Suggestion: International Worldwide Swastika Day. First ever Repressive Symbols Day. Bring your favorite. Islamic Hijab? Communist Hammer and Sickle?

Hijab Day. Letter to Jim Watson, Mayor of Ottawa.
Suggestion: combine Wear a Hijab Day with attention to
other respressive symbols. Make it into something bigger:
Repressive Symbols Day.

 
To Jim Watson, mayor of Ottawa

in response to February 25th being designated Ottawa Hijab Day


I almost wrote to you on Valentine's Day. About something that is anything but loving: the movement for a World Hijab Day - February 1st. In Ottawa, where you are mayor, February 25th has been designated Hijab Day.

I had several responses, none of them positive. The core response: we are not to look at what the hijab stands for - belief in Islamic ideology. And of course we're not to look at Islamic ideology - not the way it regards non-Islamics, not the place of women within Islam, etc. Instead, if we're women, we're encouraged to wear a hijab for a day, in order to show our solidarity with Islamics.

I've written about the hijab before. A couple of years ago, I started:
A woman is wearing a Muslim headscarf. What does it mean?
I continued:
I've been experiencing a big personal change, to do with seeing a woman wearing the Muslim headscarf. I used to have no response. Now every time I see this, I ask myself: just what does she believe?
More here: http://elsasblog.com/muslim-headscarf.html

This time my tone - including in my initial letter to you - was more caustic. I suggested that, instead of just a World Hijab Day, we have something much bigger: World Repressive Symbols Day - starting with symbols like the hijab, the swastika, and the hammer and sickle.
Here's the full piece: http://elsasblog.com/repressive-symbols-day.html

Is there a right way to respond to hijab day - and more generally, to the hijab? The most common response I've heard is from ex-Islamic women who denounce the hijab as a symbol of the oppression of women within Islam. I'm fine with that. In fact, I don't see any single right response. Best, in fact, if there are millions of responses that come from looking at Islamic ideology. Caustic, serious, flippant, dismayed. With enough responses, a shift happens: the more attention is drawn to the hijab and Islamic ideology, the more widely Islamic ideology is clearly seen for what it is. I remember what happened when Catholics in the West took a good hard look at Catholic ideology: millions of priests, nuns and lay people left.

For now, here's the image from this year
(linking to this year's piece):
Islamic headscarf, Nazi swastika


And here's the image from 2014
(linking to the piece from that year, plus to a brochure):
Muslim headwear headscarf hijab

And now, to all of us who care and dare, to life and to love,

Elsa

February 14, 2016


PS. I refer to Nazism. One reason is that I'm from an Austrian background. Nazism is part of that background, a part I was brought up to see as a horror because of the human rights abuses, including mass murder. Islam, with its long history of human rights abuses, including mass murder, naturally brings to mind Nazi ideology - only this time we're not encouraged to notice the anti-human rights parts of the ideology. In fact, we're discouraged, and are likely to be called names if we notice. I'd say that that indicates which ideology is powerful at present.

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Hijab Day. Letter to Jim Watson, Mayor of Ottawa.
Suggestion: combine Wear a Hijab Day with attention to
other respressive symbols. Make it into something bigger:
Repressive Symbols Day.

 

Click here, to go from this letter to Jim Watson, mayor of Ottawa,
re an Ottawa Hijab Day,
to the home page.

 

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