I guess I do have slight prejudices against the hijab. The prejudices are because it is a religion’s method of subjugating women. These are in no way as pronounced prejudices as my very definite prejudices against the burka or niqab. The hijab is, to my mind, an acceptable method of dressing modestly, and is centred on wearing a scarf around the head, covering the hair. It allows for me to be able to see the facial expressions and lips as they speak to assist me understand what’s being said, all of which is an essential part of human communication. Any more covering to the face is, to me, just rude.
In the first place, the original reasoning was to hide the woman, always the possession of another man, from my uncontrollable lust. How dare their culture treat me with such disrespect and insult me by suggesting I would most likely behave in such a way if I saw more of the female face. Feck off!
But, the hijab, whilst also requiring that arms and legs be covered, as a scarf isn’t rude.
I actually find it quite pleasant, and that it fits alongside anything else any woman from any cultures chooses to wear, or is taught to wear.
So, it was with great interest that I heard about the Poppy Hijab.
The poppy is traditionally worn for Armistice Day, and the Sunday before. Well, these days, the poppy seems to be worn for 3 or 4 weeks before Armistice Day. Now, that bit annoys me. Surely that dilutes the impact of the actual Armistice Day.
The selling of pretend poppies raises funds and the wearing of them shows a mark of respect for the war dead and injured. Some people have a problem with that. I don’t.
Muslims who wish to commemorate the war dead and injured can wear poppies, and a few do. But, thanks to designer Tabinda-Kauser Ishaq there is now this ‘poppy hijab’.
It can be worn as a scarf by non-Muslims, or worn in the correct ‘hijab’ style as required.
Its design and release comes at a time when we mark 100 years since the first Muslim soldier was awarded the Victoria Cross for bravery in the First World War.
What could make the poppy hijab important is that it is an extremely poignant way for British Muslims to connect with non-Muslims whilst also making a stand against the extremism that their religion is getting a reputation for. A very very tiny minority of British Muslims are the extremists that we consider them all to be.
In recent times, more and more British followers of Islam have been saying ‘Not in my name!’ to the extremism. The poppy hijab, if it catches on and captures the imagination, will reinforce the statement in a way that hopefully will also build a bridge between the older generations with traditional British Christian values and the newer generations of the more recent and Islamic faith Britons.