If you asked me the ratio of veiled women in Libya to non-veiled I would confidently say that now , veiled of all types are a comfortable majority. Noticing this phenomenon, which is apparently rising in North Africa ( and probably in the Middle East as well ) the BBC had an article about it yesterday, specifically about Libya. ( Check out this hottie => courtesy of BBC lovely,stylish and fitting all the stereotypes westerners dream about )
Najat wore the veil a few years ago because her teenage daughter suddenly
decided to cover up. She has since been caught in a moral and religious battle
with herself. [..]
My husband is open-minded and we sometimes travel on
holiday, so I was thinking the next time we do that, what if I feel like going
to a nightclub with him? I can't do that with a veil - I'm seriously thinking of
removing it permanently - I feel so restricted with it." [..]
People are wearing it for all sorts of reasons and not always the right one as demonstrated above but one of them at least is simple peer pressure. i.e. in a stealthy way, just to blend in society.
Sometimes I feel discriminated against , not in an obvious way, just those tiny hints. For example last time I was chatting with some colleagues : "Highlander , you 're such a nice person, why don't wear a scarf ( only a scarf mind you ) and you will see you will get married straight away" . So with that attitude of course what do you expect? But now I'm thinking they may have a point , because I have never been much sought after more than on those days I went to the fish market or vegetable market in my uncoordinated home clothes and sports shoes and with a scarf on my head and neck for the sun/wind. I personally think I looked like a scarecrow, but that is the day that I got loveletters on my car, phone numbers thrown my way, cars stalking me to my home, marriage proposals . I never associated it with the scarf only with me being somehow sexier with my housecoat or tracksuit LOL.
Here someone offers an explanation of how the hijab came about in Libya :
"I think the beginning of the hijab trend which appeared in the 1980s in Libya
was mainly due to economic reasons like things becoming more expensive and low state wages." [..]
Whilst I agree that there could have been an economical reason yet in the 80s there was not much shopping ask anyone about it. And although it has been said and I agree with it as well that many women use some form of hijab during the times when they are just feeling too lazy to dress and so wearing a jilbab or overcoat and a scarf is quicker as Sereeb says here during a heated discussion at AngloLibyan about his post on Muslim schools in London which turned about the veil. However, I still believe that my theory of how hijab in Libya was more as a direct result of the War in Afghanistan, as expounded in my previous post on hijab still holds .
In Libya you will encounter all sorts of hijabs, even the niqab is increasing lately ( more about that later) , but the most obvious form is that which author Allegra Stratton coined for her book Muhajababes .
"Jihan demonstrates her faith with a fashionable edge. She wears tight blue jeans, a grey shirt under a tight pink vest, an olive-green veil with sequins
and matching accessories to go with it. "[BBC again]
Jihan is a typical example of a 'babe - I can't believe that the considerably less tight jeans on me and a T-shirt but with no head cover were enough to have made one male pass a judgement 3 years ago and still maintain it nowadays; talk about patronizing behaviour- bah !
Those ladies , according to Muhajababes' author are the new Middle East and are influenced by Amr Khaled as opposed to those women who veiled in the 80s as a result of the Afghan warriors. According to her they show all the contradictions of this century ; the non-stop Haifa Wahbe and others Arab pop stars quasi nude renderings on Arab satellite TV ! Which Saudi and the Gulf are exporting right into our living room and the increased covering of the flesh in real life - weird equation. But you will have to read the study for yourself. Everything is not as easy/clear as it seems . hmm I was planning to make this post sweet and short , but it turned into something else. Well anyway, basically anyone can wear what they want in my opinion as long as they don't judge me. :) Plus I stated clearly what I thought about hijab in my previous posts and here as well.
On another note I would also like to highlight the part below from the same article in light of the Jack Straw controversy :
A little-known fact about Libya is that teachers are not allowed to teach with
their entire faces covered.
It is not a Libyan law that imposes that
restriction, but rather an undeclared one that the educational community agrees
And while schools here carry lessons in Islam, teachers are not allowed
to preach and influence their students on how to implement it.