Apr 072010
Authors: K.C. Fleming

Editor’s note: The following are inaccuracies in the piece as reported by the Collegian. The article incorrectly spelled the names of Isra’a Belgasem, ShemsAdeen Ben-Masaud and Huma Babak Ebadi. About 100, not 60 people attended the event. In the graph that reports Islamic women must look at the ground when addressed by men, it should also say that men be equally as modest when dealing with women. In a quote in the second to last paragraph, Hijab was misspelled.

Clarification: The third to last paragraph reads, “Violence toward women in America is the result of a radical conservative culture.” It should read, violence toward Muslim women portrayed in the media is the result of a radical conservative culture and not the religion itself.

With her light green headscarf firmly in place, Isra’ Belgasem, a 2008 CSU alumna, spoke to students and community members in the Engineering Building Wednesday night in defense of the controversial garment.

Belgasem, 22, was one of several members of the Muslim Student Association who explained to a group of about 60 attendees that most Muslim women cover themselves by choice as a part of their religious beliefs and not as a ploy by men to subjugate them.

In Islam, the separate religious requirements for men and women are known as “Hijab.” The Hijab mandate that women cover their bodies in the interests of modesty and look at the ground when addressed by men.

The most visible of the Hijab is the wearing of the headscarf, veil or burqa.

Shemsadeen Ben-masa, a 28-year-old Muslim community activist, presided over most of the evening.

Reading passages from the Qur’an, Ben-masa called Islam one of the least restrictive religions of women’s freedoms. Before Islam, he said, women in many regions were viewed as property. They were not allowed to inherit the possessions of deceased loved ones, a right that is granted to Muslim women.

The walls of the room were covered posters with pro-Muslim. One said, “According to the Qur’an, men and women are equal before God; women are not blamed for violating the ‘forbidden tree,’” a reference to the Judeo-Christian creation myth.

Alumna Huma Badi said that she willingly follows the Hijab, and that it causes people to see her with respect and not just as a sexual object.

Violence toward women in America is the result of a radical conservative culture, Badi said, one that neither she nor most Muslims believe in.

“As a Muslim woman, my Hijad is life,” she said.

Attendees were given the opportunity to be a part of the Islamic culture through demonstrations on how to wear headscarves and by hearing and seeing a demonstration of the ritual evening prayer all Muslims must perform.

Staff reporter K.C. Fleming can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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