viernes, 23 de noviembre de 2012

Why I as a Muslim Woman Don't Wear a Headscarf

Me ha parecido interesante este articulo de la alemana de origen sirio Lamya Kadoor publicado en sobre el uso del velo. 
Does the Koran really demand that women wear headscarves? Or is it mainly older men who claim they can decide how women should dress – with no theological foundation whatsoever? For the Islam scholar Lamya Kaddor, there is no question about it: the headscarf is obsolete.

Lamya Kaddor (photo: picture alliance/ZB)

German Islam scholar Lamya Kaddor: "If God had required a special head covering, would He not have said so explicitly?"
If I as a Muslim woman living in Germany ask myself whether I should wear a headscarf or not, that gives rise to the question of whether the additional head-covering called for in the Koran (33:59) still fulfils its original purpose of protecting women from male desire. My answer is: no. In contemporary Germany such covering-up no longer serves that purpose. 

It is even more likely to bring about the opposite of what God intended by exposing wearers of headscarves to discrimination. Today the intended protection against 'annoyances' is provided by a well-functioning legal system rather than by adherence to social rules from the past. A free state based on the rule of law protects a woman, for example by punishing attacks on her person.

This protection may be primarily concerned with bodily integrity, but people in a modern state are more than ever responsible for themselves with regard to the freedoms accorded – including in the realm of moral integrity. Covering my head cannot relieve me of that responsibility. I cannot hide myself behind a little piece of cloth. A free and democratic state grants rights and also imposes responsibilities. In such circumstances I can behave honourably with and without a veil or head-scarf – or not, as the case may be. 

A 'fashion accessory' from Koranic times?

If this argument is accepted, one can also abandon the Koranic demand for additional covering, directed towards women in Early Arabic tribal society. What would still initially remain is the khimâr, the head covering that was part of women's clothing at that time. The Koran neither speaks against nor in any way emphasises that form of covering. God uses the word only once in the Koran (24:31). That occurs in passing in connection with a call for moral behaviour. So there is no Koranic emphasis on such head covering.

However, if God had required a special head covering, would He not have said so explicitly? Thekhimâr thus merely constitutes a 'fashion accessory' according to the spirit of that age. Viewed rationally, functions consciously or unconsciously associated with head coverings across the course of history – such as protection against sand or evil influences – are all superannuated today and have lost their validity. People's powers of imagination have changed.

Female students with and without headscarf (photo: picture-alliance/dpa)

"Sura 24:30-31 calls on both men and women to behave chastely, but exegesis of the Koran up to the present day only puts the emphasis on chaste behaviour for women," Kaddor writes
In the Germany of the twenty-first century – at the very latest – women's hairstyles are no longer per se an erotic stimulus. The sight of head-hair no longer provokes sexual fantasies and thus immoral behaviour – except perhaps among fetishists. When you walk along a city's pedestrian precincts no one turns to look at you because of your hair. Only if you dress provocatively or in a particularly original way, and behave accordingly, do you attract some attention. 

In addition, this isn't a male world that still thinks as it did a thousand or more years ago. Thanks to the achievements of a free and democratic state, and thanks to the prevalent understanding of relations between the sexes, you no longer necessarily need a head covering in order to live morally. The headscarf has become obsolete.

Misogyny by Islamic scholars

Today's orthodox comprehension of the obligation to wear a head covering is primarily based on the interpretations of scholars who lived several generations after the Prophet Mohammed. One can follow their judgements but they are not sacrosanct. As human beings all scholars are fallible. Conservative and fundamentalist circles constantly emphasise that our behaviour should follow the Koran and the Prophet. Their spokesmen maintain that this directly accords with what was laid down during the Prophet's lifetime and the initial period of Islam.

Koran (photo: fotolia/lapas 77)

The depiction of the headscarf as a unifying element within the Muslim community is not well founded, Kaddor argues
However in reality this view is mainly based on the ideas of scholars who lived some 600 (!) years later – such people as Ibn Qudâma (d. 1223), Ibn Taymîya (d. 1328), or the latter's pupil Ibn Qayyim al-Jawzîya (d. 1350). Bearing in mind the patriarchal social structures of that time, it is unsurprising that interpretations of sources concerning relations between the sexes were usually unfavourable for women – even though that contradicts a striving (to be found throughout the Koran) towards improving women's situation. 

That tendency is even less surprising if one recalls the misogyny demonstrated by many scholars throughout the history of Islam. Linking shame and a head covering is by no means as self-evident as it seems. Sura 24:30-31 calls on both men and women to behave chastely, but exegesis of the Koran up to the present day only puts the emphasis on chaste behaviour for women.

No political symbol

Nevertheless, the Koranic injunction to dress in a way that is generally demure remains a religious demand, to be fulfilled by wearing 'appropriate' clothing. A woman believer sees this as signifying that all those parts of the female body which nowadays excite the idea of possible sexual contact should continue to be 'properly' concealed beneath the kind of clothing usual today. What is entailed in 'proper', 'appropriate', or 'decent' is left to the reasonableness of every mature woman citizen, since at present there are no specific directives based on Islamic sources.

