The Media’s Portrayal of Islam and the Hijab

Period, people, culture, society, and the environment we are surrounded by, can produce the particular formation of many perspectives regarding a problem that we see in today’s society. One of several controversial topics is Islam and the Hijab. Many questions and generalisations are often formed in the minds of numerous non-Muslims in regards to the concepts behind the Hijab through the influence of the mass media.

Throughout the years of conflict between the “West” and “Islam”, the media provides strongly altered the minds associated with non-Muslims by negative exploitation associated with Islam, and Muslims, in particular on Muslim women. Misconceptions such as, “Are you bald underneath” “Do you visit sleep with that on? ” to the association of “terrorism” that contrasts to what Muslim women believe the particular Hijab represents.

A common misconception can be “the Islamic Hijab is something cultural, not religious”. The use of the term “cultural” is faulty when explaining the Hijab as it implies that this is a result of customs and practices which are something separate from Islam. The particular cultural dress is referred to the ancient Pre-Islamic Era (Jahiliyah). It does not take veil from the Pre-Islamic Era that is considered as “traditional” which stops women from contributing in society.
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On the other hand, the Islamic Hijab is not considered as an informal tradition, nor does it decrease her self-respect. The Hijab is definitely aimed at presenting women with poise and equality in society. A good example of Pre-Islamic era in our modern entire world is the Taliban in Afghanistan. The particular Taliban are a party who respect such activities un-Islamic for women, who are prohibited from exercising their primary legal rights. The Taliban have banned ladies from employment outside the home, in addition to the health sector, and have terminated education and learning for girls.

Prophet Mohammad (peace & blessings be upon him) stated, “Seeking knowledge is incumbent on every Muslim”. Even Henry VIII forbid women to study the Scriptures when the first English translations began to appear. It’s an irony however the Taliban claim their guiding philosophy on women are in place to assure the physical protection and self-respect of women, where as, many Afghan females have been killed, beaten and publicly hung. For many Afghan women fear of being severely punished by the Taliban is their main security issue.

Another misconception is “Muslim women have no right in Islam”. Islam gave women rights over 1400 years ago, which is still ignored by many Muslims and non-Muslims today. Firstly, Islam has given women the basic right to freedom of speech. In the beginning of Islam, the leaders from the Islamic state regarding legal issues consulted women. Rights that were appointed to Muslim women since the beginning of time are only just surfacing for non-Muslims. In Islam, a woman is liberated to be whom she is inside, and protected from being portrayed being a sex symbol and lusted after. Islam praises the status of the woman by commanding that the girl “enjoys equal rights to those of man in everything, she stands on an equal footing with man” (Qur’an, Nadvi: 11) and each share mutual rights and responsibilities in all aspects of life.

Many women are treated in ways far from Islamic values, yet in the name of Islam. The Taliban is an example of a cultural and political name that has been branded along with Islam. There is no freedom for women if they are imprisoned in their home in the name of the Hijab and Islam. Moreover, the veil of Islam is not associated with the veil of oppression.

Women that are regaining their identity and function in society, are now wearing the Hijab and are embracing its idea of liberation. They are taking their lawful places that Islam had granted them fourteen hundred years ago. Actually the western women had simply no rights nor did they have legal rights over their husband. Not only had been woman the property of their husband yet so were their possessions. In 1919 women in England fought for rights to be elected to parliament. Because of their demands, they were imprisoned with the government and suffered greatly. It had been not until the late nineteenth plus early twentieth century when ladies were given these rights.

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