Hijabistas: essential readings for burkini haters

Little sociocultural parenthesis.

You know how it was all about burkini bans and related controversies this past summer. Now, sure- burkas and hijabs are different things, but I think non-informed non-Muslims such as the majority of Europeans (just to make an example) need to start this conversation somewhere, to break the ice and maybe at least understand how much they don’t know about the topic. And it’s alright not to know, we can’t all know everything about everything – but I believe it’s really important not to judge what we don’t know.

Let me quiz you first: what’s the difference between a hijab and a niqab? Do all Muslim women cover their hair? Are they happy to do it? What is the purpose of a headscarf? What’s a chador and what’s a burka? Is there any parallel with Christian nuns and their veil? […]

If you’re not sure about some of the answers, I encourage you to go do some research, just like I did when, by looking around me and talking to people, I realised I was a little confused. And then, if you’re interested in fashion and ready to be inspired, I recommend reading these two articles:

(1) Sweden’s hijabista: selling Muslim fashion is an Al-Jazeera article from last year about Swedish fashion designer Iman Aldebe and her modest fashion revolution, where “modest” isn’t the opposite of “ambitious” but rather a lifestyle choice that I truly respect and admire and feel increasingly drawn to, at least ideologically.

I use fashion as a tool to eliminate prejudices against Muslims … I want to challenge the image of the oppressed Muslim woman in the West who voluntarily isolates herself from society. … I tried to make a difference in society by coming up with solutions instead of letting society dictate what you can and can’t do.

(2) Hijabistas: young Muslim women meld fashion and faith is a super recent CNN Style piece which explores the fashion choices of three head-scarfed social media stars through the eyes of a photographer. Don’t ask me why everybody is Swedish here too – I guess Sweden is more progressive than other places!

They really combine their faith and culture with Muslim values in a very organic way, which feels important to show these days where the image of Islam is very dark and people are very afraid of Muslims,” Berge said.

This is the tip of the iceberg, yes. It is certainly also the tip of many more things I’ll want to say on the topic in the future, as I gather more first-hand experience. But isn’t it from the tip that you get to the bottom of underwater things? 😉

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