May 24, 2009

Ignorance and Prejudice, two sides of the same coin!

That happened around three weeks ago, and it popped into my mind today as I was driving to work. I just had to rant about it before it festered and gave me emotional poison!

you know them, you know how they think 7egab is bee2a” said by my good friend of 16 years!

She’s been married for a while now, her husband is more on the religious side than her mother’s family; he had asked her not to wear swimwear where men could see her and not have her hair cut by men. He also said he’d love it if she gets veiled but he’d never really ask her to do it because it’s her decision.

She started dressing rather modestly; no more shorts or sleeveless tops to put his mind at ease. Her mom noticed how she’s been dressing up so differently and told her point black “enty mesh hatet7ageby, mayenfa3sh, ana olt mesh hatet7ageby”.

She was telling me how she wants to get veiled to please her husband and to stop her family from asking why she no longer swims when they go to the beach, but she’s dreading their reaction because they think veil is not classy!!

It actually felt a slap to my face in so many ways! Not from my friend, I know where she stands from veil; I know she respects it but just doesn’t think she’s ready to wear it. She’s one of the most tolerant people I’ve known and most of our mutual friends are veiled… hell, I am veiled and I know she proudly refers to me as her best friend.

I just resented her family twice as much as I already did. Those people have been pressuring her into a life style she was never able to keep up with because they view everything religious as “bee2a”! I am not saying they’re ill mannered or generally unethical; all I am saying is that the only way they’d positively judge a “religious” group of people would be if they were filthy rich, but in a classy way, whatever that’s supposed to mean!!

I’ve always known her mom never liked me because she first heard of me when I had gotten veiled; you see, tant lived away from my friend to make the money which she keeps bringing up whenever they quarrel, so she never had the chance to know about her school friends!

Yes, I am being judgmental because that woman had done nothing to make her daughter’s life easier except send money and then rub it in her face!! Yes, I am being judgmental of that same classy woman who kicked her own daughter more than once for the most trivial of reasons! The woman didn’t even see that my bee2a veil had never influenced her kid in anyway, that her daughter and I manage to go out together and have fun despite how different our attire is! How shallow can one be?!

And don’t get me started on her brother! I’ve stumbled on the guy so many times and he never recognized me, not that I'd stop and say hi! To him, I am invisible. Of course I didn’t make it easier for him to recognize me because my defense mechanism had picked up on his prejudice and I ignored him back twice as much.

The same guy –to whom people refer as sociable and friendly- had small talk with the x when he met him in a business presentation because the x drives an expensive car and does the “classy guy” talk (Rasha, please try to not throw up!). When he told him he was Inso’s husband, the guy sat there trying to put a face next to the name and he couldn’t until the x said “your sister's best friend”, and I bet even then he didn't remember my face. I asked my friend if her bro had actually met the x and she laughed and said “you know my bro, he’d talk to an ass wearing a brand and driving an expensive car - he is sort of the ass who wears a brand name and drives an expensive car, only he’s my brother and I love him, and of course if he was trying to land a deal with your ass of an x, he’d be even nicer!

Now, I am not judging people who do not practice religion; I am not the best practice-r by any means, I don’t even consider myself religious enough. What’s pissing me off is the ignorance and the prejudice over something that’s supposedly no one’s business! I’ve known people who live in the least “religious” ways, yet somehow have it in them to respect those who practice their faiths! I know of atheists who remind their religious friends of prayers! It’s called tolerance!

And for whatever it’s worth, I resent the idea that hegab is in anyway not classy! I mean, I believe I dress nicely, and I am very particular about how my scarves match what I wear not just color-wise, but also style-wise and fabric-wise! When H got veiled and people asked her why she did it, she said “I always thought of wearing it, but I was held back by the thought that it would be hard to dress as nicely once I get veiled, but seeing who Inso does it so easily, it made me feel silly for ever thinking that way

I won’t say that all my friends do not wear hegab, but I will sure as hell say that I have friends who do not wear it whom I love and respect for who they are, not what they choose or do not choose to wear!! We like/dislike people based on their personalities and how they treat us, it is that simple, and why do people insist on complicating it?!

And again, it is always those people; the ones who are always speaking religion, or those who are always blabbering about liberalism! AGAIN, you guys suck!

