Question of Freedom

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This article establishes that the iconic reproduction of images of veiled women in Western societies expresses a shared meaning against Muslim women. This research study engages the theory of semiotics, which is the study of signs and signifying practices. In Western societies, the images of Muslim women in hijabs and burqas are treated with contempt, driving Western media to stylize these images and reproduce them to incorporate shared meaning. Out of the semiotics used in the stylization and reproduction of the images of veiled women, the representation changes their basic meaning to a cultural meaning. Through an analysis of stylized and reproduced images of Muslim women in the West, this research establishes that this practice subjects Muslim women to oppression, discrimination, and negative public scrutiny. In addition, the research indicates that despite the cultural and religious significance of the veil in Muslim societies, Western society believes that the veil is a symbol of the oppression of the rights of these women and a cultural backwardness that clashes with the cultural modernity of the West. In conclusion, this research points out that bans on veils in major Western countries such as the United Kingdom and France may influence similar decisions in the United States. Such decisions may further implicate Muslim women in Western societies and contribute to the dilemma they face when attempting to reconcile Western cultural values and their native Islamic beliefs and practices.