Stop the Oppression of Women in the Islamic World

ISHR, the International Society for Human Rights, launched a campaign to advocate the rights of Muslim women. “Stop the oppression of women in the Islamic world.” What do you think? Do you interpret this as advancing human rights? Or is it perpetuating prejudice?

Women in burka behind bars in ISHR print advertisement


The campaign was developed at Grabarz & Partner, Germany, by creative directors Ralf Heuel and Dirk Siebenhaar, copywriter Bent Harmann and art director Julia Ebers, with photographer Veronika Faustmann.

Filed under: Print

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  • Katy

    I can’t believe that a girl like to wear that stupid thing. don’t you like freedom? or maybe you’re not really a girl writing right there…
    When you want to be free, come here and dress like a normal woman, walk on the street freely, nobody can bother you. OMG. You’re so blind!!

    • Pery

      hey Katy,
      i can understand what you mean, but this isn´t possible. you can´t just say, come here and dress like a normal woman. to be dressed like this is normal for the women over there. it is very hard, because rehankhan says the truth, men over there have always dirty thinking, it must be like this, if they let thems women dress like that. it is so normal to think that men over there are the most shit men, couse they got this only one thinking. 🙂 do you know what i mean? i hate men over there. they think they are the greatest and want to stay OVER god, this is so terrible and AGAINST the ISLAM. So they are not muslem. they can´t be muslem. try to understand what i mean.
      GOD doesn´t want that people feel bad! But the men over there let ALL there women feel bad! Only because of there terrible brainless heads!!!

      • Harge

        Give a man she dresses like this and this is normal wear because no woman should not have to dress as close to you a year to watch her ​​ass and tits she is afraid of Allah and it is a sin when you watch these possessed no alcohol no drugs destroy brain and no sexual relations before marriage, you take away the beauty of a woman or a man with whom you will live life to the end only Allah guides whom He will to faith May Allah reward you and that god gives you instructions so you will figure out the beauty of Islam, or what 🙂 Salam means let the peace of the soul

    • shafaz

      Have you ever heard of the term, The West and the Rest? Basically it’s saying that Western views are different that everyone elses (in this case the East). Now the question is, which are right? Of course someone from the West will say their’s, and someone from the East will say their’s. The right answer is that values change according to the society and culture. So while to you, a Western woman, the hijab (in this context head scarf) and niqab (face covering) may seem oppressive, to the Rest (in this case practicing muslim women) it is is freedom. And I say freedom because that is what it is like to me. (Now I only wear a Hijab, not a Niqab. But I do have friends who do and they are perfectly fine with it. In fact they chose to do it themselves.) Covering myself allows me to be judged on my personality and character (not body or appearance), it allows me to guard my body from lustful eyes (which if you ever go to highschool are everywhere, I mean what else do you expect from hormonal teenage boys.) and it also serves as a way to identify myself as a practicing muslim women. So no, luv, I am not blind. I merely see differently than you.

  • rehankhan

    islam not keep women nude like other women are
    we keep our women safe from other men’s dirty thinking
    and now women wearing dress but then also she is nude why give ans?

  • islam says that women like diomand. we see that which thing is very costly then we keep it very safely then women like that so i keep in parda


    NOBODY KEEPS WOMEN “NAKED” IN THE WESTERN WORLD! Women are FREE to dress as they pleas. In fact many of us older women constantly critique the more scant fashions, and even debate “propriety” of some of the outfits, but in the end

    EACH WOMAN IS FREE TO CHOOSE FOR HERSELF! She chooses her self expression, chooses her priorities, who and what she wants to be and how she will present herself to the world! (And when I say that I do not count accepting the burkah or even a head scarf for fear of familial rejection or worse! That, my dear girls, is NOT a choice.)

    And I AM SORRY if some “guy” whether he be here or in the middle east has a twisted mind. Those males will just have to learn a little self discipline and self control! (They do not deserve to be called MEN unless they can control themselves!)

    There is nothing more WIMPY than men who do DISGUSTING THINGS, especially HARMING OTHERS, particularly women and children, and then turn around and BLAME THOSE THEY HARMED for the harm inflicted.


    If you are a woman who believes a burkah is to protect you from sick males, then, GIRLFRIEND YOU NEED TO MEET SOME REAL MEN! They DO EXIST!

