Thursday, December 17, 2015

A friend of a Facebook friend is no friend of mine

Except for some relatives I really have no right-wing friends on Facebook. I have a few fairly far-left-wing friends with whom I've had arguments but we've managed to stay friends - in spite of, most recently, the extreme Hillary-hating tendencies of some on the left, a phenomenon I mentioned the other day.

But I have a fairly open-door policy on my Facebook posts, and so friends of friends can see and comment on them. So a day after I posted this  piece about girls in Chicago participating in a "walk a mile in her hijab" event, a friend of a Facebook commented "Yeah let's all wear a symbol of female suppression..." and of course I had to tell him off.

As an atheist I find all religions to be generally absurd. But as an American liberal I am dedicated to the proposition that people have a right to any religion they want - with the flip-side being of course that people don't have to have any religion at all. We're all protected this way.

Muslims have been targeted more than usual lately thanks to the Islamaphobia of the Republican party candidates for president (it's not only Trump), resulting in increasing attacks on Muslims in the US. And the hijab is a way to identify Muslim women, so following their religion makes them a target for hate, and the attacks have intensified lately.

And as far as headscarves being symbols of female "suppression" (the guy is Dutch so maybe that's why he chose that word instead of "oppression") well you could make the same claim about plenty of other articles of female apparel, starting with high heels. But nobody is forcing women in the United States to wear high heels (except possibly if you work for Hooters) and nobody is forcing women in the United States to wear hijab. But women are being targeted for hate simply for choosing to wear the hijab.

And that is why it's both brave and admirable for these girls to stand up to bigotry and hate out of solidarity with their classmates.

But mostly it's time for people to stop telling women what they can and cannot wear - and it does not matter whatever reason the woman has - she has a right to choose her own clothing. Period.

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