On September 16, a 22-year-old woman named Mahsa Amini died in a Tehran hospital three days after being arrested by Iran’s moral police for failing to wear her hijab properly. Amini’s death, which witnesses described as the result of police brutality, unleashed a nationwide explosion of distaff outrage. In public demonstrations all over Iran, countless women have courageously torn off their veils in what looks very much like a historic demand for freedom and equality. Over 200 of them have been killed.
At this writing, the protests continue. And they’ve spread around the world. Which raises the question: is this, like the Arab Spring of a decade ago, another moment of false hope? Or does this mark the start of a real and lasting revolution against the faith-based oppression of women in the Islamic Republic of Iran? What, moreover, are the chances of this revolution spreading to the rest of the Muslim world – as well as to the parts of the Western world where there’s already a considerable Islamic presence?
Since these questions were still up in the air in late October, the producers of Debatten, an evening political discussion program on Norway’s taxpayer-funded NRK television network, decided that the topic of the October 25 show would be hijab. Just hours before the broadcast, however, the series’ host, Fredrik Solvang, announced on Instagram that his team had “received so much feedback saying that it isn’t relevant or OK to debate hijab in light of the Iran demonstrations, that we’re not going further with the plans for this evening’s Debatten.” Instead, declared series editor Gunnhild Viken shortly thereafter, that day’s program would be about rising electricity costs.
The response to this volte face was widespread. Mocking the notion that a hijab debate wasn’t “relevant” at the present historical moment, Kjetil Rolness, a sociologist who is one of Norway’s few prominent politically incorrect voices, asked sardonically on Facebook: “WHEN would it be appropriate to debate hijab if not right now?” Hege Storhaug, author of a bestselling jeremiad about Islam, agreed: what could be more relevant than a discussion of hijab, at a time when Iranian women have been waging “the fight of their lives” for freedom? Geir Furuseth, an expert on the Arab world, accused NRK of donning its own “virtual hijab.”
Exactly who, these writers wondered, had pressured NRK to put the kibosh on this debate?
Another major Norwegian critic of Islam is Lily Bandehy, who came to Norway from Iran in 1988 as a political refugee and who has since become a respected champion of free speech and women’s rights. She’d been invited to take part in the Debatten episode, and upon learning of its cancellation penned an angry op-ed. “To smother the hijab debate is a knife in the back to Iranian women,” she charged. Then again, asked Bandehy, what can one expect from NRK, which walks “on tiptoe” when it comes to “mosques and women in hijab”? How pathetic that while Iran is undergoing a women’s revolution with the hijab as its hated symbol, “in Norway…we love the hijab.”
She’s right. In Norway, the hijab is ubiquitous. It used to be a subject of debate. But that petered out. Hijab became an increasingly familiar and taken-for-granted fixture. Once seen only in certain parts of Oslo, it spread to other Oslo neighborhoods as well as to remote towns and hamlets. One day many years ago, I saw my first Oslo niqab – the garment that covers everything except a woman’s eyes, and that makes hijab, by comparison, look like a bikini. Soon that, too, became a routine sight. (In 2013, an episode of the NRK program Brennpunkt discussed the question: “What is it that is causing young Norwegian women to wear niqab?” Um, how about submission to the Islamic doctrine of female subordination?)
Meanwhile the Norwegian government – with the aid of its PR arm, NRK – has heavily promoted hijab in an obvious effort to normalize it. Since 2009, female cops have been allowed to wear hijab. From 2015 to 2017, NRK ran Skam, a Beverly Hills 90210-type series for teenagers, in which one of the main characters was a girl in hijab. In 2017, NRK, which had previously refused to allow one of its TV talking heads to wear a cross, broadcast a TV program hosted by a young woman named Faten Mahdi al-Husseini, who, wearing a hijab throughout, examined the platforms of the various political parties before deciding how to vote. (Surprise! She decided to vote for the Labour Party, to which NRK is joined at the hip.)
Last year, two sisters in hijab took part in an NRK cooking competition. Afterwards, one of the sisters, Amy Mir, was recruited to star in an NRK program about hiking in the mountains. A glowing profile at NRK’s website stated that Amy considered the hijab a “symbol of freedom.” Younger Norwegians have had this lie drummed into their heads so often that I’m sure most of them believe it. In 2022, the old hijab debate seems quaint indeed.
