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A Quiet Revolution: The Veil's Resurgence, from the Middle East to America

A Quiet Revolution The Veil s Resurgence from the Middle East to America In Cairo in the s Leila Ahmed was raised by a generation of women who never dressed in the veils and headscarves their mothers and grandmothers had worn To them these coverings seemed irrelevant

  • Title: A Quiet Revolution: The Veil's Resurgence, from the Middle East to America
  • Author: Leila Ahmed
  • ISBN: 9780300170955
  • Page: 153
  • Format: Hardcover
  • In Cairo in the 1940s, Leila Ahmed was raised by a generation of women who never dressed in the veils and headscarves their mothers and grandmothers had worn To them, these coverings seemed irrelevant to both modern life and Islamic piety Today, however, the majority of Muslim women throughout the Islamic world again wear the veil Why, Ahmed asks, did this change take rIn Cairo in the 1940s, Leila Ahmed was raised by a generation of women who never dressed in the veils and headscarves their mothers and grandmothers had worn To them, these coverings seemed irrelevant to both modern life and Islamic piety Today, however, the majority of Muslim women throughout the Islamic world again wear the veil Why, Ahmed asks, did this change take root so swiftly, and what does this shift mean for women, Islam, and the West When she began her study, Ahmed assumed that the veil s return indicated a backward step for Muslim women worldwide What she discovered, however, in the stories of British colonial officials, young Muslim feminists, Arab nationalists, pious Islamic daughters, American Muslim immigrants, violent jihadists, and peaceful Islamic activists, confounded her expectations Ahmed observed that Islamism, with its commitments to activism in the service of the poor and in pursuit of social justice, is the strain of Islam most easily and naturally merging with western democracies own tradition of activism in the cause of justice and social change It is often Islamists, even than secular Muslims, who are at the forefront of such contemporary activist struggles as civil rights and women s rights Ahmed s surprising conclusions represent a near reversal of her thinking on this topic.Richly insightful, intricately drawn, and passionately argued, this absorbing story of the veil s resurgence, from Egypt through Saudi Arabia and into the West, suggests a dramatically new portrait of contemporary Islam.

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    1 thought on “A Quiet Revolution: The Veil's Resurgence, from the Middle East to America

    1. Given that there are so many reviews on the content of the book, I figure that I might as well write on how this book affected me personally. Perhaps it will help someone. (Or, more likely, make me feel smart and experienced.) I started off reading this book (given to me by my brother, apparently because of the innocuous reason that it has good ratings on , though I suspect it had more to do with my unexpected decision to de-hijab) with a determination not to like it. Having been told by numerou [...]

    2. This was quite helpful and interesting to me, as someone who spent a lot of time working with Muslim women in a non-profit organization right after 9/11. We did a solidarity event with women who covered, as Ahmed describes was common across the US as those women were the targets of prejudice from nasty remarks to violence.I loved my friends who wore the hijab, and at the same time, I felt uncomfortable whenever I myself wore a scarf -- whether at a solidarity event or to attend mosque (and sit i [...]

    3. A Quiet Revolution: the veil’s resurgence from the Middle East to America is a fascinating and frustrating book. Leila Ahmed, currently teaching at Harvard, writes from her perspective as a Muslim women born in the 1940s in Egypt and raised during a time when it was normal for women of her family (upper middle class, educated, urban) not to wear hijab (head covering). Thus, her experience of the advocacy of many Western-educated Muslims’ advocacy of a return to a “pure” form of Islam, co [...]

    4. Ahmed traces how meanings have developed surrounding Muslim women covering the hair on their heads. The earliest meanings, shared to some degree by all monotheistic societies, pertained to God-given roles in society. Colonial actions of the nineteenth century added a new meaning, viewing ‘the veil’ “a sign of the inferiority of Islam and Muslim societies and peoples, as well as of Islam’s ‘degradation’ of women” (44). By the 1920s, Egyptian intelligentsia had accepted this view, as [...]

    5. Whew! A lot to read and I'm not sure I absorbed much of it. Still, interesting and worth another read through at another time. I'm confused about the difference between Islam and Islamism and Muslims. Encouraged about trends of Islamism in US/West as they apply towards being actively engaged in social justice and standing up for minorities/speaking out against injustices, to include issues involving treatment of women in Islam. So why is there a resurgence of the veil? Yes, there's all that goin [...]

