Opinion: Muslims Should Be Consistent in Protesting Oppressive Hijab Laws

March 14, 2004

Source: Muslim Wake Up!


On March 14, 2004 Muslim Wake Up! posted an opinion piece by Tarek Fatah, a founding member of the Muslim Canadian Congress and host of the weekly Canadian TV show, The Muslim Chronicle, in which he argues, "Recently, anger against the French proposal [to ban religious symbols in public schools] brought about a hundred Toronto Muslims to the streets. In freezing temperatures, they stood outside the French consulate waving placards and raising slogans to register their protest. However, as I marched in solidarity with my fellow Muslims, I couldn't help but realize that our reaction to the French initiative was not based on universal principles. The French law may be foolish--if not outright racist--but our outrage against it leaves the door open for others to accuse us of double standards. If Muslims feel governments have no business dictating what their citizens should, or should not wear, then we need to apply this principle to all governments, not just the French. If we consider the French law against the hijab offensive, then the Saudi and Iranian laws enforcing compulsory wearing of the hijab should also be condemned because they take away a woman's right to choose."