Today, on my way to the botanical garden, I passed a playground, and saw a mother with her children.
The two Moroccan Dutch (?) girls, each about ten years old, played with a football and a swing.
One of them wore a headscarf.
People who are scared of “foreigners” in general and Muslims in particular, might react: “Look how oppressive Islam is, they force even children to wear headscarves”.
Well, sometimes headscarves or somewhat similar clothes may indeed be results of pressure by family members; or of state pressure, in the Taliban’s “old” Afghanistan or in George W. Bush’s “new” Afghanistan.
However, that was clearly not the case here.
As both the sister and the mother of the girl with the headscarf had uncovered heads.
This was a case of personal preference.
As it is for many other women, for religious or non religious reasons.
Prejudices are never a substitute for reality.
Dutch xenophobic politician Geert Wilders really hates headscarves.
He claims he wants to go back to the time of the Dutch war against the Spanish monarchy, the seventeenth century, known as the Dutch “Golden Age”.
Be careful what you wish for, Geert!
Back then, the inhabitants of Limburg, Geert’s province, had no civil rights, as mainly Roman Catholic Limburg had a conquered country status.
The slogan of the “Geuzen”, the anti-Spanish fighters, was “Rather Turkey than popery!”
Eg, on their medals, they had half moons, symbols of Turkey. A symbol propagated by the Protestant preacher Herman Modet from Antwerp. Today, these Turkish half moons are still depicted on the city hall of Leiden, built after Spanish troops had besieged Leiden.
There was also a Dutch-Moroccan alliance against the king of Spain.
Another military ally was the sultanate of Aceh, today in Indonesia.
And most Dutch women, as can be seen on seventeenth century paintings, and drawings, like the one by Rembrandt at the top of this entry, then wore headscarves …
See also here.
Women’s Fashions of the 17th Century: here.
- Kosovo upholds ban on wearing headscarf in schools (worldbulletin.net)