In The U.K., Muslim Women Don The Veil To Declare Faith Amidst Intolerance

Senator Hilary Clinton in Hijab with President Obama in Cairo, an old picture

Senator Hilary Clinton in Hijab with President Obama in Cairo, an old picture, added by the Muslim Times

 | By Belinda Goldsmith & Olivia Harris

Posted: 08/22/2014 10:13 am EDT 

(Reuters) – When youth worker Sumreen Farooq was abused in a London street, the 18-year-old decided it was time to take a stand – and she started to wear a headscarf.

Farooq is one of many young Muslim women living in Britain who have, for various reasons, chosen to adopt the headscarf to declare their faith to all around them, despite figures showing rising violence against visibly identifiable Muslims.

For despite a common view that young Muslim women are forced to wear veils by men or their families, studies and interviews point to the opposite in Muslim minority countries where it is often the case that the women themselves choose to cover up.

“I’m going to stand out whatever I do, so I might as well wear the headscarf,” said Farooq, a shop assistant who also volunteers at an Islamic youth centre in Leyton, east London.

While just under five percent of Britain’s 63 million population are Muslim, there are no official numbers on how many women wear a headscarf or head veil, known as the hijab, or the full-face veil, the niqab, which covers all the face except the eyes. The niqab is usually worn with a head-to-toe robe or abaya.

But anecdotally it seems in recent years that more young women are choosing to wear a headscarf to assert a Muslim identity they feel is under attack and to publicly display their beliefs.

Shanza Ali, 25, a Masters graduate who works for a Muslim-led non-profit organisation in London, said she was born in Pakistan and her Pakistani mother had never worn the veil but both she and her sister Sundas chose to do so aged about 20.

“I decided to make a commitment as a Muslim and I have never stopped since,” Shanza told Reuters in her family home in Walthamstow, east London where prayer mats hang from the walls alongside modern, family portraits.

“Sometimes you forget that you’re covering your hair but you never forget why you’re covering. You remember, that to you, your character should be more important than your appearance.

“It makes it easier for Muslim women to keep away from things that you don’t want to do that would impact your value system. If you don’t want to go clubbing, drink, or have relations outside marriage, it can help, but it can also just be a reminder to be a good person and treat others well.”


Shaista Gohir, chairman of the Muslim Women’s Network UK, said more women had adopted headscarves since the attacks in the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, and in London on July 7, 2005, put them under greater political and public scrutiny.

“For some young women it is a way of showing they are different and they are Muslim although it is not a Muslim obligation,” she told Reuters.

She said the full-face niqab was a minor phenomenon in Britain, worn by relatively few women, although it had become central to a wider debate in the country about integration and British values.

This was put to the test last year when a judge ruled a Muslim woman could not give evidence at a trial wearing a niqab, sparking debate about whether Britain should follow other European countries and ban full-face veils in public places.

After a national debate, a compromise was reached and it was agreed that the woman could wear the niqab during the trial but not when she was giving evidence.

Modesty in Islam is key for both men and women but most Islamic scholars agree that women adopting a full-face veil is more to do with culture than religion.

But women who publicly display their religion by wearing a scarf of any kind have found they can be targeted for doing so.

Figures released recently from the campaign group Tell MAMA (Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks) showed the number of attacks against Muslims in Britain was one the rise.

During its first year of monitoring, Tell MAMA recorded 584 anti-Muslim incidents between April 1 2012 and April 30 2013, with about 74 percent of these taking place online.

Of the physical incidents, six in 10, or 58 percent, were against Muslim women and 80 percent of women targeted were visually identifiable by wearing a hijab or niqab.

The number rose to 734 incidents over the 10 months from Mary 2013 to February 2014 with 54 percent of these against women and a total of 599 online. There was a spike in reports in the weeks following the murder of off-duty soldier Lee Rigby in south London in May last year by two British Muslim converts.

“Attacks against visibly dressed Muslim females may not accurately explain away the trend of hate crimes being opportunistic and situational. The data suggests that the alleged perpetrators of anti-Muslim hate crimes at a street-based level, are young white males targeting Muslim women, and that is a cause for concern,” Tell MAMA said in a statement.

Matthew Feldman, co-founder of the Centre for Fascist, Anti-Fascist and Post-Fascist Studies at Teesside University who analyses Tell MAMA data, said the rise in the numbers of attacks could be partly due to more awareness of the reporting process.

