Islam is sorely misunderstood right now and many Islamic practices and tenets are being overly questioned and scrutinized in light of gender and race politics. One recurring question has been the perception of women in Islam. A big talking point in recent years has been the issue of Muslim dresses and whether the hijab and niqaab (specific dress items particular to Muslim women) is a way of policing the sexuality and identity of women who adhere to the religion. This discussion often doesn’t even factor or outrightly dismisses the personal opinions of women who wear the hijab and niqaab.
Fashion is integral to everyone’s lives and the idea that Islam somehow denies Muslim women the right and opportunity to appreciate and indulge in fashion is preposterous, not to mention a little bigoted. In the same way devout Christian women and women of many other religions are able to find ways to express their identities through fashion while honoring their religions , Muslim women have embraced the Hijab and Niqaab and a thriving fashion industry has sprung up, dedicated to catering to Muslim women of colour.
This is why a new video by Youtube channel, MuslimGirl.net gives us all kinds of joy. The video ‘100 Years of Hijab Fashion in One Minute‘ chronicles the different ways Muslim women of colour have merged their cultures and their embrace of modesty through very singular and identifiable African hijabi styles. The Nigerian gele, a staple among Muslimah in Yoruba Nigeria is a highlight as are the hijabs of Northern Africa.
We love this video so much because it doesn’t treat Africa as a monolith and references that Northern Africa is African,not Arab. Each African hijabi style is shown in context to its home country. Just amazing.