Islamic dress in human rights jurisprudence: a critique of current trends

Anastasia Vakulenko

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    45 Citations (Scopus)


    This article highlights some of the discursive implications of framing the question of Islamic dress as one of religious rights. It is argued that the very construction of hijab issues as those of ‘religious identity’, sustained by the use of Article 9 of the ECHR as the primary legal basis for their resolution, has shaped a number of counterproductive trends. These are: avoiding difficult questions through a judicial technique of deference to local knowledge; using a language of choice to produce an obscure and unsatisfactory account of Muslim women's agency; false dichotomising of culture and gender; and producing an ever more docile and exposed subject through the subtle mechanisms of public scrutiny and moralising. Each trend is considered in turn. The article's arguments draw on the critical thought of Wendy Brown and post-colonial feminism. © The Author [2007]. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)717-739
    Number of pages23
    JournalHuman Rights Law Review
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2007


    • Human rights
    • Islamic dress
    • Religious rights


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