Women of the Middle East Who are the women behind the veil?
Which of these women are Muslim? Can you determine this by just looking at these women?
Blessed Teresa of Calcutta • Roman Catholic Nun • Founded Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta • She fought for over 45 years to help the poor, sick, orphaned, and dying of the people of India and people of the world • She won the Noble Peace Prize in 1979 • She was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 2003
Queen Noor of Jordan • Converted to Muslim in 1978 after attending school in the United States for years • Married King Hussein of Jordan • Continues to be active in Jordanian politics after her husband’s death • Queen Noor promotes women’s issues, healthcare, education, promoting culture, and banning landmines • Depending on circumstances Queen Noor may or may not cover her hair loosely
Benazir Bhutto • Muslim • Prime Minister of Pakistan – 1988-1990; 1993-1996 • Took over control of Pakistan’s People’s Party from her father • Spent years in prison because of political involvement • Bhutto covers her hair loosely
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis • Christian • Former First Lady of the United States • Known to the world as Jackie • Known for her beauty, poise, and love of culture • This is a picture taken from President Kennedy’s Funeral • The veil here is a symbol of mourning
The Veil and Muslim Women • Known as the Hijab which literally means “curtain” or “to cover” • Women in many parts of the Middle East are forced to veil • Afghanistan – under the Taliban the hijab was mandatory but not the case today • Iran – Women wear a headscarf known as the maghna'eh • Kuwait – mandatory under law since 2009 • In other parts of the Middle East women are not forced to veil (but women here chose to wear the hijab) • Egypt and Pakistan for example
Other Clothing Worn by Islamic Women • Burqa • An outer garment worn by Islamic women to cover their bodies in public places • Typically the woman’s loose body covering and the face veil (the hijab)
Reasons why Islamic women wear or do not veil • The Koran • The Holy Book of Islam says: women should not cover their faces, but women should dress moderately • Not to tempt men • Liberation • Some women in the Middle East feel liberated in the choice to wear a hijab • Sexual oppression • Forceful wearing of the hijab • Not allowing women the freedom to choose their own style of dress
Reactions to Wearing the Hijab • Sharia Law • Can be interpreted in many ways • Islamic law applied to oppressed women of the Middle East • Treating women to submit to the will of Allah • Submit to man’s wishes • Some people use this law to justify stoning and mercy killings of women to violate the law
Reactions to Wearing the Hijab • French President Nicolas Sarkozy has said that burqas are not welcome in France • 2010 policy banning Islamic dress for women accessing public services • Several countries throughout the world have established similar bans on Islamic dress in order to fight against the oppression of women in the Middle East
Women in the Middle East • Islam says • Men and women are equal in the eyes of God • This includes education • Has allowed rights to women that were not allowed in other parts of the world • Rights to: own land, establish marriage contracts, and divorce • Women in the Middle East have become players in the world of politics • Contemporary Muslim women heads of state have included Megawati Sukarnoputri of Indonesia, Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan, Tansu Ciller of Turkey, and Khaleda Zia and Sheik HasinaWazed of Bangladesh.
Women in the Middle East • Religious Leaders • Roles of piety in the Islamic faith • Wealth and Class • Typically wealthier women are more restricted in their dress – trying to keep up appearances • Money and intelligence provides knowledge to ignore sexual oppression • Personal traits of a woman helps to determine a woman’s drive for success and independence