Nonetheless, in response to the abrupt scrubbing of the hijab episode of Debatten, the online magazine Subjekt arranged a public debate on the topic at Litteraturhuset in Oslo. The list of people invited to participate in the October 26 event was telling. All but one were women, and all but one of the women had Muslim backgrounds. Ardent opponents of Islam were conspicious by their absence.
Yes, there was a Muslim-born Progress Party official who, refusing, in her own words, to “romanticize” the hijab, noted that innumerable girls in Norway are still forced to wear it and are policed by their “mother, father, community, network, mosque, and taxi drivers.” And there was a spokeswoman for LIM, an immigrant organization whose acronym stands for “equality, inclusiveness, diversity,” who recalled that on her very first day of school in Iran, she was berated for inadvertently violating the hijab requirement.
Neither of them were hijab fans. But the others were, at best, apologists for it. An Arabist from the University of Oslo relativized the hijab, asserting that headscarves have been traditional garb in a number of cultures and religions. (She omitted to mention that in Islam, unlike many other cultures and religions, it’s a symbol of female submission.) A Muslim convert from Minotenk, an “anti-racism” group, complained about purported hate crimes against Norwegian women and girls in hijab. A hijab-clad college professor said that for her the hijab means “peace of mind” and her “identity as a Muslim.”
And a leader of the Muslim Student Association (MSU), who is also a medical student, agreed: her “hijab means everything” to her. “It’s who I am.” She admitted that women have been killed for not wearing hijab – but insisted that they’ve also been killed for wearing it. Yes, she said, support women’s rights in Iran, if you wish – but what about the limitations on women’s right to wear a hijab in France? (In fact, there was much disinformation at the debate about France, where it’s illegal to cover your face in public but not to wear a hijab.)
The MSU woman, a hothead who exuded contempt for infidels and Western values (and who, I discovered online, proposed earlier this year that the Norwegian government formulate an “action plan against Islamophobia” that would include pro-Islam lessons for schoolchildren), was palpably infuriated by the LIM woman’s proposal that religion not be pushed on minors. Parents, she demanded, should have the right to impose religious values on their kids. And she was right, generally speaking. Parents should be able to take their kids to church or synagogue; kids should be allowed to wear crosses or yarmulkes. But Islam is different.
And that’s the real issue here. Yes, in part the debate should be about parents who force children to wear hijab against their will – something that most of the participants in Wednesday’s debate claimed to oppose. But it’s also about normalizing hijab – a symbol of submission to men and of devotion to a totalitarian ideology. Crowds of women in hijab on the streets of European cities are a visible sign of the ongoing Islamization of the free West, the steady loss of civil liberties, the reversal of women’s rights, the quashing of free speech. That’s the issue. That’s the problem. But nobody on the panel was there to make this point. No Hege Storhaug, no Lily Bandehy. Why not? Presumably the people at Subjekt wanted a nice, civilized, and limited discussion free of unpleasant reminders of the full, dark reality of Islam.
For me, the unrest in Iran in recent weeks has reawakened an image that comes to me from time to time. I imagine a very unlikely, but still not entirely impossible, future time when the majority of people in the Muslim world, finally sick of living under the brutal yoke of sharia, have finally tossed out their Korans, torn off their hijabs and djellabas, kicked the mullahs and emirs to the curb, and actually instituted democratic government – while, at the same time, the countries of Western Europe, having come to the end of a long, insufficiently contested process of soft jihadist conquest, are Islamic republics along the lines of present-day Pakistan or Iran. It’s not a pleasant dream. But at a time when Muslim women in autocratic Iran are burning their hijabs and Muslim women in Norway are insisting on the centrality of their hijabs to their identity and getting angry at anyone who dares speak of integration, such images do cross one’s mind.
Angel Jacob says
Hijab is an Arabis/islamic word.
It is a symbol of fascism and women’s oppression/slavery.
Just like any fascistic ideology it will not go away without using the same means to get rid of them.
Those “mother, father, community, network, mosque, and taxi drivers.” in the free world should be criminalized for forcing it on females. They don’t get to make their own laws and enforce it.
