False perceptions of the hijab in Britain
Problem Statement 8 1. Objectives of the Study 9 1. Research Questions 9 1. Significance of the Study 9 1. Research Structure 10 CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW 12 2. Sampling 25 3. Research Instruments 25 3. Questionnaire Crafting 25 3. Pilot Study 26 3. Administration of Questionnaires 26 CHAPTER FOUR: DATA ANALYSIS 27 4. Wearing Hijab 37 5. Negative Perception of the Hijab 37 5. Negative Stereotyping of the Veil 39 5. Misconceptions of the Hijab 40 5. Wrong Victimization because of Veiling 42 7. Fig 11: Depicts whether the respondents felt vulnerable because of veiling. Abstract The phenomenon of ‘Islamophobia’ has un-arguably escalated exponentially across U. K in the recent decades. This occurrence can he highly attributed to the fact that diverse media organizations have portrayed Islam religion as a ‘terrorist religion’ and hence anything that is linked to the Islam religion should be viewed as a threat to the public safety. Bearing that in mind, in the recent past veiling of Muslim women has emanated as a prevalent topic in public discourses.
The popular justification given by most European countries is that veiling is a symbol of oppression and imprisonment of women in the 21st century, hence, it is counter civilization. Moreover, the veiling of women has been interpreted to imply that it is a forced subordination of women by Muslim men (Ajrouch, 2007). By the same token, in light of the 7/7 and 9/11 terror attack, Western countries have vehemently propagated that veiling signifies Islam extremism, Fundamentalism as well as terrorism. As a consequence of such media and public portrayal of Muslims and Islam in general, fear between the non-Muslims community and the Muslims in the United Kingdom context has heightened exponentially, leading to what has been popularly coined as ‘Islamophobia’. Nonetheless, the discourses provided against veiling of Muslim women does not have firm premises, in the sense that, most of these discourses have failed to view veiling of women from the perspective of the Islam religion, thus, leading to false perception of the veiling of women.
The second country to follow the suit was Belgium, where it also enacted laws banning the display of veils in public. Subsequently nations such as Italy, Netherlands and Germany equally followed the pattern. This law has been complimented with other anti-terrorist legislations which are against hiding the face for security and safety reasons. In that regard, United Kingdom has also been constantly subjected to massive pressure to ban veiling in the public spaces. This pressure has been further heightened by the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly which has affirmed that wearing of the veils is an implicit threat to public safety, gender equality and national cohesion (Holloway, 2017). In that light, legislators have used the above premises to justify banning of veiling in public.
As a consequence, fear between and tension between the veiled Muslim women and the non-Muslim community in the U. K vicinity has heightened phenomenally, as each group is approaching the other with suspicion and distrust. A significant number of constructions have ignored the Muslim dimension of veiling women, such as, veiling symbolizes a public commitment and dedication to Allah. Moreover, veiling is just a form of personal expression and religious freedom. By investigating the principal purpose of veiling from the viewpoint of the Muslim women, consequently, it would be possible to accurately judge the essence of veiling of Muslim women. This study will be add value to the current research on the popular phenomena termed as ‘Islamophobia,’ which has been common within Europe.
Research Structure Chapter 1: Introduction The first chapter positions the research problem in context, which is the fear of veiling of Muslim women in Europe and particularly U. K. This chapter is accompanied with the background to the problem, the problem statement, and objectives of the study, research questions, followed by significance of the study. Overview This chapter explores on the historical and the present discussions of the veil, as well as the wider impacts of this social constructions for veiled Islam women within the United Kingdom. In the colonial period, the veil was viewed as an emblem of gender repression and subjugation. Within this frame, deliverance of veiled Islam women became linked with the intentions of imperial extension and expansion. In a post 9/11 atmosphere, the prevalent misinterpretation of the veil was that it signified Muslim extremist, gender inequality, as well as segregation.
This chapter will showcase that the veil has been- and will proceed to be stereotyped as a symbol of Islam extremism, fundamentalism as well as terrorism. In the light, of the Orientalist model, the veiled female body emanated as the emblem for Islam. In essence, the dressing of the veil was viewed as a proof of the forced subordination of Muslim women, on the grounds that women were compelled to veil themselves by the Islam men. In that respect, the veil was perceived as an indication of the backwardness of Muslim religion. Salim (2010) asserted that colonization operates not only via political and economic hegemony but it also functions as mode of a construction device which to a great extent shapes the perceptions of the colonized.
