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Sunday, January 29, 2012

British Museum lifts veil on Muslim ritual | London Free Press

 Oh veils and Muslim rituals. I get it. No, yeah, I do. As a Muslima, should I decide to go to the hajj I would need a 'guardian' (ok got that 'covered'). Evelyn Cobbold was not required a formal signed declaration that she was a Muslim. Unlike today's regulations in the KSA, she was not required to appear in the company of a 'guardian'. Surprisingly, she does not appear in the photograph covered head to toe in black. She was 65 when she embraced Islam.

   "Among the individual tales told is that of Evelyn Cobbold, who wrote that she was the first European woman to take part in the haj. Although never formally converted to Islam, she had long considered herself a Muslim and was granted permission to go on the pilgrimage in 1933".

She stands not behind the men.

   "Lady Evelyn Cobbold, daughter of the 7th Earl of Dunmore, embraced Islam at the age of 65 and in the following year, 1933, achieved celebrity when she performed the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, being the first British woman to do so".

   "From the ‘Highlands to the Hajj’ is a celebratory look at the life of this extraordinary individual who transcended social norms, not only as a fiercely independent woman, but also as a proud convert to Islam. Although by no means unique in her conversion or as an avid traveller, Lady Cobbold’s achievements nonetheless remain significant and worthy of attention".

British Museum lifts veil on Muslim ritual | Comment | London Free Press

   "Another Briton who earned considerable fame for his involvement in the haj was Richard Francis Burton, a 19th-century soldier and explorer who disguised himself as an Afghan doctor and Sufi dervish to avoid detection.

(Hahaha no way!)

   "He joined an Egyptian caravan to Mecca in 1853 and, despite several close scrapes, returned unscathed and wrote an account of his adventures in A Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to Al-Medinah and Meccah".

O Issue Large-Plus: There is something so British about this - the privilege, methinks. Privilege can and usually is so much fun for the privileged. Sneaky guy sneaks into the Kaaba and returns unscathed! But Evelyn? I bet she drove a motorcar in the land where women cannot by law, drive a car.


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