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Is this not discrimination?!

8 Mar

I read in an article that Hema, a shop in Genk, Belgium, fired one of its staff members today. The sole reason for this decision? The woman in question wears a headscarf. The management of the shop received a number of complaints from (narrow-minded) customers about her headscarf, and decided to get rid of her.

The woman is Belgian, and when she first started to work there, she didn’t wear a headscarf yet. Then she decided to wear it (i.e nobody obliged her). She did ask the management of the shop first if she would be allowed to work there with a headscarf, and they gave their permission. But apparently some narrow-minded people took offence and complained. The management changed their mind and asked her to take it off. She refused. Then they fired her.

I read the comments on the article, and they were almost all in favor of the decision that the shop made. What kind of society are we living in? Is this not paternalistic and discriminating? Is this not other people deciding what a woman can and cannot wear? And all this happened on international woman’s day! Or is this day only to promote respect for Western, non-Muslim women?

Since she’s Belgian, it’s not a case of “racism”, and no organisation is really bothered by it. But wait until a woman gets fired because she wears a mini-skirt, then the public will scream and protest that we are living in the 21st century and that a woman can now decide for herself what she wants to wear.
It’s not because you don’t understand why a woman would want to wear a headscarf, that it’s impossible that she does it out of her own free will. It seems that Belgian, or should I say Flemish society is moving away from being tolerant and open-minded, to a place where it’s perfectly acceptable to fire a person based on his/her religion. It scares me, and on the other hand, it makes me more determined than ever to wear headscarf myself and to fight for my rights as a Belgian citizen and human being!



Anger & Frustration

6 Feb

I’m doing research on the rights of Saudi women for my Bachelor Paper, and the whole thing left me feeling enraged and wanting to throw things.
I read about a girl who was abused by her father, and tried to get away from him, but was placed right back under his custody by the Saudi authorities.
I read about a man being stabbed by a member of the religious police for “daring” to defend his wife (who was told by the religious police guy to cover her eyes, the only part of her body that was still visible), and instead of the religious police guy being punished, the stabbed man got imprisoned and sentenced to 30 lashes. ┬áThese are just two examples of the many things I read that upset me.
I’m left to wonder: do Saudi authorities hate women? It seems to me that for some twisted reason they think a guardian has the right to abuse the women under his custody. Why else aren’t there any laws protecting women from such abuse? Why else is it so hard to remove custody from a guardian, even if it’s proven time and time again that he abuses his power? Why else are women forced to live with an abusive guardian, or else risk facing charges for disobedience and running away? A women was shot 2 times by her husband and ended up in hospital. The hospital wanted to help her, but apparently as a woman you can’t file a complaint without the permission of your guardian (her husband). She had to go back to him. She was shot a third time and died from her wounds. I feel enraged by this. I’m trying hard to control my anger, but why is this happening??????!!!!!! This is not Islam!!!!!!!! It’s a disgrace that Saudi Arabia calls itself an Islamic country!
If the Prophet (p.b.u.h) would see how women are treated nowadays in his country, I think he would weep. He tried to fight these tribal and cultural practices in his day by preaching the message of Islam, but it seems that the Saudi’s have gone right back to pre-Islamic┬ábehavior. God will judge each and every one of us, and I wonder, do all these men who abuse women, who put them down and oppress them really think God will reward them? Do they really think they will enter Paradise when the Prophet (p.b.u.h) himself said “The best Muslims are those who are best to their wives”? Or do they think their gender will give them the same free passage there as they had received in Saudi? We are all equal in God’s eyes, and men are not better or free from judgement!!!
I have a feeling this anger that I’m feeling will surface again and again as long as I’m working on my paper. I just don’t see any solutions or improvements happening! Sure, the Saudi government makes promises, like that the ban on women driving will be lifted, but as is often the case with men, one must look at their actions, and not at their empty words!