Remember the Hijab, the Burka and all the other accessories that say a Muslim woman is property are completely consensual. And only Orientalist racists say otherwise.
For Sumeya Abdullah, a 34-year-old primary school teacher in the capital Baghdad, life will never be the same again. In late June she had her legs burned by corrosive acid in a street attack because, she believes, she was not wearing her veil and the traditional ‘abaya’ covering common in many Middle Eastern countries.
“I was shopping in one of the most crowded districts in Baghdad when I felt my skin burning by something corrosive. It was horrible, a terrible pain, then I found myself in hospital,” Abdullah said.
Witnesses in the district where the attack happened, said that for more than two weeks, women have been targeted by acid attackers for dressing immodestly. Sometimes the assailants spray or throw the acid on foot, or on occasion, from a moving car. Other attacks have been even more shocking.
“A month ago I was walking from my college to my house when I was abducted in the street by three men. They dropped acid in my face and on my legs. They cut all my hair off while hitting me in the face many times telling me it’s the price for not obeying Allah’s wish in using the veil,” Hania Abdul-Jabbar, a 23-year-old university student, recounted.
“Today I cannot see out of one eye because the acid made me lose my vision. I am afraid to leave my house. Now I am permanently disfigured with a monster face,” she added with tears rolling down her swollen and scarred cheeks.
“Our country is a Muslim country and women should respect this by wearing veils and long cloaks. I’m against the use of acid against them but something should be done to force them into wearing the clothes,” Sheik Hussein Abbas, a radical Shi’ite leader in the capital, said.
On the scale of things he’s against and thinks need to be stopped, women not covering their faces clearly ranks above Muslim men throwing acid in women’s faces.
Despite the attacks, many women are refusing to bow to the will of religious extremists.”I won’t force myself to use something that I don’t feel comfortable with. Women in Iraq are losing their place in society and we have to fight that and determine who we are and how we should dress, despite these dangers,” Hiba Zuheir, 24, a resident of Mansour district, said.