Veiled but not oppressed
By Angela Saini
Women choose to wear veils for a myriad of reasons – at an arts festival in east London, they explain why it should be no barrier to success in British society
Increasing numbers of young British women are choosing to wear a headscarf, niqab or jilbab.
In truth, women choose to wear, or not wear, the veil for a myriad of reasons.
At 'The Elegance of the Veil', an event at Rich Mix arts centre organised as part of the Split-Lit festival for women writers, young women performed poetry, plays and music.
Author Rabina Khan explained: "Martin Luther King said that a person should be judged on the content of their character and I think society needs to wake up to that fact."
A 'very British phenomenon'
A third of the population of Tower Hamlets is Bangladeshi, of whom many young women are opting to wear a headscarf. However, in Bangladesh, relatively few women wear one.
Baroness Paula Uddin, who grew up there and now lives in Tower Hamlets, told BBC London: "This is a very British phenomenon, and a very Western phenomenon. We’ve got to support whatever choices women make."
Girl band La Rouge performed their songs for the visitors. Lead singer, Soomaiya Saeda, explained why she has chosen not to wear a veil: "If I wore one I feel like everything would change. People would see me in a different way."
Meanwhile another visitor said that she felt her headscarf empowered her and helped her to express her faith.
Missed the 'Elegance of the Veil' event? Catch the highlights in Angela's report, by clicking on the link at the top right of this page.
last updated: 01/01/2008 at 18:38