I was reading an article that’s been circulating the web recently with the headline “Jordan queen: Muslim women not required to wear veils” and “Queen Rania says Muslim women don’t have to wear veils”. It seems to all stem from an interview she did four days ago with Italy’s Corriere della Sera newspaper.
At first I thought it was just that journalistic way of catching a reader’s attention with a bold headline. But after reading a few articles, most of which were written by the same unknown source, it appears as if someone may have went out of there way to misquote the Queen.
Here’s the main one:
“Islam neither requires one to be practising, nor to dress in one way or another,” the stylish 36-year-old queen told the Italian daily Corriere della Sera during a visit to Rome.
The quote just didn’t sound right and I was surprised at the extent to which various media outlets carried the same article unchecked. The original interview in full appears in English on the Queen’s website and here is the excerpt where she was asked about the veil and Islam:
Your Majesty, it Italy, in France and in other countries there is a lot of discussion about the veil, here there is a lot of confusionÃ¢?Â¦ a lot of ignorance what does it mean veil, perhaps we do not understand what does it mean or you were not about to explain what does it mean because I think that someone is giving the veil a political symbol, weight and not what is the veilÃ¢?Â¦where do you find the problem of misunderstanding is?
Queen Rania: Unfortunately because Islam is being brought under suspicion over the last few years, people have started to look at the veil as a political issue. What is important, is the veil is a symbol of piety, of modesty, of devotion to God and sometimes a woman wears the veil because that is what is socially acceptable within her surroundings but it should never be viewed as something that can be divisive between communities and certainly sometimes I feel that there is so much judgement levelled at women based on what they are wearing. I always say we shouldnÃ¢??t judge women by what is on their heads but by what is in their heads.
It is very dangerous when we start making assumptions about a person based on outward external faÃƒÂ§ade. When I look at people when I visit the Arab world or abroad I try to pass judgement based on how they think, what they do, what their values are and not what they are wearing. It is very dangerous when you make judgements based on what they are wearing.
Because a lot of the Muslim societies feel marginalized, and feel that they have not been integrated well in some of the European societies and elsewhere and because some of the authorities are looking at Islam with suspicion, unfortunately this issue has become highly politicized so it carries a lot of political symbolism and that is something we have to fight against because it shouldnÃ¢??t. How a woman dresses should not have so much of a political dimension to it.
It is a relationship between a woman and God and I think at the end of the day societies have to accept that in todayÃ¢??s world we will be different, outwardly and inwardly, but the idea is to try to create harmony nonetheless.
But of course we cannot accept coercion in Islam?
Queen Rania: There is no coercion in Islam. In Islam you are not supposed to force somebody to believe. As I said, Islam is all about conviction, it is all about belief and if you force someone to do something if they do not believe in it then that is against the whole essence of what Islam is all about. Islam is very much about intention and that is an essential part of Islam, intentions.
A Royal Court official stated that some media outlets have relayed partial quotations of Her Majesty’s statements, which may have resulted in a misinterpretation of her answers. According to the source, such misinterpretations may have also resulted from the fact that Her Majesty’s statements were translated from English into Italian, the language of the publication.