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What's a hijab and why do some Muslim women wear it?

12/15/2007, 7:46 a.m. ET

The Associated Press


(AP) DEFINITION: The hijab is an Arabic term used to describe the headscarf, or veil, worn by some Muslim women and girls.

WHY WEAR THE HIJAB?: The Quran tells women to seek modesty and "draw their cloaks close around them" and "draw their veils" over their chests and necklines except around their husbands and close relatives.

WHY DON'T SOME MUSLIM WOMEN WEAR IT? Many Islamic scholars find flaws in any demands for the hijab, saying the phrasing in the Islamic texts are too vague to make it a requirement and reflects the cultural norms of the seventh-century life of Muhammad and later centuries in the same way that the Bible and Jewish sources offer guidance that is now widely considered a matter of personal choice.

Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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