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Hijab refers to the practice of dressing modestly in accordance with one's Islamic faith.

Hijab is not the term for a garment, although it is often used inaccurately to mean a head scarf that is used in this way. Head scarves have several names, such as abaya in Arab countries, chador in Iran, and ohrni in Trinidad and Tobago.

Opinions on what constitutes hijab vary from Muslim to Muslim. Some say that both sexes should cover their head, wrists, and ankles. Some say that women should cover their hair, or their face as well.

Some liberal Muslims in the West choose to follow hijab by dressing in a way that would be considered modest for the culture in which they find themselves - e.g. Western business clothes.

Some believe that hijab is unfair towards women, charging that repressive cultures use hijab to subjugate and oppress them. On the other hand, many Muslim women, including in Western cultures, state that they prefer to follow hijab as a sign of their faith.

For example, the Taliban practice of forcing Afghan women to wear burqas was propogated as being very cruel and misogynistic, however very few Afghan women chose to take off their burqas after the Taliban fell. The vast majority of Afghan women chose to continue to wear burqas, due to the simple fact that Afghani women had been wearing the burqa since centuries before the Taliban came to power. Similarly the majority of Pakhtun women in the North Western Frontier Province of Pakistan continue to wear the burqa, even though there are no laws enforcing Burqa-wearing in Pakistan.

See also: Taliban treatment of women

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