Tuesday, August 22, 2006

thinking aloud - the tudung thing

Are the charges of facism brought up by Berita Harian Malaysia tenable? It's hardly facism... but it got me thinking about the whole headdress thing... Shouldn't people have freedom of dress over themselves?

note: I agree that to expect OTHERS to dress according to your standards is wrong... like the demand for ALL female students at a Malaysian University not to wear sleeveless etc etc...

uniformed services are a different matter... its part of the job... but anyway, even in the ARMY Sikhs are allowed not to wear their beret (which is a standard part of the uniform) and Sikh motorcyclists don't wear helmets that are required by law... and yet female Muslims will be refused state-sponsored education because they are not allowed to wear their religious head-dress... is this a double standard I'm seeing?? Or a lack of political clout on the part of the Malay-Muslim community? Equality ought to be a matter of principle... not just who manages to muscle in...

don't be thrown off by the red-herring that the Muslim girls in question during the case had not reached puberty yet... this no-headdress policy is in force in all government schools including secondary level as well where puberty begins... it appears that there are cases where they are actually allowed to wear headdress but its typically done on the quiet... official stance is no headdress allowed as far as I know. It's too overt and not part of the school uniform.

I understand that the headdress requirement is not compulsory in all interpertations of Islam but then again its not really the state's business to go about standardising any particular religion right? Apparently the wearing of headscarf is at least preferred... so don't people with such convictions have their right too?

isn't freedom of religious expression guaranteed? (and wearing a headdress could hardly be construed to be a threat to public order to any reasonable person - a matter in which then the state according to its role would need to prevent)

How are we going to achieve mutual understanding and harmony if we alienate our fellow citizens in such a manner?

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