The Politics of the Hijab

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President Obama was in Saudi Arabia yesterday paying respects to King Abdullah, who died last week. The visit was short, but there was just enough time for the First Lady to find herself at the center of a controversy. Michelle Obama chose not to wear a headscarf to official proceedings. It’s not entirely unusual for foreign officials to skip the hijab in Saudi Arabia, but thousands of tweets from Saudis criticized the first lady for not covering her hair. Why does the headscarf keep getting dragged into political discussions?

Credits

Guest:
Haleh Esfandiari - Woodrow Wilson Intrenational Center for Scholars

Host:
Madeleine Brand

Producers:
Andrew Walsh, Christian Bordal, Matt Holzman, Jolie Myers, Anna Scott