The following was written by the liberal Canadian philosophy professor, Elsa Schieder, PhD, reprinted with her permission:
Like most Western people, I've learned to be very accepting — and even appreciative — of different styles of dress, food, music. So I used to have no response to the Muslim headdress, the hijab. It was just — you do your thing, I do mine. My response was to the color, the style — in other words, I responded as if this were a fashion item.
That has been changing. In fact, this change has lagged far behind my learning about Islam. Perhaps shockingly, it's taken me years to respond more fully to the Muslim headscarf.
There's more than one reason for this. First, I used to see few headscarves in my home city. Then, there used to be less Muslim persecution of Christians worldwide. There was also no group declaring an Islamic caliphate, rampaging from one Middle Eastern area to the next.
Most of all, my sense is that it's taken a long time for it to sink in that I'm seeing women walking around advertising that they're part of a religion that seeks world domination, that seeks the destruction of my culture and way of life, that views all non-Muslims as filthy Kafirs — to be deceived, beheaded, crucified, plotted against, terrorized, humiliated, according to the Quran, which they believe is true — or what are they doing, wearing the Muslim headscarf?
Do most non-Muslims in the West respond with hostility, aversion, fear to women advertising their adherence to such an ideology? A Canadian journalist put on the Muslim headdress for a few days in order to record the prejudice Muslim women experience — and found that she was treated more positively than without it! (She saw this as a sign of racism — that people were not entirely neutral to the headdress, and instead cared to show they were tolerant and accepting! Oh well, what can you expect from the politically correct.)
I'm asking: Does it make any sense to be extra nice to someone belonging to a religion that has, as a goal, the destruction of my society? That views people like me as inferiors who are to be made to pay a special tax? That believes no one is to talk of any non-Muslim religion to Muslims? That approves of the murder and rape of non-Muslims, the enslavement of non-Muslims, the murder of gays, the inferiority of women?
No one has asked me to respond to people wearing the Nazi swastika as if this were meaningless, to people chanting Sieg Heil as if this were a quaint cultural artifact.
So what the blinkety-blank is going on here? It's vital to respond to what is happening. If we don't respond to, say, a lion prowling our way, we're much more likely to end up as lion supper.
That has made me sit down and create a handout. You'll find it at the bottom of the page. You're very welcome to download, print and distribute. You can also send it.
A woman is wearing
a Muslim headscarf.
What does it mean?
For me, connecting the headscarf to what it stands for has changed everything. In fact, it melted something frozen inside me. It's only natural to connect something to what it stands for. A flag. It stands for something. If we respond positively or negatively, this is because of what we see the flag stands for.
Likewise with the Muslim headdress, the hijab.
The next thing. It's vital to get the word out.
The natural response of non-Muslims to the Muslim headscarf is recoil. It stands for something more dangerous than AIDS, than Ebola.
Most of us have had our senses numbed.
All the best to a world awakening to the reality of Islam and to taking appropriate action.
Again, if this suits you, you're welcome to download the handout below. It's a one-page two-sided handout.
All the best,
See, download, or print the PDF handout here: A woman is wearing a headscarf. What does it mean?
Contact Elsa by clicking here.