Although Rabia Kazan was born and raised in secular Turkey, the bestselling author, journalist and activist’s parents were ultra conservative, and she was therefore forced to wear the hijab from a very young age. She recently decided to unveil, and as expected, the death threats have started rolling in.
“The headscarf was a decision of my mother and when I uncovered my head, I felt freedom for the first time in my life.”
Kazan has said there is nothing in the Quran that dictates the wearing of the hijab, that it was a pre-Islamic custom for both men and women in certain geographic areas. And even though some Islamic scholars have said the hijab is not an Islamic duty, there are those who are adamant that one can not be a good Muslimah if one does not cover one’s head.
She has angered many including her father, who stoned her house. I’m sure he probably would have preferred to stone his daughter.
She explains her decision to stop wearing the hijab:
If a person has gotten used to seeing life through a single window, and worse, was stuck with the idea that no other windows exist, then they live through rigidity, blindness, dogma or whatever you call it, through a “pitiful” persistence. My philosophical struggle was quite difficult due to conditions beyond my power… Due to the divorce of my parents, ultraconservative views of my mother’s family and conditions that cannot be overcome by a small child; I was a believer of truths I wasn’t allowed to choose. I was forcefully introduced to the head scarf at a very early age by my mother.
Living with a headscarf required devotion. But of course that choice didn’t belong to me! But believe me it was a much harder, much more uphill struggle for me to decide not to have it in my life; to eventually give up constantly struggling against my reasoning, my mind and my conscience, and to choose to take up the challenge of facing the consequences of this decision.
During the first years of wearing a headscarf, I used to feel like my head was stuck up inside a nylon bag, and I heard humming. I had those fearful moments when the needles came loose, wondering if the needle would prick my throat. So I would at times take off the headscarf secretly when my mother was not watching. But one day when I got caught by my mother she subjected me to an unforgettably painful beating.
30 years later, when I decided to uncover my head, another battle started. It was very difficult. Radical Islamists got very furious when a covered and well-known writer decided to uncover her head. I harsh insults and received death threats.
Change was painful in this respect. But when I came to America, first of all I started to swim to my heart’s content… It was such regret for me not to have done it for so long that I didn’t want to get out of the swimming pool before I swam for two hours every night…
I suffered from vitamin D deficiency since my skin didn’t get enough sunlight by then and this normally causes serious illnesses, weakness and mental fatigue. I sunbathed a lot. Then I tied my hair in a pony-tail and played tennis under the blue sky with my white tennis clothes on. I cannot tell you how good it felt. Then I fulfilled my dream of growing nails and putting on red nail polish, which was a personal remembrance to me. I had met a woman in my trip to Iran who was forced to put her hands into a bag full of insects just because she had put on red nail polish… Whenever I put on red nail polish, I still remember that woman with sadness…
Now I am free and believe that God has no problem with the hair on my head, He will not burn me in his Hell for this reason, He holds us with much more mercy and kindness than we think, and that being “a good person” is much more important than wearing a dark veil.
I have understood that destroying our lives like a criminal in pain and tears just because we express our feelings of thankfulness clearly cannot be something He desires. And I have chosen to accept everyone He created, without conditions, prejudices and with love like He does. This new movement which saves Muslim women from the primitive image of Arabic nomadic life should rather be encouraged than being criticized. Women should be the sole decision makers on what they wear.
Source: Muslim Women News
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