Forcing Christian women to wear the hijab is no different than forcing Muslim women to wear a cross. Moreover, the bank’s policy contradicts Jordan’s laws and constitutions.
by Raymond Ibrahim
Several Arabic news reports appeared yesterday, Tuesday, May 22, exposing the new hijab policy of the Jordanian Dubai Islamic Bank. Under new ownership, bank management recently decreed that all females must wear the hijab, the Islamic veil, or be terminated. According to Najem News—which says the bank’s policy “contradicts Jordan’s laws and constitutions”—the bank “fired all female employees who refused to wear the hijab, after warning them that it is mandatory, despite the fact that some of the employees are Christians.” There are also suspicions that, along with Islamizing the bank’s atmosphere, this new policy was further set to target and terminate the Christian employees, since it is they who are most likely to reject the hijab.
One female Christian employee who had worked at the bank for 27 years is among those just fired. Though not available for comment, an associate of hers said in response to the new hijab rule: “Is this to be the new approach in Jordan during the Arab Spring revolutions—suppression of freedoms, intolerance for others, the exercise of intellectual terrorism, the quantization of minds, and the imposition of obligations in the name of religion?”
Some may be tempted to draw parallels between this and similar precedents in the West. For instance, some Western banks refuse to serve Muslim women in full hijab. However, this is done for security measures—shown by the fact that the hijab is not singled out, but also hats, hoods and sunglasses—whereas the Jordanian Dubai Islam Bank is basing its policy entirely on religious discrimination. More to the point, forcing Christian women to wear the hijab is no different than forcing Muslim women to wear a cross.
Raymond Ibrahim, a Middle East and Islam specialist, is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum. A widely published author, he is best known for his book, The Al Qaeda Reader . Mr. Ibrahim's dual-background—born and raised in the U.S. by Egyptian parents —has provided him with unique advantages to understanding of the Western and Middle Eastern mindsets.
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