Essay about The Muslim Veil

1222 Words Feb 21st, 2012 5 Pages
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 …show more content…
Murphy tells us that “there is family pressure from fathers, husbands, or brothers who want their female relatives to be seen by society as a ‘good girl’ or ‘good woman’” (2). A growing number of female Muslim scholars believe this is due to the fact that most interpretations of the Koran have been done by men. Murphy quotes Asma Barlas, a scholar of the Koran, who says that “‘historically only male scholars have read the Koran…always within patriarchies’” (3). Just as interpretations of the Koran differ, not all Muslim countries agree that women must veil themselves. Murphy refers to a recent petition by conservatives in Kuwait to bar two elected women from the National Assembly because they do not wear a head scarf. Kuwait’s highest court ruled in the women’s favor, stating that the “constitution guarantees gender equality and freedom of choice in religion” (3). Because the values Kuwait’s court upheld are so similar to Western values, it would seem that Westerners might champion a woman’s decision to wear a veil as a matter of freedom of religion. However, this has not always been the case. In fact, some Western countries see danger in the veil rather than a woman exercising her freedom of religious choice.
The danger some Western countries see in the veil has to do with concerns about security in public places, but also reflects cultural insecurity on the part of some Westerners. The veil is thought to be

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