You have to keep your emotions in check as you follow her scholarly explorations through nationalism, socialism, Islam and anti-imperialism. Along the way, be surprised by nuggets like the 102-storey Empire State Building is lit up in green every year to honour the month of Ramadan. In a nutshell, she surmises that it is impossible to understand the underlying dynamics of the veiling movement of the last four decades without reviewing the history of the Islamic movement and the political crises and conditions that give rise to it.
In chapter 9, "Backlash: The Veil, the Burka, and the Clamor of War", she wrote:
Among the responses noted earlier were those indicating the veil's intended meanings of challenge to the sexism of the rules of dress in the dominant society and the meaning of the affirmation of the rights to equality of minorities in society. Clearly these are meanings that the hijab can come to have only in societies that declare themselves committed to gender equality and equality for minorities. They are not meanings that the hijab could possibly have in Cairo or Karachi or Riyadh or Teheran. ("A Quiet Revolution: The Veil's Resurgence, from the Middle East to America", page 213)
Yaacob Ibrahim served only to muddy the waters by pointing out that Muslims cannot wear the hijab while on duty because "servicemen are not allowed to wear or display religious symbols on their uniforms or faces". While Sikhs are permitted their turbans. And the speaker of the house dons a veil in parliament in full glare of national television. All men are brothers, some are big brothers.
Mufti Shaikh Syed Isa Semait should have phrased his comments more carefully when he proposed (to the guys behind the online petition) a question asking if all the Muslim women working at the front line as nurses want to wear a hijab. Better still, ask the people if we want such political appointees to represent us if they have no clue what the real issues on the ground are.