Thursday, 12 April 2012

The wind and the sun

I read this article from Al Jazeera: Europe's failure to integrate muslims a few weeks back and found it really interesting.

My first thoughts after reading it were 'Thank God I'm British'- not because Britain's the home of peace and love and is a magical land where racism/stigmatisation/ignorance is non-existent (the BNP and EDL can vouch for that), but Britain is tolerant, for the most part anyway...

So this article basically talks about Frances passing of the Assemblee Nationale bill which is basically about reducing Islam's visibility within ethnic minorities across Europe, e.g. the anti-bruqa law passed in the Netherlands, headscarf restrictions in France and the German supreme court banning Muslim prayer in public schools.

I think one of the problems preventing Muslims from integrating into society is everyones fear of  talking about things like the burqa, hijab, halal, haraam etc. and there's a lot of misconceptions, misunderstandings and misrepresentations about Islam and it's beliefs.

So, I thought I would try and clarify and explain a few things about Islamic teachings and practising's, cuz I read a lot of weird and crazy stories about supposed muslim teachings and blah blah.

So first things first, lets address this issue of Jihad, terrorism and Islamic extremists. 

Ok, so Jihad basically means 'struggle' in Arabic.  Jihad can be subcategorised into the terms 'Greater Jihad' and 'Lesser Jihad'.  Greater Jihad refers to a persons everyday, internal struggle against temptations that may prevent a person practising their faith as they should (like the devil whispering naughty, tempting things into your ear like 'eat that bucket of doesn't matter if it's not halal etc.).  Lesser Jihad refers to a Holy War, or a struggle where Islam is being defended.

Now if you hear practising muslims talking about jihad, they will be referring to 'greater jihad', but most of the western media use the term jihad in reference to something about bombings and what not.  Most muslims will slap the palm of their hand in their face when hearing how the term Jihad is used, or mis-used, most of the time.  

So that's the distinction between the two Jihad's.

Now a lot of terrorists throw the word Jihad about to justify their actions and the stupid things they do.

Firstly, there's something you must know.  These so called 'muslims' who go around bombing buildings full of innocent people and buses/cars/whatever else is bomb-able, are like the hill billy's of the muslim world (sorry hill billy's, but references about you in american TV has led me to believe you are an embarrassing and weird bunch of peeps).  Don't let these stupid people tarnish your view on  the rest of us REAL muslims with enough sense to practice our faith correctly:

"On that account: We ordained for the Children of Israel that if any one slew a person it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people. Then although there came to them Our apostles with clear signs, yet, even after that, many of them continued to commit excesses in the land.  (The Noble Quran, 5:32)"

I could go on about this all day, but hopefully you'll get the message from that!

Then there's this big deal about burqa banning and hijab prohibitions in certain public places in countries like France, Denmark and the Netherlands etc.  
Now I think there's a tremendous irony in this ban, but before I talk about that, let me just define the difference between the different veils:

  In Islam, it's compulsory for a woman to wear a headscarf or Hijab.  Hijab's must be worn in front of men you are not related to, so basically, anyone who you can marry, so it does not have to be worn in front of the men of your family.
To explain it simply, the purpose of a Hijab is to stop ladies being checked out by guys! I could've worded it better by saying it's designed to protect a girls modesty, but basically, that's the reason, and only so that a woman will be judged on her personality, abilities and knowledge, as opposed to having physical appearance influence someones judgement of you.
(and when I say judge, I don't mean mean it like they have the right to tell you how and how not to live your life, but their opinions on you.  To quote one Tupac Shakur-'Only God can judge me')

I'm very aware at how cliché this sounds, but the idea of hijab is to tone down your outer beauty so your inner beauty can shine!
Sorry, cheesiness over now. 

Boy's, don't get your nose pierced.

So Hijab is compulsory, but niqaab and burka is not obligatory for muslim women to wear, that's optional.  Now I wear a hijab, but I don't, and don't think I ever will wear a niqaab or burka, simply because I don't think it's necessary.  And it would be a crime against humanity to hide this beautiful face *bat's eyelids*.
But, saying that, I've got no problems if a lady wants to wear a niqaab or burka.  A person should have the freedom to express themselves however they wish.

But, the fun-loving Taliban and other extremist leaders force ladies in areas in Afghanistan and Iraq (maybe Iran? not sure) to wear niqaabs and burkas.  A woman is publicly punished and humiliated if she doesn't conform to this ignorant ruling.  You cannot force someone to wear or do something against their will.  It's a oppression.

Oppression is also denying a woman of her freedom by banning her from wearing a niqaab or burka if she wants to wear one, and stop a woman from wearing a hijab in certain places, despite someone labelling it as liberation.
One thing I wonder about the Hijab ban in some bits of France is whether Sarkozy has done this just for Muslim women, or whether this ban extends to Christian Nuns as well, who essentially cover the same parts of their body as Muslim women who wear Hijabs!

Now hijab is, and always will be a controversial topic when talking about muslim integration in western society.  I wear a Hijab, and I feel like I integrate into society just fine! I have friends that  belong to a variety of religions, or belong to no religion at all! And friends whose personal beliefs completely contrast with mine, but who gives a shit?  Will the fact that I wear a headscarf change your opinion of me and my blogs?
Black, White, Muslim, Jew, Christian, Atheist, Gay, Straight....we all bleed the same blood, we all breath the same air, why can't we all just be tolerant of each others beliefs and agree to disagree!?

What kind of a world would it be if we all believed the same thing?  Would maybe be a bit more peaceful, but then again maybe not?

