Sunday, July 28, 2013

Revolution has no dress code

One of the monumental achievements of the great French Revolution against feudalism was freedom of religion along with the consequent French history of separation of church & state. So it’s not only regrettable but deplorable to see the French government  be the vanguard in Islamophobic policies against wearing hijabs & niqabs, the headscarves worn by Muslim women. Let’s be frank: recruitment to Catholic nunneries may be taking a hit everywhere but thousands of nuns wearing nearly the same outfits, including with starched flying buttresses, are all over the place in France--& there are no proscriptions on their outfits. Most people tip their hats when they meet them; they don’t harass & arrest them.

Critiques of the headscarves are most often accompanied by patronizing expressions of solidarity with the downtrodden Muslim women wearing them--as if pity makes Islamophobia more acceptable, even progressive instead of despicable. Can we cut the crap!? Veiled women have been leading the Arab uprisings; they are kicking ass against insuperable odds & don’t appear to need much of anyone’s patronizing or pity or prejudice.

Who would ever have thought that in 2013 freedom of religion would be such an issue--though of course it isn’t religion at issue but the political awakening & momentous democratic movements led by Arabs--many of them Muslim & female. If you stand for freedom of religion, if you stand for women’s rights, if you support the Arab uprisings against tyranny, & if you oppose US-NATO wars you support religious women’s rights to wear whatever the hell they want. Revolution is a come-as-you-are event. There is no dress code for social transformation.

(Photo of Bahraini woman protestor by Mohammed Al-Shaikh/AFP)

No comments:

Post a Comment