Ranging from simple head scarf to full-body burqa, the veil is worn
by vast numbers of Muslim women around the world. What Is
explains one of the most visible, controversial, and
least understood emblems of Islam. Sahar Amer's evenhanded approach
is anchored in sharp cultural insight and rich historical context.
Addressing the significance of veiling in the religious, cultural,
political, and social lives of Muslims, past and present, she
examines the complex roles the practice has played in history,
religion, conservative and progressive perspectives, politics and
regionalism, society and economics, feminism, fashion, and art.
By highlighting the multiple meanings of veiling, the book
decisively shows that the realities of the practice cannot be
homogenized or oversimplified and extend well beyond the religious
and political accounts that are overwhelmingly proclaimed both
inside and outside Muslim-majority societies. Neither defending nor
criticizing the practice, What Is Veiling?
voices of Muslim women who struggle to be heard and who, veiled or
not, demand the right to live spiritual, personal, and public lives