This mode of representation is the lens upon which the colonial observer sees the colonized community. The desire to expose what was covered and to view the ‘unseen’ was a prevalent attribute within the colonial debates. The same image was apparent in Orientalist paintings where women were mostly showcased as naked. Equally important, it was also asserted that veiled Muslim women were constantly unhappy in their veil, hence, they were in need of rescue by the West. Majority of the paintings showcased a huge gap between the barbarity of the East and the civility of the West, and subsequently the concept of ‘Us’ and ‘Them’. The conspicuous advancement from veiled bodies and subsequently towards relatively ‘Westernized’ bodies was a vital factor in reducing the resistance towards colonial authority via enforcing the ‘western values’ on them.
As much as there is a correspondence between these misperceptions of the veil, it is essential to examine them separately, this is because they escalate Islamophobia in diverse ways. The subsequent discussion substantiates that in the modern society, veiling of women attracts negative attention based on three principal arguments: (1) Public safety, (2), equality and (3) integration (Burnett, 2013). Islamist Terrorism Wearing the hijab in public arena in the West has been stereotyped as a representation of Muslim Fundamentalism. Since the 9/11 atmosphere, the West asserts that it is confronted by a global ‘threat’ by Muslim extremism and that the veil is a physical symbol of that ‘threat’. Ryan and Ghumman (2013), assert that, despite the fact that Islam women are viewed as subdued and Islam men are viewed as relatively dangerous.
Besides. It is believed that one of the mastermind responsible with the 7/7 bombing was suspected to have entered London through the help of the veil. In addition to that, as of November 2013, Mohammed Ahmed, a terror suspect, is claimed to have evaded the surveillance in London by getting in a mosque dressed in Western clothes and subsequently exiting the mosque as a veiled woman (Fine & Sirin, 2007). From the above exemplars, it is evident that the veil has been stereotypically been viewed as a threat to public safety, based on the tenet that it could be utilized as a disguise for a terrorist. In this respect, banning the veil is predominantly viewed as the only way to affirm public safety. In fact, legislation which prohibits the dressing of the veil to a great extent violates human rights as well was interferes with personal agency, self-expression and privacy (Klein, & Azzi, 2001).
Besides a symbol of extremism and Islam terrorism, the veil is equally interpreted as a device for fundamentalism, in the sense that, it serves as a tool of indirectly persuading the non-Muslims to convert to Islam. Within this frame, the veil is perceived as a conduct of religious propaganda with the goal of penetrating and conquering the Western society. As asserted by Salim (2012), “Women dressed in niqab are seen as the horse of extremist Islamism”. Seen from this perspective, the veil conceals not only the face but also the ‘Secret motives’, in order to inflict the Sharia law in the Western society. By the same token, schoolgirls who veil are attached to subjugation of Muslim women and schoolgirls. Associated to such paradigms is the underlying presumption that Islam women and girls who dress the veil do so from the perspective of coercion.
By alluding to the Begum case, the problem was if she decided to dress the veil out of free will or if she had been coerced by her brother to wear the veil. In that light, such supposition of a coercive component ignore the potential of choosing to dress the Hijab (Klein, & Azzi, 2001). National Cohesion The dressing of the hijab in the public arena in the west is usually perceived as a sign of segregation. This way, the veil is ‘outstanding’ on the grounds that it confines a general from of human association in a manner that the Islam hijab, the Christian Cross, Buddhist robe do not. Unlike other instances of religious outfits which permits the face to be explicit, the veil allegedly conceals the wearer’s identity.
In that regard, the veil reduces the wearer to a point of segregation and isolation because of the interpreted difficulty in conversing with an individual whose face is veiled. From this basis, the Hijab is viewed as a barrier to direct communication since it makes conversing less transparent and open (Davary, 2009). Still in the same vein, James (2014), contends that a veiled face eliminates reciprocity and transparency in the process of conversing, pinpointing the undisputable difficulty of communication which is attached from almost entire veiling of a woman’s face. In the sense that, veiled women are deemed to be ungrateful victims who have rejected to assimilate and are considered to endanger the British lifestyle. Also in scenarios where they choose to dress the veil, they are viewed as intentionally segregating themselves and refusing the Western values and principles.
