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Equality and Segregation

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I find it a problem that the Norwegian Equality and Anti-discrimination ombud work for the right to wear hijab and maybe also burqa in official positions.

Internationally this is maybe old News and a long gone discussion. I am not a rasist, I have no problem With People immigrating and I like talking to them, and even be friends. I have no problem With that. But I have read on the subject hijab and burqa, and I have seen a lot of documentaries on the subject and learned what it stands for.

The Equality and Anti-discrimination ombud looks at it as I have learned in the light of the right to have a religion and to Express oneself that way. As a Equality and Anti-discrimination ombud they also have to stand up for the equality of women. So lets take a look at hijab and burqa and what it stands for.

Purdah or Pardaa (from Persian: پرده, meaning “curtain”) is the practice of concealing women from men. According to one definition:

Purdah is a curtain which makes sharp separation between the world of man and that of a woman, between the community as a whole and the family which is its heart, between the street and the home, the public and the private, just as it sharply separates society and the individual.

This takes two forms: physical segregation of the sexes, and the requirement for women to cover their bodies and conceal their form. Purdah exists in various forms in the Islamic world and among Hindu women in parts of India.

This segregational issues is taken even further than only clothing, and women many places are not allowed to leave the house without their father, brother, cousin, husband or other male relative. They are not allowed to go to school, work, meet in groups, or in any way blend with the opposite sex.

“Rules regarding Muslim women’s (and men’s) attire are derived from the Quran, Islam’s revealed text, and the traditions (hadith) of the Prophet Muhammad. In the Quran, states: [Chapter 24, verses 30-31] “Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty… And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and adornments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers…(a list of exceptions)”  [Chapter 33, verse 59] “O Prophet! Tell thy wives and daughters, and the believing women, that they should cast their outer garments over their persons…that they should be known and not molested.” There are similar, yet less obvious requirements for a Muslim male’s attire. 1) A Muslim man must always be covered from the navel to the knees. 2) A Muslim man should similarly not wear tight, sheer, revealing, or eye-catching clothing. In addition, a Muslim man is prohibited from wearing silk clothing (except for medical reasons) or gold jewelry. A Muslim woman may wear silk or gold.”

A fatwa, written by Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid on the Saudi Arabian website Islam QA, states:

“The correct view as indicated by the evidence is that the woman’s face is ‘awrah which must be covered. It is the most tempting part of her body, because what people look at most is the face, so the face is the greatest ‘awrah * of a woman.”

* Awrah or aurat (arabic: عورة) is an Islamic term that indicates which parts of the body to be treated as private and to be covered by clothing. Which parts of the body which is considered awrah is different for men and women and for children and adults, but there is also a variation between different Muslim orientations. The term awrah is derived from the root ‘AWR which means “flaw”, “imperfection” or “weakness”. The most common translation is, however, “nudity”.

Social effects
It is impossible to tell whether a woman wearing a burqa is smiling or crying or showing any other emotion. Women say that this leads to a feeling of being completely invisible.

Purdah is not to be restricted to the clothing, it runs all through the way of living. It is a patriarchal way of building the society where the men are the head masters and women to be at lower rank and devided from the men. This will in the long run mean that women can not be where men are. You think this sounds strange? Of course there are those who are milder in their way of practising Purdah, but then again you have those who are not. Most of them are those who wear those garments.

So why is it a problem that the The Equality and Anti-discrimination ombud work for it is ok to wear those garments?

On one hand you can say that they should have the right to practice their traditions, and that is of course right. One can also say it is good because then they can go to work and work. Of course.

But then again

They could do that without the hijab and the burqa. Purdah is segregation of the sexes, and a way to segregate the womens rights from the mens. In many countries where Purdah is practiced women may not work, may not go out alone, they have not the same rights as men, and in Saudi Arabia in 2013 they do not even have the right to drive a car even though they have a drivers licese. Purdah is the way to segregate. Many would argue it is not, even many of them who wear it. But if we look at the facts and the history behind those clothes we get the reality of the facts.

Is that what we want?

If you want to look at different Purdah garments you can click here

Author: Annelie

I like canoeing, photographing, friends, movies, food, humor, and going on trips. I dislike rudeness, dishonesty, violence, nastyness, and people not caring for others. I do not drink much, I do not smoke and I do not do drugs. I love friends who are kind to me and stick with me. If you want to give me a gift, the best gift is to stop smoking and stop using fragranced products. Then you give me health and that dear friend, is the best gift a person can get. It is a gift of love. I got asthma and I am hearing disabled.

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