Human Geography

Download Anti-Veiling Campaigns in the Muslim World: Gender, by Stephanie Cronin PDF

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By Stephanie Cronin

In contemporary years sour controversies have erupted throughout Europe and the center East approximately women’s veiling, and particularly their donning of the face-veil or niqab. but the deeper matters contained inside of those controversies – secularism as opposed to spiritual trust, person freedom as opposed to social or relatives coercion, id as opposed to integration – are usually not new yet are strikingly prefigured by means of previous conflicts. This ebook examines the state-sponsored anti-veiling campaigns which swept throughout huge swathes of the Muslim international within the interwar interval, in particular in Turkey and the Balkans, Iran, Afghanistan and the Soviet republics of the Caucasus and vital Asia. It exhibits how veiling was once formally discouraged and ridiculed as backward and, even though it was once not often banned, veiling was once politicized and become a rallying-point for a much broader competition. Asking a couple of questions about this previous anti-veiling discourse and the regulations flowing from it, and the reactions which it provoked, the ebook illuminates and contextualizes modern debates approximately gender, Islam and modernism.

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Extra info for Anti-Veiling Campaigns in the Muslim World: Gender, Modernism and the Politics of Dress

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As the case of France shows, owing to the presence in Europe of substantial immigrant Muslim communities, often possessing a new level of confidence and articulating a new opposition to Western foreign policy, and the rise of an Islamophobic far-Right, debates over veiling have taken on an unprecedented significance within European domestic politics. Both within the Muslim world and in Europe, polarized debates about the meaning of veiling may again be heard, these debates signifying, as in earlier periods, a much wider political and cultural clash.

33 In the colonial context, the adoption by Turkestani women of fuller forms of veiling appeared to serve as a mechanism of cultural and psychological defence against Russian hegemony. Yet, even here, purely indigenous considerations remained important. Khalid Adeeb, for example, sees the spread of fuller forms of veiling in late-nineteenth-century Central Asia rather as symptoms of what might be called ‘embourgeoisement’. 34 Although acting on their own initiative, women who introduced changes based on European fashions into their own dress were following the example of men, whose clothing and appearance had already undergone much more significant alteration.

By the early twentieth century a modernist gender discourse had taken shape and had immediately evoked a counter-discourse. The two sides often raised similar concerns and sometimes used similar methods of argument, although reaching diametrically opposed conclusions. Appeals to Islamic legitimacy, for example, were invoked by both those in favour of veiling and those opposed, both sides swapping verses from the Quran. On the one hand, it was asserted that the Shari‘a required women to veil. Islamic modernists, on the other hand, most notably the famous Egyptian Muhammad Abduh, refuted the view that Islamic legal texts demanded any particular form of face-veil.

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