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Islamic charity trustee compares women without hijabs to ‘unwrapped sweets, Telegraph, 12 May 2024

Islamic charity trustee compares women without hijabs to ‘unwrapped sweets, Telegraph, 12 May 2024

A NEWLY registered Islamic charity has compared women who do not cover their heads to “unwrapped sweets”, in comments condemned as misogynistic and offensive.

A leading figure of the One True Message Foundation (OTMF) was filmed giving a street talk in which he appeared to contrast the “purity” of women who wear the hijab with those who do not.

In the OTMF video, shared on X, TikTok and YouTube titled Hijab vs Non-Hijab? Faisel Qarni, a trustee of the west-London based charity, said: “I have two sweets, yeah, one I open the wrapper and I throw it on the floor, yeah, and I tread on it a little bit. The other one I leave in the wrapper and I throw it on the floor and I tread on it.

“One’s in the wrapper, one’s not. I pick both of them up and I say take one. Which one are you going to choose? Case closed.”

He makes the comments after telling a teenage girl that a woman who was repeatedly propositioned and sexually harassed on a New York street while wearing a T-shirt and leggings was left alone when she wore a hijab at the same spot. Mr Qarni’s comments have been described by critics as “deeply misogynistic” for appearing to suggest that women who do not wear the hijab are somehow “sullied” and that victims of abuse are to blame for their treatment.

After the OTMF was approached by The Telegraph over the contents of the video, it was removed from public viewing and marked as “private” on YouTube.

The OTMF, based in Feltham, registered with the Charity Commission earlier this year under the charitable purpose of “the advancement of religion”. The National Secular Society (NSS) and other campaigners have called for the charitable status of the OTMF to be revoked in light of the hijab video. Alejandro Sanchez, an NSS campaigns officer, told The Telegraph: “This deeply misogynistic video suggests women who do not wear the hijab are somehow sullied as they go about public life. Legislators should now urgently reconsider ‘the advancement of religion’ as a charitable purpose.”

Maryam Namazie, a spokesman for the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain and One Law for All, said: “An OTMF video says if women dressed ‘modestly’, they wouldn’t be raped or sexually assaulted. This is exactly why modesty culture is the extension of rape culture. It always blames the victim, never the perpetrator. Under the guise of promoting religion, Islamic ‘charities’ like OTMF continue to promote Islamist values, like Sharia rules, including on amputation and the imposition of the veil and sex segregation on women and girls. When will the Charities Commission and Government … stop enabling religious fundamentalists in their efforts to deny universal rights and normalise misogyny?”

Mr Qarni refused to comment when approached by The Telegraph. OTMF denies its views are misogynistic or anti-Semitic. A spokesman for the charity said: “The analogy of women not wearing hijab was not made to degrade women but to highlight the safety fears that many women have documented and reported.”

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