Dossier: The Headscarf Controversy

Two Muslim students in headscarves in the audience at a public event at a university. Photo: dpa

France's burka ban

Excluding the wrong people

We shouldn't be arguing about burkas: we should be abolishing the headscarf bans. They ostracise women who could be building bridges, comments Ursula RüssmannMore

Fully-veiled woman in a Paris station. Photo: Getty Images

Human rights court upholds burka ban in France

An unfortunate ruling

Does the burka ban supported by the European Court of Human Rights help oppressed women? No, says Heribert Prantl: it's more likely to breed resentmentMore

Abdullah Hamidaddin wearing his daughter's abaya (photo: Abdullah Hamidaddin)

The hijab

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Power and the headscarf

Abdullah Hamidaddin, a writer and commentator on religion and the Middle East, wore his daughter's hijab to remind people that the hijab was originally an expression of power, and to point out that if women had ruled, things might have been very differentMore

Participants of the World Muslimah 2013 beauty pageant pose for photographs during a training session in Subang, West Java, Indonesia, 12 September 2013 (photo: dpa)

Muslims in Liberal Democracies

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Why the West Fears Islam

Harvard professor and Islam expert Jocelyne Cesari looks into the mechanisms of the West's fear of Islam, and ponders on how the dominant narrative that tends to present Islam as an alien religion can be counteredMore

A Muslim family in Switzerland, the woman wearing a niqab, a full face veil (photo: imago/Geisser)

Essay by Sara Silvestri

Britain Does Not Need a French-style Burqa Ban

In her essay, Sara Silvestri argues that an overarching ban for burqas and niqabs in Britain would be more dangerous than beneficial for public interest and for the cohesion of society. The debate about the issue, however, is necessary and beneficialMore

Muslim women attending an event at the University of Münster (Photo: Rolf Vennenbernd/dpa)

Muslim Women and Integration

Oppressed in the Name of Islam?

The majority of Germans regard Islam as misogynist. No other issue in the public debate on integration has evoked such bitter controversy among Germans. Nonetheless, the image of the "oppressed woman" does not correspond to the real life situation of most Muslim women. By Claudia MendeMore

Femen campaign 'Topless Jihad Day' (photo: picture-alliance/abaca)

Women Muslims Outraged by Femen Action

Exposing Misunderstandings

With their "Topless Jihad Day", Femen activists wanted to demonstrate for the rights of Muslim women. The problem is that Muslim women see no need for protest. "Nudity does not free us" was their answer in an online campaign. Femen activists, in turn, diagnose Muslim women as suffering from Stockholm syndrome. By Nadia PantelMore

A veiled Moroccan woman talks with her daughter in the streets of Essaouira, Morocco (photo: AP)

Journalists with Headscarves in Morocco

Kept under Cover

As in many other Muslim countries, increasing numbers of women in Morocco are entering the labour market. Among these women, there are many who wear headscarves. However, there would appear to be an unwritten rule in Moroccan radio and television that women in headscarves should not be employed in these media. Siham Ouchtou reportsMore

A woman wearing Burqa walking in front of 'freedom' graffiti (photo: AP)

Feminism, Colonialism and Islamophobia

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Treacherous Sympathy with Muslim Women

Ever since the attacks of 9/11, feminists in the West have increasingly used the theme of the oppression of women in Islam as justification for war and domination. This strategy of using this rhetoric of "saving the women" in the name of "civilization" is an old ploy used many times in the past by Western imperialists, writes Leila AhmedMore

Women wearing burqas, Afghanistan (photo: AP)

Who Is Hidden beneath the Burqa?

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An Appeal to the West

Sahar Khalifeh is considered one of the most prominent Palestinian writers. In this essay, she argues that Western imperialism is indirectly responsible for the return of mandatory veiling for women in the Islamic worldMore

Cover of 'Lyrics Alley' (source: publisher)

Oriental Clichés in Literary Publishing

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A Dalek in a Burqa

No matter what the content of the book – covers of Arab female authors's published in Europe and the US will always be graced with a veiled woman. In this article, Jordania-British author Fadia Faqir relates her experiences and curious findingsMore

Two women wearing the headscarf (source: Inside Indonesia)

Women and Islam in Indonesia

Reformers, Resisters and Devotees

Women's agency is central to all aspects of Islamic life in Indonesia, yet female Muslim activists face opposition from fundamentalist exegetes. In her article says Susan Blackburn shows the diverse female faces of Indonesian IslamMore

The German Islam Scholar Lamya Kaddor

The German Islam Scholar Lamya Kaddor

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Why I as a Muslim Woman Don't Wear a Headscarf

Does the Koran really demand that women wear headscarves? Or is it mainly older men who claim they can decide how women should dress – with no theological foundation whatsoever? For the Islam scholar Lamya Kaddor, there is no question about it: the headscarf is obsoleteMore

Three women with headscarf (photo: dpa)

Islam and Democracy in Turkey

A Headscarf Affair, a Women's Affair?

In Turkey, the recent parliamentary vote put an end to the headscarf ban, but not to the public controversy that has severely divided and deeply polarized Turkish society since the post-1980 period. Nilüfer Göle assesses the situationMore