“But there is a slight bump in the occurrence of people wearing more visible dress and of victims being women rather than men,” Feldman told Reuters.

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5 replies

  1. Assalam O Alaukum/peace be upon to All. There is no example Islam of Allah in this world anymore. Islam is religion of Allah and Quran is the only final book of Islam of Allah in this world but not any other books the books people created in the name of Islam for business purpose for making money and gaining popularity and those people created their own books in the name of Islam and they telling their willing, logic, opinion and their school of thoughts and in Islam of Allah which is only in Quran is willing, logic, opinion and school of thoughts is strictly prohibited. Quran is the only book of Islam of Allah in this world, the only final book of Islam of Allah revealed on Mohammed pbuh and Muslims who accept to Quran as a final book of Allah and accept to Mohammed pbuh as a final Rasool of Allah and Kalma is acceptance of Muslims which is LA ILAHA ILLALLAH MOHAMMED UR RASOOL ALLAH and its means that WE (MUSLIMS) WORSHIP IN ONE ALLAH AND MOHAMMED IS RASOOL OF ALLAH and Rasool means messenger of Allah and Quran is the only final book of Allah revealed on Mohammed pbuh so we Muslims accept Risalat of Mohammed pbuh and because of our acceptance Allah gave us His final book and every single Muslim has Quran with them and we got Quran because of our acceptance and according to Quran Allah choose name Muslim for us because we accept His final book of Islam, so Muslim means follower of Islam and Islam is only in Quran and in Quran Allah telling to very strictly many times to follow only Deen E Ebraheem and Deen E Ebraheem is only in Quran and according to Quran Mohammed pbuh also follower of Den E Ebraheem, Quran is the only final book of instruction and full guidance of Allah, when our parents Adam pbuh and His wife misguided by shataan and they become naked and Allah sent to them from Heaven to in His earth so they birth many men and women in this earth of Allah, See Surah Al Nisa ayat No. 1, so all people in this world is the children of Adam pbuh. When Allah sent to Adam pbuh and His wife in this earth so from that time Allah start sending His instructions See Surah Al Baqqrah 2 Ayats 38 and 39 there is many more related ayats in Quran and then Allah choose His messengers after another after and Allah created His books Zaboor, Toarait, Injeel/Bible after that Allah final His book of Islam on Mohammed pbuh See Surah Al Imran Ayats 3 and 4, so Quran has a details of all wahi/instructions and all previous books of Allah Zaboor, Toatait and Injeel/bible which is revealed on all messengers of Allah from Adam pbuh to Mohammed pbuh and during this period all messengers of Allah from Adam pbuh to Mohammed pbuh face lot fo problems, difficulties, pains and lot more and according to Quran one time they scream for help of Allah, so we Muslims should know the value of the final book of Islam of Allah Al Quran, we got this only one final book of Islam of Allah Al Quran, the only final book of Islam revealed on Mohammed pbuh so there is not comparison and substitute of Quran in this world. So whatever all messengers of Allah from Adam pbuh to Mohammed pbuh got the instructions of Allah so all its in Quran with entire details and according to Quran none of messengers of Allah from Adam pbuh to Mohammed pbuh didn’t said any thing from their willing, logic, opinion or from their school of thoughts because Allah strictly prohibited for this See Surah Al Haqqaah 69 Ayats 40 to 52, there is many more rlated ayats in Quran, so Allah start research on His people and He start sending His instructions according to His people nature from Adam pbuh and Allah final His book of Islam on Mohammed pbuh so many messengers of Allah struggle during this period to complete the book of Allah and according to Quran Allah saying that every single instructions of Allah which is only the final book of Allah in Quran is keep remain same until to the day of judgment, amendment, addition, deletion is no permission in religion of Allah, so Quran is the complete book of Allah and Allah tells entire details in His final book and Qruan has a all details of Zaboor, Toarait, Injeel/bible and in Quran Allah strictly prohibited in Quran to create any other book to anyone See Surah Al Baqarah 2 Ayats 77 to 82, there is many more related ayats in Quran so after to complete the book of Allah Al Quran so there is no reason to people created many books in the name of Islam, there is no concept of stories of four imams in Quran at all, these stories created by munafiq/hypocrites people for split to Muslims in firqas/sections, according to Quran Allah saying many times very strictly that Muslims should one group and no permission to any one to making a sections/firqas because making a sections is the concept of firoon/pharaoh for making people weak See Surah Al Qasas 28 Ayat 4. according to Quran making a sections is like making a pieces of Islam of Allah which is only in Quran See Surah Al Rom 30 aysts 31 and 32, there is many more related ayats in Quran and Allah saying in Quran that the people of belonging to those sections/firqas which is created by people is not the part of Islam of Allah at all which is only in Quran, all sections/firqas like sunni, shia, ahmadi, wahabi, deobandi, barhalvi, ahl e hadis, ahle e sunnat, hanfi shafi, qadiani and lot more is the creation of