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Commentary on the ongoing controversy in India involving schoolgirls wearing the hijab.

The argument in support of the hijab proceeds on a deeply flawed assumption that girls have an option to wear or not wear it. And since they have exercised their free agency and chosen to wear the hijab, the laws of the land must respect their choice. This argument fails to recognise the fact that the families that prescribe and subscribe to the hijab usually make it mandatory for their female children, when they are as young as four or five years old, to wear the garment whenever they step outside their home or when they are in presence of male family members. The choice of wearing or not wearing the hijab is already made for them by the accident of their birth. The collective pressure exerted by families, especially the male members, a deeply conservative society, and the burden of arcane interpretations of religious dogma make it virtually impossible for any of the hijab-clad girls to exercise free choice.

Margaret Soltan, October 17, 2022 9:57AM
Posted in: forms of religious experience

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