    Beyond that, any culture that fosters the rearing of such little monsters needs to BACK-UP! It is time to discipline and train the males when they are young, speak openly with them about what it takes to be a TRUE MAN, a hero, a gentleman. Teach them to not only respect and honor their mothers and sisters, but CHERISH them. Eventually this will be translated to their wives & daughters. Where do these fools think their lives came from, let alone their youthful succor, or future issue?

    YOU COULD REBEL. True, there will be a huge price to be paid, perhaps even your own life, but this is true of all revolutions. Abuse of others doesn’t just stay at the same level; it always escalates…

    Burkah-> Beatings -> censuring of speech -> censuring of ideas, education, individual thought -> BIGGER BEATINGS -> Stone-ings -> beating and stoning based on lies, because they are no longer questioned -> loss of justice -> rape -> child abuse -> child mame-ing -> rape of children-> abusing and killing random people… all this because no-one ever told these “males” that THERE ARE LIMITS and we are ALL ACCOUNTABLE FOR OUR OWN ACTIONS! THERE ARE NO EXCUSES!!!

    Besides WE ARE ALL NAKED UNDER OUR CLOTHES! God designed the human body and it is, in all forms, a beautiful work of art. If someone sees it as “dirty”, naughty”, “tempting”, “vulgar” or anything else negative, that that someone may “see” lies in that individual’s own twisted and troubled mind, not in reality. As for me, do I want to see someone’s cellulite bursting out of a thong bikini, or even too much of a beautifully fit young person whose clothing is sparce, well, no, I don’t, but I have enough self control to look away… or at least the choice and ability to look away if I want to. (I have to be honest sometimes I do stare and even giggle, because it’s just TOO FUNNY, but that is also MY FREE CHOICE)

    NOBODY SHOULD BE TOLD WHAT TO WEAR BY A MAN! IF THE MEN WERE TREATED EQUALLY right down to censuring, “discipline”, and INCLUDING WHAT WE WEAR, then, fine, but even then they don’t get inflict those silly restraints on tourists or travelers (guests). They also have no right to leave their home and expect the world to cow-tow to their provincial obsessions. They have the option to stay home.

    My point is this: we are free to do anything that does not harm another. One’s freedom ends where my nose begins. However, NOBODY GETS TO SUPRESS THE FREEDOM or SPIRIT of another, but more specifically, MALES ARE NOT ALLOWED TO SUPRESS WOMEN JUST BECAUSE THEY ARE THREATENED, jealous, can’t control themselves, or whatever ridiculous excuse it is simply NOT OKAY.

    • PX

      OMG your comments made me laugh like crazy (no offense intended)!!! First of all your assumption that all Muslim women are ‘forced’ by men to wear burkah (quote: NOBODY SHOULD BE TOLD WHAT TO WEAR BY A MAN) is very untrue. Exactly how many Muslim women have u asked whether they wear the burkah because they are forced or because of their own will? YES, in some specific and very few places, women ARE forced by men to wear a burkah but that is just because of illiteracy or ignorance. But Believe it or Not, the vast majority of Muslim women who wear a burkah, do it willingly. In fact after 9/11 many Muslim women face problems in USA and Europe because their FATHERS / BROTHERS / HUSBANDS DON’T WANT THEM TO WEAR THE BURKAH as they are concerned about their safety. SO LET THIS BE VERY CLEAR TO EVERYONE THAT THE MAJORITY OF WOMEN WEAR THE BURKAH WILLINGLY AND NO MAN FORCES THEM!
      Secondly you say “Besides WE ARE ALL NAKED UNDER OUR CLOTHES”, which is obviously true but let me ask u something; Would you ever go out and roam around in public fully nude? Of course not. Why? Because you have some modesty? Similarly Muslim women also have their modesty. The only difference is that the level of modesty is different. Then you say “God designed the human body and it is, in all forms, a beautiful work of art” again a very true statement that I agree with, but unlike you, Muslim women believe that this “beautiful work of art” is to be seen by only some males and not by every other male on the street.
      Lastly you say “we are free to do anything that does not harm another” again a true statement. but the thing is; not every person in the world agrees to this (otherwise there would be no crime in the world). Due to this we have to TAKE PRECAUTIONS that we don’t become victims to these criminals. One of these precautions would be; locking the front door instead of leaving it wide open before going to sleep. Similarly Muslim women take a PRECAUTION against the rapists by wearing the burkah (for obvious reasons a rapist would be more interested in a woman wearing a bikini than a woman wearing a burkah)

