Enough with the Clothes Shaming of Muslim Women

Today’s guest-speaker seems to have a very wise grandfather, who refuses to call himself an expert. Instead, he calls himself a student, because he’s still learning. she considering herself as a student of all things related to sexual health, mental health, society, culture, and Muslims, looks at issues of race/racism, Islamophobia.


To remember

  • Muslims living in North America who have followed the Olympics know about Ibtihaj Muhammad > wears the hijab and covers her arms and legs = first American Muslim woman ever to compete in the Olympics in a hijab >  won a bronze medal.
  • Muhammad = inspiration for young Muslim girls => accomplishments + visibility should be celebrated.
  • Muslim women criticized detractors, rightly pointing out the normalcy of hijab in sports.
  • another Black American Muslim woman athlete who just won a gold medalDalilah Muhammad > does not wear the hijab and wears shorts
  • hardly talked about Dalilah > Ibtihaj has been celebrated all over Muslim social media for a long time > Dalilah barely been recognized.
  • discrepancy in celebration of these two women by Muslim community in the U.S., and Canada, has highlighted a very pervasive and disturbing problem within our community.
  • Clothes shaming.
  • misogyny + adherence to patriarchy => spiritual violence against women.
  • Muslim women who wear clothes that would be deemed ‘revealing’ constantly have their Muslimness doubted.
  • non-covering Muslim woman beginning to cover = celebrated, showered with praises, and told how beautiful she looks.
  • woman who covers decides to take it off = often experiences the opposite.
  • spiritual abuse = form of violence created by male-dominated, patriarchal discourses common within Muslim communities
  • live in a world in which Muslim women who wear the hijab and/or niqab = targeted by Islamophobic violence.
  • Muslim women need to protect each other from that form of oppression +  need to fight for the right of Muslim women to dress however they wish without threat of being targeted for being Muslim.
  • solidarity + resistance to Islamophobia does mean promoting + celebrating representations of Muslim women in hijab and niqab.
  • Too many mistaken that we cannot focus our energies on resisting both gendered Islamophobia from non-Muslims + spiritual misogyny from within our communities.


Preceding article: Enough already with the ridiculous “they used to be free” memes


Find also to read:

  1. Women’s Groups Say Gender Equality is a Must for Sustainable Development
  2. Gender connections
  3. Gender equality and women’s rights in the post-2015 agenda
  4. Is Europe going to become a dictatorial bastion
  5. On French beach French police forces woman to undress in public
  6. Women in France running with naked bosom all right but with covered bosom penalised
  7. France and the Burkini
  8. French showing to the whole world their fear and weaknesses
  9. Pew Research: How People in Muslim Countries Believe Women Should Dress
  10. Allowing dress code according liberty of religion
  11. The Dress Code for Women in the Quran
  12. Meditating Muslimah on “hijab to be a religious obligation”
  13. Coverings Worn by Muslim Women
  14. Does Banning Face Veils Help Us Fight Terrorism?
  15. Islamism Rises from Europe’s Secularism
  16. You are what you wear
  17. Where’s the Outrage Over Nun Beachwear? – The Daily Beast
  18. Not limiting others but sharing peace with all
  19. Meditating Muslimah on “hijab to be a religious obligation”
  20. Silence, devotion, Salafists, quietists, weaponry, bombings, books, writers and terrorists
  21. Secularism in France becoming dangerous for freedom of religion
  22. Christians, secularism, morals and values


Sobia Ali-Faisal

By now most Muslims living in North America who have followed the Olympics even tangentially know about Ibtihaj Muhammad, the first American Muslim woman ever to compete in the Olympics in a hijab. The American Muslim community has been celebrating her well before she went to the Olympics and won a bronze medal. And rightly so. There is no doubt that Muhammad is an inspiration for young Muslim girls. Her accomplishments and her visibility should be celebrated. Though much has been made about her wearing the hijab in the Olympics, Muslim women have criticized detractors, rightly pointing out the normalcy of hijab in sports.

