Can a Christian woman wear a hijab

The headscarfSymbol of dignity or oppression?

"We can't do anything. I can talk to the children, but the children have no way of doing what their parents or the community or relatives say. The children have no chance."

Coercion, Confession or Spiritual Gesture?

For the teacher at a secondary school, dealing with her pupils wearing headscarves and their surroundings is part of everyday life. She hoped that the conference would provide assistance in dealing with this issue, for example with the question of the extent to which the headscarf belongs to Islam at all or whether it is rather an expression of a political interpretation of this religion. But that is exactly why opinions differ within the diverse Muslim community. And so it is a first achievement of the Frankfurt Conference to have brought people into a room and to a discussion who normally do not or only reluctantly talk to one another. For example, the journalist Khola Maryam Hübsch, member of the Ahmadiyya community and responsible for media work and interreligious dialogue there. She vehemently defended her right to wear headgear as an expression of her feminist self-image and Muslim clothing as a whole as a way of evading what she believed to be the overly body-oriented view of women in the Western world. In contrast, for the journalist and author Alice Schwarzer, the headscarf is:

"Since 1979, since Khomeni came to power in Iran, who introduced the compulsory headscarf, and many countries have followed suit, it has been a political signal."

Schwarzer regretted the great indulgence shown to Islamic functionaries in recent years. They falsely claimed to speak for all Muslims when they called for the right to wear the veil, for example in civil service. But experience in Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia or in the countries of the Middle East shows that where Islam became the state religion - at least in the last four decades - the headscarf law would immediately become a compulsory headscarf and its non-compliance punished with draconian measures. This was recently shown by the example of the Iranian human rights activist and lawyer Nasrin Sotudeh, who defended women in the fight against the headscarf and was therefore sentenced in March 2019 to an unbelievable 33 years in prison and 148 lashes.

In many Islamic countries headscarves are compulsory

The subject of the headscarf is also assessed differently at the German university institutes for Islamic theology. Dr. Dina El Omari is a Koran researcher at the University of Münster. She differentiates between the literalistic, verbatim interpretation of the suras, as practiced by fundamentalists and conservatives, and a historical-critical view of the Koran, as it is increasingly being practiced in academic circles around the world. For wearing the headscarf this means:

"The Koran passages themselves do not give a command, they give a recommendation in certain situations, one would locate this historically, one would think it further and ask oneself what is the purpose of the text?"

For example, sura 33:59 recommends that Islamic women put on cloths in order to distinguish themselves from unprotected and unveiled slaves and thus ward off male attacks. That was thought out of a concrete, historical situation in the 7th century and is no longer relevant today. This historical-critical interpretation, as it is given to future Islam teachers in Münster, urgently needs to be reflected in community work, says Dina El Omari:

"Within Islam, the task is to create spaces where women can reflect, look at each other, what kinds of readings are there, there is not just this one, there are other readings, and it has to work in religious education, man you have to deal openly with the topic and you have to get away from this compulsion, so you have to get away from conveying to women, you are only completely in your religious identity when you wear a headscarf. "

Because it is only in this freedom - says the scientist wearing a headscarf - how enriching the headscarf can be:

"There is another interpretation of the headscarf, namely a spiritual interpretation. Just as we know it in Christianity and Judaism, that is, a kind of humility before God. That clearly implies voluntariness."

The headscarf as a political statement

The University of Freiburg goes even further with the critical examination of concealment. Abdel-Hakim Ourghi, a representative of liberal Islam, teaches there and is therefore a red rag for ideologues.

"I am rather very skeptical that the women who wear the headscarf are doing it voluntarily."

There are women who wear the headscarf in order to have their peace of mind from the controlling glances and behavior of their fellow believers. And then there is the example of the converts:

"Everyone says we wear the headscarf voluntarily, that is our own decision. That is true. Nobody doubts it. But these converts do some things unconsciously. They know very well: without a headscarf they are not taken seriously, they will also be in the new community not taken seriously and they are so forced to wear a headscarf. "

Headscarf - symbol of differentiation and visualization

For Abdel-Hakim Ourghi, the headscarf is not only clearly a historical product of male rule. It should also make distinguishable:

"It's about the preservation of the Islamic identity in the West, and one of these symbols is the headscarf, ultimately as a political statement to differentiate yourself from the others. There is a dialectic between: the invisible becomes visible. I am invisible, because I don't wear a headscarf. But because I wear a headscarf, I am there, I force myself, I am perceived. "

In order to counteract this point of view, Ourghi at the Freiburg institute formulated the motto "Enlighten instead of veiling". He advocates a humanistic interpretation of the Koran without authoritarian Imans already starting to indoctrinate children in the Koran schools. That is also the subject of Necla Kelek. For the sociologist, wearing the headscarf for girls under the age of 18 is not a question of religious freedom, but a violation of human rights, which must be prohibited by law. She deplores the pressure on young children, which has grown considerably in Germany in recent years, to submit to Islamic rules, and calls for a general ban on headscarves in schools.

"For me, the school is the place where our society has to give children and young people in particular the space to get to know a life of self-determination and to occupy it positively. So for me the headscarf has nothing to do with either teachers or students . Not even when Muslim women tell us that they voluntarily covered themselves. "