Panel Discussion: Islam and the Headscarf

"Exploring the link between Islam and the headscarf and how the Western world has become focused on the headscarf as representative of Islam"

The headscarf has become the symbol of Islam for the Western world. What does this mean and why has it happened? Each of our four speakers will be addressing the topic from a different angle, followed by a Q&A session. This promises to be an exciting discussion touching on topics such as politics, religion, cultural identity and media representations.

Dr Raihan Ismail
Raihan is a lecturer at the Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies at the ANU. She will be looking at the relationship between Islam and the headscarf and the important differences between the different types of veils.

Dr Ashok Collins
Ash is an ANU lecturer in French Studies. He will be discussing France as a case study, looking at why the laws banning religious symbols in schools and public places are relevant to the symbolism of the headscarf for the Western world.

Fr John Parsons
John is a priest with the Catholic Archdiocese of Canberra and will be discussing the Abrahamic roots of Islam, its historic relationship with Christianity and how this history relates to the headscarf. He has previously spoken on the importance of seeing beauty in other religions to ensure harmony in society.

Ms Jacky Sutton
Jacky is a PhD student who has had a lot of experience dealing with gender issues in the Middle East and is also part of UN Women. She will be talking about the focus of the Western world on the headscarf that occurs when Islam is discussed in politics and the media.