And to my dearest friend, do not wear hegab just yet; I think you should only wear it when you’re not worried about any reactions be it the happy husband or the mad mother, brother and aunt! Either way, you’re a beautiful person who makes my world a much better place and that will not change.


Abdelsalam Rashad said...

Inso..if she is totally convinced she must do it hell with anyone's else point of view.

insomniac said...

where she stands on veil is a tad baffling for her; she thinks it's the right thing to do, but she doesn't think she wants to do it just yet.... aside from her crippling fear of her family!

again, i think when one wants something enough, they do it anyway, she's just not there yet!

Sou-One-Canobee said...

I totally agree with you that your friend should not wear the hegab just yet.
She should not do it to please her husband or put his mind at ease she should do it for God's sake and when she is 110% convinced that she wants to do it.

I totally detest the idea that The hegab is bee2a or not classy I am very Pro respecting other's people religions or what they consider holly even if I do not have the same idea.
I would feel offended if they did not respect mine so I am treating them like the way I want to be treated.

I have recently been asked more than once if I am going to continue wearing the hegab after being married or take it off and never understood the concept I am not wearing it cause my family pushed me and now that I am not on their leach I would take it off.
I have worn it for God's sake and with the idea that we could die in any second and I would rather die as a mohagaba.

I totally think that God still exists after I am married, don't you think?
I like your post and sorry for the long comment.

insomniac said...

Sou :)

i think the moment people judge others based on their practice of faith, they show their own lack of confidence in their own selves! they may like who they are and even take pride in it but they are also projecting some kind of insecurity; may be they're worried about the other person judging them so they judge in advance or something!!!

i am sort of guilty of that, but i don't do it because of a persons looks; i do it when someone mistreats me, i take it that they're prejudiced of my choice to wear higab and i completely ignore them as i find faults in everything they do! i am not saying i am better, but at least i would like to think i have better reasons!!!

and yeah i get your frustration! but you see, a lot of people get veiled because it's hip and a lot get veiled to please their families, so you can see where the question is coming from! so yaaay, good for you, you know why you have it on, be proud hun :))

Anonymous said...

Well I do agree with you on many levels. I actually can't believe that there are still ppl who can't tolerate higab thinking that it's bee2a. Ok I know a lot of ppl who don't want their daughters to get veiled but that's because they don't believe in it. I can't get their idea either but at least they have an idea or a belief or whatever. But rejecting a person's choice or judging them just because they are wearing hijab even if they look classy and dress nicely.. I think this is mere shallowness. I mean definitely we do sometimes judge ppl by how they look. I know it's not right but it's the first impression thing but just making a rule out of it, to me i think is really silly. As for your friend I don't know I do respect her anyway whether she wore it or not either way it's harder for her. I mean for me it's definitely a personal choice, but she has to face a lot of things and face many obstacles. I mean it's still her mother and family she's facing here. But what I think is that she will need a lot of time to decide what she truly wants and what will make her happy, because only then she will be able to tolerate all the reactions and the consequences. But doing it only for the sake of her husband.. it's a respectable reason but I don't think will give her enough strength to fight.

jessyz said...

People fear what they do not understand. Some people just don't understand. I think that people who have class, have it regardless of what they wear. Some people still like to judge people on their appearances, that is sad for them.

insomniac said...


first of all, welcome to the blog :)

you should see how my friend is trapped and cornered to get into a pool with her brother's in-laws present so that her family wouldn't resent her husband for not being ok with it! i mean helloo, pool days are supposed to be fun, they should not be about that kind of drama, whatever happened to live and let live!! i mean she herself has her own dilemma of whether to do as he says because she "thinks it's right" even if it means giving up something she likes!!

my friend is a person worthy of respect, aside from her stance at higab back when i got veiled, she fully supported me, and she walked with me into my class back when i was too shy and insecure about how i looked in it! i wish i'd do the same for her on all levels, not necessarily the whole hegab drama!

insomniac said...


that's my point exactly, people who have class have it anyway! and to me, class is not just about looks, it's only reflected on it but one's attire still remains all about taste!

i wonder if it's classy to judge people that way!

i have walked into my share of rooms where there were classy people who would later admit that they didn't think i was "one of them" because of my veil... it remains offensive, and it doesn't make me feel better that they later regard me as one of them!

it's just like the phrase "i would have never figured you for an open minded woman" but that's another post :)

jessyz said...

