Threats against Muslims, women especially, are causing more females to turn to their traditional veil covering – the headscarf or head veil, known as the hijab, or the full-face veil with eyeholes only, the niqab, customarily worn with the head-to-toe robe, known as the abaya.
The women wearing their identifiable dress are not following the mandate of their country however, they are a growing group of Muslim women in western countries – the UK especially – that are donning the customary garb as a visible indication of their faith.
A report from Reuters news service looked at this surging back-to-roots trend, writing that Muslim women living in Britain “have, for various reasons, chosen to adopt the headscarf to declare their faith to all around them, despite figures showing rising violence against visibly identifiable Muslims. For despite a common view that young Muslim women are forced to wear veils by men or their families, studies and interviews point to the opposite in Muslim minority countries where it is often the case that the women themselves choose to cover up.”
“I'm going to stand out whatever I do, so I might as well wear the headscarf,” said 18-year-old Sumreen Farooq, a London teen who volunteers at an Islamic youth center.
Out of Britain’s 63 million, less than five percent are Muslim. The report from Reuters interviewed a number of women who have chosen to wear their religious attire in public.
But anecdotally it seems in recent years that more young women are choosing to wear a headscarf to assert a Muslim identity they feel is under attack and to publicly display their beliefs. – Reuters
A female, Muslim writer with the Jakarta Globe in 2012 offered a different opinion, writing that she doesn’t wear the traditional veil or robe because of what she calls an “I’m-more-Muslim-than-you syndrome,” especially prevalent she says among Muslim men, who assume they know their faith better “just because my appearance doesn’t ‘represent’ Islam.”
I’m not against hijab — who knows that someday I might wear it? But it’s the harsh judgments on one’s personal choices of religious practices that have made me swallow aspirins now and then. I can’t agree if some Muslims force something into others, like it’s God’s unquestionable truth. Even Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) couldn’t force his beloved uncle to embrace Islam. Remember, something that’s forced will create nothing but hatred and antipathy. Do you realize that your silly hijab campaigns might be counter-productive and make non-hijabi women view hijab negatively? – Dian Kuswandini, Jakarta Globe
What’s your take? If you are a Muslim woman, do you wear the clothing that identifies you as one? Why or why not? Sound off below.