The article I mentioned above talks about an old fable by Aesop called 'The wind and the sun'.  It's basically about a man who is wearing a jacket, and how the harder the wind blew, the closer the man held on to his jacket- the harsher laws are in singling  out a specific group of people, the more closely and tightly they will hold on to their traditions and see you in a hostile light.  It was only when the sun with its warm rays increased the temperature created discomfit in the man, and he removed his coat- If a less hostile approach is taken, people will be more willing to accept and join in with what you are saying

Peace and Love <3



  1. Bismillahi ar Rahman ar Raheem. (In the name of God, most Gracious, most Merciful.)

    MashAllah, the voice of reason and common sense. Now the hard work is how to overturn the misconceptions that are constantly thrown at us by media with an agenda. I will say hand on heart the best people in my life are Muslim, I am myself a Muslim revert. Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world, if Islam were so bad then surely the opposite would be true... We need to open wide the doors barring people from seeing the truth, we need to speak about Islam, and educate about our way of life, and faith. It is with hard work such as this, that much good becomes of it....

    Allah's blessings upon you Sister. May he grant you Jannah. Ameen.

    1. JazakAllah khair for your duahs! Inshallah I hope the same for you :D
      Yeah, I think the only way to break barriers is to educate, inform and discuss these kinds of thing as racism/discrimination and fear all stem from ignorance. Knowledge has so much power.

  2. There are a lot of barriers and prejudices that need to be broken, and you're right that not allowing people to express themselves in public will not help with this. How can you expect people to become accepting and used to things if they are not exposed to them? Wasn't that one of the points of the gay pride parade? You've also managed to convince me that Hijabs are wonderful things, and I can understand the point of them better now. So good on you for wearing one :) Really if more muslims (that we saw) were like you, things would be better, but everyone will always focus on the worst kind. There are extremists in every religion really. Like the Christians so opposed to homosexuality. I think the only one that doesn't have any kind of extremism is Buddhism. But each to their own. You can look past a faith, and maybe, one day, other people will be able to as well.

    1. I wish more muslims were like me! I think that's the annoying thing, most people are too afraid to talk openly and mix with others outside of their community, further encouraging segregation and divides. And true there are extremists in every faith, apart from buddhists! They're so peaceful :)

      You never know, maybe the generation after us will be more open minded then the ones before!

  3. You're a very good spokesperson for Islam. I like what you wrote about "the idea of hijab is to tone down your outer beauty so your inner beauty can shine." I never thought of it that way before, but those are some very good values to have, compared to American culture when so much emphasis is based on physical appearance for both males and females. In Europe, especially France they have a problem. People aren't having babies (well they are, but not enough of them), so there is this hysteria their countries are being overrun by immigrants. But this problem will not be solved by silly things like banning head scarfs. That is at least one area where America has it right. A law like that here wouldn't see the light of day because it would be unconstitutional. The French law seems kind of cruel and oppressive in my opinion. Also, I think "hillbillies" are probably getting a bad rap in our American media. Unfortunately, the last 20 years or longer, the whole political mind set has sort of been one of divide and conquer. So the political left tries to portray people who do not agree with their beliefs as religious kooks and hillbillies, and the political right tries to portray the people who do not agree with them as communists, and deviants. It's all kinda ridiculous, but that is the kinda silliness that the American media culture has resorted to.

    1. Thank you! Agreed about what you said above. Aww poops sorry hill billies, I was just going off of what I see on the TV :P

  4. I wear a black headscarf often because I am goth, and my black soul likes to be protected from the sun. I am also part vampire. The point is, people call me a terrorist sometimes when they see me wearing it. After 9/11, there was a lot of racism, which was accepted, but it was all due to ignorance. It always is. That intolerance, no, hatred for Muslims is still prevalent. It's terrible.

    1. Who knew goths and muslims had so much in common?
      Yeah, ignorance is the root of so many of the stupid things that happen in this world!

  5. it was so different and a pleasure to be reading about this topic from someone who knows how it feels ! your point of view does force me to think differently,i will be following ur posts vry closely now :)

  6. With regards to the clothing to conceal a woman's outer beauty, I heard it doesn't work. From the stories I've of people who live and/or go to visit countries where these articles of clothing are required, the guys just reach underneath and cope a feel and they get away with it because no one else can see.

    Of course, it could be isolated situations...

    1. It's not isolated, but the rate of rape and other things like that are significantly lower in muslims countries, but that doesn't mean they still don't happen. Prostitution and all that kind of thing stuff still happens! it's just all kept on the down lowwwww. But in countries where burkas and niqabs are compulsory it results in a lot of sexual repression, like I was watching a show about how men in Afghan villages where the taliban are in power dress up little boys in womens dress and make them act and dance like women, and sometimes they do things to them :( it's really messed up and that's why people should be given a choice, not forced to dress a certain way.

  7. very interesting blog i must say & a great topic to cover, i believe each to their own & an individual should have the right to make a chice in their life, no one should set rules for them....i look forward to your blogs greatly

  8. I had a lot of Malaysian friends with head scarfs in my applied linguistics classes, no one ever seemed to notice.

    1. Yeah, I never really get any hassle for the most part, just thought it was something that others might not know much about :)

  9. I love your last picture, it cracked me up laughing.

    I think Norway has it aLL wrong in dealing with Breivik. He is a full blown terrorist who attacked their country in a massive way and committed war crimes against what he deemed outsiders. He had plans to behead the country's leader. He surrendered to authorities so he could inspire others like him to join his crusade.

  10. and yet, should I feel like hiding my face with, say, a ski-mask, in any weather but the most miserable cold, then, for some reason - I'd get reported and dragged away by the police. Equal rights for all, just remember, some people are more equal than other