Editorial: "An Identity Reduced to a Burka"

January 20, 2002

Source: Los Angeles Times


On January 20, 2002, The Los Angeles Times featured an editorial by Laila Al-Marayati and Semeen Issa, "An Identity Reduced to a Burka." The editorial explains that, "The Western press' obsession with the dress of Muslim women is not surprising ... since the press tends to view Muslims, in general, simplistically. Headlines in the mainstream media have reduced Muslim female identity to an article of clothing--'the veil.'" The authors note the many different forms of dress, and forms of expression, of Muslim women. "Dress should not bar Muslim women from exercising their Islam-guaranteed rights, like the right to be educated, to earn a living and to move about safely in society. ... How they dress is irrelevant. It should be obvious that the critical element Muslim women need is freedom, especially the freedom to make choices that enable them to be independent agents of positive change. Choosing to dress modestly, including wearing a head scarf, should be as respected as choosing not to cover."