Find us on Facebook
MMW thanks Forsoothsayer for the tip!
The New York Times’ has a section for more in-depth analysis of news stories, entitled “The Lede” and authored by Mike Nizza. On February 19, 2008, writer Nadim Audi talked to some Egyptian university students about their ideas and their reaction to the Times’ earlier piece about frustrated Egyptian youth who supposedly nuzzle in deep into Islam’s bosom because they can’t get married and nuzzle into a real bosom. Here’s an interesting deconstruction of that article.
We are introduced to three Egyptian men and two Egyptian women. They are young, well-educated, and religious. But Audi can’t just leave it at that. He defines the two Egyptian women by two things: their college majors and what they’re wearing. Or, rather, what they’re not wearing: he describes them as women who “[do] not wear a veil, or hijab.” As if they’re the same thing. For readers unfamiliar with these terms, conflating “veiling” and “hejab” is problematic because “veiling” often refers to covering one’s face, while “hejab” usually only refers to covering one’s hair when used as a clothing reference.
When describing the men, only one out of three men is characterized by what he’s wearing.
Audi then asks the students about their reactions to the Times article and about the Egyptian government. Then he poses a question directly to the female student Roba. What’s it about? Hejab, of course!
This Audi chap just can’t seem to get past this hejab thing. It’s the only question he asks one of the women (one can only hope the other woman, Sara, declined to comment. Perhaps this is why her voice was not included in the article at all. At all).
Q: Roba, can I ask you a question? You’re not veiled. Are you secular or religious? [not a particularly stupid question]
Roba: I like to think of myself as a very religious person.
Q: Then why aren’t you wearing a hijab? [Stupid, stupid, stupid. And arrogant, arrogant, arrogant. It would be different if he asked her opinion on hejab, or if he asked if there was a particular reason she didn’t wear one, but the way his question is posed, it makes him sound like a member of the Morality Police. “Why aren’t you wearing a hejab? Don’t you know that’s how a proper Muslim woman behaves? You’re under arrest for indecency!”]
Roba: Because, it doesn’t prove anything – it doesn’t say if I’m religious or not. I think being religious is something that happens in your heart – it has nothing to do with what your wear.
Roba’s answer is pretty good. But I wish she would have told him where to stick the hejab. She does get some defiant last words, however:
Roba: In the end of the day, I am Egyptian. And I’m a Muslim. Even though I’ve received my education in a English speaking school, and I’m an A.U.C. graduate, but this is not going to take me away from my roots. Which are: I’m an Egyptian, Muslim, a woman. I’m proud of it, and I hate what the West is trying to do to us. You are making a big deal out of these issues, and I can’t understand why. (my emphasis)
Sing it, lady!
Editor’s Note: In the first edition of this story, we incorrectly attributed this article to Mike Nizza, who hosts The Lede. MMW apologizes for the error.