In response to a Tundra Tabloids’ post on parents angry over their daughters on a school trip to a mosque being forced to don a hijab, Kat Swynford writes the following:
The level of cultural and historical ignorance among Americans makes me squirm. When my family traveled to Latin American in the early 1960’s, a time when the Roman Catholic Church required women to cover their heads while in church, my mother, sister and I always put on a hat or mantilla before entering some of the region’s many beautiful Baroque churches. If we had forgotten to bring either, there were little old ladies guarding the doors who would give us a Kleenex to cover our heads. We did not do this because we were agreeing with or adopting Catholic Dogma. We did it because it demonstrated courtesy and respect for that Dogma. We weren’t forced to do it – it was our choice to go inside these Churches.
When we entered a Synagogue, my brother put on a hat for the same reason.
When I visited famous Mosques in Egypt, I always put took off my shoes and put on a headscarf before entering, not because I was being forced to live under Sharia Law, but to show courtesy and respect for the rules of the people worshipping there.
If you visit the shrine of a different religion, you are obliged to show respect for that religion by following their rules and etiquette. If you object to those rules, don’t visit the shrine. If you go there anyway, don’t bitch about their rules.
Yes you were complying to sharia norms, which mandates rules for the non-Muslim as well. A head scarf is a prayer shawl for women, you only need to remove your shoes in a mosque to show any kind of ”respect” if you feel the need to do even that. Placing a scarf on your head immediately places you in a position of participation, not observation, which is a very big distinction. These kids were forced to comply. What’s a kid to do when an adult in supervision says: ”put this on”? They’ll put it on, because they won’t want to buck that authority, that’s what is in question here. Personally, I’m in favor of, and would tell all non-Muslims, to avoid going to mosques.
Daniel Pipes on non-Muslim women wearing hijabs: To the argument that the women pictured below are doing nothing different from non-Jewish men donning a kippah (yarmulke, skullcap) in a synagogue, I have three replies:
A Jewish man praying with a tallit, or prayer shawl, over his head and upper torso.
- Jews are not trying to impose their ways on the West. Turned around, Western respect for Islamic customs is not sufficiently reciprocated.
- In about half the pictures here, the women are not in a mosque or other religious place. In their cases, the comparison is irrelevant.
When they are in a mosque, the comparison of female head covering and male skullcap does not hold. Wearing a skullcap compares to taking one’s shoes off on entering a mosque – a sign of respect. But wearing a hijab, especially the full hijab such as Laura Bush wore, is like a non-Jewish male putting on the talllit (prayer shawl). It is not a small symbolic step of respect but rather taking on an important aspect of the ritual of a religion not one’s own.