An article in the Dallas Daily News does an excellent job highlighting how Muslim women feel about practicing their religion freely in the U.S., particularly when being able to distinguish and question differences between culture and Islam.

It’s a stereotypical image, to be sure: a Muslim woman covered head-to-toe, her head held low in apparent subjection.

Maybe it’s a common scene in some parts of the world, but in the United States, it’s a different picture. Certainly, some Muslim women in the U.S. wear traditional dress, such as the head scarf known as the hijab, but most do not. And though many unequivocally accept Islam, plenty of Muslim women in the U.S. feel comfortable enough to question its customs.

“America is a good place for Muslims to freely explore issues,” said Louay Safi, executive director of the Islamic Society of North America, which in 2006 named Ingrid Mattson as the association’s first female president. “Given the freedom this country offers, there is room to have meaningful debate on important issues.”

No doubt, American women of other faiths also have issues with some of their religions’ practices while accepting others. Consider the Catholic woman who might agree with the church’s stance on abortion but not on birth control. Or the Jewish woman who lights the Sabbath candles each Friday but doesn’t keep kosher.

But other religions rarely carry the same baggage in a post-Sept. 11 world, where stereotypical images of cloaked Muslim women continually play out in the media, yet have little to do with being a Muslim woman in the U.S.

Read full article here