The Muslim Educational Centre of Oxford has championed the unequivocal right of Muslim women not to wear either the hijab (headscarf) or face covering (niqab/burka) in the light of pristine Koranic teachings. For too long a foreign-inspired Muslim clergy that defends female inferiority and gender discrimination has subjected Muslims in the West to virulent indoctrination. This brainwashing stems from the Middle East and South Asia but has no Koranic foundation. It is propagated by nefarious factions, including the hardline Wahhabi-Ikwani-Salafi-Deobandi sects. These currently ascendant sexist groups in Europe peddle the myth that full body covering and face concealment for women is a religious requirement. On the contrary, it is nothing more than a cultural choice, a personal preference. The mullahs fail to tell their flocks that nowhere in Islam’s transcendent text is there any mention of the word burka or niqab. Since the Koran declares itself to be immutable and that nothing has been omitted from the scripture (vi, 38), why is there a need for latterday misogynists to impose a draconian dress code that is not specifically sanctioned by the holy book? Other than calling for public modesty of both sexes, Islam’s sacred scripture does not prescribe any specific sartorial code. As with everything else that brings Islam into disrepute today, the Muslim clergy relies on secondary sources, particularly the hadith (sayings of the Prophet Muhammad) to support their questionable theological views, including the need for women to hide their faces. But it is a historical fact that the hadith, many of which are suspect or spurious, were compiled about 250 years after the death of the Prophet. Clearly, where these human statements conflict with the divine text, they have no legitimacy.
It is a ‘no brainer’ that those mullahs who preach such doctrine are the same ones who are fomenting Muslim against Muslim murder and destruction. What a sad situation we are witnessing world wide where mosques are being bombed by Muslim extremists, where innocent Muslim bystanders are being blown to bits by rabid Muslim suicide bombers. And the preaching of hate and horror goes on. (Any wonder I don’t ‘worship’ in any particular religion? My view is that everybody in the world should study and practice the teachings of the Gautama for a decent chunk of their life.)