Hijab column overgeneralized

By Lina El-Beshbeeshy

In his opinions article on Feb. 11, Othman O’Malley made several comments and accusations about an entire race and religion. First of all, just the fact that he is half Arab and was “fortunate enough” to live in an Arab country does not mean that he has figured out why all women who wear the hijab do it. If he had taken the initiative to talk to just a few of the women here on campus who wear the hijab, he would have definitely had a different opinion.

Second of all, he overgeneralized the idea of wearing the hijab as a political statement and as a “cultural insecurity” on all Muslim women.

Yes, it may be true that some women use it as a statement, just as some others may be forced to wear it. But those make up a very small minority of the Muslim woman population. This is just like how some of the people who wear crosses on their necklaces or tattooed onto their skin do it as a political statement, and how some young Jewish boys are forced to wear yamakas; and yet, you do not seem to want to generalize those few examples. The reality is that most Muslim women who wear the hijab do so for themselves and have made the decision on their own.

The majority of these women only wear the hijab to please God and to obey His commands for modesty and protection. O’Malley also mentions Egypt’s diminishing diversity and the condemnation of non-Muslims.

I am actually Egyptian and have lived there for several years, and I would like to remind Mr. O’Malley that Christians live side by side with the Muslims, and Egypt has many beautiful churches that are very famous which stand across the street from mosques.

Christians are treated as equals in Egypt, as well as across the entire Arab and Muslim world. The best example is in Palestine, where Muslims and Christians are fighting against the brutal and illegal occupation by Israel together.

Lastly, O’Malley makes a very valid point that there are many Muslim women who don’t wear the hijab and are great people and amazing Muslims. No one ever claimed that a Muslim woman’s level of faith is measured by her hijab or her outward appearance.

So before making any judgments about an entire group of people, maybe it would be a good idea to actually try to talk to a few of them first.

Lina El-Beshbeeshy

Senior in Engineering

Arab Student Association President