Very interestingly in a movement that I call now the hijab lobby, sadly promulgated by women that some of us refer to as Muslim mean girls and their friends, are trying to put out this meme that we are denying women their choice.
I was born in 1965. When I grew up in India, there was no expectation that a good Muslim woman wore the headscarf. But what happened when I came here to the U.S. and the emergence of the Saudi and Iranian theologies in the world is that the headscarf became the hijab and the hijab is now the idea that is synonymous with headscarf.
What we are saying is we have to be smart about the ideology that is putting this idea into the world that a woman must be defined by her idea of modesty, that she is the vessel for honor in a community. And I believe that we have to be very pragmatic, too, about the consequence of this. Women in Iran and Saudi Arabia are jailed, punished and harassed if they don't cover themselves legally, according to the standard of those countries. So the consequences for many women is oftentimes very dark.
The hijab or a variation of the word shows up eight times in the Quran. And it never means headscarf. And so what's happened is that the identity of a Muslim woman especially is being equated to this piece of cloth on her head. And in that ideology there's a very fundamental assumption that people need to think very deeply about, which is do you believe that a woman is too sexy for her hair?