I am currently reading Love in a Headscarf by Shelina Janmohamed (I'm not sure where I had heard about it, but I think it was on a frum blog). The book is less about the histrionics of an "older" single, more over-explanations of Islam.
|Nura Afia, one of the new faces of Covergirl|
The author's repeated insistence that Islam advocates love, not hate, made me think of our often frantic reactions when an outsider asks questions about Judaism. Won't they just think we doth protest too much?
We shouldn't have to be on the defensive, even if approached with a flat statement, as opposed to a curious inquiry. Janmohamed is constantly accused of being brainwashed and subjugated by the religious men in her life; frum women have experienced the same.
If someone has an unmovable opinion, my gushing will not change anything. Better to not engage. In the future, I think I will simply shrug and say, "If you say so."
Roger Cohen explored this gap in "Olympians in Hijab and Bikini" (this article was printed during the Olympics, but I have a backlog of pieces to link). He shares two opinions, one of a girl who voluntarily donned the hijab, another a non-Muslim who is studying in Iran, and so must abide by the culture there. The latter is not happy.
In terms of Jews, mode of dress is a constant, tedious conversation—perhaps because there is no set rules. We don't sit around pontificating about kashrus, as those laws are clear. When it comes to clothing, it's all about subjective perspective.
Janmohamed emphatically insists that the hijab is her choice. If anything, one of her frustrations in dating is that many single Muslim men want her to take it off.
We've all got bechira. As to all our choices, to everyone's choices, let it be assumed that it is their choice (whatever it may be). Then leave it at that.