    6. Only a generation ago, few Muslim women wore head coverings in public in Egypt. Leila Ahmed, who is from Egypt and is now a professor at Harvard University, asks how the reversal of that trend came about and what it means. It begins with a conversation with her friend in the 1990’s, observing a group of covered Muslim women near her university campus. Her friend says,“To them we are the enemy. That’s how they see us, all of us, people like us, feminist, progressives. That’s just how it i [...]

    7. In this book, Leila Ahmed traces the fall and rise of the headscarf in Muslim societies and in the west, America in particular. She comes at this from the perspective of someone who does not wear it, but I think she is rather fair in her assessment of it. She recognizes that she grew up in an era where women in Egypt were abandoning traditional dress and choosing to dress more western, while still considering themselves fully Muslim, and that this has colored her perception of the headscarf. Tho [...]

    8. Raramente un libro "imposto" e letto per dovere universitario mi è piaciuto così tanto L'ho letto con enorme piacere e senza ombra di dubbio lo consiglierò a destra e manca, non solo agli "arabisti" in erba come me, ma anche - e soprattutto - a chi del mondo musulmano conosce solo quello che i media riportano.Innanzittutto ho particolarmente apprezzato il fatto che l'autrice sia una donna musulmana e dunque conosca bene e di prima mano ciò di cui sta parlando Poi mi è piaciuto perché oltre [...]

    9. A good update on her earlier study of Women in Egypt. This book analyzes the role of women in Egypt in the 1970s and 80s with the rise of Islamism. In the second half she analyzes the role of Muslim American women. Obviously, the question of the role of the veil is central to the book.

    10. Interesting. The veil is only one small part of the larger issue here. Her basic argument is that the resurgence of the veil is a sign of the spread of an Islamist viewpoint. Islamist, according to her, means not espousing violence, but taking Islam as a guide to how to live your life in the world, not as something you essentially do in church on Sunday - and transplanted into western nations like the US, large numbers of the children of Islamist immigrants have taken that to mean that you embra [...]

    11. A disappointing read and the title is a misnomer. Ahmed's focus is particularly on Egypt and more specifically women living in the urban niches of the Egyptian society. Regarding Egypt, apart from quoting excerpts from other researchers, Ahmed did minimal research on her own. We do get to know(as if it wasn't obvious) that no single factor drives women to veil themselves. Men or Islam in that regard, do not always force women to veil, and veiled women aren't necessarily more religious than women [...]

    12. I read this book for a university class. I learned a lot about egypt history but I think this book would deserve a better editing. It is sometimes confusing and more structure would have been so, so helpful. Also sometimes it is, from a scientific view point, a little loosley researched. Some rumors made it into the book, without proper proofill an outstanding reading as you will et here a huge, deep research on egypt history!

    13. This book is as much about veiling as Animal Farm was about pigs. Sure, Ahmed mentions veils and girls who wear them. But it's basically about her own views on the Islamicization of Egypt, and how she has noticed that some of those people of her Egyptian youth have shown up in different versions here in the states today. Case in point - most reviewers have pointed out that this book is "about so much more," or offers a "wider view" and was "not what was expected." Additionally, Ahmed makes it qu [...]

    14. When I was in college, there was a documentary about the resurgence of veiling in Egypt. At that time, in the 1980s, Muslim women were not wearing hijab in large numbers in the US, but I was getting to know a lot of Jewish women who were covering their hair after marriage, even though their grandmothers had not done this. A decade later, when I met the author of this book in passing because we were both teaching at UMass Amherst, more and more Muslim women in the US were wearing hijab. This incl [...]

    15. Vor dem Hintergrund der aktuellen Situation in Ägypten aktueller denn je: Trotz des Titels ist dieses Buch nicht wirklich ein Buch über die Verschleierung, sondern ein Buch über die Geschichte der Entwicklung der politischen Ideologie, die wir unter dem Namen "Islamismus" kennen und die Rolle der Frau darin.Der erste Teil des Buches beschriebt die Ursprünge dieser Ideologie vor dem Hintergrund der Geschichte Ägyptens als britische Kolonie, Gegner des jungen Israels, politischer Partner der [...]

