Respect - more than just a word.

Women in Solidarity with Hijabis

You may have heard a lot about the burqa lately, and everyone seems to have an opinion on it. The garment worn by some Muslim women was thrust into the media spotlight when a rule “banning the burqa” from Parliament House was proposed. After public outcry, the rule that women wearing a burqa or niqab in parliament would have to sit in a special section behind glass (usually used for noisy school groups), was dumped. And good riddance! The ban was supposedly introduced for security reasons, although ASIO and the AFP weren’t asked to contribute to the decision. A report by ASIO this week says that if anything a public burqa ban would be a bigger threat to security than not introducing one.

A ban on women wearing veils is totally against the basic principles of democracy, that everybody has the right to practice and express their religion in whatever way they want. And that everyone can wear whatever they want to. This is really important for women, who are so often judged by what they wear. It wasn’t so long ago that women weren’t allowed to wear pants, can you imagine that?!

Carol Rosetti Illustration

It’s not a burqa, it’s a niqab!

One really big problem with the way this issue has been discussed,  by politicians and the media, is that fact that it’s not actually the burqa that they’re trying to ban. The burqa is  a specific form of dress worn by women in Afghanistan, not many people wear it in Australia. What most people think is a burqa is actually called a niqab. Here’s a great guide to the different head coverings that some Muslim women choose to wear, or check out this article to find out more.

image of different veils

Image: Fairfax Media

Why do some Muslim women wear headscarves or veils?

The Qu’ran, the main religious text of Islam, asks both men and women to dress modestly. This has been interpreted in many different ways in different cultures all over the world, which is why they’re are so many different styles of headscarves and veils. Women will work out what feels right for them and fits best with their own beliefs and culture. There is even a big modest fashion community online, proving that you can dress modestly and still have killer style. Check out this video from the Hijab Stylist explaining why some Muslim women choose to wear a headscarf.

Women in Solidarity with Hijabis!

There has been a lot of anti-Islamic feeling in Australian society lately, including attacks on Muslim women in public. These are women who are going about their daily business and have done nothing wrong. So in reaction to this Mariam Veiszadeh started WISH – Women in Solidarity with Hijabis. On the WISH Facebook page, women from all over Australia have posted selfies wearing hijabs to show women who wear them every day that they support them, and don’t accept racist attacks on the Islamic community.WISH Illustration and three selfies

It’s heartwarming to look through the WISH facebook page and see all the photos and messages of support for Muslim women. It is a great example of Australians embracing and celebrating our multicultural community. Go on, check it out, you can even submit your own photo!

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