Eventually, the degrees of the veil discourses showcases that multiculturalism is an indirect expression of the extent of tolerance of the host nation which demands the incorporation of the Islam ‘other’ on its own selfish terms. Such premises are the pillars to the criminalization of the hijab in public arenas in the West (Klein & Azzi, 2001). Punish a Muslim Day In the recent past, rumors have emerged in diverse regions in United Kingdom regarding an event termed as, ‘Punish a Muslim Day’. So in order to attain this goal and the same moment enhancing richness and accuracy of data, affirming the transferability of the findings, descriptive research design and case study research design was employed. In particular, case studies offers the investigator a prerogative of familiarizing themselves with the data in its ordinary context.
Furthermore, case studies offers an in depth and robust information with regard to the research problem. It is mostly valuable when the investigator is trying to filter down a relatively complex and broad field of research into one or a few accessible examples. It is also imperative to note that, case studies are suitable when attempting to ascertain if a particular theory or framework is applicable to the real world. The target population in this study was 20 devoted Muslim veiled women who were willing to share their distinct stories and experiences pertaining to wearing a hijab. The participants were selected randomly from a wedding setting. In a wedding setting the people are relatively relaxed, hence, they can share more information in that state.
Upon getting their consent, questionnaires were handed out to them. Sampling Sampling refers to the process of selecting enough elements from the population so that by investigating the sample, and comprehending the qualities attribute to the population. A questionnaire denotes a document comprising of a particular number of questions either typed or printed in a specific order in a form or a series of forms. Questionnaire Crafting It goes without saying that the construction of questionnaire should be undertaken with maximum tact, in the sense that, in scenarios that the questionnaire is relatively monotonous or too long, then the participants may start responding inaccurately due to boredom or tiredness. The questionnaire in this study was therefore crafted tactfully to prevent this shortcoming.
As such, only 15 questions were directed to the respondents, where the participants had to tick a box in a Likert Scale constituting five choices ranging from 1=Strongly Disagree through 5= Strongly agree. It is noteworthy that, the questions were crafted in such a way that it was in congruence with the research objectives and questions. In that respect, data analysis refers to the process of cleansing, converting, modelling and examining data with the objective of ascertaining relevant information, suggesting conclusions and which can assist in decision-making. Data gathered was assessed to diagnose for errors. After examining and correction, subsequently, the data was coded where every single question was adopted to symbolize a variable while every participant symbolized an observation. Data was analyzed by employing content analysis.
Content analysis denotes a criteria of analyzing written, visual or verbal communication data. Subsequently the complete field notes and text were carefully read at first to attain a comprehensive and overall impression of the context and content prior to the abstraction process of coding commenced where units of interpretation are pinpointed and labelled. • Stage 3: Coding/ Classification Process- Codes refers to labels or names attached to particular themes or units of associated meaning established within the transcript and field notes. The transcribed text was organized in meaningful categories and themes. As developments were made with the analysis, further sub-categories and sub-themes were included to determine relationships, connections and trends. • Stage 4: Evaluation of Relevance- The coded were ultimately thoroughly inspected for relevance to the research objectives.
To affirm validity and reliability, pilot test and evaluation were undertaken. The benefit of conducting a pilot test is because it enables the investigator to diagnose weaknesses in the research design and instrument. This ensures that the research instruments are actually measuring what was intended to be measured, if not, then strategic adjustments were made. In that respect, the investigator undertook a pretest before giving out the questionnaires to the participants who shared their thoughts and personal opinions related to the study. The researcher personally gave out the questionnaires to the targeted respondents. Ethical Considerations Ethics refers to moral values and rationales which dictates how a person or a group carries out its activities. It is greatly associated with actions that are considered as right or wrong in a particular community.
Ethics apply to all circumstances where there can be potential or actual harm of any type to a person or a group of people. As such, the investigator of this study guaranteed privacy and confidentiality to all the respondents. Moreover, consent form was signed by the investigator as a sign of affirming confidentiality regarding the participant’s responses. followed by 26-35 years, 15% (3), and followed by 46-55 years 10% (2), respectively. This outcome apparently conveys that majority of the participants were relatively youthful. The following chart explicitly showcases this result Fig 2: Exhibits the Age Bracket of the respondents 5. Nationality of the Participants As regards to the nationalities of the respondents, it was explicit that majority of the participants were Pakistani, 65% (13), followed by British, 35% (7). The following chart clearly displays the above findings.
