Shopping for a hijab can be fun


p2062halduellOKWhile walking between tour agents one afternoon comparing their prices for a sunrise trip to the top of the local volcano, my eye was caught by the sign over a store. The Hijab Fashion Store was open for business, and business was brisk.
Much has been written about the hijab, the headscarf worn by Muslim women. Comments tend to the negative in our western press, but what I saw that afternoon in Malang, Java, was anything but.
I passed that small store open to a quiet street a few times in the course of my bargain hunting, and every time I walked by there were customers at the counter.
They were trying on this one and discarding it for that one, and their laughter and banter told me they were enjoying what they were doing. My interest did not noticeably offend. If anything, it seemed to increase the laughter and banter.
The Hijab Fashion Store’s customers that day ranged from mostly students in clusters to some mothers with young children to a few middle-aged women in twos and threes.
I didn’t like to peer too closely as it was all none of my business by several degrees, but what was obvious was that the women were not acting under duress.
Clearly they saw the hijab as something that could be worn to enhance beauty, not just to hide it, and until religious phobias spoiled the picture, head scarves were seen that way in the western world as well.


  1. The problem with Muslim dress in the West only exists when a woman’s whole face is covered. Nobody cares how muslims dress in their own countries, however, in our society we are accustomed to and expect to see people’s faces.
    We are even more annoyed when special dispensations are given to people to cover their faces in banks, at airport security screening etc when the rest of us cannot wear hoodies, helmets etc in the same places.
    It’s called discrimination based on religious grounds and we purport in Australia not to allow religious discrimination, but that doesn’t seem to apply to Muslims.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here