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Mishal Husain, the hijab and misplaced priorities

with 3 comments

BBC Journalist Mishal Husain

In her diary for the Financial Times last week,

Boarding a train to Birmingham the other day, I was stopped by a man at Euston station. A fellow Muslim, he complimented me on my work and then said, “But you’ll have to wear the hijab one day.” “I don’t think so,” I replied.

As a big fan of this elegant and intelligent journalist, who I see as a role model, I thought: hear hear!

It is rather unfortunate that for some men, their respect for women is based on what they wear or choose not to wear.

The Daily Mail, of course, leaped on this and reported it like so:

Mishal Husain – who joined the Today programme this morning – recalled the moment she was accosted by a fellow Muslim while boarding a train who told her she will soon have to adopt the face covering hijab.

In her piece for the Guardian, Sabbiyah Pervez rightly points out that the Mail’s article contains basic misunderstandings.
Just to remind you:
This is a hijab

This is a niqab:

It might be easy to confuse the two but let me make it easy for you – one covers the hair while the other covers the entire face.

We could further point out glaring errors in the Mail’s, er, journalism, but we would be here all day.

So how did some people react to this? It seemed that many were more up set about the wording of the article rather than the fact that Mishal was harassed by a strange man on her lack of hijab.

Yes, the Mail’s article contained glaring errors but priorities, people. I can just about deal with shoddy journalism but one thing I cannot deal with is women being intimidated for what they are wearing or what they choose not to wear.

I consider myself as being fairly left wing, but sometimes I feel let down by some on the left who are more concerned with being politically correct, who get rather defensive on such issues rather than tackling them head on.


Anyway, back to Mishal – why is she so perfect?


Written by Iram Ramzan

October 8, 2013 at 5:35 pm

3 Responses

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  1. I don’t blame non-Muslims for being confused, as hijab in the Qur’an actually refers to the full face-and-body coverings that the wives (ra) of Muhammad (saaws) wore, and many modern scholars still refer to niqab/headscarf/abaya as “hijab”, such as the Shaykh who runs IslamQA:

    Even Imam Shafi’i (rh) called the face-veil “hijab” in his book Umm al-Kitab, when he said that he did not view the hijab as obligatory. He was not referring to covering the head but to the face.

    Heck, come down to South Africa where “burqa” refers to the long, one-piece Al Amira hijabs or even go to Indonesia where “jilbab” means a particular style of headscarf, and you’ll see why there’s so much confusion:


    October 9, 2013 at 10:32 am

  2. Ban the lot!


    March 23, 2015 at 3:20 pm

  3. Generally I do not learn post on blogs, however I wish to say that this write-up very forced me to try
    and do it! Your writing taste has been surprised me.
    Thank you, very nice article.

    Sean Bresser

    October 1, 2015 at 3:28 am

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