The Hijab is the outer cloak worn by a Muslim woman to cover her hair. The general perception of the hijab throughout the western world is that the hijab symbolizes a woman who is oppressed and without a voice and needs liberation. This is one perception and is often misguided and based on misconceptions that hide and distort the truth behind the hijab. The preconceived notion that all Muslim women who wear the hijab are oppressed is highly problematic. First, it ignores the large number of Muslim women who wear the hijab on their own terms and second it uses a piece of a garment as an indicator to figure out which women are oppressed and which are not. The Hijab is at a basic level an outward expression of a Muslim woman’s inner belief. The hijab may in reality be a symbol of liberation for Muslim women as it is their personal choice to wear it. The view of the Hijab being a tool of oppression among western civilizations has been challenged by Muslim women of all ages and backgrounds through adopting the Hijab and defending their right to wear the Hijab. Often in the face of criticism by many political figures in attempting to ban the wearing of headscarfs at school for example, as seen recently in France. Many women argued that far from being a tool of oppression they saw the hijab as a tool of liberation. Too often, the image of a covered woman is used to represent what much of the western world views as oppressive. Her very existence is described in terms that convey ignorance and unhappiness. Words like “beaten down,” “repressed” and “oppressed” are used by the Western media in an attempt to convince the readers that women in Islam have no rights and are relegated to second class citizens. Descriptive and intrinsically oppressive terms such as “shrouded” and “shackled” are used to portray an image of women who have no autonomy and who are the slaves or possessions of their husbands and fathers. It is claimed that over 1400 years ago, Islam...
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