Ohio school students asked to “cover” for a day in “solidarity” with “Muslims”. Thankfully cancelled. Where do I even begin?
The article, in the Washington Post, explains the idea:
A public high school in Mason, Ohio, has apologized for an event called the “Covered For a Day” that encouraged all girls to wear a hijab — a head scarf worn by Islamic women — as a cultural awareness activity.
The event was supposed to take place at the 830-student, high-performing school on Thursday, but has been canceled. It was sponsored by the Mason High School Muslim Student Association…
I have an idea. How about the Mason High School Haredi Student Association encourages all boys to refuse to sit next to girls in the cafeteria, as a cultural awareness activity?
How about the Mason High School Christian Student Association encourages all students to stage protests in science class demanding equal time for god, as a cultural awareness activity? How about all the school bullies encourage all students to take a beating in silence, as a cultural awareness activity?
Or, how about not?
Maajid elaborated on his view in a comment:
As a liberal, I disagree with the notion of women believing they must wear a hijab to be “good Muslims”, or “more pious”, or that it makes them somehow morally better in God’s eyes [compared] to women who do not wear it, and I disagree with promoting the hijab. However, also as a liberal I will defend the legal right of women to wear it, because dress is a personal matter, and have done so many times on TV (despite the same women failing to defend others’ rights to wear cartoons on their t-shirts) yet I maintain my legal and moral right to continue to speak out against this practice. This is because, there are still countries that enforce hijab on women as a matter of law, Saudi and Iran being two cases in point. There are also many more in which dressing “immodestly” is liable to male moral judgement (Pakistan, Egypt and many other developing countries), where sexual violence has sky-rocketed based on presumptions of female “immodest behaviour”. Finally, there are many dissenting Muslims and ex-Muslims who are persecuted for daring to be different the world over. The neo-orientalist assumption that “Muslim women” wear hijab, when so many Muslim women actually do not, must also be challenged. If it is not, it increases the peer pressure to conform to medieval-inspired dress codes. Until such practices are ended, I think that a “take your Hijab off” day would be more appropriate, and even then I would not propose it because it would place hijabi women on the spot, whose rights I also defend.