Veiled is beautiful

Nyier Abdou has an interesting article in the Independent about the rise of muhagaba fashion in Egypt:

The increasing number of women wearing the hijab has brought about a radical change in the image of the Egyptian woman. As young, urbane women increasingly take the veil, age-old associations between hijab and the traditional religious conservatism dissipate. "It's not a matter of old women getting veiled, just out of a habit," says Nesrine Samara, project manager at the new English-language magazine Jumanah , a fashion bible for veiled women due to launch this month. "It's not a matter of just covering up; it means a lot of other things." Ms Samara, a 27-year-old marketing executive, is a political science graduate of the American University of Cairo. Smartly dressed in camel boots, a long coat and a bright orange scarf, she resists the notion that being veiled is simply about being modest. Women are increasingly taking the veil as a way of identifying with the larger culture of Islam, she argues.

The increasing number of women wearing the hijab has brought about a radical change in the image of the Egyptian woman. As young, urbane women increasingly take the veil, age-old associations between hijab and the traditional religious conservatism dissipate. "It's not a matter of old women getting veiled, just out of a habit," says Nesrine Samara, project manager at the new English-language magazine Jumanah , a fashion bible for veiled women due to launch this month. "It's not a matter of just covering up; it means a lot of other things." Ms Samara, a 27-year-old marketing executive, is a political science graduate of the American University of Cairo. Smartly dressed in camel boots, a long coat and a bright orange scarf, she resists the notion that being veiled is simply about being modest. Women are increasingly taking the veil as a way of identifying with the larger culture of Islam, she argues.


This is part of a much bigger trend that is still under-studied: the commodification of Islam (Google cached page, original is gone.)
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Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.