Jack Diamond says
Hijab is part of Islam’s ibadat, religious observation, which makes it part of Shari’a and obligatory. Muslim women wearing the hijab in the West are announcing Shari’a–Islam is here and taking over. Literally. It is not only a slave rag, it is the flag of a hostile power.
Another point, the clear definition of “hijab” in the Qur’an is the full-body covering, not a headscarf.
That is the real destination for Muslim women.
These courageous girls and women in Iran know all this, but neither is a permissible topic of discussion in the Woke West.
Death to the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Walter Sieruk says
About this controversy about the hijab in Norway, as is it a proper garment for wearing in that nation.
After all. Norway is a western country and obviously not an Islamic country.
Those Muslims who are promoting it are engaging in what is known as the Stealth jihad otherwise called the Muslim method of Islamic Gradualism. In contrast to the way of the violent jihad or also called the militant jihad. This non-violent form of the jihad for Islam is a very sly, insidious, subtle and deceptive way of working for the advancement of Islam.
This Muslim scheme for achieving the goal of the Islamic agenda is as, many times, as subtly effective as it is demonically clever. Furthermore, this Islamic gradualism, in some ways, is very similar to the instruction printed in the book entitled THE ART OF WAR by Sun Tzu. Which reads “At first, then, exhibit the coyness of a maiden, until the enemy gives you an opening; afterwards emulate the rapidity of a running hare, and it will be too late for the enemy to opposes you”
There’s no acceptable middle of the road. Choose freedom for women, or ownership control by oppressors. Gaslighting us to be tolerant is dangerous.
Your post Mr Sieruk sums up what needs to be broadly communicated to all in Europe and North, Central and South America. Thank you.
Who can resist a polite, pretty, smiling young lady in a hijab? She seems so nice, how can you suspect her of being in the vanguard of an invading army that has been wildly successful for 1400 years? It’s a good tactic. Reminds me of the violent demonstrations of the ’60’s and ’70’s when the organizers would yell, “Chicks up front!” Works every time when you’re trying to invade and destroy a civilization based on chivalry.
THX 1138 says
Who can resist an ALTRUIST?
Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, their central theme is ALTRUISM and SELF-SACRIFICE for God and neighbor.
“The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” – Ronald Reagan
“Mr Chambers!.. Mr Chambers!… Don’t get on that ship!, The rest of the book… “To Serve Man,” it’s, it’s, it’s a cookbook!” – The Twilight Zone, “To Serve Man”
Walter Sieruk says
This Frontpagemag article starts with the subject about that tragic murder of a helpless defenseless young woman, Mahsa Anini because Iran is based on Sharia law and Sharia is full of ruthless oppressive brutal cruel malicious deadly misogyny
That brutal cruel oppressive misogynistic as well as murderous tyrannical Islamic regime of Iran is based on Sharia denies basic human rights is viciously harsh on all people, especially girls and women.
Furthermore, it should be made known that the actual origin of Sharia is revealed in a Time –Life book with the title MESOPOTAMIA: THE MIGHTY KINGS copyright 1995. The point is this what an outright liar Rasis is, for he said that he is “a defender of human rights.” For that future history book about the ancient pagan world of Mesopotamia informs the reader that “many Islamic laws resemble the Babylon and Assyrian forebears.” . page 150.
There is the above and other references imply that such pagan teachings were incorporated into the religion that Muhammad manufactured and then started. Thus, this further reveal that a lot of ancient paganism is part of the whole religion of Islam.
In other words, ancient paganism makes up much of Islam and it’s a hoax. Therefore, the Islamic “republic” of Iran is based in Islam and Sharia has its entire foundation build on a hoax.
THX 1138 says
“Parents, she demanded, should have the right to impose religious values on their kids. And she was right, generally speaking. Parents should be able to take their kids to church or synagogue; kids should be allowed to wear crosses or yarmulkes. But Islam is different.”
Judaism and Christianity are not fundamentally different than Islam. All three religions are weaponized for the tyranny and brutality of theocracy. When Christianity was taken seriously by Europeans it produced the one-thousand years of the Christian Dark Ages.
