The Hijab and Niqab: Omani women’s reflections on law and practice

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Ahmed, ST & Roche, TB 2018, 'The Hijab and Niqab: Omani women’s reflections on law and practice', Journal of Intercultural Studies, vol. 39, no. 1, pp. 50-66.

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Debates about Islamic veiling practices often focus on legal aspects of wearing the hijab and niqab and the recent banning, actual and proposed, of the veil in several countries has received substantial media coverage. This ethnographic research paper adds to the discussion by providing insight into the views of women from the Sultanate of Oman, using questionnaire and interview data to examine their understanding of and beliefs about laws relating to veiling practices in Oman and in other countries. The research also explores Omani women’s views on the niqab, which has dominated much of the global media debate. The results indicate that Omani women typically believe that veiling practices should not be mandated by a legal framework but reflect personal choice rooted in Islamic notions of piety and respect and that non-Muslim countries should respect women’s freedom to dress according to their religious beliefs.

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