In the ongoing theme of Islamists exploiting liberal principles to further regressive cultural disciplines, hijab is now a girl’s right to dress whatever she wants; her personal choice that should be respected. I don’t know the exact number, but I assume, from anecdotal evidence, that thousands of girls in Middle Eastern Muslim families are forced, one way or another, to wear the hijab, ignoring the facts that whether or not hijab is an Islamic stipulation is heavily contested and that it was popularized by Islamists as part of the code of conduct they enforced, without any violence, on some Middle Eastern countries like Egypt and Tunisia. My problem is, Islamists, and arguably most of Middle Eastern Muslims, don’t give a rat’s flaccid penis about the right to personal choices and liberally violate other people’s freedom of speech and expression on a whim.
In fact, most Middle Eastern Muslims are hostile towards boys with long hair, metalheads, girls in skirts, girls in shorts, girls in tight jeans, girls in bikinis, and, generally, girls who don’t act according to what they deem appropriate. Hostility is manifested by families who make their sons and daughters behave and dress as they see fit, Sheiks who issue fatwas against some clothes, looks, and behaviors while encouraging the public to combat them, or direct sexual harassment on the streets. Here, what’s best for the group, which is defined by Muslims, is defended even if it means overruling any personal choice to dress or act in a certain way.
So when Islamists tout the hijab, and even the niqab, as a girl’s personal choice and a liberal right, I laugh at the fantastic fabrication of a lie and cry for all those girls forced to wear hijabs and girls who were harassed to give up some of what they wanted to wear and do in our miserable Middle East.