London, UK, August 4 – Zaki Badawi, head of the Muslim College in London and Chairman of the Council of Mosques and Imams, has advised Muslim women who fear being attacked to abandon the Hijab so as not to be identified by those hostile to Muslims. The advice was issued in response to the recent rise in hate crimes against Muslims following the 7th July bombing. He commented, "The dress is meant to protect from harm, not to invite it".
Many Muslim women across the UK have faced a backlash of verbal and physical abuse as well as general discrimination due to an increasing atmosphere of Islamophobia. This has been fuelled by irresponsible, inflammatory, anti-Islamic statements by various politicians, journalists and commentators. These have sought to shift the spotlight of blame for the bombings away from the individuals involved and upon Islam and the "failings" of the Muslim community as a whole.
Dr. Nazreen Nawaz, the Women's Media Representative of Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain, commented, "The advice of Zaki Badawi is not acceptable – Muslim women do not wear the Hijab to protect themselves from harm but to fulfil an Islamic obligation. This cannot be discarded due to societal pressures. Dr. Badawi should understand that unlike the human rights policies of the Western governments, the Islamic values are not open to flexible application dependent upon changing realities."
"Rather than calling on Muslim women to abandon their Islamic dress, we should be demanding more action to prevent these hate crimes that have been incited by anti-Muslim hysteria whipped up by politicians and the media. Western governments must stop radicalising their people against Islam and Muslims."
Notes to the Editors:
Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain is the UK branch of Hizb ut-Tahrir, a global independent political party whose ideology is Islam. The global leader of Hizb ut-Tahrir, Ata Abu Rushta, is in the Muslim world. The party works throughout the Islamic world to resume the Islamic way of life by re-establishing the Islamic Khilafah [Caliphate].