“Hijab gives Muslim women the chance to practice feminism in their own way”

“While both women and men are told to practice modesty, they are also both commanded to “lower their gaze.” That is why the claim that the headscarf’s purpose is to prevent sexual abuse — a popular notion in the culturally backwards part of the Islamic community — is wrong. The person responsible for any act is the person who commits the act. However, when all agents in a community abide by the concept of hijab then what you have is an environment that does in fact prevent such abuses. The problem arises only when culture and patriarchy are given precedence over religion.”

I took a class on Islam and I remember how surprising it was to learn that hijab is a concept applied to both men and women, and I am so sad that I was so surprised. I am sad that I am still so full of very flawed perceptions of Islam and so inundated with narrow images of what it means to be Muslim. I am sad that the idea of saving people from their own culture is still such a major part of the American discourse.

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