the stories of four imams, in these stories munafiq/hypocrites people using the name of Mohammed pbuh and Sahaba for emotional to Muslims and in these stories they blaming and insulting to Mohammed pbuh, Mohammed pbuh didn’t said that Muslims will become 73 firqas and one of them goes to Heaven and the rest 72 firqas/sections is goes to hell and its not in Quran at all, this is big blame on Mohammed pbuh, there is many more blame on Mohammed pbuh in these stories of four imams and we Muslims following those stories of four imams and we insulting to Mohammed pbuh but we didn’t know that only reason that we away from Quran. So what ever all messengers got from Allah from Adam pbuh to Mohammed pbuh its all in Quran with entire details and according to Quran if anyone saying anything which is not in Quran so its like blaming on Allah and His messengers and these stories of four imams saying mostly things which is not in Quran at all, in Quran Allah didn’t mentioned any of His messengers from Adam pbuh to Mohammed pbuh personal life like about their quantity of wive, ages of wive or name of any of His messengers but in those stories of four imams they mentioned the ages, quantity, names wife of Mohammed pbuh and many more about His personal life. If Allah didn’t mentioned any of His messengers personal life so who they are telling Mohammed pbuh personal life and the reason is the incident of the video about Mohammed pbuh. three big incident happened in this world, first incident is the incident of Sulman Rushdi, the second incident of the burning of Quran and the third big incident the video about Mohammed pbuh and all three incident happened only because of the stories of four imams but not the Quran. and we Muslims following the stories of four imams, so the current situation of Muslims all around the world is the reason of we following the stories of four imams but we are not following Quran, so now Allah is anger with us and He is start sending His punishment in different ways and Allah is destroying to us and then Allah will send directly to hell and He will create other people who follow His instruction=s and all its in Quran withe detils, the current situation of Muslims is mentioned in Quran hundred percent. we are away from Quran and this is shaitaan wants to us away from Quran and all those books created by people in the name of Islam and the stories of four imams is helping to shaitaan to us away from Quran, so the current situation of Muslims is increasing and if world trying to help to us but no one can stop this azab e elahi, so the only solution to stop azab e elahi on Muslims that every single Muslim start understand and follow only Quran as a Muslim as per our acceptance with Allah to follow His the only final book of Islam of Allah Al Quran, the only final book of Islam of Allah revealed on Mohammed pbuh. otherwise the azab e Elahi will be keep remains increasing and never stop, In the current situation Allah taking back His the only final book of Islam from us because we fail to follow His instructions which is only in Quran, so if we loose this the only final book of Allah the only book shows us right path to Allah so we will lost and never get the right path to Allah, so still we have time that if we saying Muslim our self so we should follow only Quran. So we should one group and until to we finish all firqas/sections like sunni and shia and lot more and become one group as per instruction of Allah so its going to worse then worse, so we have to stop saying shia, sunni, ahmadi, wahabi, deobandi, barhalvi, ahl e hadis, ahl e sunnat, hanfi, shafi, qadiani an lot more and we should say only Muslim,in Surah Al Baqarah 2 Ayats 58 and 59, Allah sent His punishment/azab for them who change only one word to another word, so today we change the name from Muslim to shia, sunni, ahmadi and lot more so Allah start punish to us, according to Quran none of those sections is not the part of Islam of Allah which is only in QUran. The only Quran is the book of Islam of Allah in this world. All other books of people in the name of Islam is misguiding to us so we should boycott to any other books of Islam created by people and just start follow only Quran and also boycott to all these leaders of firqas/sections because they following the concept firoon/pharaoh, Mossa pbuh face only one firoon/pharaoh but now there is many firoon in the name of leaders of these sections and the only way to safe from them that we need only Allah mercy and help and the only way to get Allah mercy and help that we should start follow only Quran as a Muslim as per our acceptance with Allah. otherwise Allah will destroy to us and He already start to destroy to us. We always blaming on others and focusing on others, if we are doing right so why Allah is not helping to us, Is Allah nouzobillah weak? No not at all, these all problems is punishment from Allah and because of we away from Quran so there is no mercy and help from Allah with us, we expecting help from UN and from the world but we need only mercy adn help form Allah and until to we Muslim start following only Qruan we never get mercy and help from Allah, so please O Muslims wake up and boycott to those leaders of firaqas and the stories of four imams and many ohter books created by people in the name of Islam. Please still we have time. so wake up before to lose the only book Al Quran. I will proof from Quran worldwide that any of those sections si not the part of Islam of Allah which is only inQuran

