Halal hairdressing launched in Scotland

24 October 2010

With its frosted windows, CCTV cameras, and tightly monitored security entrance, it is going to be one of Aberdeen’s most secretive business enterprises. So, you could be forgiven for wondering if the shop has something to hide. Well, it does — its customers. Or rather it is the customers who want to remain hidden. For this is Scotland’s first ‘halal hairdressers’ — a beauty salon which conforms to the strict rules of Islam; a place were Muslim women who wear the veil or headscarf can be seen uncovered without the risk of the gaze of men.

Discreet Creative Hairdressing, scheduled to open in three weeks, is the brainchild of 21-year-old Mahida Iqbal and her husband of nine months, Fueb Mieh. The salon will be a ‘man-free zone’. The frosted windows will stop any inquisitive men passing by from gawping at the clients. No-one can get in without passing through a secure buzzer entry system with CCTV. All this means that the Muslim ladies who have come for a new hair-do can remove their headscarves safe in the knowledge that only other women can see them.

“It is somewhere where customers can feel comfortable, feel pampered and relaxed, knowing that no-one is going to come in and disturb them,” Iqbal added. “Muslim husbands can feel relaxed knowing that their wife is safe, where no man is going to be able to see them, and then they can come home and show their beauty. Muslim clients have never experienced this ever. It’s a great feeling”, Mahida Iqbal says.

Solidarity for Hassan Filahi, attacked for not making his daughters veil

Men of the civic council, both PDL (People of Freedom party)
members, of a village near Livorno publicly expressed solidarity for
Hassan Filahi who was attacked by Islamic  extremists because his
daughters don’t wear the veil. The two politicians claimed that
freedom of religion and of cultural expression must be upheld. The
attack on the man, they maintain, represents an unacceptable denial
of those freedoms and a violation by violent extremists.  The two
politician emphasized that their Christian beliefs led them to
support Hassan’s freedom to express his faith without fear, a key
for respecting human dignity and liberty.

French muslim intellectuals criticize Obama’s hijab statement

In his June 4, 2009 Cairo speech, U.S. President Barack Obama emphasized that Muslim women in the U.S. are free to don the hijab. Obama’s statements triggered strong criticism among Arab intellectuals in France..

Reformist writer Abdelwahab Meddeb, a professor of comparative literature at the University of Paris X in Nanterre and author of The Malady of Islam (New York: Basic Books, 2003) and Counter-Preaching (Contre-Prêches, Seuil, Paris, 2006)[2] wrote: “Obama’s pertinent speech in Cairo was wrong in at least one respect. Let us say [for the sake of the argument] – though I find it difficult to do so – that women should be free to wear the veil. [Still, Obama] should have added that they must [also] be free to remove it.”

Leila Barbès, a professor of religion and sociology at the Catholic University of Lille, also referred to the hijab issue. She explained that, in the context of the veil, “free choice” was an illusion: “The moment [wearing] the veil is presented as a divine duty, the issue of free choice is no longer valid, [and] all Muslim women are exposed to [this religious] propaganda. How can we pretend they have a choice when they are told that [their] religion obligates [them to wear a veil]? The women [who wear] a full veil [i.e. a niqab, which covers everything but the eyes,] do so in order to comply with what is requested and expected of them by their husbands or their sect.

A woman suffered a miscarriage after being struck by her husband bacuase she didn’t want to wear the veil

The man, a Muslim Moroccan with a regular job in Italy, has been sentenced for maltreatment, kidnapping and violence after he struck and locked up his wife in the house during the period 2004-05. Their marriage was an arranged one; at the time the woman was 16 while the man was 30. This raises doubts about the legitimacy of the marriage itself: Italian law, in fact, doesn’t permit other members of the family to reunite in Italy in a case like this, in which at least one spouse is still a teenager and there are doubts concerning the actual intention of the couple in getting married.

France Moves to Ban Burqas

The French cabinet approved legislation to ban the wearing of full-face veils on 19 May 2010. The parliament of France still has to decide upon the proposal in July, and after that the law will go to the Senate in September. French president Nicolas Sarkozy said that “the burqa violates the dignity and equality of the Republic”. Under the proposed law, violators will be fined €150 ($190) and they will have to take citizenship classes. Men who force Muslim women to wear the veil will be punished more strongly under the draft bill with up to one year of prison and a fine of €15,000 ($19,000).
The proposal is expected to affect only some 2,000 of the over 5 million Muslim women in France, as only very few wear the traditional veil. This is according to numbers of the interior ministry of France. The bill was approved even though France’s council of state warned that it could be unconstitutional.

