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Hijab ban: Discrimination is wrong, so don’t pick and choose

November 14, 2017

Writer laments response to Facebook post on hotels' headscarf ban, saying some comments showed bigotry from same people who claim to being discriminated against.



By Art Harun

Most of the arguments against my post on the discriminatory practices of the hotels against women wearing hijab yesterday are, with respect, bereft of any rational argument.

In fact, some display utterly provocative statements, if not, seditious, about “tudung” wearing women (one said that the “tudung” is worn by “the poor and ugly or kind”).

Let it be known that I condemn that statement in the strongest terms and way possible.

I have not deleted the comment because I want to show what bigotry is and how it manifests itself.

Some others vent their frustration and anger towards the government over its discriminatory policies against non-Malays such as the affirmative actions and even the fact that some ladies are banned from entering government offices when they are deemed to not wear a knee-length skirt.

Others pointed out that MAS, Air Asia et al also ban tudung wearing women from being stewardesses.

One or two stated that our race has been discriminated for a long time and we never complained or cry about it. Life just goes on for us.

Well, good for you then. Some people do cry about things. Some people don’t.

And if life just goes on for you despite the discrimination against you, why are you stating that fact on my wall?

I don’t know how those examples that they highlighted assist them in their “arguments” against my arguments in my post.

Or are they implying that since the government practices discrimination and since other entities also practise discrimination, the hotel’s action is not discriminatory.

Or two wrongs make one right.

The funny thing is this.

These are the same people who make so much noise about the Muslim-only laundrette being discriminatory!

We have to be consistent when it comes to universal human rights.

Discriminatory practices must stop. And it means ALL discriminatory actions. Not just the ones that we don’t like.

There is a very obvious reason why they are called UNIVERSAL human rights.

There are also people who say that it is a small issue.

Well, transgression of human rights reduce the dignity of the person as a human being. That is never a small issue.

May I ask, why is it that once a prisoner enters a prison, the immediate thing that they do is to cut his hair almost bald? That is a small thing.

It is just cutting hair. But that reduces the dignity of the man to a point where his absolute submission is expected.

So, please, there is nothing that is too small when it comes to dignity as a human being.

I don’t mind people disagreeing with me. But I expect rational arguments.

Like that one person who came and said that Constitutional protection against discrimination only applies in the public – as opposed to private – domain.

I took the trouble to reply to his said comment.

But I must say his single argument carries a weight far larger than all those comments I referred to above combined!

We pride ourselves for being rational and right-thinking.

But as the comments to my said post evince, we do have a propensity to just be like those whom we so readily condemn for being shallow and stupid. And for being racist and bigots!

What a shame. It is sad.

Azhar Harun, better known as Art Harun, is a prominent human rights lawyer.

* The views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.

‘No headscarf’ hotel policy smacks of Islamophobia, says Art Harun


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