Muslim feminists reclaim the hijab to fight the patriarchy

BY PINA SADAR, The Conversation

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Terrorism, oppression, fundamentalism and victimhood are only a few of the buzzwords that inevitably accompany discussions about Islamic headgear. From burqa-bans to atrocities against women in some Islamic countries, the veil is frequently framed as a piece of cloth imposed on an individual by her religion and culture.

But beyond the oft-peddled static images of oppressed and depressed Muslim women, the reality is far more dynamic. In multicultural Britain in particular, women of all ages, ethnicities and economic backgrounds purposefully don the hijab. Many see it as an important element of a modern Muslim female identity.

Although the hijab essentially conveys deeply religious sentiments, its meanings stretch beyond spirituality. Influenced by political and social changes, the Islamic headscarf reflects the eclectic lifestyles and the beliefs of women who embrace it. Some wear it to reaffirm their ethnic belonging and others to manifest their disagreement with British military interventions in Muslim countries.

While many think connecting Islam with feminism is an impossible contradiction, a generation of young British Muslim women feels a strong need to promote its rights in public. These women want to dismantle patriarchy in Islam and beyond. And they want to wear a headscarf while they do it.

Click here to read the article at The Conversation.

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