Contemporary Islam

, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 215–218 | Cite as

Marnia Lazreg: Questioning the veil: open letters to Muslim women

Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2009. x, 156 pp. ISBN 978-0-691-13818-3
  • Daniel Martin VariscoEmail author

When I first received this book, I immediately thought not ‘another book on the veil.’ The issue of veiling in Islam has been covered extensively, indeed as well covered in various academic disciplines as the Afghan burqacovers a woman’s entire body. Lazreg’s personal, impassioned and combative text is not ‘another book on the veil.’ Written by an Algerian Muslim woman whose maternal grandmother pushed the veil on her as a child and who is currently a professor of sociology in New York, her strong, but sensitive, prose rescues the veil debate from theological disputation and overly footnoted treatises. The questions posed in the book are revealing in themselves:’Can a woman not dress modestly without wearing a long coat that flaps between her feet, picks up dirt on the ground, soaks up rain from puddles, and hinders her speed when she is in a hurry?’ (p. 20); ‘Why should a state, “Western” or Middle Eastern, legislate a woman’s body?’ (p. 62);’Why cannot a man just accept that a...


Gender Sexuality Veil Feminism Agency 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.AnthropologyHofstra UniversityHempsteadUSA

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