The historical difference is that the Renaissance and the Age of Enlightenment broke the stranglehold that Judaism and Christianity had on the majority of Jews and Chrisitians, diluting and eroding serious, literal, and total belief in those two religions.
Islam has never been devastated, shocked, insulted, affronted and injured, put through the wringer, of a Renaissance (the rebirth of reason) and an Age of Enlightenment and left humbled and limping along by a rebirth of reason.
THX 1138 says
“I imagine a very unlikely, but still not entirely impossible, future time when the majority of people in the Muslim world, finally sick of living under the brutal yoke of sharia, have finally tossed out their Korans, torn off their hijabs and djellabas, kicked the mullahs and emirs to the curb, and actually instituted democratic government – while, at the same time, the countries of Western Europe, having come to the end of a long, insufficiently contested process of soft jihadist conquest, are Islamic republics along the lines of present-day Pakistan or Iran. It’s not a pleasant dream.”
Nah, that ain’t gona happen. If REASON finally collapses as the dominant guiding principle in the West and the West returns to another Dark Age of Religion (unreason), the Muslim world which is just beginning to take its first baby steps in reason and rationality will also collapse once again into a Dark Age of Religion (unreason).
If reason does not survive in the West it ceratainly is not going to survive in the East. If the Muslim world is taking its first baby steps towards reason and rationality it is only through the influence of the dying rational West.
THX 1138 says
“Presumably the people at Subjekt wanted a nice, civilized, and limited discussion free of unpleasant reminders of the full, dark reality of Islam.”
No different than Jews and Christians who do not want to be reminded of of the dark reality and history of Judeo-Christianity.
Point out the one-thousnad years of the Christian Dark Ages, the tyranny and brutality of all the different Christian theocracies, the burning, torture, imprisonment, and persecution of heretics and blasphemers, by Christianity, the centuries of bloody, brutal wars between different sects of Christians, the pogroms and legal persecution of Jews by Christians, and today’s Jews and Christians will shut you down or deny altogether that that dark history was in any way caused by Christianity.
Somehow Christianity like Islam is really a religion of peace. It just kept getting hijacked and corrupted for 1,800 years by a few evil men.
There is nothing virtuous or morally superior about the hijab and other restrictive clothing. It is a substitute purdah and a symbol of sexual slavery.
J. Keith Reese says
Once upon a time, America was careful about who was allowed to come here. We can argue about inflation, abortion, defund the police, which are all legitimate issues, and should be discussed. But the real ticking bomb is our open borders. If we think times are bad now, just wait till the crime and drug epidemic begins to really get rolling…..just look at France. And who is to blame? The morons in Washington!
In a free society everyone can be different. In an oppressive society, everyone must be the same. The poor woman in Tehran was beaten to death for not wearing her hajib “properly”. In parts of the formerly free Western world, people have been accosted by authorities for not warning a mask properly.
The free world is in the path of a pincer movement–organized or not–that lies between the Neo-fascists of the World Economic Forum and the Islamists.
Both need to be curtailed.
Perhaps the hajib should be banned because it is a symbol of oppression. Or perhaps not; like the nonsensical cloth masks, surgical masks and N95s, they can remain optional, if for no other reason than to see who the idiots and the opponents to freedom are.
The hijab is a signal to Muslim men that the wearer is not to be molested, that she is a Muslima and therefore the property of another man. A woman without a hijab is fair game along the lines of a horse without a brand, as we saw with the mass assaults of German women at the Cologne Christmas market a few years back. So Muslim women cover themselves and/or stay home, with the alternative being a beating or worse.
Andrew Blackadder says
muslim men demand that muslim women wear at least a covering of their hair otherwise these muslim men may get overly excited and feel the need to rape them.
Therefore muslim men are indeed admitting they are all a bunch of low life rapists that fear women.
The muslims all over Europe are taking over as they can plant a discrete suggestion that showing a certain topic on European TV talk Shows may not be a good idea…. If you know whats good for you..
Meanwhile The Islam Party in Brussels Belgium run on their political, LEGAL, Platform that their agenda is that Belgium will become an islamic Nation and that sharia will be the Law of the Land for everybody.
FYI, Brussels is the HQ for the EU.
Once Belgium goes… Fill in the blank…