Thursday, May 11, 2006


The concept of Hijab has been discussed in almost all of related Muslim and Non- Muslim discourses. The word "Hijab" is often used to refer to a form of headscarf which is worn by practicing Muslim' women.
There are two different approaches to Hijab among Muslims themselves, Hijab as a choice, and an imposed Hijab. These two approaches have risen from the different cultural, political, social and historical backgrounds of Muslim societies. Hijab has been dealt with in different ways by different societies/governments:
1. Mandatory Hijab
In some Muslim countries such as Saudi Arabia or Iran women have no choice but to cover their heads. In some cases police arrest and even beat women who do not have a proper Hijab.
2. Free choice of Hijab
Egyptian government has declared secularism; Islam remains the most potent force in private and public life. However, in Egypt still Hijab is more or less a matter of choice.
3. Banning of Hijab
The opposite pressure in Turkey or Tunisia banned Hijab from public schools and offices. Shahin case in the European Court of Human Rights shows how right to manifestation of religion can limit enjoyment of other rights such as right to education for the Muslim-woman in Turkey.
However, the outcomes of these approaches are different in the Muslim societies. In Iran, for instance, the public outcry and political debate is the very personal nature of each woman's decision to cover, or bare, her head. Many of Iranian Muslim feminists believe that Hijab should be practiced as a free choice. The general Quranic principle, which declares that “There should not be any force in religion especially Islam”, is supporting free choice of Hijab.


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