This Fascinating Chart Shows How Middle Easterners Think Women Should Dress
There is a wide range of hijab for Muslim women (including non-Muslims living in Muslim areas), from almost total coverage to simple head scarves. The Pew Research Center has published a survey of residents of seven Muslim nations, who were asked to rate the appropriateness of six kinds of hijab.
Respondents favoring the most coverage lived in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, with Iraq and Egypt close behind. Significant minorities in Lebanon, Turkey and Tunisia approved of no head covering at all.
Saudis, in particular, were heavily in favor of the niqab, the style most typical there. Other styles were significantly less popular, reflecting the ultra-conservatism of one of America’s closest allies (?) in the Mideast..
Veiling is such a sensitive issue in much of the Middle East because, in many ways, it’s about much more than just clothing. It’s about religious vs. secular identity, about the degree to which women are or are not afforded equality and about embracing or rejecting social norms that are seen as distinctly Islamic.