Malaysiakini Yoursay

Yoursay: The controversy over donning the hijab

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YOURSAY | ‘Mujahid must explain his reason for ‘serious concern’ over ‘de-hijabbing’ forum.’

Why fear intellectual discourse on de-hijabbing, ask forum panellists

Meerkat: I salute writer Maryam Lee’s courage in exploring the issue of deciding to stop wearing the headscarf in a book (Unveiling choice) and conducting the 'Malay Women and De-Hijabbing' forum.

I think she knows whom she is dealing with. Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) or the Islamic Development Department (Jakim) is nothing to be trivialised. They have big budgets and their track record is horrendous.

I haven't read the book but, from the reports, it is simply people expressing their views (on wearing the hijab). There is nothing to suggest that there is vilification or hate-mongering. Must these be suppressed?

What is Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Mujahid Yusof Rawa’s reason for "serious concern?" As a minister, he must explain.

Let's hope and pray for Maryam that she doesn't become a victim of enforced disappearance. I am no blind supporter of hers. I disagreed with her ‘Undi Rosak’ campaign. But any view, unless it is inciting violence, must be allowed to be expressed.

On the other hand, people like Indian preacher Zakir Naik, who openly incite hatred, have been handsomely rewarded. Do we want an enlightened Malaysia or not?

Gotyourmarbleback: Hijab is between you and Allah. The problem is when you want to openly campaign for others not to wear hijab. The authorities have to intervene.

Proarte: If Muslim girls are actively encouraged to wear a 'hijab', then why chastise Maryam for promoting the opposite? Maryam is not calling for a ban on the hijab, but merely advocating the right for Muslim women to choose whether to wear one or not.

Sadly, many pay more attention to fashion than to morality. This explains why they drool at the sight of Muslim women wearing expensive 'Naelofar' hijabs, but have no qualms about rejecting efforts to end genocide, ethnic cleansing, racism and discrimination in the world.

Mujahid should instead be “seriously concerned” about the moral vacuum in which Muslims in Malaysia live in, and seriously look at government agencies and policies which promote an immoral and irrational mindset.

Lodestar: Please remember that our prime minister's wife, Dr Siti Hasmah Ali, chooses not to wear a hijab, as is her right.

Forty years ago, few Muslim women wore the hijab in Malaysia. Now, you see even kindergarten kids wearing them. It appears to be a cultural artefact imported from the Middle East, rather than a part of Malay culture.

In Iran, women are fighting for the right of choice which, fortunately, Muslim Malaysian women still have. There is nothing wrong about a ‘de-hijabbing’ forum when all it does is emphasise women's choice.

It is not for men like Mujahid to tell women what they should or shouldn't wear. Neither is it for Jais to harass or intimidate a person when no offence has been committed. The forum organisers should sue Jais for abuse of power.

David Dass: Is not wearing the hijab an option for women? Indeed, Siti Hasmah does not wear the hijab. Neither does Rosmah Mansor or the wives of all our previous prime ministers.

I remember a time when the vast majority of Malay women did not wear the hijab. Were they all wrong then? Or are people more knowledgeable and wiser today? Or are we simply absorbing influences that come from outside without much thought?

In the end, it is really up to the individual, I suppose. Should it not be?

Cogito Ergo Sum: I thought a vote for Pakatan Harapan was a vote for moderation? It is now apparent that voters were dead wrong.

From moderation to intimidation - that’s how fast Harapan has metamorphosed in less than a year.

We seem to be left with extremist views on both sides of the political divide. The previous regime bullied and battered women's rights, so much so that it is a wonder that it still has their support.

We expected emancipation of thinking by Harapan. How wrong we the rakyat were.

Anonymous 0123456789: In Islam, the women’s hair is part of the “aurat” (parts of the body that cannot be exposed or should be covered according to Islam).

It is enough for Maryam, lawyer Dian Sofia and journalist-editor Mohani Niza to commit individual sin by not wearing a hijab, without having to commit more sins by trying to convince other Muslim women to do the same.

Keep your individual religious beliefs to yourself.

To the non-Muslims, please refrain from commenting on Islamic issues. I do not think the Sikhs would keep quiet if we were to ask them to discard their turbans.

Shanmugan VK Subrayan: @Anonymous 0123456789, this is a discourse among Muslim women on the merits and demerits of wearing the hijab.

Nobody is forcing anybody not to wear the hijab. Please understand that.

Super Papa Genius: "Why fear intellectual discourse on de-hijabbing"? Because religious bigotry cannot stand up to intellectual reason and logic.

Kneazle: Not wearing the hijab is not a crime in Malaysia. Why the harassment?

Subie Fan: In Malaysia context, de-hijabbing is a serious matter, akin to committing “religious crime”. But when it comes to allegedly stealing monetary funds, then no issue - “Apa malu/malu apa”.

G-Sam: This moral policing is a waste of government money and time. Zakir is free to hold talks without any issue. Meanwhile, Malaysians who hold talks are subjected to police investigations. This is embarrassing.

Gotcha: Prior to the 1980s, we hardly saw women wearing the headscarf. None of my female Muslim classmates in secondary school was wearing them.

I think the issue was either politicised by certain political parties or by religious extremist parties.

People should be allowed to make their own decisions rather than have them be forced upon themselves.

The above is a selection of comments posted by Malaysiakini subscribers. Only paying subscribers can post comments. Over the past one year, Malaysiakinians have posted over 100,000 comments. Join the Malaysiakini community and help set the news agenda. Subscribe now.

These comments are compiled to reflect the views of Malaysiakini subscribers on matters of public interest. Malaysiakini does not intend to represent these views as fact.

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