Hijab: to wear or not to wear
Writer Article Date: April 18, 2007
Iranian professor Zohreh
Ghavamshahidi spoke on the Muslim significance of the hijab and other issues
facing Muslim women as part of the College of Letters and Sciences Middle
Eastern lecture series.
The hijab is a traditional headpiece Muslim women wear to cover most of their
head. Ghavamshahidi considers herself to be Muslim, but chooses not to wear the
“[The] hijab is a behavior problem,” she said. “[It] is oppressive and secludes
Ghavamshahidi explained the religious significance and various aspects of the
“Nothing in the Quran says Muslim women must wear the hijab,” she said.
Ghavamshahidi said the hijab was a recommendation from the prophet Muhammad for
his wife. The Quran does not specify that women who don’t wear the hijab should
be punished, she said.
Ghavamshahidi talked about a recent trend happening around the world within the
“More and more young women in [America] are picking up hijabs voluntarily ...
[as] a protest against western civilization,” she said.
Ghavamshahidi talked about the religious, social and personal reasons for
choosing to wear or not wear the hijab.
“[The] hijab protects women, according to Muslims, keeps dignity, preserves
them, [and]keeps them away from corruption and loose behavior,” Ghavamshahidi
said. "In Islam [the hijab] refers to certain degrees of modesty."
She also discussed the importance of schools created by European colonials to
educate women on their rights.
“[The women] learn about themselves [and] who they are," she said.
Ghavamshahidi also talked about how a mother’s influence on her son could change
the way Muslim women are viewed and treated by men.
“If we educate mothers and tell them [their sons] shouldn’t accept polygamy,
they shouldn’t accept seclusion, they shouldn’t accept hijab, then they can
raise boys that are going to learn to treat women the right way,” Ghavamshahidi
The final lecture in the Middle Eastern lecture series will be presented by John
Patterson tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. in Winther 2001. Patterson will cover U.S.
policy and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.