Of course, we have examples of “honor killings,” such as those of Amina and Sarah Said, murdered for, among other things, not wearing the hijab, and many other killings of Muslim girls for being “too Westernized,” which includes, of course, not wearing the hijab. And Mogahed’s phrase about wearing a hijab “if a family member requires it” is deliberately too strong, for a family member may have strongly advised it, may have applied great pressure on a girl to wear it, but not literally “required” it. These are different things.
Furthermore, girls need not have been forced to wear a hijab only by a family member; there are other possibilities — the immense pressure of a close-knit Muslim community, of neighbors, friends, clerics — that can explain why a girl might wear a hijab “out of piety.” Does that pressure, if no family member is involved, not matter? And if such widespread pressure should be taken into account, can we still pretend that a girl’s wearing of the hijab is a matter of free choice?
Rather than pity, Muslim American women need respect even when their choices don’t conform to the dominant culture’s idea of what liberation is supposed to look like.
Does Dalia Mogahed respect those 60 percent of Muslim American women who do not wear the hijab? Why do I suspect she doesn’t, but considers them sellouts “to the dominant culture”? And why do Muslim American women “need respect” from Infidels if they have made the islamically correct decision to wear the hijab? Why should they care what Infidels — “the most vile of creatures” (Qur’an 98.6) — think of Muslims, who are the “best of peoples” (3.110)? Dalia Mogahed surely knows those verses. Doesn’t she believe them? Isn’t she a good Muslim?