Seeing is Owning, Veiling practices in the Middle East

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Amir Ashur
Keren Abbou Hershkovits


The use of veils among contemporary Muslim women triggers a large range of emotions and concepts in the general public and among Muslim communities in different places.The general public perception of veiling shifts from manifestations of female oppression to concepts of liberation of women from the male gaze. Individuals, as well as state institutions attempt at controlling the use of veils, either by restricting or enforcing it. Up to day, veiling is a sphere where contesting identities clash and at times attract public debates. Several such incidents have raised international public discourse, in Germany, and elsewhere. In 2016 France attempted at declaring the “Burka Law”, but since was suspended. Several other places attempted at declaring a similar law, e.g. Swiss, Germany and Québec; And the French law forbidding religious marks in schools. These are but a few of the recent incidents concerning female cover in public.

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