She opened the article with four main points. One of these is that there are western Muslims averse to standard Western values, and that there is a new cultural landscape to be attacked by the Islamist culture – the culture in fashion and beauty.
“In 2016, the élite fashion label Dolce and Gabbana launched an ‘Abaya and Hijab Collection.’ Months later, at New York Fashion Week, a sartorial Mecca, hosted the first catwalk spotlighting models fully donned in hijabs,” Qudosi reports.
There have been advertising campaigns meant to be more appealing and friendly to the consumer. So even though the face has shifted in content, the underlying message and purpose remain the same.
Melanie Elturk, CEO of Haute Hijab, said, “…Fashion is one of the outlets in which we can start that cultural shift in today’s society to normalize the hijab in America.”
According to Qudosi, the Islamist beauty industry has “two faces of Islamist thought, one which underscores the myth of peace while privately exiling dissenting voices as ignorant, racist or bigoted.”
With the defeat of Hillary Clinton and the win of Donald Trump for the American presidency, some saw this as a possible resolute victory against Radical Islam.
There was now a transition into the area of culture for possible influence with Islamist ideological stances on fashion, as noted. Fashion and beauty are the linchpins in the domain of culture. Some of the campaigns by CoverGirl, for instance, have been used to portray “diversity.”
Qudosi said, “Later in the year, CoverGirl, a popular affordable makeup line, announced Muslim beauty blogger Nura Afia as its newest ‘brand ambassador.’ A 23-year-old wife and mother, Afia hosts a YouTube channel, with over 200,000 subscribers, for hijab and makeup tutorials.”
Many believe that there appears to be an attempt to homogenise the American values through a “funnel of multiculturalism.” With this attempt to shift the cultural conversation and values in America towards something appearing as, but not being, multiculturalism, the author argues that the mantra of Islamist groups is that they have lost their political ground.
Now, the battleground has been shifted to culture. There appears to be an assumption that if a woman, a Muslim woman, wears an Islamic garment, then non-Muslim men will recognise this and not harass the Muslim women: “…if Muslim women don an outer garment (jil-bab), non-Muslim men will recognise them as such and not harass them,” Qudosi said
“A handful of Islamic scholars believe the practice of hijab grew out of exclusionary practices designed to draw a distinction between “believing” women (Muslims) and “non-believing” women (non-Muslims).” Qudosi argued.
“Beautiful Nura Afia in an advertising campaign is a far more appealing and consumer-friendly alternative to CAIR’s Nihad Awad,” Qudosi said, “or the political complexities of the Muslim Brotherhood. The face has changed but the message has not.”
Qudosi states that “Islamic culture embraces piety through” the covering of the female body, the Muslim woman’s body, which removes non-Muslim women of their dignity by viewing their bodies as mere property.
“The origin of the hijab tradition in Islam likely pre-dates the Quran, and comes from early Islamic society,” Qudosi said.
It has been argued that the mandatory wearing of the hijab for women does have merit with regards to the Quranic verses, but the “larger point”, according to Qudosi, is that at the same time “slavery was a standard practice. It thrived culturally through acts of social and religious demarcations, such as the hijab, which became to many Muslims a sign of class supremacy, whereas women who were not veiled have been, and continue to be, harassed and attacked.”
This appears to be from earlier slave-owning cultures in Arabia that had the “law of the veil.” So “social and religious demarcations” could be made with such symbols on women as the Hijab. In that, the sign of class supremacy was a Hijab in older times.
That is, the Muslim women would wear it based on the class supremacy and would not be harassed by non-Muslim men.
“It is then a fantastic stretch of the imagination when brands such as CoverGirl try to have consumers associate ‘equality’ and ‘diversity’ with hijabs and make-up. It also does not mirror the ‘Islam of peace’ that many Muslims try to emphasise,” Qudosi said.
Although, the current fashionable opinion is that the wearing of the Hijab is both chic and barrier breaking, it has been used “historically” as a barrier in life.
The concern of the author, one of many, is that “if you are not covered, you are not respectable and therefore not acceptable.”
Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. Jacobsen works for science and human rights, especially women’s and children’s rights. He considers the modern scientific and technological world the foundation for the provision of the basics of human life throughout the world and advancement of human rights as the universal movement among peoples everywhere.