- Published on Friday, 07 September 2012 06:31
This article, written by Ilene Prusher, appeared on The Christian Science Monitor on September 04,2012
The roots of "World Hijab Day" were planted on this day in 2002, marking the day that France banned the wearing of the headscarf in schools. Ten years later, the presence of the veil in public life remains a lighting rod issue, from Europe to the Middle East to Asia.
The hashtag #worldhijabday or #IHSD – International Hijab Solidarity Day – trended on social networking websites worldwide today, used both by people extolling the virtues of the head covering and supporting a woman’s right to choose to don it and those who question whether it plays a role is oppressing women.
The issue took center stage in the Middle East this week when Egypt’s state-run television put Fatma Nabil, a woman wearing a simple white veil covering her hair and neck, on camera to read the midday news. It was the first time in Egyptian television’s half-century-long history that a woman wearing the head anchored the news. Even though the vast majority of Egyptian women veil, leaving just the face visible – and a much smaller minority cover the rest of the face – successive Egyptian governments tried to present a more secular image in official channels.
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