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HAIR RISING Threat to Veil Maldivan Women By Ruk

April 6, 2010

“A woman in a taxi in Male’ heard the taxi driver say over the phone: acid should be thrown on the face of women who do not wear burgha”. I read this quote in Maldives Dissent, a blog site and all my hair was rising for this quote speaks itself on the current thinking and the way Maldives is heading.

I wondered why all the fuss goes on about hair. Scientifically speaking hair on the surface of the body and head are dead tissue. It has no nerves or blood supply but functions to help the body adjust to cold and heat. This dead tissue which indeed adds beauty to a woman’s form is unlikely to be the primary conviction to ones faith. Godly beliefs should have a stronger base than a fine frond on the skin. The strength of faith should come from the heart and mind. And indeed these are organs live and ticking to keep one’s soul alive. So logically it makes more sense to link spirituality to ones soul and not to the external appearance of women.

Hair however is in focus in today’s Maldives. More so in religious politics than for female fashion. It has become a contentious issue cleverly used to shadow the pressing problems facing the society. Instead of catching the number of pedophiles roaming loose fear messages directs women to cover their hair. Instead of containing the number of knifing events in the streets banners spreading fear of hell hangs round the country. My hair rises up when I read of these problems reported in Maldives cyber media. It brings to mind of the days when Maldivians were less bothered about seeing hair and living more peacefully as a crime free country. Yes those were yesterdays, days gone by and let us face now!

Now we have a Ministry of Islamic Affairs instead of a Gender Ministry that had a mission of dealing with issues of women and children in the country. The change of ministries indicates the shift of policy importance to the government. This thought is scary particularly seeing a government that took charge on a ticket of enforcing free and fair society. And two years into the governing the view on the streets is far from free and fair with misogyny propagated in the name of Islam. President Nasheed although recently has accepted this worsening situation considers the current propagation of extreme views as freedom and a religious ideology.

For me an average Maldivian woman, it is not freedom when I cannot walk in the streets without having to hear a threat of going to hell if I have my hair uncovered.  Nor is it religious saying constantly I should not vaccinate my child, should not send my female child to school and should get her married as soon as she reaches menarche which likely happens around 12-13years and that a woman’s job is to bear children and stay inside the house. These are issues at the tip of the finolhu floating in the sea of a sinking land more by a threat of Islamic ideology than by global warming. All of this raises my hair and indeed like styling hair from a salon it is time to cut and trim the threat messages on Maldivian females.

14 Comments leave one →
  1. April 6, 2010 10:49 am

    Does the practice have the same meaning when situated in contexts of different cultural ideologies, different societies, different times? The issue becomes, then, not whether it was a passing custom or whether we can consider veiling an institution or not, but rather what is the meaning of the veil in the various historical and cultural contexts and what does the phenomenon reveal about the culture within which it is embedded at any time in history.

    In the context of women’s rights then, the question becomes, what do these various veils have to say about women and their state of equality or inequality in society?


  2. April 6, 2010 3:33 pm

    Cut and trim, huh?. I like the cut of your jibe.

    I personally prefer razor wire over scissors, though. Personal preference.

  3. Aisha R permalink
    April 6, 2010 4:54 pm

    Good point. My hair is quite ugly, nothing that would attract anything but funny looks 🙂

  4. April 7, 2010 10:45 am

    very nice blog. I really like.

    keep it up


  5. April 7, 2010 4:54 pm


  6. j. kactuz permalink
    April 11, 2010 7:06 pm

    Good post but you have no idea of how or why these things happen. You refuse to look at the ideology that motivates these actions. The issue is human rights and tolerance, but these are foreign to a society that adopts islam. And don’t pretend this has nothing to do with your religion, because oppression and violence are the heart of soul of your dear prophet’s message. Read Quran 9:111 if you have doubts.

    Let me put it in another way: why should anybody be concerned about the oppression of women in a society that has stripped all non-Muslims of citizenship rights. It is just one more step in a path to self-destruction and misery.

    Maldivians and Muslims will suffer, but that is fair. They must live with the consequences of their choices. They refuse to think and be honest, so this is their fate. Too bad, because it was a beautiful place.

  7. Mumin permalink
    April 12, 2010 2:11 pm

    The tradition of women as second rated citizen and child molestation is not just a maldivian phenomena, neither is it an islamic one. It is universally spread in an effort to boost the male ego. At least these stories are coming out now and people are openly talking about it…hopefully thats a start of some changes..

  8. April 13, 2010 3:16 am

    Ruk, the problem is that the Maldives currently has a government that was elected on just a promise of making the islands democratic. It had absolutely no idea or policies on how to do that. Understandably that government has not delivered on the promise and does not seem to have the will to do so. When there is the situation where democratic freedoms are enjoyed only by those who have a commitment to abolish democracy and replace it with a theocracy, then it is a theocracy that will be established. There is absolutely no one in the Maldives who is prepared to halt the islands’ rapidly accelerating regress down that slippery slope. If a woman’s job is to bear children and stay at home peacefully then that will be a small mercy. When the situation worsens, as it invariably will, a woman won’t be able to have that sort of peace. Her indoctrinated, one-track-minded husband would want to follow what he has been taught to the letter. He would come charging into the house, having seen a rare female on the street albeit weighed down under a ton of cloth, and would want to have intercourse with one of his poor wives or concubines on the spot. She may be tanning a leather at that time but she’ll be doing something else as soon as the man comes charging in like a dromedary on heat. The only thing she’d feel would be pain as she would be genitally mutilated as a child. Brace yourselves, ladies.

  9. Saif permalink
    April 14, 2010 3:05 am

    tsk tsk….doesnt these idiots know what the islamic ministry says are for muslims to follow.

    Problem is that the country is still labeled as a 100% muslim country, while we all know that we have the likes of you all amongst us. So sad.


  1. HAIR RISING Threat to Veil Maldivan Women – By Ruk | Hilath Online
  2. Global Voices Online » Maldives: The Issue Of Veil In Focus
  3. Maldives: The Issue Of Veil In Focus | Free 4 all, remix, mix, news, tech
  4. Maldives: Against religious extremism « Bhumika's South Asia
  5. #blogs 06 April 2010 ::: Some links with your coffee?

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