In the U.S. we’re constantly inundated with spurious claims that women who wear hijabs are routinely harassed and discriminated against, and that Muslim women who wear the hijab or niqab are doing so by choice. We’re constantly reminded that we must support that choice or be charged with “bigotry” and “Islamophobia.” Great. But what about the women who fled the Islamic State and immediately discarded their veils? They don’t seem to have regarded wearing it as something they chose freely. Do the women who were and are forced to wear the hijab, niqab or burqa have any right to choose what they wear? Do they have any rights at all? Do Western feminists stand with them? Why not?
“Route to Raqa dotted with discarded veils, burned cars,” by Ayham al-Mohammad, AFP, May 3, 2017:
Dozens of black veils dotted a freshly laid sand berm in northern Syria, ditched by women fleeing the Islamic State group’s bastion of Raqa as US-backed fighters close in.
Outside the village of Tishreen Farms, 17 kilometres (10 miles) north of Raqa, the Syrian Democratic Forces could be seen laying sandbags to protect themselves from IS car bombs and snipers.
With air support from the US-led coalition, the alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters has seized swathes of territory from the jihadists, who were stationed less than a kilometre away.
SDF fighters told AFP that women hastily shed their IS-mandated black veils after crossing into SDF territory near Tishreen Farms, revealing vibrant, patterned robes underneath.
“Most of the women tear off their robes and burqas as soon as they arrive at our positions,” an SDF fighter said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“Some of the women stomp on the robes because they finally feel safe and are finished with Daesh,” he added, using the Arabic acronym for IS….