Monday, 7 October 2013
By Tareq Oubrou (rector of the mosque of Bordeaux)

As a committed Muslim theologian and as a citizen, I consider it imperative for Muslims to do a bit of housekeeping and apply some common sense to their religious practice. In my view, covering the hair, for the Muslim woman, is a "mistaken and marginal requirement". In other words, it is based on one or two ambiguous passages in the Koran (oral communication), whose authenticity is not certain.

Let us recall that there are more texts demanding, for example, that men keep their beards than that Muslim women cover their hair, even leaving aside the question of their authenticity and their debatable meaning. Now, among many Muslims, there is much greater focus on the veil for women than on the beard for men, who are not bothered about shaving themselves without paying attention to the texts. As for those who do wear it, they are not worried by the laws of the Republic.

The sociology of this practice indicates to us that from "Islamic ostentation", the "Islamic veil" has become "aesthetic ostentation"; from an object of modesty to an object of seduction. A trend. Girls who wear the veil with tight trousers, or figure-hugging or transparent clothes, lead one to believe that the initial meaning of the veil is being gradually lost. It is tending to become a "cultural object". Today, hijab fashion parades are organised (the veil leaving the face visible). Nothing to do with modesty. You have the impression of travelling through a tale of the Thousand and One Nights.

The worst thing is that more and more girls who wear the veil don't perform their five daily prayers, the second pillar of Islam, after the testification of faith. Do we need to take this veil seriously? Others consider that the veil symbolises a consecration, an act of baptism, a rite of passage for the girl. There one could really speak of straying into error.

It is in this regard that I call on imams and preachers to assume their responsibility, remedy this religious disorder and rectify a discourse imported from another place and another age, one which is orienting Muslims towards minority practices from which there is no exit, exotic practices which are finding favourable terrain, that of an identitarian and oppositional psychology.

All Muslim religious scholars consider that covering the hair is not a religious act ('ibâdâte), but a relational one (mu'amalâte), that is to say it concerns the ethics that incorporate customs and traditions, even those who think that this act is obligatory. The head covering of the Muslim woman is not like a kippa nor like a cross. It is therefore not a religious sign, a "religious object".

Islam being an aniconic religion, theologically speaking it is not symbolised by any object nor by any colour. Neither a crescent, the colour green, dress, minarets, nor the veil are symbols of Islam, contrary to what is widely believed. Thus, even the concept of "religion sign" is not appropriate to Muslim theology. Banning the veil in schools as a "visible religious sign" constitutes interference in the internal affairs of the religion, a political heresy I would say, to the extent that politics engages in theology in determining what is moderate or not and what is a "religious sign" or not.

Indeed, Islam is a religion in which the concept of a "religious object" is unknown. Covering the hair is a behaviour linked to the body, similar for example to those who wear a beard. Should we, in this case, consider the beard, too, a "visible religious sign" and force Muslim boys to shave at school?
Source: Le Monde


Anonymous said...

The article is an example of Islamic taqiyya and kitman (deceit and withholding of full facts, mandated for in the Koran), as well as long-term tactical thinking. The view of the female in Islam is that she is an "aw'rat" (shameful orifice) with various parts of her body also containing 'shameful orifices' and these, and the body as an entirety, should be visible only to family members and slaves (this is from the Hadiths which are the 'oral traditions', as the original article in Le Monde correctly stated). The Koran contains various verses re modest attire for females and males and one of them can certainly be construed as involving covering the head and breasts. Moslems, as part of deceit, usually allude only to the Koran (notice the 'rector' talking of passages in the Koran re beards) because the Hadiths fill out the picture far more and that picture is not one they wish non-Moslems to be familiar with because it involves revealing facts about Mohamed. Mohamed was a warlord and he and his criminal band, later a substantial army (with the taking of Mecca), would divide the 'spoils' and 'war booty' of their attacks on non-Moslem tribes. Amongst the spoils were females, children, men, livestock and wealth. The human booty was used for rape, adding to the Islamic community through 'marriage' or as slaves (for sex or labour). Mohamed had the choice among the females and 'wed' several. In one of the Hadiths describing his 'wedding' to the teenage widow of a chieftain from such a battle with non-Moslems, there is a description of the 'wedding banquet' narrated by Anas, followed by: "The Moslems asked whether Safiya would be considered as his {Mohamed's} wife or as a slave girl of what his right hand possessed. Then they said, "If the Prophet screens her from the people, then she is the Prophet's wife, but if he does not screen her, then she is a slave girl." So when the Prophet proceeded, he made a place for her (on the camel) behind him and screened her from the people." (Hadith Bukhari vol 7, book 62, nr 89) Slave girls were left uncovered facially and also partially naked.

Other Hadiths relate the 'order' being given for the 'veiling' of the "believing women" (Moslem) and Aisha, Mohamed's child bride, speaks of this order. The phrase in the above partly-quoted Hadith, of "what his right hand possessed", is also in the Koran, specifically in relation to those females "not forbidden" to Moslems and it is stated in terms of 'captive women.' Thus, it comes down in Islam from the Hadiths, that covering a female was a sign of the man's possession of her as his property, and this relates to Moslem and non-Moslem females (the latter, "that which your right hands possess", taken as captives, by force). The 'veil' is not only a restrictive, demeaning symbol for Moslem females; of far greater impact on Western societies is the fact that the uncovered female is to be regarded as 'a slave girl', with all that implies, and is experienced in Western countries, of rape and abuse.

The 'rector' is engaged in long-term tactics in attempting through Taqiyya and Kitman to persuade the non-Moslem readership of Le Monde to regard the 'veil' as merely 'cultural' and, therefore, outside the injunctions of the practice in France of laicite (separation of religious and civic life). This is an argument which will appeal to, and be taken up by Western leaders (largely socialist/communist), who will welcome the opportunity to leave the veil free from legal injunction whilst restricting the Christian cross and any display of Europe's Christian foundations.

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