SANA’A: Local residents in Aden told Bikyamasr.com that al-Qaeda militants in the region were now targeting unveiled women: harassing them, and at least one instance, physically abusing them as they are trying to enforce the full face veil.
Although the Qur’an only specifies that a woman should cover her hair, neck and ears, Ansar al-Sharia chose to understand this somewhat differently, arguing that since the wives of the prophet were covered, so should all Muslim women.
What the militants don’t mention, or don’t know, is that as with everything in Islam it is very much up to the individual to choose their path – as religion cannot be imposed by force.
Although Yemenis are considered traditional when it comes to Islam, and fiercely defensive of their faith and practice, the vast majority of southerners have said to be outraged by the recent spate of harassment.
“How can they dare attacks girls and women who do not wear the veil? It is a personal choice, which should not be imposed on anyone,” said Anessa Abdelaalem a school teacher in Aden.
According to reports from the local authorities several girls were sprayed with acid on their face by Ansar al-Sharia, for they refused to bow to their demands.
If only a few months ago, Yemenis did not feel threatened by al-Qaeda, assuming that the armed forces would end up crushing their advances, an insidious fear is slowly chocking Yemen as the dark cloud of extremism is gaining against the light.
Rumor has it there have been acid attacks, as well. However, according to one source, those attacks are merely rumors. Perhaps to intimidate women into conforming, or staying at home, which is what they seem to think women do best.
Who knew there were unveiled women in Yemen?