Monday, September 17, 2007

How to Bully a Muslim Woman

Recently, while perusing the internet I came across a video made by DawahWorks, a production group who appear to make videos about Muslims and Islam in an attempt to conduct dawah. The host of the videos, SaadImam, speaks to various people. I actually came across the video while looking for another video made by them which had created controversy. Such a controversy that it was removed from YouTube. As that video was not available, I viewed the current video.

In this video entitled "Eid Adha & the Missing Hijab" SaadImam speaks to a young woman about the hijab. Now this may seem benign, however, as I watch I become increasingly disgusted at what happens.

First let me set the scene. SaadImam is at Eid ul Adha event at which he first speaks with two young Muslim men inquiring as to why they are Muslim. These young men provide their appropriate answers, sounding like good young Muslim men who perhaps once questioned their religion but have now 'seen the light' and declare that Islam is the best of all religions. During this time they intermittently cut to a young Muslim woman, without hijab, who also states her reasons for being Muslim. Her answers parallel the young men - she was born Muslim, she has great respect for Islam etc etc. However, very shortly into the clip their focus becomes mainly the young woman. Why? Because she does not wear the hijab. And what is the purpose of focusing on her? To make her feel bad about herself as a Muslim for not wearing the hijab. From the video it becomes clear that the young girl believes that the hijab is mandatory but chooses not to wear it. For the creators of the video this is all they need to depict the young woman as a confused, stupid, and bad Muslim. They consistently repeat her stating things such as "there's not a good reason I took it (hijab) off." This woman clearly states that she prays, fasts etc. She is an observant Muslim, but the video makers decide to focus in on her lack of head cover.

The part which really irked me was his comparison of women to jellewery. This is one of the oldest and most objectifying comparisons made by many Muslims trying to justify the woman's "obligation" to cover up. He states that jewellery at the jewellery store which is on the counter is fake as opposed to the jewellery which in locked in the glass because that jewellery is precious and worth more. He is saying that if something is precious it should be locked up and covered. Of course, his analogy is that of jewellery with a woman's body. That because a woman's body is precious it should be locked up and hidden. However, those who so proudly state this analogy forget that jewellery is an object and a woman is a human being. I think the differences are obvious. An object, unlike a human, cannot think, cannot feel, cannot experience pain, lonliness, happiness, hope, fear, cannot have aspirations and dreams, cannot love, cannot appreciate freedom and abhor imprisonment. A piece of jewellery, no matter how precious, is not a woman! To make the comparison is to objectify women.

The way in which SaadImam speaks to this woman reeks of bullying. Her nervous and scattered responses and his creepy smirk show him as the bully he is. Check this video out yourselves as well as others he has made. His stupidity and hate shines through.