“Hijab Is a Choice, Not a Symbol of Oppression”

Prof. Sahar Amer talks to Lin Xueling from Channel News Asia. photo courtesy of Channel News Asia. Photographer: Kim Wong
Prof. Sahar Amer talks to Lin Xueling from Channel News Asia. photo courtesy of Channel News Asia. Photographer: Kim Wong

Summary:  There is no link between Muslim women veil and terrorism, said a Muslim professor said in a recent interview

In a recent interview, Professor Sahar Amer, a Muslim scholar, discussed the “ridiculous” link people often make between Muslim women’s dress and terrorism.

Amer’s experiences date back to her time in college as she was the only veiled Muslim girl in Bryn Mawr College in the United States in the 1980s. She said she often received probing questions about her hijab.
“Everybody wanted to know why I was wearing it, what that meant. So the only questions I ever received were about why I covered my hair,” she said. “And it became too much. I became like a representative of the entire Muslim community. It’s a big responsibility.”
She eventually decided to stop wearing the hijab.

She is now a professor and Chair of the Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies at the University of Sydney. Amer said she believes that three decades later, there is still a lot of misunderstanding in the world about most Muslim women’s choice to veil their faces.
“There’s this assumption that Muslim women are not free agents, and they are not individuals with free will who are able to choose their own religious traditions or their faith or how to express that way,” she said.

Read the full story on Channel News Asia