.


Ali H. Alyami, Ph. D. (native of Saudi Arabia)

Executive Director, The Center for Democracy and Human Rights in Saudi Arabia

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