Thursday, November 17, 2005

My Inspiration

Opening for Dialogue with Harper College Students in regard with “Hejab Exposition” - May , 2005

I would like to thank the International Studies Organization for inviting me back to participate in this forum.

I have had the privilege of receiving a copy of the comments made in reaction to the “Hejab Exposition” which I presented at Harper College in February 2005.

In response to those comments and in further stating my views, I have a short statement:

As a descendent of a great grandfather, revered as a saint with blood lines linked to the Prophet Mohammad, I find it my obligation to advocate equal rights for my mother and my sisters and spread this ideology to other families across the borders.

I believe most of the anger and rage in my region of the world is a direct result of oppression of women. I believe when women’s rights are trampled, the outrage is passed on through the children and one can see its resonate in my region.

As a concerned member of my society, I want to critically evaluate my society’s predicament and find ways to change it for the better. I believe women are oppressed in Islamic societies. And I have chosen the Hejab as the most visible symbol of gender specific subjugation to reveal all other forms of inequities forced on women.

In many places these inequities reaches the degree of gender apartheid. (Not that there aren’t gender biases and abuse in other societies with different faiths; the Catholic Church and the Jewish Orthodoxy for example have many issues in this area to overcome).

For example, we see honor killing which exclusively victimizes women and genitalia mutilation of female children. Women suffer from unequal inheritance right’s, unequal travel and movement rights, unequal employment rights, unequal divorce rights, unequal child custody rights, unequal rights to damages for
disfigurement or loss of body parts in criminal matters or in accidents, unequal rights to become a judge or present a witness testimony.

I believe the merits of these fundamental issues should be scrutinized without fear of retributions from religious fanatics. - I do not believe that the divine order would be for one gender to dominate another.

If the Hejab is to curb the excitement of men, who cannot control their faculties, then I think there should be a policy reversal: create a restraining procedure for defective men who cannot control themselves and free the women – the real victims, from the quarantine and the confinement of the Hejab.