  2. Here we go again. Let’ s get Muslims in the limelight again now that the Trojan Horse fiasco didn’t churn much up. And lo and behold we come back to the burka….this time with a Muslim at the helm of the need to tell a Muslim woman what she can and can’t wear without even consulting one. Well lets look at France and see their double standards. You can walk around completely naked amongst men, women and children in their nudist beaches risking skin cancer but a Muslim woman who chooses to cover her face gets arrested. Many of these burka wearing women are super intelligent. Stop feeling intimidated and instigating hatred. People should be able to wear what they like. Government has no right to tell anyone what clothing they can and can not wear. What’s next? Laws regulating how i wipe my behind ? Better than walking around half naked like a piece of meat!

    People are offended by people walking down the road in head to toe bin bags. It’s spooky. You have the right to feel offended. You do not have the right to stop them doing it.

    It is socially acceptable to be openly racist towards Muslims in this country. Legally not so because more and more Muslims are standing up to this fascism and rightfully so. What, values like stripping down to get sunburned on the beach and drinking to excess on a Friday night out? Why don’t you just wear what you want and allow other people to wear what they want? The right to wear what you want is not a special privilege. Its a basic democratic right and one that you yourself enjoy. No one tells you what you can or cannot wear. Why do you think you can tell others what they should wear?

    These racist just don’t like being pointed out and don’t like to be exposed when challenged! So all in all, this university wanted to make a rule for less than 1% of the population who (I assume) aren’t causing any big disturbances or anything? In regard of safety/terror issues, I’d be more worried about backpacks, but I doubt those will be banned in an university setting. Ban on Burqa/ Niqab is against religious-***-human rights of Muslim Women in Europe. Those who support ban on veil are Islamophobic.

    We live in a world were women are paid to be naked and fined to be covered, unbelievable! Sisters if you want to wear the niqab you do that. Inshallah you are rewarded for your efforts and commitment in the hereafter. A woman should be free to wear what she likes, if you going to ban a woman for covering up herself, please also ban woman that fail to cover up. The only people who will suffer are Muslim women. A ban would be unjust. One of the best things about this country is its tolerance. Let us remain tolerant.
    London School of Islamics Trust

  3. I thought Faith is something between a person and his God. It does not have to be declared publically. In fact it may be better not to bring your Faith in public as it may cause others to bring their Faith in public too. This may lead to a public contest of “My Faith is better than yours!” I think we can all get the picture that such competition in the public arena is not good for the peace of the public. So I think we should all keep our Faith to our own selves.
    Allah says in the Holy Quran, “The most honored in the sight of God is the one who is the most righteous”.

  4. One should be careful asking freedom from governments in matters of religion. Faith has to do with self reformation. Outward expressions of religious belief are not fundamental to any religion nor are necessary for self reformation which is the most basic function of religion.
    Many religious teachings have been misunderstood by their followers. Governments have protected people from the bad effects of these misunderstandings. 1) Hindus used to practice “Sati”, where the young widow of a man was burnt with his dead body. This was a religiously sanctioned practice. This was stopped by the British rulers of India. 2) Jehovah witnesses don’t accept blood. But Law allows transfusion of blood to minors even against the will of their parents. 3) The law in UK and US does not allow polygamy. I have not seen any passionate speeches, debates or demonstrations in favor of polygamy.
    Those who are crying themselves hoarse on the issue of veil are ignorant. Muslims cannot agree among themselves about what exactly is veil. Veil is not a fundamental, or central teaching of Islam. Most Muslim women do not observe veil as desired by these extremists. The most advanced Muslim nation of Turkey has banned veil for Muslim women under many circumstances. The so called defenders of Faith have never uttered a word against that country.
    So please do not work against the cause of Islam by this type of agitation and concentrate your energy to help Islam by worshipping better and helping the helpless.

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