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We're more than what we wear

By Evelyn Yamine

October 27, 2006 12:00

Article from: The Daily Telegraph

THEY are modern working women who have embraced Australian values along with their Islamic faith.

They have chosen not to wear the hijab and have joined the chorus of Australians condemning Sheik Taj el-Dene Elhilaly's comments.

Wajiha Ahmed, Alia Karaman and Semra Batik yesterday expressed their outrage over the mufti's explosives comments about women being a piece of meat.

These three women and other members of the Islamic community have spoken out against the firebrand cleric, saying he doesn't respect them or their views.

Ms Karaman, 26, labelled the mufti's comments "infuriating and offensive" and said it was time he stepped down.

"We need an Islamic leader who is more comfortable and entrenched in Australian customs and has a better understanding of Australian values," the social planner said.

"You don't have to have a beard or wear a scarf to be a good Muslim. What you wear has nothing to do with it and people shouldn't be judged on their appearance," the social planner said.

Ms Ahmed, a lawyer and Pakistani Muslim, said: "It's incredibly offensive as Islam condemns violence against women and there is nothing in any practising Islam country that would promote degradation of women."

Semra Batik, a Turkish Muslim, has never worn the hijab and her four daughters have followed her lead.

"No human being has a right to judge a person by the way they talk, dress or how they live their life and that includes the Sheik," the Auburn councillor said.

"Rape is not acceptable in Islam or any other religion and cannot be attributed to the clothes they wear."

Mrs Batik told The Daily Telegraph the Mufti has degraded all Australian women including Muslim women with his controversial remarks.

"Once again he has proven he is not suitable to represent the high office he holds," she said.



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