• Alwia

RANT: Dina Tokio took her scarf off, So Bloody What?

If you've been following me on social media, you'll know that I had no intention to blog during this month because I'm supposed to be focusing completely on my WIP for nanowrimo. But here I am, pulled away from my mushy, contemporary Muslim romance novel by what I can only describe as: pure rage. Get yourselves ready people, this is going to be my very first blog rant.

So yesterday, I stumbled across a video for Dina Tokio where I realised that, following her sister, she'd also taken her headscarf off. There has been a trend among women within the Muslim community to remove their headscarves, which, to be honest, comes as no surprise.

Wearing the hijab is hard, representing your religion is hard and there are too many disgusting people within and outside the community who make it even harder. We might not be able to control how non-Muslims treat us, but we can control how we treat one another, and the way Toosy and Dina have been attacked for their choice of clothes is deplorable- before and after taking their hijabs off.

We have a serious disease within the community. We should call this disease 'sitting on your behind and criticizing Muslim women on the internet.' If you see someone like Dina and think she doesn't represent the true, Islamic vision of modesty, you can get of your butt and represent that ideal yourself. Maybe you can use your obsessive internet skills to do something that is actually productive, something that could actually be beneficial to the community. THAT would be a better use of your time than backbiting in the comments section on Youtube and Instagram. Oh, did you know backbiting is haram? Apparently as long as you cover all you baby hairs, you're allowed to be the most hateful and immoral person online.

Listen. You don't have to like the way any Muslim woman dresses and if you think people like Dina aren't good role models, then you go and be that role model yourself. But you will never be that role model because you're too busy scrutinizing everyone else instead of actually bettering yourself as a person and as a Muslim.

'But Alwia! These liberal Muslims are a bad influence!'

People who use this sort of rhetoric always feel threatened by people who practice Islam differently to them. And what it really reflects is a lack of conviction in their own beliefs and their own inability to 'influence' their own children in the 'correct' manner. People who think differently to you aren't going to hide in their houses for your benefit, because you're so weak in your own faith. If your own religious ideology can't compete with these so-called 'liberal Muslims,' maybe it's time for you to ask yourself why that is.

As for the men who see women taking off their hijabs as a sign of the end of times, you really need to get your priorities right and maybe, just maybe you need to stop checking out Muslim women on the internet, you little perverts. If you actually lowered your gaze, you wouldn't pay such close attention to how much makeup women wear and their bloody exposed hairlines. These Muslim men need to understand one thing: a true sign of the end of times is when bigots like themselves wage wars on innocent people, when patriarchal governments drop bombs on women and children. Maybe it's time for everyone to stop obsessing over what women wear and actually discuss matters that shape and change lives.

What these internet bigots don't understand also is this: when people take a step towards God and you attack them for not taking enough steps or the accurate steps, you're going to push them away from religion. It's no surprise that so many women are taking their hijabs off because so many of us get attacked for not wearing 'the correct hijab.' It's natural for these women to think 'well screw this,' and turn away from the community or religion or both. We need to allow people the space to explore their relationship to God and religion and to make mistakes. What's important is that despite the challenges, and they are many, women like Dina and Toosy tried their best. Turning around and saying: 'if you're not going to wear it right, don't bother. What's the point?' is the dumbest thing EVER.

I repeat: this is the most stupid, arrogant, illogical statement EVER.

Would you say to someone; 'If you're going to pray without concentrating , then don't bother at all?'

'If you don't eat halal sweets, then what's the point? Don't eat halal at all. Go ahead, eat a bacon sandwich.'

What in the world is wrong with you? How can you be so stupid?

Is this the message you want to send young Muslims who are struggling with certain parts of their faith? That it's all or nothing? That trying means nothing? Because even wearing tight clothes, makeup, showing some hair is difficult for women in hijabs.

The sad thing is, I truly believe that Dina removing her hijab is a loss to the community. When she had her scarf on, her achievements reflected instantly on all of us. People in the West could look at her and instantly recognise that she's a Muslim woman and think:

'Oh, so she's a Muslim woman and look at all the things she's done! Maybe these Muslims aren't as crazy as the media portrays them.'

But now, if someone doesn't already know she's a Muslim, they won't make that instant association. Worst still, others might look at her and think:

'See. The hijab is oppressive because intelligent and successful Muslim women like Dina, have taken it off. The only progressive Muslim women out there are the ones who don't cover their hair at all.'

This makes life so much harder for the rest of us wearing the hijab and it makes me soo angry that some Muslims don't understand this.

Dina's Muslim identity is invisible now. And I understand the attraction in that. It is exhausting to live in a state of constant hyper-scrutiny and hyper-visibility; especially when idiots from the community make you feel that you're not worthy of representing Muslims. And you know what? None if us represent all Muslims. I don't represent Islam in its entirety, Dina doesn't, no one does. I'm an Arab, British, Shiite Muslim. I don't represent the Islam followed by a Salafi woman in Pakistan. Muslims aren't a monolith and people represent their own Islamic ideology and background. So I'm really fed up of hearing people say things like: 'She doesn't represent Islam. She's giving Islam a bad image.'

Really? And who is representing Islam correctly and giving it a good image? You? The hateful, backbiting, insignificant troll on the internet? Weren't you and your minions the ones who practically encouraged Dina to take her scarf off? 'Just take it off already. This isn't hijab', isn't that what you'd all say? Are you happy now?

I don't know what went into Dina's decision. But if the nastiness that's come from many Muslims online was involved in any way in pushing her or anyone else away from the hijab, I hope every single one of you repulsive humans gets a divine ass-whooping in the afterlife.



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