Muscat: Ever since a European Union (EU) court passed a law last week, legalising the headscarf ban in the workplace, Muslim women from all over the world have reacted with mostly disappointment.
Owing to this decision by the European Court of Justice (ECJ), the ban will allow employers across the EU to ban the headscarf, which is seen as a symbol of Islamic identity, and restrict women from wearing any visible religious symbols to their workplace. It added that it does not constitute “direct discrimination” if a firm has an internal rule banning the wearing of “any political, philosophical or religious sign.”
Omani women have reacted to this law with dissatisfaction. Saada Al Hashmi, a university student in Oman, who has been wearing the hijab since she was 14 years old, said, “I don’t want to complain, but I don’t understand why ban the headscarf, after all it’s not something which can hurt anyone. Earlier, there was the burkini ban in France, but the whole point is that it should be a personal choice.
If I wear the headscarf, it should really be my choice, there are some women who don’t wear it and I don’t have a problem with that. I would like to know how the EU will benefit from this decision.”
Salima Al Shibli, a private company employee in Muscat, who does not regularly wear the headscarf, said, “I understand that it is the law of the land, and needs to be abided, but it’s not the same as being asked to dress modestly, you are asking a woman to take a very important part of her attire out. The headscarf is very important all across the Islamic world, and when you are asked to take it out it is very difficult to follow, it almost feels like an attack on Muslim women, on their hijab.”
That’s why I am really unhappy because of this decision. I hope I could make it clear to the western nations that hijab is not oppression, it’s actually protection.
We are not oppressed, and no one ever forced me to wear the headscarf, maybe there are women who are forced to wear it but most do it out of their faith.” While Europe is banning the headscarf, Nike, a very popular U.S. sports brand has released a new line of hijab sportswear for those women who want to cover themselves and exercise or play, and the world has given mixed reactions to it, some going to the extent of saying that I am never wearing buying a Nike product again.
Rahma, an 18-year-old active basketball player in Oman stated, “I think it’s a great idea to launch the hijab sportswear and I am so happy that this was introduced. Normally, the girls and I wear our sports gear and then wear a headscarf over the outfit, but I am excited to try this new Nike product. It’s actually my first time seeing a player who wears the headscarf, I feel more involved and accepted by the sporting world after seeing this.”