On the other hand, 10% (n=2) of the respondents contended that, ‘probably not’, regarding their devotion to Islam religion. Fig 6: Demonstrates the percent of the devoted Muslim participants 5. Wearing Hijab In order to establish whether the respondents dressed the Hijab Always, the strategic question crafted in the questionnaire was, “Do you always wear the Hijab?” 80% (n=16) of the respondents held that, ‘yes’ they wore the hijab always. Conversely, 20% 9 (n=4) of the respondents asserted that, ‘no’ they did not wear the hijab always. Those who never wore the hijab asserted that they were afraid of being mistaken as a terrorist. On the other hand, only 5% (1) of the participants strongly disagreed. This results demonstrates that indeed the participants were perceived negatively because of veiling.
Fig 8: Displays whether the participants felt that the non-Muslim communities had negative attitude towards the veils 5. Misconceptions of the Hijab In order to ascertain whether the respondents had encountered any form mis-conceptions with regard to the hijab, the participants were asked the following question, what are the common misconceptions have you ever encountered because of veiling? 45% (n=9) of the respondents held that the non-Muslim Community in U. K stereotyped veiling as a symbol of terrorism, conversely, 25% (n=5) of the participants disclosed that the non-Muslim communities stereotyped veiling as a sign of gender oppression. The popular reason given for feeling vulnerable was that the non-Muslim community were very suspicious of them due to wearing the hijab. Fig 11: Depicts whether the respondents felt vulnerable because of veiling 5.
Wrong Convictions because of Veiling The questionnaire equally assessed whether the respondents had ever been wrongly convicted in their lifetime because of wearing a hijab. The strategic question addressed to the participants was, “Have you ever been victimized for wearing a Hijab in your day-to day activities?”75% (n=15) of the respondents responded that “Certainly” they have been convicted in their day to day activities. Conversely, 20% of the respondents affirmed that “probably” they have been victimized in their lifetime, By contrast, only 5% of the participants asserted that, “Certainly not” they have ever been victimized in their lifetime. This notion has been greatly propagated by the feminist movements which have become predominant in this era. As such, non-Muslim communities in Britain view Muslims as an oppressed and enslaved woman in need of liberation.
In that, they are coerced to wear the hijab against their will. However, findings from the questionnaire exposed that most of Muslim women wear a hijab mostly as a public commitment and dedication to Allah and Islam religion in general, and not because of being forced to wear the hijab. Most of the respondents held that they personally chose to wear a hijab, and that they were not forced to do so by anyone. Due to these misconceptions, fear between Muslims and non-Muslim has escalated in the recent past within United Kingdom vicinity, causing a sense of distrust between these groups. To a great extent this occurrence can be traced back to the 9/11 and 7/7 terror attack in the US and UK soil.
These events marked a paradigm shift regarding the perception of the Islam religion in general. Since then, Western nations have predominantly linked Islam religion to terrorists and extremist groups. Besides, terrorist activities in countries such as Syria, Iraq, Sudan, Yemen, Afghanistan, and Somali has further reinforced these prejudices. It becomes relatively difficult to communicate effectively with other individuals in the society. This way, building rapport with other people becomes hard. This is because a veiled Muslim women seems to be enclosed in her own personal world. As such, the Britons use this premise to justify disregarding the Hijab. The questionnaire also unveiled that most of the respondents feel victimized by the non-Muslim in UK communities, in the sense that, in scenarios where there is a crime, the first suspect is a veiled Muslim woman.
Apart from that, the veiled Muslim women who filled the questionnaires affirmed the fact that they wear a Hijab does not necessarily mean that they are oppressed and dominated by men. Instead, veiling distinguishes clearly the role of men and women in the society. In the sense that, men and women have different duties and responsibilities that they ought to accomplish in their family as well as in their society. This way, any family, society, or nation runs smoothly when this roles, duties and responsibilities are clearly defined. When this roles collide, then confusion happens in any society, causing several disorders. As such, veiled Muslim women were afraid of being victimized in the public arena. Recommendations In the process of executing this study, several interesting topics of topics emerged which could not be explored due to limited resources.
