• Maryam Isa-Haslett


1. Woman are not forced to wear hijabs

Some women choose to wear the hijab because it is a national tradition of their country of origin, or because it is norm in their local area, city or country. Others wear it to demonstrate their commitment to dressing modestly and for religious reasons. Like any item of clothing, some women wear the hijab for specific occasions, such as for family or community events, or during times of day but take it off at other times such as such as wearing the hijab to and from work but taking it off while working. A small minority may claim to be forced to wear the hijab. However according to many studies shows that Muslim women choose to wear the hijab as a way of showing self-control, power and agency.

2. You are not sexually oppressed

Many hijab wearers have said that they wear the veil not as a symbol of control by a man, rather to promote their feminist ideals. Many Muslim Women, wearing a hijab offers a way for them to take control of their bodies and to claims a stance that challenges the ways in which women are marginalised by men. For young Muslim women, research shows that wearing a hijab says a little about the likelihood of them having a boyfriend or participating in a sexual relationship. Indeed, some of these young Muslim women have said they would wear the hijab to give them more space to engage in such activities.

3. You are not more likely to be linked with terrorism

There has been negative coverage of Muslim communities since the 9/11 and 7/7 bombing, and ofcourse alongside government counter -terrorism policies in many western countries, has further demonised Muslims. Also, according to research by the British shows that government policies have resulted in Muslims receiving unjustified attention in airport clearance security, have shown creating extra tension and divisions. For some of the hijab wearers, the hatred towards Muslims communities forced them to stop wearing the veils after the terrorist incidents to minimise the chance of them experiencing racism. However, at the same time others started to wear the hijabs to show their commitment to their religious faith. The hijab therefore cannot be a fixed symbol but is a far more flexible and changeable and certainly cannot be deemed a marker of the perceived acts of terrorism.

4. Its not a west versus rest division

There are many different styles, colours, shapes of hijabs including different ways of wearing it. There is also a rising transnational Muslim fashion trade focusing particularly on younger women. In many respects, the hijab is like any other item of clothing with business marketing styles and brands to maximise sales. This global fashion trade transcends national and regional boundaries. It is about maximising the market rather than reinforcing divisions between the west and the Muslim “rest”. Rather than asking why a woman is wearing a hijab to reinforce difference, we should ask what high street store or online store she purchased her clothing from and what attracted her to this brand. For some wearers, this is far more pertinent and telling of their personality.

5. The hijab is not something to be feared

According to the report of anti- Muslim abuse of England, 75% of women who were visibly Muslim and more likely wearing some form of head covering are victims. Women were also more likely than men to suffer anti- Muslim attacks in certain public places, most of the perpetrators in these incidents were non-Muslim or white men, motivated by stereotypes. So rather than being feared, it’s more likely that women wearing hijabs might fear others. Muslim women wear the hijab for many different reasons all of which can change over time. This applies if the wearer is a community activist, a mother of young children or some or if not all. Any assumption that society attaches to the veil will never be right for each individual wearer, and it is for that very reason that we need to start changing the way we view it.

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