Friday, April 13, 2012

She looks so stunning - Really proud of this Hijaabi

A hijabi on the red carpet

She is the wife of an Australian foot ball player- she looks a billion times better then Hollywood Celebs!

Rouba Houli shows off her faith...Marsha'Allah

Rouba Houli, the 20-year-old wife of Richmond midfielder Bachar Houli. She seemed an island of serene glamour in a sea of fake-tan and bedazzle.

She was wearing a hijab and that, in modern Australia, means she is one brave lady.

The hijab is a protective garment, a sanctuary. In Australia it can often seem the opposite - a liability for the women who choose to wear it, because it exposes them to the curious and often hostile glances of others.

Rather than disappearing into the tranquility of an interior space, an Australian woman in a veil is actually more exposed to the judgment of strangers.

That's tough. These women know that they'll be stared and sneered at, and they don't give a stuff: they've made a choice to wear their faith on their faces, and anyone who doesn't get it can just keep walking.

I've always found the veil challenging as a concept. It's one of those facets of modern Australia that really test our boundaries: I might like to think of Australia as a rich and tolerant multicultural society, but does that really mean anything beyond 'I like lamb jalfrezi?' When it comes to it, am I really tolerant?

Earlier this year I was in a Turkish seaside village, enjoying a lazy honeymoon day with my husband. I was wearing a summer dress - knee-length, high-necked and sleeveless and sandals with a big floppy hat, plus a wide silk scarf flung over my shoulders to keep the sun away.

As I walked along, a big tourist bus wheezed and fizzed to a halt and disgorged dozens of Turkish holidaymakers, all laughing and talking and crowding onto the footpath around me.

I was suddenly in a crowd - and I was the only woman not wearing a hijab and neck-to-ankle gown.

My modest summer dress suddenly felt skimpy and revealing.

I felt half-naked, highly conscious of the glances of the men and deeply annoyed.

This is the part I'm not proud of.

My instinctive reaction - even though I have spent plenty of time in Muslim countries and have never had a problem in dressing modestly to suit the environment - was to feel not friendly or curious, but rather irritated by the veiled women around me.

"Why are they making me feel exposed like this?" I fumed to myself. "Whose side are they on? Why do I suddenly feel like I'm in a bikini?"

See why I'm not proud of this? My honest reaction was deeply unpleasant. With the extraordinary presumption of an Australian abroad, I only really cared about these women to the extent that their choice of clothing reflected upon me. It's all about me.

Those Turkish women couldn't have cared less, I imagine, what I was wearing. They barely noticed me, bustling off to the souvenir shops.

Until the bus-doors opened, I'd been perfectly confident in my outfit. Now, I felt as though I'd let myself down by wearing too few clothes. And I hated it. I pulled my big scarf down around my arms and kept walking, trying to suppress the surging irritation.

A few days later, in the heat of midday Istanbul, sitting in the grounds of an old palace, I gazed at a group of women in full-length black robes. I couldn't help the irritated thought crackling through my head: "Come on, girls. Why are you wearing all that gear? Whom are you protecting? How is this helping the rest of us?"

That's not a sentiment to be proud of. It's something I - and many other western women, whether we call ourselves feminists or not - simply have to deal with.

It's about stopping the constant judgment of other women's choices.

In the past few months, I've been thinking a lot about those feelings. I interviewed another impressive Muslim-Australian woman, Arwa El Masri, for a story published this week. Arwa decided at 23 to begin wearing a veil because she likes the unequivocal signal it sends: I am a woman of faith, and I want to keep some things private and intimate.

No man ever told her to wear a veil. Despite the stares, she has never regretted her choice.

If I'm a real feminist, isn't my job to accept her version of liberation to support the choices of other women? That means letting go of the idea that a veil is a man-made confinement, and giving up on my own need to judge.

I'd like to be as serene as those women; as proud of my clothes as veiled women are of theirs. I'd like to hold my head high and be confident about what I think is right, without the fear or the defensiveness.

Veiled women feel that fear and do it anyway. That's real feminism!!!

by: Claire Harvey

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