    16. I'm a complete beginner to the subject, so I did learn about the history of the Islamist movement, especially in Egypt and the US. And I have a better appreciation of the varied reasons why more women in those countries are wearing the veil. The latter has been useful as I work among women wearing the veil on my campus in the US. I'm glad the author included small sketches of individual women which added a little warmth to an otherwise dry writing style. What was unsatisfying is that it took the [...]

    17. This book did a really great job at explaining in an accessible way how and why the way that religiousness was defined in the MENA region changed over the past half century. Especially at demystifying the divide in point of view that is quite common between people of the author's generation (or, say, diaspora that emigrated 40-plus years ago) vs today.I was a little thrown by how the first half of the book talked exclusively about Egypt in the 1970s and 80s only for the second half to be pretty [...]

    18. Ahmed helpfully traces the origins of the current veiling trend to the emergence and spread of Islamism as political activism grounded in a particular vision of Islam from the Middle East to the West. At times the account is rather descriptive, offering a detailed catalogue of the institutional and individual players of Islam in America, perhaps, at the expense of a more comprehensive analysis of individual women's motivations to don the veil. Ahmed valuably concludes that to her surprise Americ [...]

    19. AROUND THE WORLD past and present, women cover their heads before God and man. That is, they veil. A dispassionate list of veils would include nuns’ cowls, saris, lace mantillas for Mass, peasant babushkas, brides’ veils, church ladies’ Sunday hats, the wigs and headscarves of Orthodox Jews, and the headscarf my mother (middle class, Midwestern, Protestant) threw on in the 1950s when she ran across the street to the corner store. All these forms of veiling refer, religiously or secularly, [...]

    20. An important work that brings together the resurgence of Islamism and changing gender norms and understandings of the veil. While many books approach the veil from an ethnographic/religious perspective, Ahmed's is grounded in a particular post-colonial historical context. The final chapters of the book discuss Islam in America and Ahmed convincingly argues that the intellectual recipients of Islamism in America have been at the forefront of issues of justice, activism and women's rights in Islam [...]

    21. As a non-religous educator working in a diverse urban school in the US that includes many Muslim youth and staff who wear the hijab, I was grateful for the information in this book. My understanding of Islam vs. Islamism and the history of the Muslim Brotherhood, Islam in America and the hijab has been greatly informed. As for the writing style, it was dryly academic, dense and repetitive but I would still recommend this book to anyone trying to gain perspective on any number of issues surroundi [...]

    22. Ahmed presents a comprehensive history of veiling practices in Egypt, with references to other Middle Eastern nations. The second half of the book, which covers the decisions American Muslim women are faced with, particularly after 2001 is especially interesting. Also interesting was Ahmed's coverage of the history of the MSA (Muslim Student Association), which dates back to the 60's, and the ISNA (Islamic Society of North America). In both organizations, women have taken on leadership roles in [...]

    23. I learned that Islamists come in many flavors, that they tend to be more politically and socially active in promoting the best for the community than their secular or moderate sisters and brothers. The veil is a political statement. I still do not agree on it being a mandatory element of modest dress, but many women wear it of their own choosing to express a variety of political and personal beliefs.

    24. It took a me awhile to realise this is a historical account of hijabisation so I was rather disappointed. But once I get past my disappointment, I found it pretty interesting as it brings to light the role of the various agents that led to this resurgence, especially the Muslim Brotherhood, that in turn has affected the political changes in Egypt and its neighbouring nations.

    25. Excellent book! It was lost at the library for a while which caused me to take a break for several months mid-way through the book. However, I like how informational and interesting this was. Very spot on and unbiased for the most part. I learned more about last century of hijab culture globally from this book than from my counterparts.

    26. I was a little apprehensive when starting this book, and while at times it seemed to get off track from the books main point, I enjoyed reading it. It was very fair in dealing with the subject matter and extremely informative.

    27. A fantastically well-researched book by Dr. Leila Ahmed. A good historical overview of modern trends affecting interpretations of Islam across the Arab world and America. Revealing research studies, personal anecdotes, and the voices of many women on their understanding of hijab.

    28. This was a scholarly (read that as highly detailed and referencing) account of how the hijaab (modest dress for women which includes the burka and other clothing)came to be more widely worn around the world (including the US). Well done.

    29. Excellent book about the transformation of the hijab throughout time in and how this was parallel to the rise and decline of islamic fundamentalism

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