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Twerking in a Hijab, When Faith and Culture Clash

A video showing a hijabi twerking has gone viral. We explore the case in further detail.

8th Mar 2017

Image Credit: Noor Tagouri/Facebook

In an article shared by Maajid Nawaaz, the revelation that a young Muslim girl from Birmingham is receiving threats after an online video went viral is a tarnish on, and a shame to, the majority of the Muslim community.

‘F*****g s**t someone give me her address I will kill her’

‘Stupid b****h needs to be killed’

Hateful and misogynistic comments such as those above on the original video are objectively unacceptable in any situation. We see a huge degree of hypocrisy here, as so-called religious individuals attempt to take the moral high road through intolerant and hateful actions. I wish the same people would preach so vigorously against those who really tarnish the religion.

Religiously - and I write this from an individual perspective as a devout Muslim - can we condone the actions of the girl from a theological perspective? Simply no, but two things arise from this - firstly, who are we as a community to judge an individual, instead of leaving it to God? Secondly, it seems that the Islamic - and general Abrahamic - values of tolerance and forgiveness are being looked over by a small section of the Muslim community.

Yes, the idea of the Hijab is modesty - and the symbolic and practical idea of dressing modestly is intended to translate into similar actions in everyday life. Clearly, this was not demonstrated, and in Islam we have the policy of Amr bil Maroof & Nahi Anil Munkar - encouraging good and forbidding evil. This does not, however, translate into any sort of direct action against individuals - let’s note, the threats came from individuals who likely had nothing to do with her - but civil discussion.

Since then, she has been interviewed on YouTube and apologised for her actions. This remorse and repentance should be seen as a positive, and a reminder that even the most spiritual of us can occasionally be led astray. This is compounded with the peer pressure at the young adult stage - the pressure to fit into cultural norms. Religious principles are more difficult to practice in a secular society - by no fault of our own, it's simply much easier to inadvertently fall into sin.

Did she need to apologise? As said previously, there’s something to be said about people judging others instead of leaving it to Higher Powers, but at the same time, it affects the reputation of all those who choose to wear the hijab, and carry the connotations and duty that inevitably goes with it. Instead of being seen as a sign of modesty, public actions such as this can go a long way to blemish the true meaning of the hijab - when you put on the Hijab, it's almost a contract of modesty with God. However, it's already difficult for those brave enough to wear the covering, without the risk of public scrutiny for their behaviour. It's wrong to judge without context, and even if we do, constructive advice is the best course of action in any case.

This widely ties into the idea of ‘the veil of ignorance’ - not the Rawlsian concept, but the idea that the troll behind the screen is protected by anonymity. Would these individuals say similar things in person? I suspect not.

Is this young lady in the wrong? You be the judge:

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