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Thursday, 30 July 2009 07:37
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Dr.Maryam Bachmeier

What if the women in the White House were veiled?

Can you imagine if women in the U.S White House all decided to veil themselves? What would the world think? What would Muslim countries think? For those of you who are old enough, there was a saying in the 1960’s when feminists decided to make a statement. They all got together and burned their bras. It certainly made a statement, but to this day, I am not quite sure what that statement was.

I don’t see how it helped women get women’s rights…or even the equal rights that they claimed to want. We do know that the feminists want "Equal Rights". And what does that do for women? I guess this means we have the right to have all the responsibilities that a man used to have, and of course, we are not able to let go of the women’s responsibility. Even our very nature won’t let us.

We love our children and our families, and we are very relationship oriented. We are not like men. Now we spend our energies surviving the harshness of a man’s world while still trying to hold on to community building a relationship, and nurturing the "women’s" work. Would veiling ourselves send a message to the world? Would it suggest the idea of women’s rights, instead of equal rights? The Shari`ah gives women their rights. Let’s analyze the possible pros and cons and just imagine.

 

Pros:

Women would have role models, and be exposed and open to Islam

Being veiled would become an "acceptable behavior" in western culture and society

Veiled women would not be considered as inferior, or "subservient" with their inability to think for themselves. This stigma and false belief would be removed.

Women might even be given the queenly status that they deserve... a veiled woman is a Lady

The message that women interns who are interested in politics, would not be used as sexual objects, and their actual intellectual abilities might be noticed.

The West might consider that there is a God after all, and that morality might be important, after all, there are women in the White House who seem to insist this is true.

Women in high positions might actually be given more respect. As I just mentioned, a veiled woman is a Lady… and a Lady in a position of power is a "Queen".

Political positions would not longer be won based on feminist issues, but, the voters would rather pay more attention to the candidate’s actual policies.

Women in the White House would not be in beauty competitions (whether by choice or by force). Look at what is happening between Lady Obama and Super Star Oprah! They are having an outright cat fight, how embarrassing for the American who wishes to appear dignified!

If women perceived veiling as a sign of dignity, self worth, and respect, and saw this modeled in the White house, their own self image would change. We would expect more from our men, and we would be silently sending a powerful message to our men to treat us as ladies, rather than be encouraged to be sexual objects in the name of feminism. We would have a new generation of American Ladies.

 

Cons:

Ok, you know I am biased. I am a religious Muslimah. I must give you my disclaimer, and admit that this article is bent on encouraging women to cover up. But even still, I am sure that if we began to veil ourselves in the White House, initially, there would be some problems.

Many political groups across America would protest and claim that we are now a fascist country trying to force everyone to join the religion of Islam

This would likely evolve into rioting and possibly worse, and may even increase terrorism

The very strong feminist/political population would be extremely opposed to it, and might even try to make legislation against women being veiled. This would take the Muslims' legal freedom to wear hijab away.

The can of worms relating to the religion's teaching that a woman is supposed to obey her husband would be open. This would lead to the religion of Islam being attacked vehemently by those who are opposed to such notions.

I hate to admit this, but I fear that if political women, and women in the White House openly wore hijab or were veiled, that Muslim women might be in life threatening danger. I believe that some fanatics might actually murder some of us to make a point. Those of us who are just ordinary Muslimas here in the US are wearing hijab out of choice, and are often criticized, and we are threatened, and even I am sometimes afraid. If these were in the political and public arena, it might even be worse.

The women might be accused of sneaking weapons or bombs and be stripped searched.

 

Ok, it is highly unlikely that women in the U.S. White House are going be veiled any time soon. But sisters, we do need to raise the consciousness of the world. One sister at a time. The more of us who are brave enough to cover properly, the more it will become the norm and accepted within the U.S. culture. Please, I do encourage all of you to wear hijab and read the Qur`an and dress exactly as it suggests women dress. We will no longer appear strange to others in our communities, and we will be treated as the ordinary individuals that we are. It won't happen, unless we do it. And who know? Maybe one day, women will veil in the White house!

When you take a look, since Obama's presidencey has increased the acceptance of people dressed in Islamic clothing in public. The American awareness that Islam does not equal terrorism, and that it is actually a Religion of Peace is increasing. Given this hopeful development, there are still many people and groups of people who have islamaphobia, and many Muslims, both men and women are afraid to dress Islamically in public.

Additionally, many women worldwide are ''unveiling. Some of this behavior is a reaction to unjust and oppressive civil and/or governmental situations and these sisters believe they are fighting for their right as women. They could not be more misguided for they are discarding the right of a woman to be protected. The hijab is protective both literally, and symbolically.

It shows that she is a religious woman, and that she has a strong Imam, and the Power of Allah is with her. In other words ''don't mess with a veiled woman!'' The sister who do not wear hijab for political reasons, have generalized unfair practices and twisted interpretations of the Shari`ah to their Islamic modesty and the laws about that that were put their for the woman's good. The political propaganda has caused the practice of covering to be a symbol of subjugation to maltreatment of men. Women veiling in the White House could change this perception!

Oh I forgot, Dalia Mogahed... We do have a veiled woman in the Whitehouse!

 

Dr. Maryam Bachmeier has 11 years in the mental health field, and is currently a staff psychologist at the Napa State Hospital