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Questioning the Veil: Open Letters to Muslim Women Hardcover – July 27, 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press; First Edition edition (July 27, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691138184
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691138183
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,135,460 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Long or short, sternly pinned or silkily draped, the Islamic veil is the most contentious religious symbol today, in the West as much as in the Muslim world. . . . [Lazreg] feels passionately that Muslim women should not wear the veil, as both her mother and grandmother obediently did. . . . [A] useful and timely counterpoint."--Economist

"Marnia Lazreg's discussion of the infamous piece of cloth, however, is different from most other treatises on the issue. It is personal and passionate. . . . As such, it is a highly relevant intervention into the debate on the veil."--Julia Droeber, Times Higher Education

"Sociologist Lazreg, an authority on Algeria, has issued a call for frank and unmediated conversation among Muslim women. In a series of four letters that assert the major points of contention--modesty, sexual harassment, cultural identity, conviction, and piety--she lays bare the issues, apologetics, and real lives of veiled Muslim women in an unprecedented fashion. . . . A provocative text that demands a response."--Choice

"Questioning the Veil is an excellent examination of an extremely controversial and divisive piece of clothing, written with unimpeachable authority, and a valuable source of information for anyone seeking to achieve an informed perspective on the subject."--Rabbi Dr Charles H Middleburgh, Charles Middleburgh blog

"Read as the author declares it to be, not a scholarly treatise, but a very personal inquiry, Marnia Lazregs book is a rich and committed contribution to the current debate on the veil."--Irina Vainovski-Mihai, Insight Turkey

"[Lazreg's] analysis will no doubt frustrate Muslim women who say they choose to wear the veil, but her argument is well worth reading by anyone. . . . This should be required reading in any course discussing gender and Islam."--Daniel Martin Varisco, Contemporary Islam

"[Lazreg's] strong, but sensitive, prose rescues the veil debate from theological disputation and overly footnoted treatises."--Daniel Martin Varisco, Contemporary Islam

"[I]t is good that such a book exists. Every woman should read it and reflect on it honestly before making up her mind about veiling."--Fanny Le Reste, Suomen Antropologi

From the Inside Flap

"A wonderful read: well-written, well-constructed, well-argued, and highly significant. Lazreg addresses a controversial topic and takes intellectual risks. This little gem of a book is brilliant."--Sondra Hale, University of California, Los Angeles

"Clearly expressed and convincing, this book makes arguments and counters opposing views in a subtle, gentle, and imaginative way. Readers will find the book fascinating and will be drawn to its personal nature and elegant answers."--Judith Herrin, Kings College London


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Customer Reviews

2.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Barbara Cortright on October 11, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This was a common sense account of the writer's experience with family and friends who
were constrained to wear the veil (generic term for Islamic covering)
from one who grew up with this question as part of the culture in Algeria,
but was educated enough to know its history . Her decison to present the case histories, so to speak,in the form of letters gave the account an immediacy which brought thte issues to life.
as letters gives the book an immediacy and personal feeling which brought the issues to life.
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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Gregory Abdur Rahman on March 7, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Ms Lazreg is only right when and where she can find women forced against their will to dress in a way not of their choosing. It is wrong and patriarchal for women to dress in ways that men decide instead of freely choosing in the privacy of their homes before entering the public space. When the decisions of men pressure women into being sex objects it is wrong and oppression of women. When men force women to cover themselves or be whipped in public that is deplorable and oppression as well. The other side of that is that when a woman decides to become a mouthpiece for men who want to decide what women should wear, the said woman has simply decided to join a negative patriarchy for personal gain. Ms Lazreq has decided to make a living by joining a patriarchy that will force women not to wear the veil and as such this book is nothing but another work in a long line of sellouts who sell their kind for personal comfort. In this case, a woman selling her sisters for 30 pieces of silver. True women's freedom is that, outside of reasonable local ordinances requiring decency, what a woman wears is nobody but the woman's business. And those who seek to free women, by coercing or forcing them to be naked or forcing them to cover are enemies of all women, no matter how noble they try to sound as they go about their oppressive ways. Ms Lazreq should free herself from her patriarchal publishers who pay her to order women on what is permissible for them to wear and defend the basic human right of all people, even women, of deciding what to wear, free from the rancor and oppression from people who think it is their right to order adult grown women on what clothes they deem acceptable, as if all women are children who everyday need to be told what is right when they reach into their closets to pick out clothes.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Dan Boyd on February 7, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I totally agree with Marnia Lazreg's points and opinions, but her 131 pages of repetitive argument are too long by a factor of five. Her writing is prolix in the style often found in French commentary.
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7 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Durra Elmaki on February 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I encourage Profs. Marnia Lazreg to express her opinion but with all due respect she is clearly an individual that writes without knowledge on the subject and is presenting an opinion rather than a factual account of hijab. For her to be particularly concerned with the re-veiling of young women in the west today over steps the boundaries of the individual rights of these women to express and assert themselves religiously. Its even more upsetting that she isn't only lending a sympathetic ear to those who are forced to wear hijab, but she addresses these women who have made the choice out of their own free will to wear hijab. Is it possible that she knows better than they, on what would constitute liberty and modesty for them? Or should we give these women enough credit to know that they are capable of making decisions in their personal life without the validation or the opinion of a stranger?
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful By ROROTOKO on October 13, 2009
Format: Hardcover
"Questioning the Veil" is on the ROROTOKO list of cutting-edge intellectual nonfiction. Professor Lazreg's book interview ran here as cover feature on October 5, 2009.
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