Al Qaeda threatens to attack France over burqa ‘ban’ issue

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

LONDON - Al-Qaeda has asked Muslims to retaliate against France for its opposition to the burqa, and threatened to attack the country, according to SITE Intelligence, the US monitoring service.

President Nicolas Sarkozy said earlier this month that his government was considering banning the burqa and other Islamic clothing, which French MPs claim is degrading to women.

“Yesterday was the hijab (the Islamic headscarf long banned in French schools) and today, it is the niqab (the full veil),” The Telegraph quoted al Qaeda’s North Africa leader Abu Musab Abdul Wadud, as saying.

“We will take revenge for the honour of our daughters and sisters against France and against its interests by every means at our disposal,” he said.

“We call upon all Muslims to confront this hostility with greater hostility, and to counter France’s efforts to divide male and female believers from their faith with a greater effort … [by] adherence to the teachings of their Islamic sharia,” added Abdul Wadud said.

He said Muslims in France, who are estimated at around five million, are increasingly concerned about the practices of French politicians and leaders and their harassment.”

On June 22, Sarkozy said the burqa was not a symbol of religious faith but a sign of women’s subservience, adding that the head-to-toe veil was “not welcome” in secular France.

The French National Assembly set up an inquiry into the rising number of Muslim women who wear the burqa. (ANI)

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July 6, 2009: 6:50 am

Why I wear a Hijab ?
By Raseena Sherif
I was asked by a friend about why I wear a hijab. This is my answer.

You asked me ages ago why I wore the hijab. It was always somewhere in my mind - not necessarily always the back - that I should reply and I finally decided I wouldn’t put off your reply any longer, and therefore you shall have it.

Having grown up in a practising Muslim household, many things were just handed over to me. And having studied in an Islamic school all my life, consequently having an entirely Muslim circle of friends, I never questioned them. That was the way things were done in my little world, and it was therefore the way I did things too. The hijab was one of them. I grew up in it. Physically and also mentally. I think the question, or at least the one with the more interesting answer, is why I continue to wear the hijab even after having spent more than three years now, in Christian colleges, and with a friend circle that is largely non- Muslim.

There are many things I found in the hijab as I grew up. Things as varied as the convenience of not having to spend considerable amount of worry and time on my wardrobe and outside appearance, to philosophical, spiritual, and you might be surprised to hear this, but even feminist concepts that I feel proud to stand up for and show my belief in.

In wearing a hijab, a woman is identified by the things she does and the things she stands for, rather than her looks. Even as a woman, there are times when I have found myself identifying another woman by her looks, where I might ask “Oh, the one with the long hair?” In underplaying my looks, I force others to look for more in me.

My hijab saves me a lot of the time, effort, thought and worry that would otherwise go into my dress, my hair, my skin and my make up. I think it’s a pity that while theoretically looks aren’t supposed to matter, one must spend so much time and money on them. With the hijab, looking good means looking neat and the best part is that I get to stop where others begin.

Comments on: France ponders a burqa ban | No cover up | The Economist on Wednesday, 01-07-2009 at 09:35am

Looking back now, at how I began to wear the hijab, I’m glad I did start the way I did. In spite of the fact that I prefer to find things out for myself, and hate taking things for granted, or doing things without really believing them. Because having started the way I did, to me, the hijab was always just another type of clothing.

I think about the kind of stereotypes people have about hijabs, and women who wear them, and I know that if I were left to discover the hijab for myself, it would have been tough for me to go beyond those stereotypes, to go back on all that I grew up hearing, seeing and believing, and to allow myself to actually see the hijab for what it is and its beauty. Having grown up wearing it, in a society that didn’t jump to conclusions about me because I did, or look at me like I was weird, I have always felt comfortable in it, and never thought of myself as any different from the rest. It was just my way of dressing. And with the stage for objective evaluation of that type of dressing set, I have come to love that way of dressing above others.

On the other hand, I know there are those that hate the hijab they wear. I feel bad for them – for the fact that they are forced to do something they don’t even understand, and the fact that they haven’t understood something so beautiful. However, I think the saddest part is that they are losing out on both the happiness they might have found in dressing the way they would have liked to, and the happiness they could have found in pleasing their Creator. It’s always our intentions that are considered and if you’re doing something only because you’re forced to, it doesn’t count. You might as well enjoy yourself living life the way you want to. And then if you are fortunate enough to find God for yourself, I think you are really lucky.

In fact, I feel bad for all those Islamic ideologies that are reduced to meaningless customs and traditions, and the joke that they have been allowed to become in the minds of people. Anyway, I won’t start on that or I shall go on for a couple more pages. I just want to ask you to make a distinction between actual Islamic ideology and the actions that one sees from some people born into Muslim households – especially the kind I heard you grew up with.

In the hijab, honestly, I feel blessed.

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