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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Islam in France and Britain : the Hijab as a point of contention Lobo , Anjali Da Victoria


This thesis examines the wearing of the hijab as a means of situating the current debates in and around Islam in contemporary Europe, in particular, the France and Britain. As a visible symbol of Islam the hijab resonates with multiple meanings within and outside the Muslim community and offers up a gendered and spiritual representation of identity. By its predominance in the discourse of immigration in Europe, the hijab is the site of diversity that the European state(s) must navigate around. In probing the wearing of hijab, this research ponders what new constructs of identity are taking place within Britain and France and what role does the media and current discourses on Islam (in Europe etc, pre and post-Sept 11th) play in shaping of the subject? And as much as Europe's landscape is altered by Islam, the paper also investigates how Islamic and Islam communities are affected by a -whole generation's presences in Europe. This thesis looks at developments within Islam and argues that through a coalescing of Islamic thought, based on a growing transnationalism and a revitalization of the concept of the umma, a new Islamic identity is emerging possibly parallel to but not necessarily contradictory to the nation state.

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