France Moves to Ban Burqas

The French cabinet approved legislation to ban the wearing of full-face veils on 19 May 2010. The parliament of France still has to decide upon the proposal in July, and after that the law will go to the Senate in September. French president Nicolas Sarkozy said that “the burqa violates the dignity and equality of the Republic”. Under the proposed law, violators will be fined €150 ($190) and they will have to take citizenship classes. Men who force Muslim women to wear the veil will be punished more strongly under the draft bill with up to one year of prison and a fine of €15,000 ($19,000).
The proposal is expected to affect only some 2,000 of the over 5 million Muslim women in France, as only very few wear the traditional veil. This is according to numbers of the interior ministry of France. The bill was approved even though France’s council of state warned that it could be unconstitutional.

‘I wear the veil and Adore Queen”

Sumaya Abdel Kader wears the hijab, adores Queen, speaks Italian perfectly and is even planning to take her second degree. She strongly opposes the common idea that veiled women are jinxed hidden under a curtain. She is a 32 years old woman that wears the veil according to the new Islamic fashion which respects young Muslim women willingness not to become ugly and let themselves go. Sumaya is an Italian citizen, born in Perugia from Jordanian-Palestinian parents and is Muslim. She is proud of her mixed cultural heritage. She is well accepted by the majority of both Italians and Muslims who have acknowledged the multicultural reality of Italy. This popularity is testified by her participation in many events and conferences all around the country to publicize her book “Porto il velo e adoro i Queen”, “I Wear the Veil and Adore Queen”. What she doesn’t like of the Italian society is the fact that wearing the veil is still very difficult. Usually, in fact, those who chose to veil are subject to discrimination, especially at work. Moreover, many people express stupor at her playful and sunny temperament, as her way of being was in contradiction with her way of dressing. She underlines the difficulties she usually faces also with certain Islamic immigrants who, for example, see being a Muslim in contradiction with choosing to speak Italian with her children. But she doesn’t perceive any contradiction in it as she considers herself Italian (she has just obtained the Italian citizenship after having waited for 13 years!).

Veils not mandatory for Muslim women, says Islamic leader

The president of the Association of Muslim Intellectuals, Ahmad Vincenzo, said that Muslim women in Italy should not be forced to wear the veil. “Women should be free to choose if they want to wear the veil or not, considering that it is not a religious duty to do so, said Vincenzo. He also expressed that the choice should be left up to young women concerning the wearing of the garment in schools, but expressed that the exploitation of the veil could lead to the creation of an Islamist uniform for female Muslims.

Education Department forces Ceuta school to admit two veiled students

The Education and Science Ministry of Ceuta has issued a report that forces a local school to accept two girls wearing the hijab in class. The Ministry declared that education according to the Spanish Constitution comes before other matters. The prohibition to wear the veil was part of an agreement to deny student’s access to the institution if they wear certain items of clothing.

Muslim girl sues school disallowing her to wear the veil

Even as the ‘burqa’ issue is still hitting the headlines in the UK, a 12-year-old Muslim girl has reportedly sued her school, in Buckinghamshire, for barring her from wearing the ‘religious full-face veil’ in school. In a statement, she said that wearing the veil was a “sign of her faith” and that she felt it was compulsory to wear it. “I view the naqab as part of my identity. Nobody’s forcing me to wear the naqab, it’s something I choose to wear and something I am proud of,” she said. According to the Dawn, her lawyers have condemned in the High Court the decision of the school calling it as “irrational”. Justice Silber was told that the high-performing school in Buckinghamshire had permitted, for nine years, all the girl’s elder sisters to wear the naqab. Despite just 120 of the 1300 pupil-school being Muslim, the girls said that the school had been “very supportive of them as devout Muslims and the way they expressed their faith”, Dan Squires, counsel for the youngest sister, told the court. All girls had achieved high A-level results – one gaining four A-grades – and at least two had gone on to university, which demonstrated that it had not impaired their learning, he said. As a result, Squires argued, the ban on the youngest girl from wearing the veil was not only against the principles of rationality, but thwarted a “legitimate expectation” that she would be allowed to wear it and breached her right to freedom of “thought, conscience and religion” under Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The court heard that the 12-year-old, known only as Claimant X for legal reasons, had joined the grammar school in Buckinghamshire in September 2005. But after reaching puberty the following summer, she returned to school wearing the naqab. Three days into the new term, the headmistress contacted her parents. She was removed from the selective state school in October and moved to an alternative school where she could wear the veil. Although uniform rules are clearly laid out for most pupils, the dress code for Muslim girls at the school is not written down. In a statement, the headmistress, who took up her post in 2003, said that Muslim pupils understood that the scarf or hijab was acceptable, as long as it was in the uniform colours. During the hearing, Justice Silber asked the barristers to address the issue of school security and whether the veil hindered their need to see pupils’ faces. Referring to the 1996 Dunblane massacre – in which Thomas Hamilton, shot dead 16 pupils and their teacher in Scotland – he said: “Everyone knows these days how security-conscious head teachers have to be at school. They have to be able to glance around and recognise who’s there.” The Muslim Council of Britain has said that the policy of allowing the hijab headscarf is “quite sufficient to meet Islamic requirements” and the Muslim Educational Centre of Oxford has emphasised that not all Muslims agree with wearing the naqab.