20 May 2011

An incisive history of the hijab reveals surprising shifts

.... Over the next decades, the veil gathered a range of new meanings: from an expression of personal faith, solidarity with Palestine, Chechnya or Iraq or allegiance to the ummah, to a safeguard against sexual harassment, a fashion statement, a critique of western "sexism", a call for minority rights, an evangelical tool.

Ahmed does not romanticise these rationales – she is clear about the growing pressure on women from both Islamist organisations and preachers and from families, peers and the media.

But A Quiet Revolution is a timely reminder that the veil today is a symptom less of an alien fanaticism than of a long political and cultural entanglement with the unveiled west. [guardian.co.uk] Read more