The Pitfalls Of Chrislam - Christian Women Take Up the Hijab
By Tom OlagoMay 10, 2016
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Is it OK for a Christian to wear a hijab (Islamic headscarf for women), or show solidarity with Muslims in other ways considered spiritually related? Are Muslims and Christians serving and worshiping the same God?
These and other related questions continue to be in the forefront of religious debates that focus on doctrines and practices that seek to merge Islam and Christianity into 'Chrislam' a hybrid of both faiths with which, it is hoped, both Muslims and Christians will be comfortable.
It is also noteworthy that it is professing Christians who, for the most part, are making the necessary compromises for this 'Chrislam' union to be possible.
One development that has drawn attention to this topic has been the wearing of the hijab by professing Christian women. One such case involved Martha DeVries, 47, who serves as a high school counselor and attends Chandler Baptist Church in Liberty, MO. Her husband, Mike, serves part-time as a youth pastor.
Heather Clark for Christiannews.net reported that DeVries recently decided to wear a hijab each Monday to show solidarity with Muslims.
She says that part of her motivation to wear the hijab is what she perceives as anti-Islamic rhetoric during the 2016 presidential election. The other factor was a sermon that she heard at her church which, according to reports, "challenged Christians to push themselves beyond the limits of everyday, easy faith."
DeVries also pointed to Christ's admonition to love one's neighbor and said, "I think of Muslims in my community as my neighbors and it's not my job to judge them or determine their salvation. My job is to love them."
She began wearing the hijab in December after first consulting with several Muslim women to ensure that it would not offend those of the Islamic faith. Her husband supports this effort against "bashing people".
DeVries' account is by no means isolated. It was previously reported that former Wheaton professor Larycia Hawkins posted to Facebook two photos of herself wearing an hijab, and stated that she planned to wear it everywhere she went during Advent--including at the college and to church.
She said that not only does she have a common ancestry with Muslims, but that Christians and Muslims worship the same God. "I stand in religious solidarity with Muslims because they, like me, a Christian, are people of the book," Hawkins asserted. "And as Pope Francis stated last week, we worship the same God."
Hawkins eventually left the college after controversy erupted, not about her hijab, but her assertion that Christians and Muslims worship the same God. This belief is widely rejected as unscriptural by many Christians such as Thabiti Anyabwile, pastor of Anacostia River Church in Washington, D.C. He noted that inasmuch as Muslims do not worship Jesus, Who is God, Christians and Muslims, therefore, do not worship the same God.
"No one knows God who does not know the Son, who is the only mediator between God and man," Anyabwile said. "The goal of Christianity is the salvation of sinners through the righteousness, substitutionary atonement, and resurrection of Jesus Christ."
With further reference to Hawkins, James Hoffmeier wrote last December for the gospelcoalition.org: "...With such blatant persecution of Christians in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa by various Islamic jihadists, it's perplexing that Hawkins would seek to draw attention to and identify with Muslims instead of the Christians whose suffering far surpasses any alienation Muslims might feel in America.
Further, an Egyptian anthropologist who is a professor in America said:
"If [Hawkins] is concerned about the cause of the oppressed, there are many Christian and non-Christian organizations she can join that are really bringing change to people's lives. Many such organizations are working with Middle Eastern refugees at different campsites. Our focus should be on such groups--Yazidis, Christians, Alawites, and moderate Muslims--who are experiencing genocide..."
Yet another recent example of attempts at barrier-breaking between Islam and Christianity is that of Illinois mother and church director Jessey Eagan who's elected to wear hijab for all 40 days of the Lenten season.
Vocativ.com recently reported Eagan's decision, intended by her to foster understanding and challenge perceived differences, or in Eagan's words: "break down cultural barriers".
"In Lent you give something up or take on a specific practice, so I decided I would take on the practice of hospitality by putting myself in the shoes of another," Eagan said over the phone from her home in Peoria, Illinois. "I wanted to see what their life is like, to see how it's different from mine, and to remind myself of what it feels like to be an outsider."
Today her husband Jeff, who is supportive of his wife's endeavors, works for Crescent Project, an organization that teaches North American Christians about Islam and works to build bridges with Muslims.
After returning from a trip to Jordan, Eagan herself briefly taught at the local Islamic school and began making friends in the large Islamic community she discovered in her hometown. This, in addition to what she believes is the media's misguided tendency to conflate terrorism with Islam, is what eventually led her to make the decision to wear hijab every time she leaves her home throughout Lent.
Both her friends at church and her Islamic friends have received her new look well, and she even had the opportunity to wear a "birkini" - a three-piece, lycra swimsuit that covers the wearer from head to toe.
She is also blogging about the experience, with the goal of encouraging her readers to begin a dialogue with someone of another religion, so they can better understand each other.
Is this pro-hijab push a new trend with Christian women? Hardly. Late 2014, dailymail.co.uk reported the case of Kate Leaney, 27, a committed Christian from Adelaide Australia who had been wearing a hijab every day in an act of 'love and solidarity' with her many Muslim friends.
Mates of the asylum-seeker worker said they were scared to wear the head-dress in public following recent incidents involving alleged terror suspects as well as a rise in reported anti-Islamic attacks. So she decided to take a stand, don the headscarf and send a message of 'love over fear'.
