CAIRO - Two American universities are organizing a conference on Sunday, February 24, to shed light on hijab and its religious and cultural values for Muslim women.
"The 2013 Duke-UNC Consortium Conference focuses on Muslim women's veiling practices in transnational contexts, the conference's website says."The one and a half day conference is a forum for an interdisciplinary discussion of the cultural, religious, historical and political meanings of the Muslim headscarf."
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Titled "reorienting the Veil", the conference will be hosted by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, in partnership with Duke University.
Organizers say the event aims at expanding the dialogue about the tradition of wearing the veil and the meaning of the hijab for Muslim women.
Participants will discuss why and how Muslim women wear the veil in a globalized and fashion-conscious world.
"In the last four decades â¦ women's right to wear the headscarf has become a touchstone for issues and debates of various kinds, the website says.
"The veil has become a topic of fiery political debates across the world in the last two decades with racial or religious profiling becoming more commonplace.
Scholars and artists will deliver 30-minute presentations on the Muslim veil.
Each presentation will be followed by a response from the local faculty and a question-and-answer session
The goal of this conference is to provide a scholarly forum where nationally and internationally renowned scholars and artists will present their most recent research on veiling in the Middle East, in Europe and the USA."
It is organized by Dr Sahar Amer, a professor of Asian Studies and French & Francophone Studies at the University of North Carolina along with Dr Banu GokarÄ±ksel, a professor of Geography at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Presenters include, Elizabeth M. Bucar, associate professor of philosophy and religion at Northeastern University; Todd Drake, artist in residence at the UNC Center for Global Initiatives and Maryam Eskandari, architect, designer and founder of MIIM Designs LLC.
It is also attended by Homa Hoodfar, professor at Concordia University; Carla Jones, associate professor of anthropology at the University of Colorado in Boulder; Typhaine Leservot, associate professor at Wesleyan University, and Marilia Marchetti, professor of French and Francophone Literature at the University of Catania, Italy.
Islam sees hijab as an obligatory code of dress, not a religious symbol displaying one's affiliations.
Though there are no official estimates, the US is home to an estimated Muslim minority of six to eight million.An earlier Gallup poll found that the majority of Americans Muslims are loyal to their country and optimistic about their future in the United States.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net