By Daphne Anson
|No, everyone does not, Ms Wells.|
Pictured swathed in Burberry-patterned headgear a fortnight ago is Annie Wells MSP, Conservative and Unionist member of the Scottish legislature for the Glasgow district.
Ms Wells’s choice of garment was not to protect herself against the February chills in her northerly part of the world, but to demonstrate her solidarity with women who wear the hijab. For this Burberry number is indeed a hijab and she was marking “World Hijab Day” (1 February), now in its fifth year.
See some more Scottish politicians’ reactions here; that from John Mason is nauseating.
It goes without saying that nobody should be insulted, much less assaulted, for wearing the hijab, but when western women are actively encouraged to wear it, and by the British Foreign Office too, then a step too far has surely been reached.
A London newspaper, the Evening Standard, reported:
‘The Foreign Office handed out free headscarves to staff and encouraged them to learn why Muslim women wear the garment as part of its World Hijab Day celebrations. The Government department, headed up by Boris Johnson, offered all employees the chance to wear a hijab for part of their day to mark the worldwide event on February 1. In an internal memo, the Foreign Office said that the headscarf is worn by some women who see it as representing “liberation, respect and security”.
According to reports, an email sent to staff said:
“Would you like to try on a hijab or learn why Muslim women wear the headscarf? Come along to our walk-in event.Free scarves for all those that choose to wear it for the day or part of the day. Muslim women, along with followers of many other religions, choose to wear the hijab. Many find liberation, respect and security through wearing it. #StrongInHijab. Join us for #WorldHijabDay.”
A Foreign Office spokesman confirmed that the event was for staff at its London office who wanted to learn more about other cultures.’ [Emphasis added, here and below]
For the sake of pandering to the Islamic world at home and abroad the Foreign Office believes it appropriate for non-Muslim females to cover their heads in a scarf that many Muslim women themselves regard as a symbol of female subservience and which began as an indication of which women (the covered ones) were not to be considered fair game for sexual violence by Muslim men.
Having the right not to wear the hijab is the real issue.
Just ask all those Iranian women who recently, in a brave act of defiance, have allowed their locks to blow freely in the wind as nature intended.
Let’s look at that Foreign Office memo again:
“Would you like to try on a hijab or learn why Muslim women wear the headscarf? Come along to our walk-in event.
“Free scarves for all those that choose to wear it for the day or part of the day.”
Methinks I sense Da’awa at work there. This photo (above, left) from the Evening Standard would seem to confirm that view.
Reports the Daily Mail:
‘The event was … just days before Britain marked the 100th anniversary of women [aged 30 and above, plus university graduates aged 21-30] being given the vote.
Maajid Nawaz, who heads the counter-extremism think-tank the Quilliam Foundation, criticised the department for ‘supporting World Hijab Day and the institutional oppression of women through modesty culture, while brave Iranian women risk all to remove hijab tyranny’.
Anti-hijab activist Masih Alinejad told Reuters: ‘We are fighting against the most visible symbol of oppression. These women are saying, “It is enough – it is the 21st century and we want to be our true selves.”’
Tory MP Andrew Bridgen said: ‘I’d like to know whose bright idea this was. It is ridiculous, a complete waste of taxpayers’ money and not the business of a Government department.‘I can’t see the Foreign Office promoting Christianity or the handing out of crosses.’
No demonstrative Foreign Office stunts on behalf of the Islam-persecuted Christians of the Near and Middle East, then.
And I don’t see the Foreign Office holding a demonstration of solidarity with Jews in the “new” Europe, who feel increasingly unsafe when wearing symbols of Judaism in public places.
World Kippa Day, anyone?