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Muslim Headscarves Unveil Attitudes and Opinions

Women wearing traditional Islamic clothing are an increasingly common sight in Finland's cities. For Finland's young urban Muslim population Islamic dress is both a religious interpretation and a fashion statement, but it can also draw intolerance. "The headscarf symbolises respect," says 19-year-old Dina Akoudad who adheres to the Islamic dress code. Dina says observing tradition doesn't stop her and other Muslim girls from being fashion-conscious and displaying their individuality. Young Muslim women are making the hijab their own by incorporating influences from mainstream Finnish youth, such as heavy metal music, in cloth prints. The headscarf, often considered an emphatic symbol of religious identity, plays a top role in Muslim dress. Although the scarf hasn't been the subject of heated debate in Finland as it has been in other European countries, Finnish Muslims say that wearing the Islamic headscarf may make landing a job more difficult. "Many of my friends have been told they'll get the job if they leave the scarf at home," says Dina. Some Muslim girls begin covering their heads in their teens, some do so earlier -- while others choose not to wear a scarf at all.

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