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The hijab no longer many women’s choice in North America


Saturday, December 15, 2007


WASHINGTON: Many Muslim families in North America are forcing their daughters to don the hijab against their will, which has led to tragic outcomes, the latest being the murder in a Toronto suburb of 16-year old Aqsa Parvez by her own father.

According to a commentary by Natasha Fatah, broadcast by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), Aqsa Parvez did not want to wear the hijab, “the Middle Eastern head-covering that has become the most significant icon for Islam in the West, which is unfortunate, since 90 per cent of Muslim women in this country don’t wear one … This superficial measurement of ‘Muslim-ness’ has become so prevalent that a small but increasing number of families are pushing it on their daughters. Aqsa, a Pakistani-Canadian, was just one of the victims of this growing obsession. Now that Aqsa is dead, who will speak for her? Who will speak for the countless Muslim girls who lead double lives and who suffer in silence in their homes? Who will make sure they aren’t abused or killed? Most Islamist men and women say that a woman chooses to wear the hijab. But, all too often, that choice is taken away from young Muslim girls, and they are being told by their parents and their imams that if they don’t wear the hijab, they are no longer Muslim, even though the Quran, Islam’s holy book, does not say that a woman has to cover her hair.”

Fatah notes that in downtown Toronto, Montreal, Windsor or other Canadian cities with large Muslim populations, little girls, as young as four, five and six, are seen wearing hijabs on their way to school. Obviously, these little girls did not make a choice to wear the hijab? Common sense indicates that these children did not choose for themselves. “Meanwhile, the mullahs and Islamists are busy dismissing the idea that Aqsa’s alleged murder had anything to do with religion. They are circulating rumours online that she had a black boyfriend, that she was sexually promiscuous, that she was a drug pusher – and these are cited as reasons why her family was strict with her. Why are they so afraid of acknowledging that obsession with a religious ritual may have been a factor? It is because they fear their own culpability in this horrible tragedy. Before their congregations, they tell men to control their daughters, wives and sisters. They have brought into Canadian homes the radical Islamist notion that a man’s honour is encompassed in the sexual and physical body of the women in his family, that’s why they must be covered up and kept inside. Muslim fundamentalists have made a woman’s body the fighting ground for their religious wars, and it is unfortunately women who pay with their lives for the sake of their men’s honour.” Khalid Hasan

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