Young Muslim women against the ‘hijab’: “It is a control mechanism against women”

A group of Muslim women walks down a street in Barcelona's Raval.

A group of Muslim women walks down a street in Barcelona’s Raval.
Marti Fradera

The oppression of women on Islamic contexts it’s a kind of sexist violence invisible. Forced marriages, honor killings, family rejection or exclusion from the community are some of the risks to which women who dare to live their lives in another way are exposed. Most do not rebel against their families for fear of consequences. They live in constant repression. And this does not only happen in Muslim countries. It is also happening in Europe, they denounce.

Some, despite the threats, have decided to escape, but few have raise their voices to publicly denounce what is happening. From the social networks, some activists feminists They have begun to denounce the situation for them, since, coming from Muslim backgrounds, they know well what is happening.

Mimunt Hamido She is a feminist activist and fights for the rights of women in Islamic contexts. Last March he presented his first essay ‘They will not cover us’, where he talks about the arrival of a new Islam fundamentalist and of the massive diffusion of the veil as the most visible tool of this new current. Nasara Yahdih Said She has a double struggle: she is a feminist activist and for the liberation of Western Sahara. At 27, she is one of the most influential Arab feminist activists in Spain.

They both fight against islamic patriarchy and publicly denounce, through social networks, the rise of las most extreme branches of Islam in Europe. “One of the problems in Spain is that as a result of accusing the institutions as racist, Muslim women who wear veils are now being exploited to show that they are not. This is a mistake as it promotes acceptance of this patriarchy that we denounce and it is extremely dangerous ”, points out Mimunt Hamido.

The oppression of women

Many women in Spain suffer this repression. “Of Islam you cannot apostatize. If you say publicly that you are an atheist, you have a stigma. Girls do not say it and when they say it it is not accepted. It is something so serious that the family does not believe you. If you give them reasons to believe you, they will kick you out of the house, beat you up, spit on you in the street, and the community will bypass you. And this happens in Spain. There are many cases of girls who have lived in shelters for precisely that reason, “explains Mimunt.

Mimunt Hamido Yahia, feminist activist and defender of women’s rights in Islamic contexts. The newspaper

The problem is that there is currently a confusion between culture and religion. While it is true that religion and culture have always been linked hand in hand, in the case of Muslim societies it is taken for granted that people follow religion. “Our culture and Islam have always gone hand in hand, so I think it is very difficult to separate culture and religion. For me, religion is within culture but it does have to get to the point that religion faith is something intimate of each one, not that he dictates the rules to an entire community, “says Násara.

The fight against the ‘hijab’

The veil, also called ‘hijab’, It is a garment that has as its foundation cover up muslim women so that men do not feel sexual desire towards them. There are several types of veil, the most widespread being the ‘hijab’, which only hides the hair and neckline, but we also find other types that hide practically the entire body of the woman, such as the ‘niqab’ or the ‘burqa’. The veil is the most visible face of oppression that the patriarchy exercises in Muslim women since it is not merely a garment, but it is all that it entails (family honor, virginity, purity, good Muslim …). “The ‘hijab’ is not a piece of cloth, it is a control mechanism that forces Muslim women to follow moral norms imposed by society. That’s why we we fight against the veil, because something that oppresses us cannot be protected under the umbrella of tolerance and free choice”Says Mimunt Hamido.

Násara Iahdih Said, feminist activist and defender of the liberation of Western Sahara. The newspaper

Their fight is not against veiled women, but against the veil itself. Therefore they point towards a deep reflection on how the veil is imposed on Muslim societies and see where the veil is focus of the problem. “The multiple factors that make women end up wearing the veil have to make us reflect on whether it really is a choice of each one or if it really is one covert obligation. Since we were little, they pressure us to end up putting it on with comments such as ‘with the veil you look prettier’ or ‘your veiled friends have a purer aura since they wear it’. This is manipulation and direct oppression towards the girls ”, explains Násara.

The Islamic Patriarchate

The Islamic patriarchy is a set of three social institutions: the family, the Islamic Social Court and the Islamic System. In family settings girls are raised to be slaves of the welfare of her family, that is to say, the family reputation within society. The Islamic Social Court is the set of families that make up society and the Islamic system It is the one that perpetuates attitudes or norms. All of this forms a psychological abuse scale straight towards women. It carries a structural tightness which translates into adopting certain behaviors to maintain the reputation of the family environment and, ultimately, of the community in general.

“The Islamic Social Court is made up of the families of the community, who end up adopting a court role. On the whole, families are judged who do not do things the ‘right’ way. And that’s when families act against girls to avoid being stigmatized, since they are the ones who maintain the reputation, “explains Násara.

The complaint towards the Islamic patriarchy is more and more visible thanks to the voices of activists who decide to denounce the oppression they live to save family reputation. According to Foundation Against Crimes of Honor every year they murder in the world 10,000 women for this reason and because of the rise of Islamic extremism spread in the West the The situation of women is currently in danger.


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