Shaheen Pasha is a professor of international journalism at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and, according to the Washington Post, is passionate about “how Muslim women are portrayed and perceived in the West.” Ms. Pasha and her sister Nausheen Pasha-Zaidi, a psychology scholar at the University of Houston, have co-edited a new book entitled Mirror on the Veil: A Collection of Personal Essays on Hijab and Veiling. The book is a collection of essays written by Muslim women on why they choose to wear (or not to wear) the hijab or niqab.
Here are some snippets from an interview with Shaheen Pasha (who grew up in New York City with her sister, their family hails from Pakistan):
— ON choosing not to cover herself: …I would have eventually found my own truth but let’s just say that my husband helped me get there quicker. Today we have a 14-year-old daughter. If one day she decides to wear a hijab that will be her own choice.
— ON perceptions of Muslim women wearing hijab: …I believe that the media and Hollywood really contribute to a lot of the negative perception that’s out there. In their portrayal of Muslim women for example, they always look for what they consider to be the picture of what a stereotypical Muslim female looks like. Many Muslim women, like myself, do not wear hijab but are supportive of those that do.
— ON book’s main takeaway: The one lesson I really want readers to take away is that every woman has a voice and her own personal agency to decide what is right for her. Every woman who decides to veil or not veil has had personal experiences that have shaped her decisions.