Cloth on her Head, Constitution in Hand: Germany’s Headscarf Debates and the Cultural Politics of Difference

in German Politics and Society
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As the current debates about the headscarf in Germany and France

demonstrate, “Islamic” veils and headscarves garner attention for

minority women in Europe to an unparalleled degree.2 For centuries,

Islamic veils and headscarves have served as powerful symbols in

Orientalist discourse, functioning as markers of the Oriental woman’s

supposed eroticism as well as convenient tropes for philosophers.3

Recent kidnappers’ demands in Iraq that France lift its headscarf ban

demonstrate the complex appropriations of Muslim women for fundamentalist

discourses as well.