Excerpts from Zulfikar A Hirji’s introduction to the Muslim Pluralism Seminar Series


The veil has become a trope of highly contested meanings for Muslims and non-Muslims alike. It has provoked critiques of oppressive religious and cultural norms by human rights activists and feminists. At the same time, many Muslim women have embraced the veil as a visible tool of self-assertion, identity and defiance against the colonizing ‘West.’ This presentation analysed the ideological discourses which frame the multiple constructions of veiling. It problematised pluralism with its tacit implication of unconditional tolerance with reference to specific case studies of veiling practices.