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Understanding the Islamic Veiling Controversy provides a sophisticated analysis of relevant legislation and case law in order to examine the assumptions and limits of the debates surrounding the issue of Islamic veiling.
For some, Islamic veiling indicates a lack of autonomy, the oppression of women and the threat of Islamic radicalism to western secular values; for others, it suggests a positive autonomous choice and a legitimate exercise of one’s freedom of religion - a much treasured right in democratic societies.
Across seemingly diverse legal and political traditions, however, a set of discursive frameworks - the preoccupation with autonomy and choice; the imperative of gender equality; and a particular secular understanding of religion and religious subjectivity - shape the positions of both proponents and opponents of various restrictions on Islamic veiling.
Rather than take a position on one or the other side of the debate, this book explores and challenges these frameworks. And, in so doing, it brings a consistent and sophisticated theoretical outlook to a comprehensive consideration of Islamic veiling controversies, as they have arisen around the world.