Hayat: Hijabs Pose No Security Threat
Ghazala Hayat writes in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that head scarves play a sacred role for Muslims, who should not be subjected to unneeded security procedures.
Following an incident where a Muslim woman from West County was forced to remove her head scarf at the St. Louis County jail, columnist and chair of the Islamic Foundation Public Relations Committee Ghazala Hayat writes that law enforcement need a finer understanding of Muslim culture.
The Ballwin woman was reportedly jailed after being arrested by St. Louis County Police in January near the mosque at Weidman and Manchester roads because of a warrant related to an unregistered vehicle. Once at the jail, the woman reportedly was forced to remove her head scarf, also called a hijab, which prompted backlash from the St. Louis chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. County representatives later met with the council, and both parties were confident certain security procedures could be altered to avoid conflict with religious preferences, though the details of those changes have not been reported.
In a column recently published in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Hayat said many non-Muslims misunderstand the principles behind hijabs, which oftentimes are misconstrued by westerners as a sign of oppression:
Subjugation of women, mistreatment verbally and physically is a predicament for the whole human race, no matter what the faith or ethnic origin is. Denying a Muslim woman education or working outside the home is not dictated by Islam but a cultural practice albeit wrong one. This should not automatically label the dress of those women or their interaction with the society as being “oppressed”.
To read the complete column, click here.