Sunday, October 15, 2006

Love or hate the veil....

I was driving home and listening to the BBC on the radio when a particular segment caught my attention.

The topic was on a Muslim teacher in England who was asked to remove her veil because her students could not hear her clearly. She refused and was later suspended. She is currently pending the decision of an employment tribunal. Please read: BBC news

Living in a multi-cultural society, I am surrounded by people from all walks of life with different religious beliefs. I've worked closely with many Muslim colleagues who later became good friends. For me, religion was never a barrier. In fact, most of my colleagues, especially in Malaysia, wear the Tudong - head scarf but they do not cover their faces. I think it is a personal choice that they want to cover their head, religious reason or not, and really it makes no difference to me.

Due to the actions of certain Islamic extremist, Islam has become the focus over past few years. Because many people do not understand the religion, they tend to fear it. Now, all sort of ridiculous things have been raised such as the banning of Muslim woman wearing the tudong. I think it is a matter of HUMAN RIGHT on what people choose to wear, as long as it doesn't affect (harm) another person, why do you want to force your will on others? It is the same thing as freedom of speech. Sure, we can have freedom of speech....IF freedom of speech is practiced in a responsible manner. Its that fine line...but its there.

However, with regards to this particular issue, my personal opinion on this particular matter is a totally different matter due to the following reasons:

1) The Quran says “And tell the believing women to lower their gazes and be modest, and to display of their adornments only that which is apparent, and to draw their veils over their bosoms.”(24:31)

In this verse it is clearly mentioned that sex parts must not be exposed and must be covered. “Adornment which is apparent” alludes to the common body parts between male and female sexes. The face, hands and feet are common parts and are exposed without any indecency or immodesty.

Quoted from: Article by Prof. Maqsood Jafri

Based on what I understand above, covering the face is not compulsory. Isn't it?

2) Has anybody heard about "In rome, do as the roman does."? If foreigners/tourist who visit countries like Saudi Arabia, are REQUIRED to put on a veil when they go onto the streets such that the hotel provides these garments for them and they put it on, out of respect for your culture, what is the difference between that and the situation where if you are in UK, and it is courtesy to take out your cap or sunglasses when u are talking to others so that they can see your facial expression clearly. Why can't the Muslim woman who wear veils over their face respect that?

3) I think Ms Azmi's arguements about wearing the veil during class is a little weak. I think that communication is always best when you are face to face. Everyone knows the difference between having a conversation over the phone and face-to-face in which you can see the other person's facial expression. The entire point of face-to-face is so that you don't have to guess the other person, it is normally written all over the face.

Ms Azmi is in a teaching profession and it is her responsiblity to let her students understand her clearly and to minimize all probability where her students are guessing her intentions. When I read that she expected her students to understand her clearly with a piece of cloth over her mouth, her body expression under all that garments AND her eye expression, I really laughed. I was immediately picturing myself *with the mentality I had as a young student* sitting at the back of the classroom STRAINING my eyes to see my teacher's eye expression. HAHAHAHHAHAHAHA.
----------------------------------Leaving nothing to the imagination -------------------
Look, Ms Azmi, I know you are a modest woman, following strictly what you think your religion expects you to do but please.....perhaps you should consider changing your profession. Isn't the purpose of wearing the veil to minimize lust in the male counterparts? The people in your class are STUDENTS! YOUNG CHILDREN!

I'm rather sceptical about MAN being unable to control themselves because they can see your face but hey...if that is your religion, I'll keep my big mouth SHUT. But to be honest, I would PREFER to talk to someone who is not covering her face because the idea of talking to someone whom I don't know under a veil really scares me and makes me very uncomfortable.

Just my 2 cents worth on this matter. I apologize if I have offended anyone but this is just my personal opinion with regards to this matter. And for the record, I'm not anti Islam and I have great respect for the religion. For more interesting opinions, please read: Forum on the veil topic by BBC

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