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Eid: A Day of Remembrance, Hijab and Niqab

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“You will find that the closest to the faithful (Muslim) are those who say: “we are Christians”. This is because among them are those devoted to learning, and those who renounce worldliness, and are not arrogant.”
-Holy Qur’an, 5:82

“Our world is already dangerously polarized and we do not need another divisive ideology. The history of fundamentalism shows that when these movements are attacked, they nearly always become more extreme.”
-Karen Armstrong, The Case for God (2009)

Eid (Eed) means recurring happiness of festivity and that was what happened last Sunday (August 19) and (August 20) when the Muslims all over the nation and the rest of Asia and the Islamic world end the fasting of the Holy Month of Ramadan. The Eid prayer is very important for all Muslims. It has the merits of daily prayers, the effects of the weekly convention of Friday congregation and the characteristics of the annual reunions between Muslims.

The Eidil Fitr just took place last Sunday was a “Day of Remembrance”. Even in their (the Muslims) joyful times the Muslims make a fresh start of the day by plural session of worship to God.

To my Muslim brothers and sisters let us begin with a new day of hope and rejoice that we have Islam, a gift of God.

For decades, those who were born here in Zamboanga, even our forebears and parents had live with our Christian Zamboanguenos in peace and harmony, until lately, we (the Muslim native Zamboanguenos) never felt any discrimination nor hostility from our Christian neighbours and friends. In fact, many of us have more Christian friends than our own fellow Muslims.

For the record, I am not against the wearing of this outfit (niqab). However, the wearer should not upset the community of Zamboanga.

Lately, with this new trend of fashion worn by some quarters from among the females have produced from a reaction of aloofness, to alarm and lately to alertness due to the controversial banning of “hijab” at Pilar College and the “Niqab wearing” at the Universidad de Zamboanga.

A few years ago when these wearers were few walking around town, people did not mind their presence, but lately because they have increased in numbers, the reaction from the community (both Muslims and Christians) from aloofness to outright alarm and alertness. This is not a healthy reaction. This is bad for the for the good relations that we have built all these years have gone to suspicion and sour relationship. This is bad for all of us in Zamboanga. The wearers of these “niqab” we learned, had become aggressive, hence, the reaction of these educational institutions were to preserve not only the integrity but security of those within the school premises. The question, had risen: “who is inside this outfit? Nobody knows, except, the wearers”.

Zamboanga City has a Christian majority population, we should not upset the good relation that the native Muslims had with them for years brought about by this new “culture” that is being perceived as dividing our people to “us” and ”them”.

We ask our visitors to our city who come with a new culture “not to impose too much on us”. This we ask in the name of Islam.

From the interview i had with Muslim professionals and the religious group with regard to “niqab” wearing. Out of ten (10) professionals, 9 favors the wearing of Hijab (head veil) and out of ten (10) professionals, nine (9) do not favour the wearing of “niqab” (face veil).

However, the religious group were ambivalent in their responses. There was no unanimity among them (religious group).

Col. Halim, of the International Monitoring Team who is from Malaysia told this writer during the Iftar of the Mayor that in his country, “niqab” is banned. Anyone wearing this attire is not allowed to walk around the city or any part of the country.

Our city of Zamboanga is a multi-cultural city, let us preserve our unity as a people, and enjoy our hospitality. Welcome to Zamboanga, home of the oldest Mosque in the Region!

PROF. ALI T.YACUB, AL-HJ




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