Many Muslim women face prejudices. Whether it is about their clothing or their role as a woman within Islam, it is something that happens quite often. As a Muslim myself I experience it myself too. An example of prejudice that often recurs is the idea of the forced wearing the Hijab, khimar and niqab. It is said that Muslim women are forced to wear a hijab because of their religion.
In 2019 the niqab was banned in the Netherlands. According to Amnesty International, the reason behind this ban is because the niqab is considered to be misogynistic and contradictory towards women and human rights. France and Belgium were the front runners of this ban, the ban was already established in the countries in 2011. Belgium went one step further and also prohibits hijabs in schools and workplaces. The law gives schools and employers the right to refuse women with a hijab. Schools are even allowed to ban headscarves. Wassima El, a Moroccan born in Belgium, has been struggling for years to get a job in Belgium because of her hijab ‘’A lot of work placements refuse to hire women with a headscarf, I have been looking for a job for over a year now. I know it is because of my hijab because I have been asked to take it off during a job interview” Many Muslims consider this as discrimination against their religion. Freedom of religion is an important constitution that is carried out in both The Netherlands and Belgium, however, the hijab ban is very contradictory to the constitution. Hijab is considered part of someone’s identity, by banning it, you are oppressing women to distance themselves from their religion. This is one of the many issues Muslim women face. But are these prejudices and problems based on facts or is it stereotyping?
There are many organizations that try to counter these issues and prejudices. MVVN is one of these organizations, MVVN, is an anti-racism and feminism group of Muslim women who fight against prejudices and the exclusion of Muslim women. Samira ben Ahmed was member of the MVVN in the Netherlands for almost 10 years. I interviewed her about her experience as a feminist and a member of the MVVN.