Hijab in an Age of Fear

Security, Secularism, and Human Rights


  • Ibrahim Abraham Monadh University




Islamic headscarves, Islamaphobia, religious freedom


In recent years, Islamic dress has emerged as one of the abiding sites of contention in the relationship between Muslim communities and the State. Specifically, the wearing of Islamic headscarves by women in public spaces has raised questions about secularism, women’s rights, and national identity. This article explores the debates about banning hijab in educational institutions across four jurisdictions: France, the United States, Turkey, and Australia. Through the analysis of various case studies, this article argues that an analysis focussed on human rights reveals common themes in the debate in each country: the fear of terrorism and fundamentalism, insecurity about national identity, and how to reconcile secularism with religious freedom, gender equality, and other human rights

Author Biography

Ibrahim Abraham, Monadh University

Ibrahim Abraham is a postgraduate research student in the School of Political and Social Inquiry at Monash University and a Research Assistant in the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law at Monash, working on the ‘Bill of Rights in an Age of Fear’ project. He has chapters forthcoming in The Politics of Representation and (with Roland Boer) in The Blackwell Companion to the Bible and Culture, and Sacred Tropes: Tanakh, New Testament and Qur’an as Literary Works.


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How to Cite

Abraham, I. (2006). Hijab in an Age of Fear: Security, Secularism, and Human Rights. Journal for the Academic Study of Religion, 19(2), 169–188. https://doi.org/10.1558/jasr.v19i2.169