Character: SAMAR, Female, Egyptian Muslim, 21-25 years old, does not wear a veil. Samar dresses in chic, western clothes, modestly dressed when she goes out, not so modest at home or among friends, often wears a NY Yankees baseball hat. She is also a student at AEU, studying journalism. Well off, cosmopolitan, speaks Arabic, French and English. Friendly, outgoing.
SAMAR: It is not so much the higeb that frightens me. It’s the abaya, the niquab, the chador, the burka. Each covering a little more, each another inch of this camel’s nose into our lives. My mother wore miniskirts on the streets of Cairo and no one cared. Now look at us. We don’t dare to show our legs in the street. How does this happen? Inch by inch. No one is forcing this...yet. It is the weight of society, of public opinion, of the sheihks, of peer pressure, even of fashion!
Wearing the niquab is easy. Anyone can slip it on and suddenly you are holy. Your sins are hidden. You are hidden. Without the niquab you must rely on yourself to be modest, you must draw the holiness from within your soul.
I believe that many women wear the veil for their beliefs, however, I also believe that many now wear the higeb and the abaya as a protest, a political statement that we must break from the West. It was the same in Iran during their revolution, women put on the higeb as a symbol. However, now, long after they have won, still the women are legally forced to wear this higeb. No longer a symbol of their freedom.