The Muslim Veil

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The Muslim Veil
The veil worn by many Muslim women tends to be a stereotyped piece of clothing. Many of us in the United States see it and automatically assume that the person is a terrorist, but what do we really know about the Muslim veil? Caryle Murphy, a writer for The Christian Science Monitor, thinks that we do not fully understand the complexity of the Muslim veil. In “Behind the Veil: Why Islam’s Most Visible Symbol Is Spreading,” Murphy writes that “Rarely in human history has a piece of cloth been assigned so many roles. Been embroiled in so much controversy. Been so misjudged, misunderstood, and manipulated” (1). We in the United States need to understand that the veil is a piece of cloth that has different meanings to different women in the Muslim world, rather than the single meaning we tend to ascribe to it. We must understand that although the veil can be used as a tool to oppress women in some cases, many women choose to wear the veil as a sign of faith and to express their freedom of religion. In the end, we must ask ourselves whether we would want to be treated the same way for our clothing choices and how much emphasis we should place on clothes at all.

First, we should understand that the Islamic veil is as varied as the different nationalities of the women who wear it, and that these women have many different attitudes toward the veil. Murphy explains that the veils vary from the simple head scarf, known as the hijab or hejab, which covers the hair and neck, to the burqa of Afghanistan, which covers the woman from head to toe (2). Murphy states that “most Muslim women, including most in the U.S., voluntarily opt to wear the head scarf out of religious commitment” and “reject suggestions that their head covering means they have less autonomy at home or on the job” (2). These Muslim women feel they are closer to Allah when wearing their veil and feel that they are showing pride in their faith. Although many women choose to wear the...
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