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Photographer's Note

On the subject of hijab (veil)... Often women travelling to Muslim countries have to make this decision: shall I wear a veil?

I interpret it this way: back home in Europe or America, you donít appear in public without covering your breasts? Wearing the veil in an Islamic country is the same principle with slight difference in details. Dupatta/veil is a symbol of your modesty, and modesty is the biggest virtue of a woman :)

In Pakistan, I haven't gone as far as covering my face, only hair and the neck, but I did develop a habit of pulling a veil to cover some of the face also when I find myself walking through a busy junction or through a crowd of people (usually men). The veil protected me from dust, sun and stares. I got myself four veils of different colours and fabrics, and brought them all back to England to keep for my next trips.

By the way, if you read up on how veil was introduce in the Islam, youíll see that it wasnít about discriminating against women. The wives of the Prophet (pbuh) started wearing them to eliminate any potential rumours of their liasons outside the Prophet's household, then - because of the strong egalitarian culture of Islam - all other Muslim women started wearing veils, and even Christian women who settled nearby picked up this trend seeing how much respect the Muslim women enjoyed in their community (source: Karen Armstrong, "Muhammad: A Biography of the Prophet").

Now you can look at the current ban on wearing a hijab in French schools from a different point of view... Do you see my point?

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Additional Photos by Olga Novikova (Olga) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 110 W: 12 N: 242] (927)
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