I want to preserve my Arab-Islamic identity, and for me, this is a way to show it.” 5 Her reliance on personal choice and symbolism is informative. An educated woman, living in London, does not feel compelled to wear the veil; more specifically, she does not understand the veil to be mandated by Islam itself. Significantly, this point of view is not limited to educated women in Islamic society. "For a 34-year-old uneducated woman, wearing a veil is just a result of growing up with it and getting used to it. As she expressed it: I don't wear the veil. I was born in it, and I grew up with it."6 What is striking is the uniformity of opinion that evolves from a discussion of the veil with both educated and uneducated women in Islamic societies. The veil is not really viewed as a pillar of Islam nor as a theological directive; quite the contrary, a careful reading of the opinions of these women suggest that the veil is more a symbol of their culture and way of life and to that end a personal choice. They choose to reveal their beauty or to demonstrate it through the symbolic fashion device of the veil. In either event, Islamic women are behaving in a manner consistent with Islam. On the other hand, there are those that advocate a more stringent interpretation. These types of arguments treat the veil as an essential feature of Islam and a precondition for women to be truly Islamic. . The Veil: Origins and Mistaken Interpretations.
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