While women across the world will celebrate International Women’s Day on Friday with a nod to the achievements made by the women’s movement and a reminder of the work yet to be done, many Muslim women in the United States gripe about the excessive attention the media has been paying to what they call “behind the veil” stories. A member of Women for Afghan Women (WAW) responds to a question about the traditional Afghan burqa: “I told him that as a group we have unanimously decided that we just don’t want to talk about the burqa. But when it is brought up – usually by American women – we explain that it is not an issue for Afghan women. The issue is war, disease, hunger, famine and the Afghan women in our group do not want to talk about the veil or make it the focus of our work.” So now that this information is pointed out, let’s have a look at an ABC News report examining the pervasive influence of this garment, manifested in the many interpretations of hijab across the Muslim world.
Shahed Amanullah is editor-in-chief of altmuslim.com.