I feel I can learn much about a person by looking at them. If a woman is wearing a hijab it is harder to learn about her - some of her is hidden.Sansa Morse, Tucson, Arizona
In all cultures women (and men) cover certain parts of their body. The dress we choose is a personal statement about ourselves and sometimes the degree of our sexuality. But from culture to culture and within cultures there are differences about what parts of the body are 'sexual' and degrees of sexuality attached to those parts. In some societies women with bare breasts in public is culturally acceptable, in many other cultures this would be harshly judged in moral terms. In many Muslim countries, including Egypt, uncovering the head is judged, maybe like a woman wearing a short skirt might be morally judged in the West. It seems wise not to apply our own culturally-bound judgments to women in distant, different cultures, or at least to reserve judgment till we better understand.
I have mixed feelings about hijab:My own religion requires that I dress modestly, so I can understand hijab from that perspective. When I worked in Somalia, I was required to wear hijab and that made me very uncomfortable, because I felt that another religious identity was being imposed on me. Women who don't wear hijab are often blamed for men's bad behavior. For example, I have been told that if a man is agressive or disrespectful with me, then it is my fault because I don't wear hijab. Why shouldn't men be responsible for their own behavior?Alison
I think that hijab can be a good thing as long as it is the woman's choice in the expression of her religious beliefs, or her desire for modesty or privacy. I agree with Alison that not under any circumstances should men be justified in harrassing women simply because they are not wearing hijab.I find the niqab distasteful -- it seems to indicate a level of distrust that is provacative -- honestly, my reaction is hostility. Maybe that is partly because I have never known anyone who has used one; I have had several friends who wore hijab.And the buqra is simply depressing. I have worn one briefly and I simply can't imagine how women wear them for any length of time. Tara BatesMonterey, CA
I believe the hijab displays the amount of dedication the woman has to her religion. For many Westerners and myself, I think that it would be difficult to have this dedication on a daily bases. It is hard to imagine wearing a hijab. For me, I might be worried about what other people are saying about me for wearing it, but obviously Muslim women that wear a hijab are so spiritual that it doesn't bother them. Often times, many people say that they are religious, but only consider themselves to be because they go to church. They neglect to practice their religion everyday. So, when I see a woman wearing a hijab it makes me realize how dedicated and respectful she is to her belief. Danielle LehrkampGreeley, CO
I believe that women who wear a hijab show their dedication to their religion. It doesn't matter to them what people are saying. It is hard to imagine myself wearing a hijab for the sole reason that I would feel extremely awkward. I would feel like everyone was talking about me and staring. Often times, people say that they are religious because they attend church every week. However, they fail to incorporate religion in the daily lives. Women that wear a hijab are continuously incorporating religion into their life. They do not care what people are saying about them, but feel they are doing what is right in regards to their religion. This shows their devotion and spiritual dedication to their beliefs that not many people in the western world have. Danielle LehrkampGreeley, CO
I don't think the Hijab is necessary to love God or to be a Muslim. I also don't think it is necessary to show a wife's commitment to her husband. However, I respect very much the desire for a woman to wear the hijab. In Turkey, students are prohibited from wearing the hijab on university campuses because of the fear that it will put religious pressure on classmates. I think this is a mistake and I hope Turkey will change this policy. I am proud that in America I can see women wearing the hijab without judgement from their teachers or friends.