Journal of Intercultural Communication, issue 11, April 2006

Janet M. Roberts

Wearing the Hijab: An argument for moderate selective acculturation of newly immigrated Arab-American women


The goal of this research is to examine how Arab women newly emigrated to the United States struggle to decide how to blend with or into the fabric of this country while still retaining their culture, language and religion in a manner that is comfortable and acceptable to them. All the interviewees were Arab/Muslim women from the countries of Iraq and Lebanon. The research also examines the conflict among Muslim women over the decision as to whether or not to wear the hijab or veil covering their heads.

This research is important in creating an understanding of the needs and differences, as well as the desires and similarities, of Arab/Muslim women and American women. It is also important for differentiating between assimilation, multiculturalism and selective acculturation. Any research and analysis that works to emphasize common values and acceptance of differences also works toward the building of a peaceful community.

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