Muslims have no monopoly on modesty

by 1389 on February 3, 2014

in 1389 (blog admin), Christianity, forced marriage, hijab, Islam, Orthodox Christianity, Shari'a

Says one of our correspondents in Canada:

“While searching on internet, I came across these (Islamic) gems.”

Hijab: A Male Perspective

…Oftentimes, when modesty as a virtue is discussed within our communities, the discussion almost always exclusively surrounds the modesty of Muslim women…

…Regardless of what we are surrounded by, Muslim men must hold themselves to a higher standard of morality and virtue…

Clearly, Islam has appealed to those who are offended by the blatant public sexuality pervading what passes for modern-day popular culture. It’s true that Islam requires sexuality to be kept out of public view. I have no quarrel with that; Orthodox Christianity also requires that both men and women be modest and circumspect in our dress, language, and behavior.

Head covering, or not

Observant Orthodox Christian women are not required to cover their heads anywhere other than in church. Outside of monasteries, there are no specific rules regarding what the head covering should consist of or how it should be worn, nor is there a requirement that all of the hair be concealed. Traditionally, the head covering is some type of scarf. Nuns wear head coverings at all times, but that goes with their decision to join a monastic community, and monasticism is not forced on anyone. Ironically, it seems that the Muslim hijab as we know it today was copied from the headgear of Orthodox nuns.

So what’s the problem?

The form of modesty required under Islamic shari’a law, does not embody respect for women and girls. Instead of protecting them, it secludes and dehumanizes them and relegates them to chattel. The author of the first article, Amjad Tarsin, makes the valid point that modesty in dress and behavior should apply to both men and women. I wholeheartedly agree! But that isn’t the way Islam works in practice. He paints an idealized picture of Islamic doctrine and of shari’a law. The author never mentions that Islam permits up to four legitimate wives (with easy divorce and replacement of unwanted wives), along with forced marriages, child marriages, and concubinage.

Why do some people – especially women – who have been raised in historically Christian communities, convert to Islam? Obviously, marriage to a Muslim may be part of the picture – but here again, why? To read some recent converts’ rosy descriptions, they imagine Islam to offer what they never had in the lukewarm Christian culture in which they grew up – such as personal attention, a tradition of modesty, and a sense of being part of a community.

From the same Muslim blog, The Balkan Chronicle:

I wasn’t looking for a religion … I just fell in love with Islam

Meet four of the 5,000 Brits who become Muslims each year…

…Jayne was inspired to convert to Islam after chatting to other Muslims on Twitter.

Muhammad Manzoor, who runs Muslim Twitter account Local Masjid from his home in Whalley Range, Manchester, helped her make the transition…

We, as Orthodox Christians, do have a tradition of modesty and we have flourishing communities even in western countries. We’ve just done an inadequate job of letting people know who we are and what we do. It’s the outreach that we have been lacking.

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