Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Bronwyn Bishop - Headscarf Ban

Wow! What has happened to "Multicultural Australia" ? I suppose the use of the term "freedom of speech" can now be heavily bolded in the minds of fellow Australians. Speak freely. Think later. That seems the entire craze right now.

Bronwyn Bishop, New South Wales Liberal MP has recently caused a stir amongst Muslims, people of all faiths and people of no faiths (my prediction is, she probably belongs to the latter group). Ms Bishop, with her religious surname in tact has earned herself the right to have her own surname banned! I will now refer to her simply as, "Bronwyn". She doesn't deserve her surname.

Bronwyn has called for a ban of the headscarf (hijab) in public schools. Poor Prime Minister, Mr John Howard was today left cleaning up Bronwyn's political mess by visiting a Muslim school as well as publicly stating "I don't think it's practical to bring in such a prohibition". The suggested ban was also said to be "ignorant and unAustralian" by Multicultural Affairs Minister John Cobb.

Let's just cut to the chase here. It would be impractical to implement such a ban. If you banned the headscarf, to be fair, you would also have to also ban: the Jewish skullcap (the yarmulke/kippah), prohibit Orthodox Jewish women from wearing head coverings (or wigs), Sikhs from wearing turbans, Christian nuns from covering their hair, common Christians from wearing the cross, monks that wear robes, and so forth. The list could go on forever! It is not easy to implement such a thing, particularly when not following that particular dress-code means that a person will be compromising with something that is compulsory in their faith.

There are so many bad things going on in the world right now with so-called Muslims being fed up with the 'western world' and venting their anger out (apparently) "in the name of Allah (God)". And now it seems the lovely Bronwyn is giving extremists even more of a reason to be furious. Nice one.

Australia has just recently had issues with Muslims not seen as assimilating in society with non-Muslims. Okay, well let's just say hypothetically that the ban on the hijab took place. What would happen? Firstly, Muslim parents would be outraged and they would either request for their child to take off the hijab (this is unlikely to happen), or they will remove their child from that public school. What happens then? The parents of that child after huffing and puffing will place their child in an Islamic school along with all of the other angry parents. The children of the angry parents will be very angry themselves and they will then most likely spend most of their time around fellow Muslims. What will this create? This will create a very narrow-minded upbringing for these Muslim children and provide them with very little time to assimilate with their fellow Australians.

I was brought up in a state school here in Victoria. Although I didn't wear the head scarf back then, there was no way near as much racism towards Muslims and not as many negative connotations. In other words, if I had wanted to wear the head scarf back then, it wouldn't have been as much of a big deal. Australia has moved from being racist against the Aboriginals (yes, unfortunately it is still occurring), then racist against the immigrant Europeans (post World War Two), later they were racist against the Asians - and then for a period everything appeared to sort of ease off. It seemed during the 1990's there was a huge push for "multicultural Australia" and all of that jazz. All of a sudden, a lot of people from different cultures and different religions all felt like one big happy Australian family. And that is the way it should be! But then September 11 occurred in the U.S.A. The sensationalisation of the western media and their ongoing fascination with putting fear in the hearts of common people, with the idea that all Muslims are cave living turban heads that have nothing more to do with their lives than kill people, all of a sudden has caused the racists to turn their focus on the Muslims. Just when Australia was progressing, we took one huge step back!

Bronwyn mentioned that she believes Muslim women are wearing the hijab “as a sort of iconic item of defiance”. I do understand that the hijab can be a bit of a slap in the face to some non-Muslims. They may see the fabric embedded with some sort of hidden printed text that we Muslims cannot see. Perhaps they believe the text is saying “Watch me rebel against your fashion norms”. The definition of defiance is “…bold resistance to an opposing force or authority”. Sorry Bronwyn, that is not why we cover up. We cover up as requested by Allah (God) in the Quran. We do not wear the hijab because we are trying to prove a point to Australia. We do not believe we are superior, nor to we believe we are any different to our fellow Australians. At the end of the day, people of all faiths follow the same principals, namely: compassion and justice.

Our hijab is a compulsory practise for females in our religion. So Bronwyn, next time you see a Muslim lady, do not think she is actively rebelling against your Australian dress-code. Think of her as a woman of faith, a pious and patient sister who is an obedient follower of God and a person of high morals. If anything, a person with morals will only benefit society. Your racism on the other hand Bronwyn, will not.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

London Bombings

Before my 6 week trek across Europe, it was suggested to me that I shouldn't wear my head scarf (hijab) yet rather opt for a bandanna or a hat instead. A close relative of mine (who is a non practising Muslim) told me not to cover my head up at all whilst saying "nobody will see you". I don't think she understands the point in wearing the hijab, so I replied by saying "God will see me". She clearly thinks I am wearing it for some other purpose. At that point, before the London bombings, I was contemplating what I should do – wear the traditional hijab or go for the undercover/incognito version. I was swaying more towards wearing my usual hijab that identifies me as a Muslim.

