Travel blogger Nas Daily on Sunday blocked his popular Facebook page in the Maldives out of fear for the safety of a local girl who appeared in his latest video and expressed her wish to take off the hijab.
Called X to protect her identity, the video shows the 24-year-old speak with her face covered about facing societal pressure to wear the burqa with all her classmates when she was 13 years old.
“Over time, she grew tired of always having to cover her extremely long hair, especially on an island that is always hot and humid,” Nuseir ‘Nas’ Yassin narrates, observing that she was free to date or divorce but would face trouble if she were to take off the hijab.
The one-minute video sparked a backlash when it was uploaded early Sunday, prompting the Israeli-Palestinian vlogger to make it inaccessible in the Maldives.
“I blocked it myself for the safety of the person involved. I didn’t want this video to cause her pain. She’s very brave!” Nas told the Maldives Independent.
“I’m Muslim too and I understand this. The video was done in the most respectful way possible. My entire family wears hijab and I have no problem with it. But we should let those that don’t want to wear..not wear it. It’s their choice. In the spirit of Ramadan, we should respect other humans and their choice to live.”
Nas told followers on Whatsapp that he will unblock the page in a week.
Many Maldivians assumed it was blocked by the authorities as Mihaaru and Avas reported criticism of the video.
Both media outlets identified the girl’s home island.
A source from the island told the Maldives Independent that she has been facing harassment online after the island community found out it was her in the video.
She has since left the small island.
Nas was welcomed when he arrived in the Maldives last week and his video highlighting the dangers of climate change received a positive response.
On Friday, he took selfies with fans at the Republic Square in the capital.
But the reaction to the burqa video was less kind. Siru Arts, a Facebook page opposed to secularism, called on the government to kick Nas out of the country. It later identified the girl and posted photos of her.
“A western propaganda puppet just like Malala is here in Maldives who is called Nas. In the name of love and peace he is spreading wrong message to our community and the whole world. Maldives should deport this idiot. Sad to see some youths are after him. No wonder why America gave him citizenship,” Ismail Shah, a video journalist at VTV, wrote on Facebook.
Others criticised the harsh reaction as symptomatic of growing intolerance and stressed a woman’s right to choose whether to wear the veil.
Hi Nas Daily, 🙋🏾I am a 23 year old Muslim from Maldives. Just wanted to let you know that there is no law in…
1- Our community is toxic towards women taking off their hijab
2- Nas blocked the page in Maldives himself
3- Media should stop trying to identify the girl, risking her life
4- We need to be become less judgemental & more acceptinghttps://t.co/dBuPKqI1Hvhttps://t.co/0RCFp3o54V
— Ib Nawaf 🎈 (@ib_nawaf) May 20, 2018
So I don’t get it, is this how you instigate conversation? If you block the audience that’s supposed to get the message, how’re you going to continue the conversation?? https://t.co/phB5t3Vbec
— Mariyam Shafa Rameez (@ShafaRameez) May 20, 2018
I really like the comments they posted in the article. "Nothing is forced in Islam." "She can take it off if she wants". "Why not show someone who wore it willingly". If taking it off is easy, then why all this anger?
— blob🎈❔🏴 (@Mordisian) May 20, 2018
All the revenge porn, slander and copyright violations under the sun up on Facebook but the second some chick threatens to take off her hijab
I hope you realise how bad that looks, guys.
— Naail 🎈 (@kudanai) May 20, 2018
— BattleMyst (@AzMyst) May 20, 2018
Why are you all so bummed over a video of a girl who wants to take her hijab off, aren't you supposed to stay away from unnecessary arguments and behaviours while you are fasting ? Can't even do that and y'all judging her because she wants to take her hijab off. Brilliant!
— Aminath Dhunya (@Dhunnz) May 20, 2018
I honestly don't see what the big deal is about this video. She's saying she feels like she will be judged for taking it off, which I know she would be. The only controversy here is the truth.
We can't have that, can we? https://t.co/lvCVZKsKkb
— Executive Hobo 🎈 (@legacyofpain) May 20, 2018
It’s especially interesting when you consider that mostly Maldivian women used to dress only their beautiful hedhuns just 20years back.Hardly any signs of hijab, moonu buruga pre-Tsunami.The millennial generation must perceive the image of the Maldivian woman completely different pic.twitter.com/84yGht69Bb
— Lifeisprecious 🎈 🇲🇻🇦🇺🇺🇸 (@b_kind21another) May 20, 2018
Surely wearing a hijab can’t be like Hotel California? A woman can and should be able to checkout and leave if/when they wish.
“Surat al-Baqara, verse 256: There is no compulsion in religion.” So how can a mere head veil be larger than Islam itself? https://t.co/GFLghxwCkt
— Hawwa Shakeela (@HawwaShakeela) May 20, 2018
Heres a Tedtalk that addresses the quran, the hijab and concludes that "the hijab is a misogynistic fantasy". She goes on to back it up so well that I feel as if I can never take a religious scholar for his word again. https://t.co/HXhQpOzmfi
— Faafa🎈 (@psychofart) May 20, 2018