Misconception #6: Salafi women are forced to wear niqabs (face veils).
Coerced veiling undoubtedly occurs in many societies, but I could not find a single case among the Salafi women I interviewed in Britain. I did, however, encounter many cases where women’s families tried to force them — sometimes threatening violence — to discard their veils and gowns, which they saw as ‘extremist’ or “the culture of the Arabs.” A few young women confessed to having actually concealed their niqab-wearing from relatives, wearing the veil only when at a safe distance from the family home.
Anabel Inge completed her PhD at the Department of Theology and Religious Studies, King’s College London, where she won the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Doctoral Award and Walton Scholarship. She has taught courses on Islam and the Anthropology of Religion at SOAS (University of London) and King’s College London. She is the author of The Making of a Salafi Muslim Woman: Paths to Conversion (OUP, 2016). A version of this article originally appeared on the Oxford University Press blog.