Hijab and Children: Australia’s Bullied Six Year Old Shows How Children Are Subject to Religious Indoctrination
Last week in Australia, a six year old girl was temporarily suspended from her school bus service after reacting angrily against a little boy who was bullying her about her headscarf.
Aside from the bullying issue and whether the punishment was fair, the issue I’d like to raise is whether it’s appropriate for a six year old to be wearing a scarf in the first place.
To begin with, a hijab is not dictated in Islam. Rather, it’s a custom that arose out of culture and is wrongly associated with the faith. The hijab is meant to guard a woman’s modesty and veil her beauty, which is to be exposed only to her husband and family. There is an undeniable sexual undertone with the hijab, an invocation of desire within men when they see a woman’s full beauty complete with her hair.
The purpose of a hijab clearly doesn’t apply to a six year old since six year olds aren’t developed sexually and shouldn’t invoke desire. Nor are they mentally prepared to understand the complexities of adulthood. They are just children and to put these conditions on them robs them of their youth and innocence.
But many would disagree with me here. There are people who defend a child wearing the hijab by likening it to a purse or a dress a child may choose to wear. To that I say that one is an accessory where the other is falsely seen as a religious mandate.
There are those that say children may choose to copy their hijab-clad mothers, sisters, or aunts. To that I say a child is naturally going to mimic its environment. And to first associate culture with religion, and then to impress that belief onto a child, is no different than a type of brainwashing.
It’s unfortunate to see children being made to belief they need to cover up or that part of them needs to be ‘hidden’. It’s even worse to teach them to belief that God demands it.