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‘A girl should not be obliged to wear a hijab aged 7. I live in a largely Muslim neighborhood in Brussels and girls mostly start wearing a hijab somewhere between 12 and 14.’

Between 12 and 14 ain’t so cool either, and 7, as this writer correctly notes, is absolutely out of the question – parents are in the position of forcing modesty garments on someone too young to choose to wear them.

The parents are doing it because you want to get your daughter used to thinking that covering up is her only option in life. It’s the only thing she’s ever known. She’s always hidden her hair (and probably her body – such girls are often put in body-hiding robes).

The observation in my headline is one of many comments on a NYT article about multiple lawsuits, character-assassination, and life-destruction resulting from a seconds-long incident in which a 7 year old hijabi’s teacher touched her hijab. Was it an innocuous effort to clear the girl’s vision, which seemed to the teacher for a moment to be obscured by the hijab? Was it a vicious humiliating “stripping” of the girl’s clothing, self-respect, and personal integrity?

Another commenter:

[W]hy is a seven-year old girl wearing a hijab? A hijab is a statement of modesty, a way of deflecting unwanted attention from unrelated males. The girl is seven! In what culture are such innocent creatures the objects of unwanted sexual attention?

The answer is clear: You want girls from the moment they enter the public realm to see themselves as destructive temptresses; and you certainly want them to regard all males as people to whose drives and dominance they must in every way from the very beginning of their conscious lives defer.

Another commenter:

I’m sorry, why is a seven-year-old girl covering her hair? What does she have to be modest about at age seven?? I thought girls were only put under hijab when they began menstruating? How early in our lives do girls and women have to have others’ expectations and projections of what it means to be a “good girl” or “ladylike” foisted upon us?


I am mostly sorry for the child. Having lived in very conservative parts of the Middle East for some time, I know that seven-year-old children typically don’t wear hijabs unless their parents are really extreme religious fundamentalists.


In Muslim countries where I lived, hijabs are not worn by 7 year olds. Girls starting puberty wear them. Forcing a 7 year old to wear one sounds…


[T]he early Muslims including Prophet Muhammad PBUH did not preach covering the heads of pre-pubescent girls. This trend simply marks the increase of religious conflict and religious fundamentalism (across many religions).


More on this controversy.


Tarek Fatah on Twitter: “Forcing #Hijab on a 7-year-old American girl? Has my Muslim community lost their bearings? Imagine telling a child, her hair triggers sexual desire among men! What has gone wrong with my Muslim community? What next? A hijab for newly-born infant girls?”

Margaret Soltan, October 18, 2022 11:10AM
Posted in: end the erasure of women

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