As part of our effort to create a “Muslim village” environment, the MYC Board advocates a holistic approach to modesty, with attention to behavior and speech more than any particular dress for MYC campers during the week. Because we welcome a diversity of Muslims to attend the camp, we have created general dress guidelines for both men and women that we believe represent a moderate cross-section of the common beliefs and practices of Muslims in America today. More specifically, we request all campers to dress with loose clothing that is not sexually-provocative or displays inappropriate language or graphics. Men and boys’ shorts should reach at least the knees. For women and post-pubescent girls, we request that they bring a scarf or other headcovering for use during prayer. Headcovering is not required, but is welcome, at all other times. It is important for MYC campers to remember that modesty is an attribute that comes from within. One should not expect that one’s choice in clothing can successfully operate as a cover for immodest behavior, and vice versa.
There are, of course, many interpretations of what “modesty” means. We have set the above guidelines primarily for reasons of MYC policy – our primary purpose being to serve our collective good. They should not be taken to represent any particular choice of fiqh (legal doctrinal) position on the issue. Our overall goal is to allow and encourage individual MYC campers to study and explore what an Islamic standard of modesty means for themselves, including action and speech. Our dress policy will inevitably be both more and less restrictive than the dress individual MYC campers are accustomed to in their own daily life. We ask campers to do their best to respect the camp guidelines in the positive and inclusive spirit with which they were adopted.
As with all other issues at MYC, open, honest, and respectful discussion of the question of Muslim dress is welcome, both at the individual and group levels, even as it differs from the policy guidelines chosen by MYC. The week of camp is an opportunity to experiment with one’s dress in the safe and unique context of an American Muslim population living in retreat from the outside world, and dedicating a full week to building our Islamic knowledge and identity.
Posted in: 7. Kids’ Questions