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Questioning the Veil


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A wonderful read: well-written, well-constructed, well-argued, and highly significant. Lazreg addresses a controversial topic and takes intellectual risks. This little gem of a book is brilliant. -- Sondra Hale, University of California, Los Angeles Clearly expressed and convincing, this book makes arguments and counters opposing views in a subtle, gentle, and imaginative way. Readers will find the book fascinating and will be drawn to its personal nature and elegant answers. -- Judith Herrin, King's College London

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix Introduction 1 Letter One: Modesty 15 Letter Two: Sexual Harassment 41 Letter Three: Cultural Identity 53 Letter Four: Conviction and Piety 67 Letter Five: Why Women Should Not Wear the Veil 97 Notes 133 References 147 Index 153

About the Author

Marnia Lazreg is professor of sociology at the Graduate Center and Hunter College, City University of New York. Her books include "The Eloquence of Silence: Algerian Women in Question" and "Torture and the Twilight of Empire: From Algiers to Baghdad" (Princeton).


Long or short, sternly pinned or silkily draped, the Islamic veil is the most contentious religious symbol today, in the West as much as in the Muslim world... [Lazreg] feels passionately that Muslim women should not wear the veil, as both her mother and grandmother obediently did... [A] useful and timely counterpoint. -- "Economist Marnia Lazreg's discussion of the infamous piece of cloth, however, is different from most other treatises on the issue. It is personal and passionate... As such, it is a highly relevant intervention into the debate on the veil. -- Julia Droeber, Times Higher Education Sociologist Lazreg, an authority on Algeria, has issued a call for frank and unmediated conversation among Muslim women. In a series of four letters that assert the major points of contention--modesty, sexual harassment, cultural identity, conviction, and piety--she lays bare the issues, apologetics, and real lives of veiled Muslim women in an unprecedented fashion... A provocative text that demands a response. -- "Choice Questioning the Veil is an excellent examination of an extremely controversial and divisive piece of clothing, written with unimpeachable authority, and a valuable source of information for anyone seeking to achieve an informed perspective on the subject. -- Rabbi Dr Charles H Middleburgh, Charles Middleburgh blog Read as the author declares it to be, not a scholarly treatise, but a very personal inquiry, Marnia Lazreg's book is a rich and committed contribution to the current debate on the veil. -- Irina Vainovski-Mihai, Insight Turkey

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