Being an Iranian born Israeli, when it comes to the question of Muslim women wearing the Islamic Hijab, I have seen both sides of the story.
On the one hand I am aware of and support the right of women to choose if they want to wear the Hijab. I am against the forced veiling of women in Iran by the regime. What makes this practice even more unacceptable is that the regime does this in the name of Islam and holding Islamic values, when at the same time the regime itself is ruled by deeply corrupt Islamic clerics. Lets remember that the supreme leader of Iran who is considered by his supporters to be God’s representative to all Shiites (Valiy-e Faqih) controls a financial empire estimated to be worth $95 billion.
On the other hand, given the choice, some women in Iran like the Hijab. The same in other Middle Eastern countries. They like to dress modestly and conservatively, in accordance to their social and religious beliefs and values. They don’t like to be ogled at by unknown men or worst, to be approached by them and wolf whistled or being offered indecent sexual proposals. Its kind of a protection system for them. I remember vividly when the Tehran Bus company (Sherkat-e Vahed ) segregated buses: men to the front, women to the back. To many of us, at first instance this sounds like sexism. However I remember how happy some Iranian women were, because they were sick of being touched up and sexually harassed by unknown men in Tehran’s often crowded buses where everyone is pushed together like sardines.
Kudos to the Hollywood actress Mayim Biyalik (who stars in the Big Bang Theory) for highlighting the modesty angle of the Hijab on her Instagram page (which has 1.5 million followers). Mayim is herself an observant Jew. Thank you Mayim.
Muslim women are sometimes criticized or accused of being 'oppressed' because of the way they dress…but modest dress doesn't translate to oppression. Guest writer and clothing designer Zahra Aljabri – winner of the @BlogHer #BlogHer16 Pitch Competition – discusses her choice to dress modestly and how others' assumptions about modesty impact her life. (Link in bio)