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Ruth McCall

"RuthMccall"

Supporting Muslim Australian women

November 2014 Posts

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Blog Entry

Wedesday

Thursday, November 27th 2014 @ 1:36 PM    post viewed 478 times

I haven't worn the niqab for about a week. For those of you who dont know, the niqab (or niqob) is a veil (mine is black) which covers the whole face, with a meshed slit at the eyes. I have a sign on the front which says: Support for Muslim women", and a sign on the back which says "Muslim women are our sisters".

Yesterday I wore it again down at Circular Quay and had two positive responses. One man clapped me and said "Brava", so that was encouraging. He looked swarthy - I am guessing southern Italy perhaps. I also got 3 hugs and a chocolate from the two guys who are part of the free hug movement. Good hugs too, not too long or too short. The chocolate was just chocolate.

Oh, almost forgot. The women's gym I go to asked me not to wear it anymore. I can see that it is a fair enough response to be wary of political statements at a place of business, although the message does explicitly support women. Anyway, the point is to make a public statement, and not to cause discomfort to particualr persons, so all is well.

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Wednesday

Thursday, November 13th 2014 @ 8:24 PM    post viewed 298 times

Had a good experience yesterday. Was walking with the niqab and signs in Circular Quay and a man approached me, said he was Muslim and wanted to take my photograph. He looked really pleased. Another tourist took my photo as well. The Quay is great because there are all sorts of people wandering around looking for something to look at. 

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Monday

Monday, November 10th 2014 @ 11:31 AM    post viewed 170 times

Today I feel much calmer. I am still anxious when I put the niqab on, but feel more comfortable entering public space. I have made my love-hearts bigger on the signs. I go to the gym but dont wear it until I am in the gym iteself. A few people ask me how it is going. I say that for the most part that I don't know. Again I take it off for the rowing machine at the end. 

Then my son and I head off to Woolworths. I abandon ship again and take off the niqab towards the end because my son is getting ratty, and I am wondering if it is affecting him. He remains grizzly after I take off the veil, and he is pacified after the checkout by a banana.

The woman behind the counter in Woolies give me free ham for my son. I dont know if it means anything, but it hasnt happened before... Just saying...

A friend wants to join me in the local park! She wants to wear the Hijab. We have made a date for this Friday.

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Friday

Saturday, November 8th 2014 @ 7:16 PM    post viewed 646 times

So, off I go on Friday with my black niqob and signs to Leichhardt Market town and the gym. The gym is first, and I am nervous. I say straight away that I am showing my support of Muslim women today and get some acceptance and some interest. Some shock too when I enter the smaller space of the child-minding area, partly because it is a more confined space I think. I need to be aware that I am a tall woman and it is a confronting sight. If people have more distance between me and them there is more time for them to process the sight. Anyway, good to know!

The women are intellient professionals, so they start discussion instantly. One woman asks whether iwhat I am doing is supportive and wants to talk about the veil as a symbol of oppression, but I steer away from that discussion. I hear another woman talking with the management about possible offense, but after discussing the signs I am wearing ("Support for Muslim women"/"Muslim women are our sisters"), they accept it. They didnt seem to need to speak to me. I keep going with my exercises, but abandon ship on the rowing machine. It is hot and hard to breathe. The signs flap around, and the rowing machine has taken to moving slightly forward with each pull, so there is enough to be going on with. I still feel embarrassed when I see people I know and visit my regular haunts.

Off to the shops, and this is easier. The Italians discuss me, but I keep moving at a regular pace with my shopping and my pram. I am hot after the gym. My regular coffee woman is confused and I remove the veil. She is surprised that I would be doing this for people who are not from my religion. She shares a desire for people to celebrate our common humanity, but thinks that decisions of peace need to happen higher up in Government and that ordinary people cannot do much. The Leichhardt visit is exhausting and confronting, because all the way through I have conflicting feelings of uncertainty. I consider whether the signs would be enough on their own, without the veil - certainly easier for me, but no-one would read them. 

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Thursday

Friday, November 7th 2014 @ 11:12 AM    post viewed 606 times

Hi everyone! My name is Ruth and I have decided to express my solidarity with Muslim women in Australia by wearing the niqab and some signs in public places. The sign on the front says: "Support for Muslim women", and the sign on the back says: "Muslim women are our sisters." There are also two love-hearts.

About a month ago I became outraged at the Government and media suggestion that veiled Muslim women might become a threat to national security by wanting to visit Parliment House. Also, there has been an increase in attacks on Muslim women, and I understand that some women feel an increase in intimidation within our society. So I decided to find a niqab and wear it to Broadway shopping centre.

However, it took a couple of weeks for veils to arrive after I ordered them online, and then I dithered for a bit. Where would be the best place to go? What should I write on the signs? Would my kids freak out? I wanted to an excuse to pull out of it.

Yesterday was the start and I went to Broadway and did some shopping. I would say people with whom I came in contact were very polite. Security checked me out discreetly, and staff in shops were professional. It is a strange feeling behind the veil. I was quite nervous. My youngest son doesn't seem to mind the veil.

Then I went to pick up my eldest son from pre-school. As I was putting my gear on, a Muslim woman talked to me, and after a bit she said she wanted to meet me and walk down the street with me. I'm not quite sure what she wants to do, but we will meet on Friday and see what happens. She said thank you. It is confronting for me being amongst people who I know in the playground - more difficult than being in a shopping centre, because when people I know quite well politely look away, it makes me feel like a crazy person. Which is fair enough! One child called me a Ninja, another one told me her brother had hurt his foot, and another one called me Superman. My older son who is 4 was not that happy - he said he was getting confused as to where I was, so I took it off for the rest of the day.  

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Dave Smith
Group Administrator
fatherdave said on Friday, November 7th 2014 @ 1:42 PM:

You are my hero! Cool