      • A.A

        Absolutely AGREE …


    One last thought:

    Women are STRONGER spiritually, emotionally and intellectually. We have higher intuition, we are healers, we create life, and we can deal with so much more then men. No wonder they want to keep us down…
    Penis envy is a myth, but I am beginning to think hey have womb envy and are terrified of vaginas.
    We also don’t “rub it in” (our higher state of being that is 😉 . We are gracious tolerant ant patient with these silly little males, but as tolerant and understanding as we re, we should NEVER sell our souls and identities to do so!

  • The Man

    Wearing a Khimar is an ancient tradition that devoted Muslim women have been doing since the creation of the Muslim world. It is struggle for Muslim to go against their ancient religious traditions just as it would be for a person to walk around backwards everyday. It just comes to show how men have been perverted since the ancient of times. Tante Sanka makes a valid point about how “men” are not real men unless they have self control. Not all women necessarily wear the Khimar because of the “dirty minds” men have, there are women in the United States that wear a Khimar around their heads on a regular basis because they simply feel they should follow the Muslim traditions. Women oppression is the cause of uneducated men and women around the world. Most of the people living in women oppression societies feel that its okay to treat women like meat because they do not know any better. If the world wants to see change, at least the half that feels sympathy for those women, we need to see more education to those living in the women oppression societies and educating them of what is right and what is wrong.

  • Jess Miller

    This picture is perpetuating prejudice against Muslim women because they (the photographers, designers, ect.) automatically assumed that this woman does not want to be wearing a burqa. They are assuming that she is being forced to wear it by her family, religion, or other factors. Did anyone ask her why she is wearing the burqa? Perhaps she wears it for modesty, for the expression of her faith. Maybe she sees it as a symbol of faithfulness, while Westerners see only oppression. Let’s refrain from judging this woman until we know the REAL reason why she and others in her country continue to wear the burqa.

    • PX

      Excellent point made
      I fully agree with you

    • Fathima

      Finally, a sane comment.
      I wear the Hijab and do not find myself oppressed. On the contraire, I feel free in it. It gives me a sense of identity.

      There are those who are forced into wearing one and my hearts go out to them but you have that in every form of life: men taking advantage of women.

      For example, cooking many women are forced to stay home cook, clean and work 24/7 for their family as it is seen a woman’s job and not a husband’s job to even lift a finger. I would call that oppression but to condemn cooking all together and say housewives are a sign of oppression? That would be stupid. Many women actually enjoy doing these things for their family. Just that I will never enjoy it and prefer to be working and have my husband help me with the chores does not make being a full time house wife oppressive.
      Telling a woman not to wear something and that she is oppressed in dressing in a certain way is oppression in another form. rather let the individual be. Let them all express what they feel best be it in clothing or one’s way of life.
      In fact clothes are the last thing I would worry about when thinking of a right of a woman. For me it’s the freedom of choice. And that’s what everyone should fight for.

  • Christopher Crown

    It is true that women are regarded at least, second class citizens in all religions except christianity. Now they might object to this preposition, but to find them out we only have to behold what the founders of these religions really wrote and believed. (Ill leave that to you).

    This is not a act of prejudice or international discrimination, any rational being will simply have to look at the women who wear this and imidiately come to the obvious conclusion that there is oppression and injustice in countries who claim to worship a good god.

    I have recently been pondering the effects of belief systems and religions on culture and especially women in particular and I have come to the conclusion very quickly that where the name of Jesus Christ is exhalted, the beauty, dignity, elegance and worth of the feminine gender is brought to the for-front of that society. Some think this otherwise, but the historical culture of the west speaks to the fact of it. He made them male and female, different but mutually and pleasurably compatible, different roles in home and things of life but still equal nontheless.

    I would assure you that Mohammed was not a respected of women, then why should we confusedly marvel that his followers are doing the same…?

