Semra Çelebi’s Facebook page “I took off my hijab” shares her decision to remove her headscarf after 16 years of wearing the hijab. According to Çelebi, the page was created “to gather stories and experiences of all those women around the world who stepped out of their traditional social environment and chose to live their own lives” and is dedicated to “all those women who struggle and have struggled to live their own lives.” Both statements, inclusive and nonsectarian as they are, support Çelebi’s avowed opinion that all women should have freedom to choose. She is clear that her decision to remove the hijab was an individual one, and that her page is not intended to campaign for other Muslim women to follow her example.
For some who have commented on the page, this distinction makes little difference. Çelebi has received negative, hostile and patronizing responses, as well as more ambivalently phrased comments, many of which question the need for her to share her experiences publicly, citing anxiety about inviting anti-Islamic sentiment. For example this comment: [Read more...]