Saturday, July 5, 2008

Dhimmi Style: Fashion Students Design 'Fun and Fashionable' Abayas

In Richmond, VA, fashion design students at Virginia Commonwealth University have completed a course project requiring them to design Islamic 'abayas', the shapeless, black, tent-like covering worn by women in some Muslim countries.

Why? The school has a campus in Qatar, and hoped for "perhaps a better understanding of cultural norms in the Arabian Gulf nation..."

The Dearborn, Michigan-based Arab American News covered the story.
Abayas are the traditional overgarment in the Gulf nations of Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates and Oman. They also are worn in Iraq and some other Arab nations. Women and girls wear the black abaya, a lightweight crepe garment that includes a head covering called a shayla, in the presence of men and boys who are not immediate family members.
However, in Saudi Arabia, which follows strict Islamic codes, officials warn that women should not wear unapproved abayas — including those with ornamentation. (Emphasis added - Ed)

Kim Guthrie, the course's instructor, wanted to show her students that "Just because the women wear this doesn't mean they're oppressed."

Really? Not oppressed? Huh. Then what's up with this story about a young professional woman - who was wearing the mandatory sackcloth, by the way - being arrested in Saudi Arabia? Oh, that's wasn't her outfit, it was her Starbucks...
A 37-year-old American businesswoman and married mother of three is seeking justice after she was thrown in jail by Saudi Arabia's religious police for sitting with a male colleague at a Starbucks coffee shop in Riyadh.
Doesn't the mere existence of something called the 'religious police' send shivers down your spine? If it doesn't, check your pulse, children. Saudi Arabia’s Mutaween (religious police) has nearly 500 offices and 10,000 members.
She was interrogated, strip-searched and forced to sign and fingerprint a series of confessions pleading guilty to her “crime”.

“They took me into a filthy bathroom, full of water and dirt. They made me take off my clothes and squat and they threw my clothes in this slush and made me put them back on,” she said. Eventually she was taken before a judge.

“He said 'You are sinful and you are going to burn in hell'. I told him I was sorry. I was very submissive. I had given up. I felt hopeless,” she said.
Nothing says 'we respect women' like arrest and a strip-search for sitting in the wrong chair.

Another example of how 'not oppressed' the women of Islam are.... a young woman in Tehran is arrested for violating Islamic dress codes. What...she showed a toe? Oh, and notice please the attire of the men (and I use that term loosely) in this video.

According to the law in Iran, a woman who does not cover her hair and body in public can be fined or imprisoned for up to two months. Now that's what I call freedom!

Don't get me wrong...I support a woman's right to wear this mode of dress if she chooses to. It's the notion that it is required by law and punishable by a prison sentence that have me questioning the 'not oppressed' claims of a hippy-dippy fashionista and the relevance of forcing Sharia into American fashion design.

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