My mother's family is really peculiar, we have niqabis and women in their sixties who still wear bikinis. Everyone respects everyone else s ideas and beliefs. Although they do poke fun at each other every once in a while but it's all done very lovingly and jokingly. My mom's cousin who does not believe in hijab once started telling me that it was not a fard and I said ok I'll take it off right now but you can take the wizr. She said no way, kol wa7ed we saye2at nafso.

My other point is that, you should always feel classy based on who you are not what you are or what you wear on your head. (Although I would wear a fireman hat every day if I could get away with it)

insomniac said...

you said it, key word is respect :)

as for the other point, i have gotten to that conclusion in time, but i could have used that advise when i was much younger when such attitude intimidated me... now it just makes me frustrated!

oh well!

MeMo said...

such extremist people are the majority in Egypt unfortunately, either religious or anti religious ones ,it sucks both ways .
I just keep on either shocking them by sth like HELL NO or ignoring them . I agree with Sou that your friend shouldn't wear veil for her husband content ,she might dress up modest for his content ,but a whole veil ... That's a practice for GOD.
the point is to obey god ,so if not done for god ... what's the point!!

ps. it's good to be here again Inso :)

insomniac said...

hey MeMo,

good to have you back :)

i don't usually care for such people enough to shock them and i believe ignoring them burns more ;) sadly, underneath my indifference lies frustration; no one likes being judged!

Deeeeeee said...

The ugly truth: I did not grow up in a family that supports the belief of hijab being bee2a! But honestly I think it is. I truly believe that hijab is one of the reasons I don't look as good as I would like to (within my physical capabilities). I stand in front of the mirror almost every day and think of how it affects the way I look negatively. However, when was hijab about looks or class or any of that? I wear it with pride, even though you know how I am affected by how I look. I will continue to wear it isA till I die because the reason why I have it on in the first place is not how it makes me look. And yes. I'd rather feel like I'm one step closer to God (even though I think my hijab really needs rectification), than feel prettier.

One a different note, we are in a hypocritical society with too many standards (not just your average double standards), and don't get me started on superficiality and there is very little that can be done with about it.

I think your friend needs to find a good reason to wear it (something better than her husband thinking she should, especially that never asked) or better reason not to wear it (something better than her mom not thinking it is classy), and then decide. I also think that people close to her should respect her decision whatever it may be.

Oh and btw, my mother and I got veiled in the same year!

insomniac said...

ok, let me ask you this... did your family think hegab looks bee2a or did they think is bee2a...

you see, i understand how higab would make dressing "cooler" hard in a way... but it does not mean you're of a less privileged social standard... ok, the analogy my friend's family once mentioned is too racist as far as social classes go, but it kinda explicitly states that heigab is for "rural people" and it has nothing to do with being civil, a "bee2a" tradition!

the reason i linked it to how i dress is that they somehow relate one's class to the brand they wear!

anyways, it's just that i know enough about your family to be certain they're not that judgmental and that they are open minded enough to accept your decision even if they didn't completely support it!

we kaman i don't think your family's stance is against the idea of being religious or that they relate religion to lack of class!!

that being said, i relate to the nargess part of you, so i'll just shut up now ;)

Deeeeeee said...

Neither! My family doesn't think it is. It is only me who thinks that way!

Anonymous said...

THIS is actually a first..!
i thought people in Egypt thought the other way around..
i.e the safirat(non mohagaba) is bee2a, not that i agree with that.
as a matter of fact i personally see allot of class in some mohagabat.. and I'm sure you are one to command such respect.

but what can you do?!
new easy money in some circle have turned the table.
don't pay attention to those extremest.
best regards as always

insomniac said...


and i think we settled that on chat, you think hegab sometimes forces you to dress bee2a, but hegab is not for bee2a ppl and mo7agabat are not necessarily bee2a (this is sounding so shallow as i type it)

and i disagree, but in the most friendly way possible because i love you :))))

and i do agree that maillot shar3y is just....


actually it is there in all ways, that kind of prejudice!

don't worry about me paying attention, my defense mechanism is tatneesh or at least pretense of that until i am distracted by something else :)))

thanks :)