In prevalent practice, it is mostly older men – learned or unlearned – who assume the right to determine how a woman should appear, but there is no theological or sociological foundation for this. A similar situation prevails regarding evaluation of the headscarf as a token of Islamic faith. Such a function cannot be demonstrated in the history of Islam. 

The depiction of the headscarf as a unifying element within the Muslim community is not well founded either. In addition, its function as a political symbol, so frequently evoked in public discussions today, also constitutes a historically unfounded inflation of the significance of this item of clothing. This has occurred only in recent decades, as an element in the opposition to Western influences within the Islamic world.

martes, 20 de noviembre de 2012


Al introducir la palabra "Gaza" en Google lo único que aparece son imágenes y más imágenes de muerte, destrucción y desesperación. No me queda nada más que decir sobre este tema, las imágenes hablan por si solas.. No quiero ni puedo ver más esos rostros de niños e inocentes llenos de dolor ni entender a que está esperando el mundo para darse cuenta de la masacre que está ocurriendo y quien es el verdadero culpable de todo ello. 

domingo, 11 de noviembre de 2012

El Dictador

El Dictador es la ultima, hasta ahora, colaboración entre el director Larry Charles y el guionista y actor Sacha Baron Cohen, tras haber perpetrado primero Borat, y posteriormente Brüno. En esta ocasión acudimos a la presentación de un nuevo personaje creado por Sacha, el dictador de la República de Wadiya, Aladeen, una especie de mezcla entre diversos dictadores de esta época, desde Kim Jong-il, a Gaddafi y Fidel Castro, pero de la forma más parodica posible.
Y es que desde el inicio de la película vemos que esta pretende reírse de todo lo que le pille por medio, aparte de provocar sin parar, como ya pudimos ver en toda la campaña de marketing que Sacha Baron Cohen puso en marcha desde hace meses para promocionar la película, alcanzando su punto álgido sin duda en la ceremonia de los Oscar, cuando se presentó disfrazado de Aladeen en la alfombra roja, portando una urna donde supuestamente se encontraban los restos mortales del dictador norcoreano Kim Jong-il.
El personaje de Aladeen es realmente genial. Logra mostrar de forma satírica todas las barbaridades y excentricidades de este tipo de tiranos, y con las cuales en otro contexto seguramente nos escandalizaríamos, pero no aquí, donde no puedes parar de reír a lo largo de toda la película. Crear unos Juegos Olímpicos a medida, donde o gana o mata al rival, unos Globos de Oro de Wadiya, el que sea considerado el cirujano jefe de Wadiya, etc… no son más que exageraciones obvias de lo que son este tipo de personajes, pero que en el fondo esconden más verdad de la que puede aparentar.
Porque a pesar de que en un principio podemos pensar que El Dictador pretende reírse, parodiar y criticar a los diversos dictadores repartidos por el mundo, no es del todo así. Lo hace, si, pero al mismo tiempo nos hace ver una verdad muy incomoda, y es que a veces no hay tanta diferencia entre algunos dictadores a los que el mundo occidental califica de tiranos, y los gobernantes de estos países occidentales, que por mucho que maquillen las situaciones, cometen las mismas barbaridades.
A pesar de que viendo el inicio de la película, pudiésemos pensar que durante todo el metraje íbamos a ver a Aladeen ejerciendo de dictador, no es así, y los momentos más interesantes de la película son quizás en los que tenemos que ver como se desenvuelve en una cultura radicalmente distinta, y sobretodo, sin tener ninguno de los privilegios que tenia desde que nació.
Un aspecto curioso a destacar sin duda de la película, es que todas las escenas desarrolladas en el Palacio de Aladeen fueron rodadas en la sevillana Plaza de España, añadiendo solo algunos detalles para que pareciera un palacio de estilo oriental. Destacar también sin duda su banda sonora, repleta de temas bastante famosos, versionados al árabe (o un intento de ello), destacando especialmente el ‘Everybody Hurts’ de R.E.M.
En definitiva, no estamos ante la mejor comedia de la historia, para nada, y de hecho es una comedia que a mucha gente quizás pueda no gustarle, ya que la provocación en algunos momentos se torna, quizás excesiva, por ejemplo en sus comentarios misóginos. En mi caso he sabido situarlo en su contexto, pero puedo entender que para alguna gente no sea así y algunos comentarios pueden llegar a herir sensibilidades. Por lo demás, hay situaciones en las que es prácticamente imposible no reírse, y todo ello a pesar de un doblaje que seguro que esta (como es lógico) muy por debajo de la versión original.
En definitiva, se trata de una película para pasar un buen rato, y poco más. No os molestéis en buscar mucho más de eso porque no vale la pena. Aunque sí que hay que mencionar su genial final, donde además de hacer una áspera critica a los sistemas de gobierno occidentales, por no decir que está criticando abiertamentea a la "democracia" americana, Aladeen descubre que la mujer con la que se acaba de casar es.. judía!!! Mazal tov!!