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Susan Carland on why she wears a hijab.

In recent history, one item of clothing has created more controversy and divided more opinion than any other.

The hijab has been labelled a tool of oppression and anti-feminist but as Dr Susan Carland explains, for her, her headscarf is a tool of empowerment.

“There are some women who say [wearing the hijab] is a feminist statement,” Carland told Meshel Laurie on The Nitty Gritty Committee.

Listen to Susan talk to Meshel Laurie about her choice, here:

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“In a society where women’s bodies are used to sell everything from toothpaste to cars, [for those women] covering [their] body is about…saying ‘I’ll decide who sees my body and what parts they get to see by wearing a hijab and covering my body I’m choosing to not have my body commodified in that way,'” Carland said.

Since converting to Islam at 19, Carland has worn her headscarf and today she declares herself “hijabulous” in the description on her Twitter profile.

Susan appearing on Studio Ten. 

"In the end, the reason I wear the hijab or the headscarf is as an active worship to God," Carland said. "As a Muslim we believe that everything we do can either be an active worship or just a mindless endeavour.

"It's just about reminding myself who I am, what my values are, why I'm here... as you said [Meshel] it's about having intention and being mindful in all situations," she says.

Carland stressed that every Muslim woman has her own reasons for choosing to wear the hijab. In 1970s Iran there were attempts to ban the hijab and women covered their hair in protest.

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"For [some] women it is very much a political statement," Carland said.

"[These] women wore the hijab in protest saying 'you're not allowed to take this away from me and this is imperialist that you are trying to take away our hijabs.'"

Susan with her husband Waleed Aly. 

Carland explained that the concept of Muslim women covering their hair originated from Islam's emphasis on modesty.

"In Islam, modesty is actually something that seems highly valued for men and women," Carland said. "Modesty in behaviour and modesty in dress.

"In a modern western context there is no premium placed on modesty. It is not seen generally as something positive."

Carland emphasised that choosing to wear a hijab or not should be completely up to the individual.

"I would never want a women to be forced to wear it," she says. "I also hate seeing women being forced to take it off."

Susan spoke to Monz and Laura on The Binge today about everything Logie related. Including what it was like when Waleed professed his love for her on live tv.

Dr Susan Carland is an academic, a sociologist, broadcaster and mother of two. She is married to Waleed Aly and lives in Melbourne. 

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