Future researchers should view this study as a stepping stone for further research. The concept of ‘Islamophobia’ was relatively broad and hence requires further research. In particular, the nature of Islamophobia and how exactly the media houses are spreading Islamophobia across the globe. Furthermore, 9/11 and 7/7 terror attacks in USA and UK further heightened fear of the Islam religion across the globe. In fact, a significant number of media houses asserted that the Islam religious leaders are using Quran to radicalize their followers against the non-Muslims. As such, tension between the Muslim and the non-Muslim has only escalated and deteriorated further. The 20 respondents who filled the questionnaires enabled the researcher to clearly understand the personal meaning of veiling from the Muslim women point of view.
In particular, they articulated that they dressed the hijab as a sign of displaying devotion, dedication and commitment to Allah and Islam religion in general. To this end, it is crystal clear that the misconception regarding the veil does not have a firm base to qualify banning it from the public setting in UK. The participants enabled the investigator to clearly understand the meaning of the hijab from the perspective and real experiences of the veiled Muslim women. Therefore, clearing the negative misconception held by a significant number Britons with regard to the Muslim Hijab. However, further research still needs to be undertaken concerning what measures Islam religious leaders are taking to ensure that they sort out the radical Muslims from the innocent Muslims.
In doing so, they will prevent the radical Muslims from influencing the innocent Muslims. Islam And Christian–Muslim Relations, 26(4), 409-421. doi. org/10. Burnett, J. Britain: racial violence and the politics of hate. Journal of Adolescent Research, 23 (4), 383–410. Chaudhury, S. R. Miller, L. Religious identity formation among Bangladeshi American Muslim adolescents. org/10. Hopkins, N. Greenwood, R. M. Hijab, visibility and the performance of identity. E. Identity, perceived religious discrimination, and psychological well-being in Muslim immigrant women. Applied Psychology, 61(2), 250–271 Klein, O. Azzi, A. E. php?id=12 Siraj, A. Meanings of modesty and the hijab amongst Muslim women in Glasgow, Scotland. Gender, Place, and Culture, 18, 716–731. Appendix I Please Answer the Following Questions. Kindly be as honest as possible Section A 1. What is your Occupation? ……. a) Unemployed 1, 1, 1, 1,1 b) N/A 1, c) Fashion designer 1, 1,1 d) Entrepreneur 1 ,1,1,1 e) Nurse – 1 , 1, 1,1,1 f) Hair dresser 1,1 6.
What is your educational background? …… a) Certificate level 1,1,1 (15%) b) Diploma Level 1, 1,1,1,1,1,1,1 (40%) c) Degree 1,1,1,1, 1,1 (30%) d) Masters 1,1 (10%) e) PHD 1 (5%) Section B 7. What is your religious background? a) Born into Islam 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1 b) Converted to Islam 1 8. Would you say that you are a praticing Muslim? a) Certainly 1,1 ,1, 1, 1, 1 ,1 , 1, 1,1, 1,1 (60%) b) Probably 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, (25%) c) Probably not 1, 1 (10%) c) Certainly not 1 (5%) 9. Do you feel vulnerable when wearing identifiable Islamic clothing? (a) Yes 1 , 1, 1, 1, 1, 1 (b) No 1, 1, 1, 1 17. Do you feel more prone or afraid of verbal or physical abuse after a terrorist attack from the non-Muslim community in U. K? a) YES 1 – more and more cases of verbal abuse and acid attacks to muslims 1 – non muslims usually blame all Muslims for the actions of terrorists 1 – I had to keep looking over my shoulder a bit more 1 – some people automatically assume we are terrorists just because we are muslim 1 – there are a lot of attacks on muslims after a terrorsit attack 1 – LEFT BLANK 1 – many people blame terrorist attacks on muslims 1 – due to the wrong perceptions of islam and muslims in the media and due to the lack of knowledge , understanding or interaction with muslims 1 –I am afraid to go out 1 – because they will always mention islam before getting facts right b) NO If yes, please explain…… 18.
Would you say that wearing a Hijab has negatively affected your social life? (a) Strongly Agree 1 (b) Agree 1 (c) Disagree 1, 1, 1 , 1 , 1 (d) Strongly Disagree 1 N/A - 1 , 1 19. Please explain your personal views on how you think the British community perceive the Hijab.
From $10 to earn access
Only on Studyloop