But it wasn't all smooth sailing. She experienced many of the negatives women who wear the hijab experience in Australia - particularly, an underlying sense that some people felt suspicious of her. A petrol station worker quizzed her about the hijab, asking: 'Why would you wear that, when you look like them?'
Interestingly, there is a broad section of Muslims asking the very same question - also in protest against Christians wearing the hijab. The Washingtonpost.com in December 2015 published an account of Muslim women who bluntly addressed their Christian counterparts in an article titled : "As Muslim women, we actually ask you not to wear the hijab in the name of interfaith solidarity".
The authors of the washingtonpost.com article, Asra Q. Nomani and Hala Arafa further stated: "We reject this interpretation that the "hijab" is merely a symbol of modesty and dignity adopted by faithful female followers of Islam...This conflation of hijab with the secular word 'headscarf' is misleading. "Hijab" literally means, "curtain" in Arabic. It also means "hiding", "obstructing" and "isolating" someone or something. It is never used in the Koran to mean headscarf...No matter what formula you use, "hijab" never means headscarf. The media must stop spreading this misleading interpretation".
They then proceed to clarify in disturbing terms their assessment of the true meaning of the hijab: "To us, the hijab is a symbol of an interpretation of Islam we reject that believes that women are a sexual distraction to men, who are weak, and thus must not be tempted by the sight of our hair. We don't buy it. This ideology promotes a social attitude that absolves men of sexually harassing women and puts the onus on the victim to protect herself by covering up".
Their advice to Christian women? "Please do this instead: Do not wear a headscarf in "solidarity" with the ideology that most silences us, equating our bodies with "honor." Stand with us instead with moral courage against the ideology of Islamism that demands we cover our hair".
An article published in December 2015 by patheos.com also examined what it means to wear the hijab. Its author, 'Jane the Actuary' concluded: "Here's the bottom line: wearing hijab is a religious act....In other words, hijab-wearing is, in America, a form of religious identification, a way to show the outside world that you are Muslim.
It's a way to take on a religious practice, to commit yourself to greater devotion even at a cost -- in which the actual practice doesn't matter so much as the intention that, in doing so, one commits oneself to God more fully...But the bottom line is this: given what hijab is fundamentally about, is it appropriate for a Christian to wear it?"
Despite evidence to the contrary, some professing Christians still think so. Leo Hohmann last December reported for Wnd.com that Chicago's Vernon Hills High School held a "Walk a Mile in Her Hijab Day" as non-Muslim female students were encouraged to wear the hijab or Islamic head covering.
The purpose of the Vernon Hills High School event was ostensibly to give non-Muslim female students the opportunity to wear the head covering and gain a "better understanding of the Muslim faith" and "denounce negative stereotypes," the Daily Herald of Chicago reported.
But several former Muslims now living in the U.S. tell WND that such "hijab" events, which are popping up at high schools and college campuses across the U.S., will actually achieve the opposite.
"To me, there are two things troubling here," said Shahram Hadian, who grew up Muslim in Iran and emigrated to Canada before moving to Washington state and becoming an evangelical Christian pastor.
Hadian said the Muslim Students Association (MSA) indoctrination campaign has been rampant on college campuses for years but now it is mobilizing in U.S. high schools as well. At Boise State University, for example, the MSA holds an Islamic Week every year and for an entire day during that week, they encourage every woman on campus to wear the hijab.
"But the troubling thing is this: how is MSA now getting access to our high schools? And number two: how is that not the state promoting a religion?" Hadian said of the Chicago event.
Would the high school, for instance, allow a Christian student group to encourage non-Christian students to wear crosses for a day? Or what about a Jewish group encouraging Muslims to wear the Star of David?
"It's just hypocrisy at its pinnacle," Hadian said. But the Muslim Brotherhood is very clever in the use of propaganda, he said, and apparently the atheist lawyers at the ACLU have given the MSA a pass.
During the Holy Land Foundation terror trial in 2007, the MSA was exposed as a Muslim Brotherhood front in a broad conspiracy to take over the U.S. slowly through nonviolent "cultural jihad," which involves immigration, high birth rates among Muslim families and using the nation's own civil liberties against it.
Dr. Mark Christian, a former child-imam who grew up in Egypt and now lives as a Christian in Nebraska, said Western cultures are making a huge mistake by embracing a key element of Shariah.
"At a time when a rising number of Muslim women in the Middle East, especially in Egypt, are taking off their hijab for good, liberating themselves from its symbolism of enslavement and inequality and from being labeled as radical Muslims in the wake of the Arab Spring and the reality of radical Islam that it brought in the Middle East, and at a time when many Muslim women are trying to find their freedom and advocating for the freedom of their fellow Muslim women, I find it treasonous that in America liberals are resorting to such actions, encouraging hijab and enslavement of women and labeling them as a sex objects," said Christian, who heads up the Global Faith Institute.
"When those in the West advocate for hijab, they are not siding with the peaceful Muslims but with the radicals," he said. "They are not advocating freedom but enabling and encouraging torture, inequality and the inhumane treatment of women in Islam."