Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Veil teacher "should be sacked"

Aishah Azmi, a 23-year-old Muslim teaching assistant who worked at a Headfield Church of England junior school in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom was suspended because she refused to remove her veil in class. Phil Woolas who is a Britain’s race and faith minister said that she should be dismissed. On the other hand, she said that she would take her veil off, but not in front of male colleagues. The United Kingdom’s debate over “Veil teacher should be sacked” started last year in October 2006 and was broadcasted by BBC News.

It all started when children said that it was hard to understand her, and they were having difficulty understanding her English lessons. However, Mrs. Azmi’s lawyer Nick Whittingham said that “Mrs. Azmi is very well able to carry out her role as a teaching assistant providing support to people who speak English as a second language.” He also said that she can do this efficiently even with her veil on, and she has proved herself while she was being interviewed. She spoke fluently and clearly.

As said by Mrs. Azmi, people at Headfield Church of England junior school never criticized her veil. Whereas Phil Woolas said, “Aishah Azmi had put herself in a position where she can’t do her job.” He added to his statement by stating that “if the head teacher chose to sack Ms Azmi so be it.” Hence, her lawyer asked Mr. Woolas to withdraw his comments. She told the BBC that her veil never created any trouble between her and children. In fact, her relationship with children was great. She said, “If people think it is a problem, what about blind children? They can’t see anything but they have a brilliant education, so I don’t think my wearing the veil affects the children at all.”

An employment tribunal ruled that Mrs. Azmi was not discriminated against religion. Thus, she was given £1,100 for “injury to feelings.” Kirklees Council verified that she had been dismissed because the school’s action had “nothing to do with religion.” Therefore, a tribunal discharged her claims of religious discrimination along with harassment on religious grounds. In February 2006, she was suspended on full pay. However, she is still thinking to appeal against the decision.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Why women are converting to Islam?

Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world today. "One hundred thousand people per year in America alone are converting to Islam." Western women make up the largest number of converts, out-numbering male converts by a ratio of almost 4:1. This may seem weird to people who view Muslim women as weak and subjugated. However, the reality is that Islam offers a lot of respect and dignity to women and commands that society treat them with justice and respect.

There are many reasons why women in particular are converting to Islam. Here are some of them:
By clicking on the link below, you can actually read different stories about women as well as men who have converted and chosen Islam as a way of life:

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Women's Dress in Islam

Hijab is a word that indicates not just the headscarf but clothing in its entirety which meets the following conditions:
  1. Clothing must cover the entire body, only the hands and face may remain visible.
  2. The material must not be so thin that one can see through it.
  3. The clothing must hang loose so that the shape/form of the body is not apparent.
  4. The female clothing must not resemble the men's clothing.
  5. The design of the clothing must not resemble the clothing of the non believing women.
  6. The design must not consist of bold designs which attract attention.
  7. Clothing should not be worn for the sole purpose of gaining reputation or increasing one's status in society.

The reason for this strictness is so that the woman is protected from the lustful gaze of men. Islam protects the woman and it is for this reason that Allah gave these laws. Allah has stated in the Quran that women must guard their modesty. "Say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what must ordinarily appear thereof (Quran:24.31)." "Say to the believing man that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that will make for greater purity for them, and God is well acquainted with all they do (Quran:24.30)." Considering the fact that Allah has given us guidance through the Quran, He also given us the logic and common sense to apply these in our everyday life.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Veil

It is one of the great ironies of our world today that the very same headscarf revered as a sign of “holiness” when worn by Catholic Nuns, is reviled as a sign of “oppression” when worn for the purpose of modesty and protection by Muslim women.

The Quran does not suggest that women should be veiled or they should be kept apart from the world of men.
One of the verses in the Quran protects a woman’s fundamental rights. Verse 59 of Surah Al-Ahzaab reads: “O Prophet! Tell thy wives and daughters and the believing women, that they should cast their outer garments over their persons when outside so that they should be known as such and not molested.” According to the Quran, the reason why Muslim women should wear an outer garment when going out of their homes is that they may be recognized as “believing” women. The purpose of this verse was not to make women stay home, but to make it safe for them to go about their daily business without attracting wicked attention.

Older Muslim women who are past the prospect of marriage are not required to wear the outer garment. “Such elderly women as are past the prospect of marriage, there is no blame on them if they lay aside their outer garments, provided they make not wanton display of their beauty; but it is best for them to be modest; and Allah is One Who sees and knows all things (24:60).”

Monday, February 19, 2007

Why make Muslim women the center of attention when it comes to women's rights?

This question always comes up when women’s rights are being discussed. The reason behind this is that women’s rights in Islam need particular attention because women in Islamic countries are suffering by the system that is made by men. They try to defend their oppression of women by calling it their religion “Islam.” However, it is not true because true Islam requires us to honor and respect women! In Islam men and women equally submit to Allah because Allah treats them as spiritual equals. Quran 3:195 tells us:

“Their Lord responded to them: “I never fail to reward any worker among you for any work you do, be you male or female, you are equal to one another…”

Many of the Islamic countries who declare to follow Islam are treating women as a second class citizens as mentioned before. The sad part about this is that some of these women are actually accepting this situation thinking that is what Islam says about women. However, Allah in the Quran made an absolute spiritual equality between men and women.