Today, on my social media, I’ve seen the (relatively subdued) celebration of another Black American Muslim woman athlete who just won a gold medalDalilah Muhammad. However, an interesting (I’ll just use that word for now) contrast was noted by those posting…

View original post 1,007 more words


by | 2016/09/02 · 7:11 pm

3 responses to “Enough with the Clothes Shaming of Muslim Women

  1. Roti Fan replies to Tell me I’m Wrong About the Hijab by Maniza Naqvi, wich can be applied also to the previous messages. She writes

    I am an ex-Hijabi (wore it for 16 years) so I have physically existed on both sides of this debate in both Muslim and non-Muslim majority societies.

    On her own blog she also comments

    I am suspicious (and very tired) of non-Muslims (especially men), who denounce the Hijab/Niqab/Chador/Burqa because of it is patriarchal and misogynist by legislatively restricting clothing options for Muslim women (and or supporting these restrictions) without dismantling the misogyny and patriarchy that promotes modesty culture; reducing the complexity and humanity of Muslim women to their dress “choices” (more on “choices” later) and marginalizing racialized Muslim communities in Western societies even further. Banning women from wearing patriarchal clothing does not result in their emancipation. Challenging the patriarchy/misogyny rooted in modesty culture without patronizing, fetishizing, speaking over and for Muslim women does. So, please let Muslim women be the prominent voices in these issues. We are burqa wearers, niqabis, hijabis, non-Hijabis, ex-Hijabis, ex-Niqabis, “modest” and “immodest” with varying levels of religious (non) beliefs. We agree and (vehemently) disagree with each other, but this debate within our communities is necessary to uproot modesty culture that negatively affects all of us. When you presume to speak for us (and often over us) or use a specific clothing as the archetype of an “authentic” (usually western Hijabis) or a “liberated” (usually a non-western non-Hijabi) Muslim woman, this enforces the oppressive modesty culture in our communities. When a Hijabi woman is held up as the archetypal Muslim woman, this intensifies social pressure on non-Hijabis in our communities/Muslim majority societies to wear the Hijab. When a non-Hijabi woman is considered as the archetypal “liberated” Muslim woman, not only does it perpetuate the notion that liberation or oppression of Muslim women is exclusively linked to their clothing, but it adds to the discrimination that Hijabi women face at work and in the public sphere (yes, Hijabi women face more discrimination, harassment and violence than non-Hijabi women in Western societies). This also results in additional social pressure on non-Hijabi women to veil because many Muslim communities will aggressively promote Hijab/Niqab/Chador/Burqa as a counter response. It also intensifies social pressure for non-Hijabi women who want to veil but are actively prevented by their families/spouses from doing so (yes, these women also exist). Regardless of how we cover our bodies, Muslim women face gender based discrimination in access to education, healthcare and employment, in addition to FGM, honor killings, acid attacks, domestic and sexual violence. Policing our clothing “choices” does not eliminate these issues.

    She continues her debate and ends with

    Muslim women make decisions on how to cover or not cover based on the contexts that they are situated in. For many Muslim women living in Western societies, the Hijab is an expression of their faith and they wear it as such. For others, it is an expression of their Muslim identity; a way to assert difference from the dominant social group. For others still, it is a way for them to gain financial and social independence while navigating the overwhelming patriarchy in their families and communities. Banning veils from the public sphere in Western societies will only limit Muslim women in socially coercive situations from gaining financial and social independence which will allow them to remove themselves from their oppressive contexts or challenge them in the future. In many Muslim majority societies where modesty culture and conservative values prevail, the Hijab/Niqab/Chador/Burqa become tools that Muslim women use to circumvent and challenge patriarchal control of their lives.

    Banning the Hijab/Niqab/Chador/Burqa without confronting the patriarchy and misogyny that created modesty culture in the first place hasn’t lead to the emancipation of Muslim women in Muslim majority societies. Instead, it has actually led to scaling back of women’s rights. The Islamic Revolution of Iran, a reaction to the forced secularization of Iran under Reza Shah Pahlavi (which included banning the Chador in public) resulted in the enforcement of modesty culture on Iranian women by law. The forced secularization of Turkey, by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and subsequently the Turkish military, paved the way for the conservative Islamist AKP party to gain power and actively promote modesty culture on Turkish women. Neither the white revolution of Reza Shah Pahlavi nor the secularization of Ataturk challenged the underlying misogyny and patriarchy of modesty culture. If modesty culture had been challenged publicly and the lies that patriarchy perpetuates about women and their role in society had been dismantled,Islamists would have been unable to impose regressive norms for women without significant push back from these societies.


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