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A Saudi born teenager living in Austria has come up with an Emoji for the millions of the Hijabis like her, around the world.

The girl named, Alhumedhi’s started her campaign last year when she couldn’t find her representation in the Emojis. According to the girl, the absence of representation of millions of hijabi women like her was baffling. It was her representation, which she wanted in the Emojis just like many of her European friends have.

However, the action of a young Saudi-Austrian girl points towards a bigger problem prevailing in modern Europe. The girl’s action seems to be the product of the organized hijab ban movement initiated by European Countries.

The same hijab, which has been dominating the dress code for women for thousand of years in the Muslim world is now creating differences within Europe between the liberals and conservatives.

Hijab has been central in the debate about personal freedom, human rights and liberty in Europe and the Middle East, but with astoundingly exact opposite notions attached to it in these two societies.

Where Hijab Ban is posing an identity crisis for thousands of Muslim women in Europe, who are dealing with what they call the crucification of the personal emancipation of how to dress.

The same hijab, which has been dominating the dress code for women for thousand of years in the Muslim world is now creating differences within Europe between the liberals and conservatives.

Read more: The funny brown guys promoting multiculturalism in America

Europe and the Hijab Ban

Initiated first in France in 2011, the recent events in Germany has given a clear indication that the strife of European Cultural Imperialism against Muslim women headscarves is not settling soon. This tug of war between the two cultures is taking a serious momentum than ever before.

The timeline suggests that the ban emerging from the mere perceptions was converted into a well-organized movement by the European governments.

The dilemma once again came to the forefront when a Syrian Muslim woman was preconditioned by a German Judge to remove her headscarf while appearing in court to file a divorce case against her husband. The lady was also warned that a failure to do so would have legal repercussions.

In 2011, the French Prime Minister, Francois Fillon banned Muslims women from wearing the niqab or face-veils in any public place. In 2014, European Court of Human Rights declared the French government ban on Burqa as legitimate and labeled it as the act of preserving the idea of “living together”. In 2015, Dutch cabinet approved ban on partial face-veils in public transport and in public areas. In 2016, UK Prime Minister allowed for a sensible ban on Face-veils. In the same year, it was once again France, which imposed a ban on burkini- a swimwear designed for the Muslim Women. Germany’s Angela Markel too in the same year endorsed a partial ban on burqa and niqab. This year, it is Austria which has joined in the pursuit of a ban on hijab.

The dilemma once again came to the forefront when a Syrian Muslim woman was preconditioned by a German Judge to remove her headscarf while appearing in court to file a divorce case against her husband. The lady was also warned that a failure to do so would have legal repercussions.

The European Court of Human Justice too upheld the Belgium’s decision of partial hijab ban, remarking that, the ban is not against the religious freedom in personal sphere and thus not discriminatory in nature. Moreover, the Court in the same case approved Belgium Government’s reserved rights to take action against anything that is the symbol of terror or creates an obstruction for the people of society interacting freely.

Is Hijab really a threat?

Hijab, or face veils as interpreted in the lights of Western Culture, creates an obstruction towards secularization and the western society’s norm of “living together”. Secondly hiding of identity is also stereotypically linked with terrorism and subsequently a threat to national security.

However, even if accepted for once, Europe’s particular stance on hijab ban as a mechanism to wither off public anxiety, confusion, and fear from the future terror attacks, it is also noteworthy that, terror attacks were less recurrent before the hijab ban campaign started in 2011. Hijab ban, however, is just one facet of the much more complex cultural contradictions. There might be another face of the dilemma, which is altogether undermined, the increased terror attacks may be the Muslims immigrants abhorrent reaction to the ongoing fight of the two different cultures.

This inter-locking debate, which is a source of tension in the northern part of the world, might also lead the course of the discussions to scrutinize its long-held concepts of democracy, liberalization and in fact secularization. Europe’s unabated objection towards other culture can force a reevaluation of its tolerance.

Also, the proposed European notion of relating women headscarf with the symbols of terrorism is another way of highlighting a perspective that was Europe much safer and tolerant in the immediate Post 9/11 time 16 years ago than it is now.

This inter-locking debate, which is a source of tension in the northern part of the world, might also lead the course of the discussions to scrutinize its long-held concepts of democracy, liberalization and in fact secularization. Europe’s unabated objection towards other culture can force a reevaluation of its tolerance. This can also be an interpretation of the Western fundamentalist. With Europe’s continued repulsion towards this change in their society, they might scale down on their proclamation of liberals themselves as liberals and democratic.

While far rights in affirmation to the decision have been staunchly endorsing the ban as the guarantee of political and cultural harmony in their societies. Their indiscriminate support has turned a perception into a national law, the debate, on the other hand, is unreasonably evaded by the liberals. The absence of countering arguments by the group of liberals have left the matters to get worse for that large flock of immigrants coming in from war inflicted Middle Eastern countries in quest of economic and social benefits.

Refugees and immigrants, devastated by war, a hijab ban welcoming them in their new country may not be well- received by these groups who are already drenched in the psychological struggles at many different levels. Such bans and unrealistic expectations may force them to be perceived as the ‘aliens’ in their new abode.

Where there hovers a public anxiety about the influx of immigrants in their country, the locals are unconsciously expecting the immigrants to be super humans, giving up their crust of cultures and in fact, their identities to get themselves assimilated in their new homes.

Refugees and immigrants, devastated by war, a hijab ban welcoming them in their new country may not be well- received by these groups who are already drenched in the psychological struggles at many different levels. Such bans and unrealistic expectations may force them to be perceived as the ‘aliens’ in their new abode.

The litmus test, of whether the strategy comes up with the desired consequences as it is supposed to be will be determined in near future. Where the immigrants and foreign nationals are increasingly pressurized to give up the practices that do not stand in compliance to the European’s notion of freedom, the law is expected to pose some serious troubles in the coming days.

To further predict the consequences, perhaps the ideas from the Samuel P. Huntington’s theory of “Clash of Civilizations” can be borrowed to juxtapose the outcomes.

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