After watching Amina Lone and Zubaida Haque discuss the hijab ban being implemented in schools on Channel 4, I couldn’t help but pitch in. I absolutely disagree with Amina and believe this entire campaign to create secular schools spaces lacks research and isn’t really about creating secular schools spaces, because simply if it was it wouldn’t be focusing solely on banning hijabs for young muslim girls in schools it would be focusing on all faith representation in schools.
In the interview Amina Lone says that girls as young as 3/4 are “being forced to wear sexual modesty clothing”
1. How many 3/4 years old has she spoken to
2. How many schools has she spoken to
3. How many parents has she spoken to
4. How many non-3/4 year olds who are young muslim women has she spoken to?
How can Amina frame that hijab is “forced” on 3/4 year olds or young children when she doesn’t have research to back this up? It would be naive to say this doesn’t happen but she’s suggesting it’s every single child/young girl being forced. Often children pick up habits from their parents. If a young Muslim girl is surrounded by women who wear hijab she’ll want to join in for fun and play around with hijab too. Does this mean the child is being forced to wear sexual modesty clothing?
Also why is “covering up” sexualising and showing skin non-sexualising? So more clothes equals bad and less equals good? I’m sure the patriarchy had no hand in this type of thinking.
Amina goes on to say: “This (referencing hijab) is not an islamic requirement, it’s a cultural interpretation of religion” To the best of my understanding hijab is mentioned in Quran & mandatory for Muslim women to wear. However Islam is based on free will so only those choosing to wear should/no force is allowed. Though I don’t think this is intentional, Amina presents her interpretation of Islam as the interpretation and this is wrong. She also insinuates that wearing hijab in schools equals pushing conservative islamic values & says it’s not “normal” to wear hijab at a young age. So I would like to ask who is hijab not normal for? For her? For white people? And are muslim girls wearing hijab not “normal”? Who is uncomfortable here? Amina? The Government? The schools/Ofsted? Because all these people come secondary to the actual girls wearing hijab and the choices they make for their bodies.
In the interview Amina says that “religious freedom” dilutes “gender equality” but i’m guessing Amina hasn’t considered that religion and gender intersect and that isn’t diluting anything.
The thing I can’t get to grips with here is that this campaign Amina is pushing says there are s3/4 year olds who don’t have choice / they are forced to wear hijab. So the campaigns solution is let’s FORCE girls to not wear hijab. How is this any better? I agree that religion and culture has been twisted. But I don’t think going into to schools and telling kids to take off their hijabs is the way to progress here. Educate parents. Work within the communities to educate them and tell them Islam is about choice. I wish everyone saw the nuance in the situation. I wish they didn’t disregard every child / 3 or 4 year old as wearing hijab to be forced or view every parent whose child wears the hijab to be the one doing the “forcing”. That’s not a fair starting point.