My personal history with the hijab makes it impossible for me to accept covering my hair. I will forever identify the hijab with the repressive tradition of the Iranian Islamic government, which used its dominance of religion to control its people. I encourage Muslim women all over the world to promote their culture and identity – and I will gladly eat at their table, sing a song of celebration, and rejoice at their success. Nonetheless, to suggest we endorse their religious beliefs by wearing a hijab is unreasonable in this country, which has so clearly promoted the rights of minority members to lives as they please.
Actually, that is not the Canadian way. The Canadian way is to maintain a pecking order of victim groups, at the top of which we generally place the squeakiest wheel/biggest kvetcher du jour. Ottawa's "Hijab Day" is but one manifestation of the de facto victim list and of Muslims' place at or near the top.I welcome my hijab-wearing Muslim sisters. But I refuse to wear the hijab as a prerequisite for their solidarity. And for the same reason, I would never dare ask them to remove their hijab in solidarity with non-Muslim Canadian women. In the end, my values are no more important than theirs. And after all, isn’t that the Canadian way?
Update: What Is Canada Doing Celebrating Hijab Day?
Update: This image explains all--it's about the male gaze (and the primacy of men under sharia law) and not about female empowerment: