By Layla Abdullah-Poulos
Once again, news of another violation of a Muslim female’s person hits the internet, demonstrating the broader society’s tenacious discomfort with our existence as well as assumptions about the multifaceted significance of modesty in American Muslim culture.
Instances of such breaches also typically produce short-lived conversations inside Muslim communities, with very little attention paid to Muslim women. Normally, there is a litany of non-Muslims apologizing for or justifying the unacceptable behavior of the aggressors as well as Muslim male scholarship and leadership bending over backward to highlight layers of anti-Muslim discrimination (Islamophobia) without appreciating violations of civil and human rights.So, I reached out to dynamic Muslim women educators, writers, thinkers, academics and artists and asked them to provide their takes on this particular incident and its connotations to the American Muslim women experience. As usual, sisters came out with some thought-provoking and poignant assertions that demonstrate the need for deeper discussions and protocols to protect and preserve an important aspect of their deen.
Whether they cover or not, there is a common sentiment among many Muslim women that modesty and covering (hijab) is within our purview exclusively, and anyone reaching in from the outside and bringing with them a sundry of issues to influence and affect how we traverse society should be handled.