Sunday, November 12, 2006

My personal statement of hijab

I think I need a break to sit back and re-evaluate why I cover my hair and what it means to my Islamic identity. I think I did it too fast. I wanted acceptance by my fellow Muslims and by wearing hijab, you gain that acceptance. As an American, you face a lot of skepticism when you become Muslim. When I started covering my hair, I gained acceptance from the Muslim community. As of late, I have decided that wearing the scarf for this reason is unacceptable. The hijab is supposed to be a symbol of modesty and a mark that you are Muslim. You wear it because you want to, not because someone else wants you to. That is the freedom of hijab. You make the conscious choice to wear it, particularly when you are not raised in that tradition. Therefore, I don't think that I have been wearing hijab for the proper reasons. I find myself wanting to wear it when I hear that Muslims have been oppressed, or when countries such as France try to ban it. However, when you wear hijab, you can't be a fair weather fan, so to speak. When you make the decision to wear it, you wear it all the time (well, except when you are at home, which is a common misconception). Likewise, if you make the decision to not wear it, with the exception of prayer, it doesn't make a lot of sense to switch back and forth. Professionally speaking, I don't think the scarf is doing me a lot of favors. I think there are too many subconscious insinuations that come with the scarf. It's not an intentional act, but I think it is engrained in the subconscious of most Americans. I think I am more confident without it because I know people are looking at me, for me, not my scarf. Now, in Islamic countries, this would be quite the opposite case. However, the point of hijab is to blend in and not draw attention to yourself. In the United States and Western world, you do draw attention to yourself, something that I am not comfortable with. Hijab and the decision to wear the scarf is a very personal decision and no one else should dictate it for you. Muslim women everywhere have the absolute right to decide if hijab and even niqab are right for them, and no one has the right to tell them that they have to or cannot wear them. This is my choice and no one can tell me otherwise. Now, let's see how accepted I am, how supportive the Muslim community is, and how many rights Islam affords women. I should say, just because Islam does, doesn't necessarily mean that the Muslim community will. Just another chapter in my mid-twenty something jihad, I suppose.

Election Update

After the shock of last Tuesday, I am finally ready to sit down and gloat. I think I have been in a state of disbelief. I honestly didn't think that the Democrats would take control of the House and the Senate. I thought it would be one or the other. Even the Kansas results were pretty remarkable. They are as follows:

Paul Morrison (D) defeated Phill Kline for Attorney General
Kathleen Sebelius(D) defeated Jim Barnett for Governor
Nancy Boyda(D) defeated Jim Ryun for the 2nd congressional district rep.

In Missouri:

The stem cell initiative passed, despite the fact that it was losing when I went to bed. Yay!
Similarly, Claire McCaskill defeated Jim Talent. If you'll note in my last post, I had Jim Talent winning when I went to bed, but she came from behind and won!

Of course, there were others, but these were the big ones that I was concerned about. Now, that the Democrats will be taking control in January, I hope that they do not squander this fabulous opportunity and get bogged down in partisan squabbling and Republican blackmail. I think that this election was a call by voters for moderation. Voters don't want the rightwing or the leftwing, they want moderate, common-sense solutions to very serious problems facing this country. People are tired of the extreme divisions. I have always been more left leaning, but anymore, I just want moderation, and I think that is a sentiment that is mirrored by a great many Americans. If Democrats screw up, they will face the consequences in the 2008 presidential election, and I don't think this country will survive another Republican like Bush.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Viva la democratie!

After a long Ramadan hiatus, I'm back. Eid Mubarak to my fellow Muslims. I haven't written since the first day of Ramadan. Actually, it has been a Ramadan/Harry Potter book/photo album hiatus. I have been assembling my Egypt photo album, finishing the book I wrote for Noah, fasting, and I started reading the Harry Potter series (which I love, by the way). I'm finally reading them. Finally, with election returns coming in, I had to sit down and offer my opinion. I am so nervous that I have butterflies in my stomach. I have e-mailed friends that I haven't e-mailed in ages, I have went grocery shopping, and we took a walk down Mass St. Anything to keep our minds off the election. So far, as of 9:50 pm:

In the 2nd congressional district (which Jim Ryun helped to gerrymander so badly that I don't get to vote in it anymore) Nancy Boyda is maintaining a small but commanding lead. Oh, I desperately want Jim Ryun to lose. However, as long as Phill Kline loses to Paul Morrison in the AG race, I will be be happy.

As of 9:52, Paul Morrison leads Phill Kline 60% to 40%.

The other Kansas races were obviously important, but they aren't near as close as these. However, in Missouri, which matters to me because I have been tortured with the political ads on the Kansas City stations, Jim Talent is beating Claire McCaskill. I despise Jim Talent too. What a jerk! Something about the name Jim and being in Congress. His political ads are shameless.

At the national level, I am thrilled that Rick Santorum has lost. (In your face, you a-hole zealot). I haven't updated the other results at this point. To be honest, I don't know if the Democrats will pick up the majority. It would be a good message to the current leadership that they need to pull their heads out of their asses. However, the Democrats don't really have any solutions to the problems that the Republicans have created so I figure if they don't gain the majority, they will be in a better position in the 2008 presidential election. If it weren't for the fact that my brother is a Marine and going to Iraq in February, I would say, let the Republicans stew in their own juices. However, there are hundreds of thousands of lives at stake so policy shouldn't be made out of spite. We'll see...