Sometimes it’s all I can do to keep from running up to total strangers and snatching it off their heads. I’m not talking backward caps here that make young kids look like they want to be baseball umpires when they grow up. Nor am I talking about those ridiculous surgical masks currently sported among the easily panicked hoping to avoid the SARS bug. What I am talking about is the headscarf worn by Muslim women on our streets in Western nations. Every time I see one I start growling because I know that scarf is a cheat and a fraud.
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times to anyone who will listen: that headscarf is NOT a religious requirement but a political statement and symbol of radical Islamic Fundamentalism. Egyptian student radicals dreamed up this headscarf in the 1970s as a covert political signal of Fundamentalist approval by female students for their male counterparts. This is according to Fadwa El Guindi, who is Adjunct Full Professor of Anthropology at the University of Southern California.
In her article “Veiling Resistance”, which appeared in the March 1999 edition of Fashion Theory: The Journal of Dress, Body & Culture, Professor El Guindi said, “Women’s Islamic dress, known as al-ziyy al-Islami, is an innovative construction that was first worn in the mid-1970s by activists. It does not represent a return to any traditional dress form and has no tangible precedent. There was no industry behind it-not one store in Egypt carried such an outfit. Based on an idealized Islamic vision gradually constructed for the Islamic community in the seventh century, it was made in the homes by the activists themselves.”
Egypt, Iran, and Turkey all took steps when that activist dress appeared to ban it because they understood it to be a militant challenge to the growing women’s rights movement in the Middle East and the moderate Islam that had been the norm. However, by the mid-1970s, the radical Islamic clothing became so commonplace that it began to compete with and replace western dress and native costume. Sometimes, as in Iran and Afghanistan, the entire form was clothed in the black chador or completely obliterated in the burqha. In Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, and Turkey, just the headscarf, which covered the head, forehead and chin, was adopted.
Wearing the scarf spread like wildfire among radicals because it flouted moderate Islamic authority. It is worn now as a purposeful insult to Western institutions. Muslims see it as an ersatz flag of conquest on Western soil. Every time you see one it is a proclamation of their triumph on your country’s soil.
Muslims will insist that the scarf is religious just to get it established when it is not. The Koran has extensive comments on men’s dress by Muhammad but any comments he made about women’s clothing are negligible. Currently, Muslims will place their daughters in Catholic schools, as they do in Spain, then campaign bitterly to make the headscarf part of the acceptable school dress code because it’s claimed to be the equivalent of the crucifixes worn by the Catholic students as a profession of faith.
In the oh-so-politically-correct climate of British, American, EU, and Canadian schools, the headscarf is seen everywhere. Administrators, ignorant of the true meaning of the headscarf, are terrified of hurting Islamic feelings yet these are the same men and women who go ballistic if any other student is seen wearing a cross or Star of David around the neck. One needs to ask why Muslims don’t worry about hurting our feelings!
In France, however, it is a different story. The French know all about the headscarf issue because they’ve made a study of Islam. Of all the Western Nations, the French know the devil that they’ve sold their souls to the best. That’s why the French have successfully banned that scarf at public functions and stuck to it so far. Unfortunately, some female members of the radically dominated Union of French Islamic Organizations have put the minister of the French internal affairs Conseil d’Etat, Jean-Pierre Raffarin, on notice that they intend on taking their demands to wear the headscarf to the European Court of Human Rights. Has anyone else noticed the irony of how members of authoritarian groups, whether religious like Islam or secular like socialism, misuse the laws of free nations to subvert the very freedoms we all enjoy?
Once that headscarf gets established in France, it will only be a matter of time before more moderate Islamic women will be forced to wear that veil. The agenda of the radical Islamists is to get that scarf accepted by forcing the issue through the courts then use physical threats of violence on the moderate members of their community to adopt the veil. Islamic immigration has reached a turning point in France and the Muslims feel their numbers are large enough now to radically alter France into an Islamic state. Because of the growing Islamic influence on France, things are so bad in some parts of the country that even non-Muslim women have taken to wearing the scarf for safety’s sake. Islamic girls are either wearing totally shape muffling, baggy boys’ clothes hoping to pass as male in the daylight and be safely indoors by sundown or wearing the completely obliterating burqha for safety’s sake. In some of the worst Islamic neighborhoods, any girl caught on the street dressed in Western clothing is automatically assumed to be a whore and can be killed with impunity. There have been incidents where young Islamic girls, who are trying to assimilate into French culture by wearing Western clothes, have been murdered and their bodies dumped in empty lots, and set on fire.
This may be the only time I will ever wish the French luck but I wish it for them in their losing battle to remain Western.
A. E. Huggett is a freelance writer specializing in political, cultural, and historical news analysis. She was the founding editor of Cisco System’s Technical Access Newsletter and throughout the 1990s did movie, theater, and art reviews for various San Francisco Bay Area newspapers. Her personal passions are her British husband, fashion, and watching communism implode.