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

Leila Ahmed

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

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 root so swiftly, and what does this shift mean for women, Islam, and the West? 2.7 out of 5 based on 3 reviews
A Quiet Revolution: The Veil's Resurgence from the Middle East to America

Omniscore:

Classification Non-fiction
Genre Society, Politics & Philosophy, Religion & Spirituality
Format Hardback
Pages 360
RRP £18.99
Date of Publication May 2011
ISBN 978-0300170955
Publisher Yale University Press
 

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 root so swiftly, and what does this shift mean for women, Islam, and the West?

Reviews

The Guardian

Madeleine Bunting

It's an acute study of how issues of political power and empire interact with women's own claims to autonomy within families and communities. Ahmed beds her analysis into the wider political currents of Egypt without ever losing sight of women's own interpretations of what they were doing and why ... the political analysis is at times a bit sketchy and economic contexts are largely absent.

03/06/2011

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The Observer

Rachel Aspden

The most fascinating and incisive sections examine the roots of these questions in the intimate links between the veil and colonialism … A Quiet Revolution is a timely reminder that the veil today is a symptom less of an alien fanaticism than of a long political and cultural entanglement with the unveiled west.

20/05/2011

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The Financial Times

Christopher Caldwell

Ahmed has a political axe to grind. She believes the theme of the “oppression of women in Islam” — always in quotation marks — serves an ideology, and that that ideology is imperialism. Criticisms from such feminists as Azar Nafisi, Irshad Manji and Ayaan Hirsi Ali are a “rearticulation in native voice of the imperialist theses about the inferiority of Islam”, she believes. Deplorably, Ahmed refuses to engage these writers’ arguments directly, hiding behind accusations and epithets that earlier adversaries have flung at them.

29/05/2011

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