Only in Saudi Arabia, they can force a woman to wear an abaya in the public and then force her to take it off in a compound. Here, I will present a list of the compounds where Muslim women are being forced to take off their hijab, niqab or abaya.
Muslims fight Islamophobia in France where women have been banned to wear the niqab everywhere and the hijab on some airports. Muslims fight Islamophobia in Quebec, where there are legislations underway to ban any religious symbols including hijabs, niqabs, yarmulkes, sikh turbans, crosses besides other things. BUT who would have thought that the very people that FORCE a woman (I guess for the purposes of decorum only perhaps) to wear something would then FORCE her to take it off. I understand that these are the Western compounds that this taking off of clothes stuff is happening. BUT the Western flock, that the Kingdom is trying to attract, will flock here for the love of Riyal anyway and not for the love of Islam (or Saudis); so even if Muslim women in those compounds are not FORCED to take stuff off, the Westerners will arrive anyway. And who would have thought that in Saudi Arabia, women will be asked to discard Muslim pieces of clothing. Where is the outrage?
What boggles the mind is the sheer hypocrisy of this concept – force people to wear something in public and then force them to take it off. So back to the list – if any of this info needs to be corrected or challenged, please inform me – I have collected it from people that have lived in these compounds or have met someone from these compounds. The liberal ones of these compounds (mind you – I am being sarcastic here) force the abaya and niqab off only – the conservative ones take the niqab, hijab and abaya off.
Salwa Village Compound, Riyadh:
Women have to take off their abaya upon entering the compound. This taking off of the abaya happens in the entrance office (if not taken off already) and is quite humiliating for women. I have been told that Saudi nationals don’t have to take off their abayas so that gives this issue a further twist – which is that expat Muslim women get discriminated against.
Fal Compound, Riyadh:
I was told that the mother of a child visiting her friend in the compound was asked to take her hijab off when entering the compound. The mother refused. The mother of the host child then had to go to her house to get a cap for the visiting lady. I was told the story of the hijab only but I am sure that when the hijab is banned, it’s natural to assume that the abaya and niqab are banned as well.
Kingdom Compound, Riyadh:
Women can’t wear the hijab, niqab or abaya inside the compound. They can wear it only when heading out.
Cordoba Compound, Riyadh:
Women can’t wear the niqab or abaya unless heading out.
Al-Bustan Village Compound, Riyadh:
The very compound grounds, where the American International School in Riyadh (AISR) will move to in September 2014, will not allow you to wear the Saudi black abaya or the niqab. They are nice enough to let you wear an abaya of another color. Of course, if you are heading out, you can wear the black abaya, niqab and hijab – how accommodating.
I am sure this list will keep on growing. You know what I would do in these compounds. Wear a niqab (which I don’t wear usually), a hijab and a black jetting abaya and then keep on roaming around in the compound grounds and when asked to take if off – retort with a big smile:
I was just about to head out!