Date of Award

Summer 2014

Thesis Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Liberal Studies


Rachel Newcomb

Second Advisor

Kathryn Norsworthy


It is not unusual for people to express prejudices against others who look or act differently than the predominant culture. Regrettably, Muslim women are not excluded from this behavior. One of the outward observations of the Islamic religion is the hijab, a veil that covers the head, neck, and chest. Muslim women wear the hijab or similar covering by choice, as it reminds them of the modesty that Islam requires. Yet, this symbol of modesty is often attacked and tainted, leaving many outsiders to question the women who wear the veil and their Islamic culture. In this thesis, I explored the topic in hopes of understanding how the Western world can better accept Muslim women and the religion of Islam. This research included interviews with Muslim women in Central Florida, as they struggle to interpret the religion for themselves while simultaneously dealing with prejudices. By examining the history of the veil and the Western misconceptions surrounding it, I contend that women wear (or do not wear) the hijab for complex reasons, underscored by the oppressiveness of Western culture.

Rights Holder

Jennifer C. Sands