  • urpic is a lie

    I see your pics, and I read some of the comments. It’s true that they say don’t judge a book by it’s cover. Who said this lady in the picture isn’t happy with wearing her Hijab, the way she wants to? We don’t force them too, but they also believe it’s to protect their modesty and beauty, after all, real beauty is skin deep right? Who are you to judge them, when there are Billion of Muslim Woman happy and living a fulfilling life, so much many woman around the world, including Europe and America are converting to Islam on their own free will. The Hijab like back in history is still a statement to modern times. It means, I am soo beautiful, you don’t need to look at me, and my Muslim Brothers and Friends, Family, and If so, Husband Knows it. Asalaaam. Peace;)!

  • zaki

    the women in western is free as they want without an extent but islam gives for men and women extent to wich they are free, i love my wife, sister and mother that no man looks in way that harm me exactle this feeling is for those people who has a zeal we call that (غیرت) this word for muslims is very important even from thier soul, i dont know if western care about this,this is the causewich i have heared from from the news that in america evry day 7or 8 cases of rape and asault on women, ladies and girls happens.

  • Daddy’s girl

    The fact of the matter that the photographer is trying to portray is that, these women are not treated equally by men. They cannot vote, or voice there opinions. This is an imprisonment. Look up Women’s movements and maybe you’ll realize what the photographer is trying to say! Women can chose what to wear, it is there religion and I’m not saying that is wrong. What is wrong is that these women can not have the deciding factor on their lives.

  • A.A

    I am a muslim woman and i wear the (hejab) because i want to and because God -Allah- asked us to . I have the choice to wear the burqa or not and i dont. Islam ask us to cover our full body and we have the choice in covering the face and the hand. So the women who wear the burqa are wearing it by there own choice. In some countries there famlies make them weare but if you go there you will see that all the women do!! So a women who dont wear a burqa will feel diffrant than the others even she have the choice to wear it or not, she will wear it so she dont see herself as a diffrent femal among the othefs.

  • nadimul karim

    We should know that “HIJAB” is the forj for muslim woman as per Islam. If the woman wears the hijab ,they will be protected by Allah from all the unwanted hassle for woman & the world will be a peaceful place for every body.. So ,pls don’t misunderstand Islamic hukumat (Order).tks all.

  • Ghallia Kaouk

    I think this is ridiculous. Women are not oppressed in Islam. Maybe to Westernized standards, yes. But (if you’ve ever taken a Sociology course you’d know that) you cannot judge another culture using the values of your own. You have to step out of your biases and prejudices, and look at the culture from it’s perspective.

    It’s like this comic:

    Western culture seems to be obsessed with a very narrow ideal of feminine beauty, and women are derogated if they do not match this ideal. Many women spend hours each day picking just the right outfit and styling their makeup and hair to fit the unreachable definitions of beauty society has set. Any feminist will tell you this obsession with women’s beauty and sexuality is bad for women and should be ended. Modest dress, which is the definition of the hijab, is how Muslim woman tell people that they want to be judged her by their intelligence, personality, and character, not their appearance. It’s actually a powerful and beautiful statement. 🙂

  • Brian T

    In regards to the hi-jab being directly associated with the oppression of women in the Islamic world, In America, human rights are protected with the bill of rights which was passed in the birth of this nation. he First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of a national religion (meaning all religions can be practiced freely), impeding the free exercise of religion( No law can ever be passed to stop the practicing of a religion)-there is another amendment that can prohibit dangerous practices that can put the community in danger, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances. These are the fundamental rights every citizen has we have no right to say what is wore is wrong everyone has religious freedom. In regards to women I believe everyone should have the right to equality however across the world women are terrorized for not following others way. That is what i believe is meant by this article. There is no tolerance between Muslim differences and people are dying for it. I understand Western views are against Islamic fundamentals but were not forcing anyone to change. Religion is a free choice one makes. what makes mine or yours wrong? Nothing… I believe the root of this argument starts with the absence of education in many Muslim nations. In Pakistan only 3% of the national budget was spent on education in 2007 which at this point hopefully has increased. I am currently a male christian student in US and my 2 roommates are Muslim with Pakistani backgrounds and I guarantee they would agree. In my own personal opinion in regards to myself and my religion I believe in the Western ideal because we live harmoniously together without death. Not saying its perfect far from it but religious war is not existent in America. My school consists of Muslims who wear Hi-jab to Muslims that wear the average western attire to Christians and atheists. Come to the west before proclaiming such distorted comments with no personal experience with western culture.

    P.S. Don’t judge us off Miley Cyrus quite an embarrassment