Friday, September 4, 2009

Muslim Head dress

When I wrote the article I posted in January, the controversy happened in USA. Should people of a minority group wear clothes that make them stick up like a sore thumb?

I grew up in Sarawak which became part of Malaysia. Malaysia protrays herself as a moderate muslim country. Most Malay Muslim ladies wear a head dress, which cover the head but exposes the face. Occasionally I see burqas, which has a slit for the eyes. The rest of the body is fully covered.

I have had Muslim students who come in a head dress. I also have mothers who come to school to pick up their kids in burqas. Many of these women have come to live in New Zealand.

How people dress is a personal choice. Should we impose our beliefs on them? I am an ethnic Chinese. My people, my great grand dad left China about one hundred years ago. Bearly two generations have passed, my mum stopped wearing Chinese clothes. I have been asked why I don't wear Chinese clothes. Well, besdes not having a sexy body to wear the sexy Chinese Chiong Sum or Chee Pau, it never occured to me to wear a Chinese dress. On special occasions, I had worn a fusion of my Chinese heritage and a Sarong, the dress of the Borneo, the place I was born. During my last trip tp Borneo, I bought a very nice Borneo top to wear on very special occasion. While I have been a New Zealander for two decades, I am also a daughter of Borneo.

Recently, we have a case where a muslim woman was asked to remove her head dress when she went to court to watch her brother. It caused a lot of talk back. Most people think she shouldn't have been allowed to wear her head dress. But this is what happened later:

Muslim's barring a mistake, says judge
4:00AM Friday Sep 04, 2009

Yasmeen Ali
Related links:
Muslim woman furious at courtroom ban

New Zealand courts do not discriminate against Muslims, says Chief District Court Judge Russell Johnson.

Yasmeen Ali was barred from entering a Hastings District Court courtroom on Wednesday by Judge Geoff Rea because she refused to take off her headscarf.

She had gone to court to support her brother, also a Muslim, who was being sentenced on an assault charge.

Judge Johnson said the judge had barred Ms Ali as a result of a misunderstanding and the public could be reassured judges were sensitive to Bill of Rights provisions against discrimination.

"The judge's information was that she was protesting against the court, which had just previously required the removal of her brother from the courtroom."

Judges had the power to remove people from their courtrooms for being disruptive or showing disrespect, Judge Johnson said.

"In this case, the judge freely admits he was mistaken about what the woman was doing, and she would not have been barred from the court simply because of her Muslim head-dress."

Judge Rea had earlier asked Ms Ali's brother Carlos Manuel Brooking, 22, to remove his "hat", which he did.

But Brooking was reluctant to remove the smaller garment underneath and walked out of court. He later apologised.

Ms Ali was stopped from re-entering the court after the incident and was told Judge Rea had ordered that she not be allowed in wearing the scarf.



Sara Diana said...

I think that it is wrong to enter into a country and not be integrated which is what happens in the UK. I am totally against Burquis, our children have been scared to tears by the sight of people wearing them. They are intimidating in our culture especially in the current climate in which we live. However, I do think that they should be allowed head scarfs. Its not so long ago that all women in our society would cover their heads when out in public so what is the difference?

Ruth said...

I think people should be free to dress how they wish. If they get bad reactions, they may choose to adjust and change. But I don't think dress should be determined by anyone but an individual. Of course nudity would be an imposition. But other than that? No.

Having said that though, when I lived in Istanbul 3 years, I wore modest skirts and did not go out in pants. It was the mid-1980s and pants were considered immodest. I think it is important to respect the standards of modesty in the country where you live. But to be too modest - completely covering? I don't see why that is a problem, all due respect to Sara. I think a frightened child can learn about it from a caring parent.

CY said...

I think Thailand is still very open and you don't see so much of these happenings around here. People live harmoniously and they respect each others religion. Thats why I am here! :) Have a nice weekend.

GingerV said...

in 1972 I worked for an insurance company, I answered calls in the back room, I wasn't allowed to wear pants. had to wear a dress, I got written up several times for insubordination because I questiong this 'dress code'. It isn't as pushed now as before the 80s but you used to have to wear a hat and coat to go into a catholic church, just the women, men could be bare headed. not 3 years ago I visisted the vatican and you (the women) can not go in in Shorts or with your shoulders bare - a guard came up and wanted me to leave because for a moment my sweater slipped off my shoulders while taking a photo... men are not required to wear a jacket - only women. when I went to school in the 60s there was a young girl we all laughed at, her religon did not allow her to shave her legs, while we were wearing nylons she was wearing ankle socks with dark hair on her legs... we have not come that far - unless there appears to be a threat to society (or the courtroom) leave them alone.

Anonymous said...

I hate discrimination of any kind. I wear a scarf draped around my head many times because any wind or breeze gives me an earache. I don't fee any woman wearing Burquis muslim or not. To me it is oppressive. I love the scarves though.

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