5 Hastings Race & Poverty L.J. 441 (2008)
The Legal Status of Hijab in the United States: A Look at the Sociopolitical Influences on the Legal Right to Wear the Muslim Headscarf

handle is hein.journals/hasrapo5 and id is 449 raw text is: 





  The Legal Status of Hijab in the United
      States: A Look at the Sociopolitical
Influences on the Legal Right to Wear the
                  Muslim Headscarf


                         ALIAH ABDO*



                         Introduction

    The hijab, the headscarf worn by many Muslim women, has
long been a topic of interest in the Western World, playing a part in
feminist, Orientalist, social, religious, and political discourse. It is
often misunderstood to be a symbol of oppression or a sign of
extremism, resulting in an idea that Muslim women need to be
liberated from hijab.1 Although such attention did not originate
with the events of September 11, 2001, in its aftermath, Islam and
manifestations of Islam, such as hijab, have been reexamined,
scrutinized, and further critiqued. This resulted from a combination
of fear fed by the media and political agendas, law enforcement
practices, social and political influences, cultural practices and
norms, and outright religious and cultural ignorance of Islam and
Muslims. This view falsely depicts the hijab-wearing woman as an
oppressed, weakened woman, stripped of her 'equal rights', forced
to 'veil' her sexuality, and mandated as inferior by the tenets of
Islamic principle.2 Despite the fact that this view is a severely
flawed and false reflection of Islamic principles, it has made the
hijab an easy target for post-9/11 backlash and is often used to
advance political agendas and facilitate and justify discrimination.

   * J.D., University of California, Hastings College of the Law, 2008; B.A., University of
California Berkeley, 2003. I would like to thank Azzam Abdo, Pearl Abdo, Hillary
Baker, Nell Clement, Lisl Duncan, Lois Schwartz, Nazish Ekram, Mahin Ibrahim, and
Fatima Abdo for their help and support in this process.
   1. Shazia N. Nagamia, Islamic Feminism: Unveiling the Western Stigma, 11 BuFF.
WOMEN'S L.J. 37, 37 (2002).
   2. Id.


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