USA Today—Since the election of President Donald Trump, the debate around Islamic dress has taken a new turn: The hijab has emerged as a symbol of resistance to Islamophobia amid policies from the Trump administration targeting Muslim immigrants.
Scores of non-Muslims have donned hijabs to express solidarity with Muslim women, too, though some criticized the move, arguing that the garment represents oppression of women.
The Federalist—The hijab and other head and body covering for women waxed and waned during the twentieth and thus far in the twenty-first century depending on the level of cultural secularization in the Arab world. In other words, when Muslim piety grew, even in minor pockets, the enforcement grew, and head and body covering grew as a result. In Iran today it is illegal for any woman (native or visitor) to be in public without a head covering.
For some Middle Eastern Christians, Muslim head and body covering in the West has become a trigger that reminds them of their life in the Arab world under an Islamic government. Those memories bring back all the harassment, prejudice, and discrimination they experienced. It sometimes even brings back bitterness that they had to leave their homeland because of the inhospitable environment. Even if in some places head and body covering wasn’t enforced on Christian women, the practice is tied to Islam, which in turn is tied to the state.
Like other religions, the clothing and covering aspect of Islam is an outward manifestation of the theology—only, unlike in other religions, it is not separated from the laws of the state. In other words, the politics or culture of some countries force their girls and women to wear the hijab or niqab, but that compulsion is not intrinsic to the religion.
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