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DRESSED DOWN: THE POLITICS OF THE HIJAB

Still from Zaineb “Zee” Abdulla’s instructional video on self-defense for Muslim women, 2016.

IN THE HOURS following the 2016 US presidential election, assaults targeting women in hijabs—and so many others whose vulnerabilities Trump promised to breach in his new order—spread like a contagion across the country.Triumphalist Trump supporters grabbed and tore off headscarves, yanked them to stop a woman short, or sometimes, to choke her. My Midwestern college town was no exception. A loose collective of feminist faculty at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has held what we call Solidarity Hours for several years now in conjunction with local and national protests around police murders of black persons and other racist attacks on our campus (including sidewalk chalkings reading BUILD THE WALL and NO SHARIA LAW). The day after the election, almost eighty students attended our hastily announced open hours, and the tension and worry in the room were

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