A few weeks into my trip, the London bombings occurred. A few days after the London bombings I found out that an old friend of mine, someone who I studied with at university, was one of the victims. He died one week later in hospital. Shock. Sorrow. Anger. That is what has happened to me.

I remember the first time this old university friend saw me wearing the hijab. I had just been wearing it for one week. I was 19 years old. Never before have I ever received such a startled response. I simply said "hello, how are you?" and he almost did a back flip! He jumped in the air like he had just seen a ghost. I remember him mumbling his words, then apologising, saying that he didn't even know I was a Muslim so didn't expect for me to be wearing the head covering. Once I explained it was a part of my religion and I chose to wear it, he was happy. He then asked if I would still go to nightclubs wearing my hijab!! (not realising that I never went to nightclubs to begin with!). He must have just presumed that I went clubbing based on the fact that I was (am!) young, somewhat attractive and female.

At the start of my European trip, I thought the idea of wearing a phoney head covering was somewhat showing a weakness in my faith. Do I fear people or do I fear God more? I soon came to realise that posing those questions to myself won't do me any good. Of course I fear God more than people and InshAllah (God willing) my actions are for God alone. However God gave us a brain to think so thinking is what I did when I heard the horrid news about the London bombings on the 7th July. I received an sms from my sister telling me the news. At the time I was travelling and preoccupied with joyous moments of sheer relaxation. That warm feeling I had came to a halt at that very moment. The first thing I thought was "Oh please God, I hope it wasn't Muslims who did it!". The news came to me shortly after that, and yes, indeed it was some SO-CALLED Muslims who did it. The loss of any human life is a feeling that is indescribable but when you find out that it was a premeditated MURDER - and they are supposed to be of the same faith as you, the feeling is indescribably revolting.

It was about at that point that I decided to opt for the phoney head covering idea. I stuck to all of the Islamic requirements yet was not as obviously a Muslim as I usually am. My hat and high neck covering would have looked to some as if I was overdoing the whole "sun protection" regime. My whole holiday I ended up wearing my undercover disguise, a disguise that sort of blended in with the western form of dressing. I am not ashamed to be a Muslim and I would never dream of concealing my identity. This holiday it seemed that I had no other option if I wanted to prevent any harm being inflicted on me by non-Muslims (especially seeing I was travelling by train a lot of my trip!).

I would like to take this opportunity to THANK those so-called Muslim London bombers. My so-called BROTHERS who have made TRUE Muslims all over the world look like we are criminals for following Islam. They were (so-called) Muslims brothers who somehow in their twisted minds thought that by murdering innocent people they were in fact performing good deeds! They were (so-called) Muslim brothers that have played a role in making life harder for their Muslim sisters (as if life wasn't already tough enough for us). They were (so-called) Muslim brothers that have added fuel to the fire in the west by making uneducated non-Muslims believe that this is what Islam promotes. They were (so-called) Muslim brothers that made me HIDE for the very first time in my life the fact that I am a Muslim (a PROUD Muslim at that).I want the world to know how beautiful Islam is and I want to be a shining example for Islam - showing non-Muslims what Islam is all about. I now shake my head in disgust at these so-called Muslims for once again ruining any chance for us to display the TRUE Islam.

It says in the Quran (Chapter 5, Verse 31) that if someone murders an innocent person, "it would be as if he killed all mankind". And in Islam, murder is one of the BIGGEST sins.

May God (Allah) All-Mighty deal with these so-called Muslims justly. They will receive their punishment.

As a fellow Muslim I believe that we truly need to identify these loonies in our societies. We need to be alert and aware and InshAllah (God willing) TEACH them the correct form of Islam before they get brain-washed by whoever it is that is brain washing them. Not a single true Muslim should ever agree with what they are doing. May Allah guide them InshAllah (God willing) and prevent any further unnecessary attacks.

As for the old university friend of mine, I dearly am sorry for what happened to you. Nobody deserves a shorter life than intended. However, God has written our fate and any one of us could die this very minute. That is why, I, myself started practising religion at a young age. I wanted to make sure that if it was my time to go at a young age, I would be on the right track when it happened. I hope to God that my friend was on the right path before he passed away. It has been a few years since I saw him last.

Peace always,

Monday, August 08, 2005

Back from holidays!

Salaams (Peace!)

I am now back from holidays and will InshAllah (God willing) write very very soon. There is so much to write and so little time (I still have to unpack and get my sleeping patterns in order).

Thanks for all the comments on my last blog!

Take care