The changing faces of the veil in the Sultanate of Oman

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Ahmed, ST, Roche, T & Al Quraini, A 2016, 'The changing faces of the veil in the Sultanate of Oman', The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Cultural Studies, vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 1-23.

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Veiling practices of Muslim women have become a subject of considerable political, academic, and public debate. This paper presents the finding of research undertaken in the Sultanate of Oman examining the different and changing ways in which women wear the hijab, niqab, and burqa. The research set out to identify differences in attitudes and practices across age, marital status, region, educational level, and religious group. The findings, drawn from survey results and qualitative interviews, show that far from being a homogenous practice, veiling represents a varied and shifting phenomenon. Whilst veiling is often represented as signifying women’s oppression and lack of choice, this research shows Omani women’s understanding and conviction in deciding what to wear. The data for the study was obtained using mixed methods, both an online survey (N = 401) and focus group interviews (12 groups), with a team of Omani researchers undertaking the majority of the fieldwork between January 2013 and March 2014.

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