Girls Just Want to Have Fun

This American Muslim won't wear a head cover but will wear tight jeans. Modesty, she says, comes from within.

 Asma Gull Hasan, 31, is a lawyer in San Francisco, an author, and a speaker. She's also a self-described "Muslim Feminist Cowgirl" who grew up in Colorado and went to prep school on the East Coast. The daughter of Pakistani immigrants and born in Chicago, she considers herself an all-American girl. Hasan, who writes often for Beliefnet, discusses her book, "Why I Am a Muslim."

Why do you call yourself a feminist?
Muhammad was a feminist. He stood for equal rights for women. To many people, feminist means something negative. And so when I am called a feminist, they think that's derogatory--but by feminism, I mean equal rights for men and women.

When I was at the Islamic Society of North America convention last year selling my first book, there were a lot of women who wanted to buy the book. Many of them wore the head cover, and it wasn't an issue to them that I don't. But there were also young, traditional men and some older traditional men--they were a minority for sure--but they would come up and say, "Why aren't you wearing a cover? And how can you expect me to buy a book when there's a picture of you on the front and you're not wearing a cover?" And I would say, "Look, you don't have to buy the book." Meanwhile, a rumor got spread around that on a certain page of my book I wrote that the head cover is not required. So throughout the convention, young men would come up in groups of two or three and pick up the book and go right to this one page. Don't they have something better to do then to be skulking around the ISNA bazaar and gossiping to each other, "Oh my God. That author says the hijab is not required"?

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Are most Muslim women covered in America?
No. Most Muslim women are not covered. I was doing an interview about hijab and the head scarf on CNN once, and they said that about 10 percent of Muslim women in America wear the head cover. I have no idea where they got that number. But based on what I've seen, I would say that statistic is pretty accurate.

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