Posted on 11/11/11 by France 24 is a news story that delves into two different aspects in regards to the veil. Aliaa El Mahdy, an Egyptian college student, launched the facebook page “Resounding Cries” in which she asks Muslim men to upload a picture of themselves wearing the veil so that they may “see how this feels!” She says that it is not her personal choice to wear the veil, but she does so because of “social and religious pressure” and to “avoid being hassled in the street.” Her statements and pleas that men upload these photos to understand what women are feeling, even for but a moment, seems irrational, inaccurate, but also thought-provoking. She approaches the veil from a standpoint that is very far from Muslim religion. She seems to be in the mind frame that all women are only wearing the veil because of social pressures, but that is clearly not the case. For example, we have discussed the back-and-forth struggle French Muslims have faced, choosing between their duty to wear the veil and the French-created laws banning it. Hearing Aliaa’s argument from the opposite side, to me, is fascinating to read.
She has, of course, experienced enormous backlash from others within her Muslim community. This article quotes one Islamist writer, Mohamed Refaat Elymany, stating, “I condemn the wearing of the veil by men, even if it’s supposed to be humorous, because imitating women is strictly forbidden by our religion. Wearing the veil is a religious obligation.” He does, however, recognize the social pressures of women to wear the veil, but states that this pressure is not the sole reason that women wear it.