On the 3rd September at the Red Box, a Chai Chat session took place, where discussions centred on how the lives of Indian Muslim women in Singapore have changed due to circumstances in a growing metropolitan diaspora. The words “pious”, “conservative”, “resourceful”, “family-oriented”, and “inhibited” were loosely used to describe the Indian Muslim women.
However, some statements were found to be undesirable, attacking Islamic customs such as the wearing of the Hijab and thus, misleading readers. An example of an undesirable statement made by the panel was this: “Ironically, these modest dress codes trace back to a culture the Indian Muslim diaspora was leaving behind when emigrating to Singapore in the 1900s.”
It’s an inaccurate statement misinterpreting Islamic dress code of hijab as cultural dogma. Are the panel suggesting then that the hijab, of which Indian Muslim women spot bacause of their faith, are not suitable in modern Singapore?
Consider this statement then: “To better portray daughters as being well-brought up, modest dress codes are enforced by families, which can leave young women endeavouring to integrate into Singapore’s professional and multi-ethnic social fabric in conflicted positions.”
It’s a misleading statement of prejudice, denouncing Islamic dress code of hijab as a barrier rather than blaming part of the society for not being open and acceptant towards religious symbols. Our honorable president Halimah Yacob stands as a proof against such criticism on hijab. Plus, she is an Indian Muslim too, only she refused to acknowlege that.
The fallacious views imposed in the article that followed the panel discussion that Indian Muslim women are regressing because of religion and culture are concerning. There is no need to equate the wearing of the hijab as a barrier to integrate into Singapore’s professional working environment. It paints the wrong picture that wearing a hijab is taboo. MUIS and the authorities should act to stop this fallacy. If not now then when else?
#MuslimsUnderRepredentedInSingapore #IndianMuslim #Hijab #MUIS #Islam