The debate raging across Europe and in America concerning the impact of the acceptance of millions of Muslim immigrants into Western society is often seen in broad terms, such as whether the two cultures can live in harmony, but the question became personal for a teenaged girl in Missouri recently.

Youssif Z. Omar, 53, was arrested by Columbia, Missouri police after they received a call about suspected child abuse from a staff member Hickman High School.

Police Officer Latisha Stroer said Omar was seen with a 14-year-old girl, a student at the high school, grabbing her by the hair violently, slapping her, pulling her down a flight of stairs and out of the school building.

Omar reportedly became infuriated when he spotted the girl, who he said is a family member, without a hijab, the traditional head covering scarf worn by many female Muslim women beginning in adolescence.

The scarf is considered a sign of modesty and the requirement to wear it in public is enforced by the government in many Muslim countries, as well as informally coerced by male family members and militant males.

Failure to wear the hijab can be punishable by beatings and even execution. There have been instances where women without scarfs in public have had acid thrown in their faces by militants.

As Muslims immigrate to Europe and America, the custom is one of the most visible symbols of their reluctance to assimilate into their new, Western culture. It is also seen as a symbol of the oppression of women and girls that is antithetical to modern Western culture.

Many Muslim immigrants adamantly refuse to “become Westernized,” as they see it and enforce traditional customs with vigor, demanding that their customs be accommodated in their new home.

The outward show of the cultural beliefs of new Muslims underscores a continuing resistance to assimilate and breed an “us versus them” atmosphere that seeks to create parallel, segregated societies.

In the meantime, Muslims like Youssif Omar will have to answer in court for the physical abuse of females when brought before American judges and juries in American courtrooms.



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