Choice to wear Jilbab is about modesty

We must not allow the forces of hatred to divide us.

by Mohamed Abdihalim

The argument that Islam is misogynistic is neither new nor fact-based. Early European colonizers of Africa used it often, as well as the idea that they were teaching us savages about governance to justify their subjugation of African communities. With that in mind, I am amazed by Ross AndersonâÄôs assertion that he cannot believe why people are criticizing him as a racist when he calls a local African immigrant community member a âÄúcrusty old AfricanâÄù while he believes calling European Americans the same thing would not have caused similar reaction. European Americans âÄî of whatever ethnicity âÄî have not endured the legacy of being told for centuries that they are inferior in every way and have the same arguments used against them to make them subjects of various European empires. Anderson is either ignorant of Islam or blinded by hatred when he claims Islam is misogynistic. Islam gave women the right to own property, vote, marry and divorce whomever they wish centuries before women had those rights in the Western world. But, the honest exchange of ideas is not his intention, rather creating controversy to gain attention. He says, âÄúIâÄôll be the lightening rod for this … discussion.âÄù Furthermore, by referring to Ayan Hirsi Ali, he shows his true colors. Ali is known to have lied about her life and admits that some of the stories in her books are false. It seems both Anderson and Ali are willing to say anything to get attention and by bashing Islam in a post-Sept. 11 world they have an easy target. We must not let the forces of hatred and division turn us against one another. Local African immigrant Muslim communities are trying, like other Americans, to make the best lives for themselves and their children; they are diverse communities with a range of dressing styles. Those few women who wear the Jilbab in America âÄî that is what we call it, not a burqa âÄî wear it out of the greatest religious devotion. In this land where people are free to wear whatever they want, those women choose to tolerate some hateful glances in return for more modesty. I wonder if Anderson feels âÄúpity and shameâÄù when he sees a Catholic nun covered from head to toe on the street. Dr. Mohamed Abdihalim University alumnus and staff