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The Archbishop of Canterbury advocates the right of veiled women

Date: 12/04/2012 A.D 21/05/1433 H

Translated by: Manal Samhat

News…

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, said that the Muslim women in Britain enjoy the right to wear the veil (Hijab) that helps them assert themselves. Speaking at The Sunday Times Literary Festival in Oxford, the Archbishop said that some feel that the veil has become more like a stereotype and not an expression of commitment to the religious teachings, pointing that his views were influenced by a recent encounter with a teenage veiled Muslim pupil who takes courses on Christianity at a Church of Wales school.  He said: “She told me how she would wear her veil and yet take part, too, in some of the school's Christian lessons. It gave her an understanding of Christianity and yet wearing her veil was also very important for her to assert herself and her religion…”

He also said that there is a sense of difference between the Muslims and Christians in Britain, adding that this feeling creates a sense of worry between the followers of religions… Indeed, there are some ideological differences between the adherents of all religions, but we ought to commit o the points of agreement between us when we talk about ourselves as humans…

It is worth mentioning that Williams, who will step down as Archbishop of Canterbury at the end of this year, faced fierce criticisms back in 2008 when he said that called for adopting aspects of Shariah law in Britain to improve community relations…

Comment…

This is a bold, aware and civilized stand taken by Archbishop Williams in which he expressed his free and objective opinion regarding the veil, despite the criticism and distortion campaigns he faces in some media outlets. We cannot but salute his clear and explicit stands and calls for openness and interaction between religions and making the spirit of compassion and virtue prevail in the society. Such discourses that are far from any sort of fanaticism are capable of creating a state of stability and cohesion within the society and enhancing the human, social, and religious spirit among all its components…

On the issue of the veil, His Eminence, the late Religious Authority, Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah (ra), says: “The veil (Hijab) represents a religious concept pertaining to two points:

1- The body that Allah forbade revealing it to non-Mahram men (those with whom marriage is allowed).

2- Negation of wanton displays, and arousing desires.

In other words, the outfit of a female who is living in a mixed society, containing both men and women, must cover up her whole body, and must not be sexually stimulating, making her immune to indecent looks. Thus, any kind of outfit complying with these two conditions is considered religiously accepted.

There is nothing wrong in whatever the female wears, as long as her outfit is decent, complies with religious laws, and introduces her as a human being rather than a sexual object; thus, there are no restrictions to any outfit that falls under this category…

[Extracted from “The World of the Youth”, p: 210]

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