By Daniel Pipes,

Glamorous Muslim Political Women

In “Hijabs on Western Political Women” (see pictorial that follows below), I displayed a brood of queens, princesses, first ladies, members of congress, foreign ministers, journalists, and even movie stars looking anywhere from faintly ridiculous to outlandishly bad as they wear some variant of a hijab.

It then occurred to me, what about Muslim political women – are they all in hijabs, chadors, jilbabs, niqabs, and burqas? A little research found that at least some of them not only avoid any Islamic apparel but fit a Western standard of beauty and glamor, making a sharp contrast to those Europeans and Americans in their tatty hijabs.

Beyond making this contrast, offering their pictures here suggests that, at least in the highest political circles, the Islamists will meet strenuous opposition from women. So, bring on the sequined gowns, jeans, jewelry, curling irons, and make-up.

Let’s start with Khadiga el-Gamal, wife of Gamal Mubarak, daughter-in-law of Husni Mubarak, and possible future first lady of Egypt.

Khadiga el-Gamal.

Queen Rania of Jordan:

Queen Rania of Jordan.

Sheikha Mawza, wife of Hamd bin Khalifa, ruler of Qatar

Sheikha Mawza of Qatar.

Mehriban Aliyeva, wife of the president of Azerbaijan:

Mehriban Aliyeva.

Asma Al Assad, wife of Bashar Al-Assad, ruler of Syria:

Asma Al Assad.

More Asma Al Assad.

Princess Consort Lalla Salma, wife of Muhammad VI, king of Morocco:

Princess Lalla Salma of Morocco.

Princess Haya, wife of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai:

Princess Haya of Dubai.

Aesha Qaddafi, daughter of Mu’ammar, ruler of Libya:

Aesha Qaddafi of Libya.

Princess Amira Al-Taweel, wife of Saudi prince Waleed bin Talal:

Princess Amira Al-Taweel of Saudi Arabia.

Farah Diba, former empress of Iran:

Farah Diba of Iran.

Benazir Bhutto, the late prime minister of Pakistan:

Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan.



Definitely not looking as glamorous, here are

Hijabs on Western Political Women

For fun, how about collecting those instances when female political leaders don the hijab (Islamic headscarf)?

Oriana Fallaci, interviewing Ayatollah Khomeini in September 1979 in Qum, Iran. The interview lasted six hours and at one point, an indignant Fallaci removed her chador and threw it at Khomeini.

Oriana Fallaci interviewing Ayatollah Khomeini, before she threw her chador at him.

Princess Diana during a 1996 visit to a cancer hospital in Pakistan. .

Princess Diana in hijab in a Pakistan hospital.

Hilary Clinton, when she was still wife of the U.S. president in 1997, traveled to Eritrea and put on a headscarf. Interestingly, her daughter Chelsea, seen in the background, did not.

Hillary Rodham Clinton traveling in Eritrea in 1997 with a headscarf on.

But on another occasion, Chelsea joined her in wearing a headscarf.

Mother and daughter, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton, wearing headscarves.

Mona Sahlin, leader of Sweden’s Social Democratic Party, donned a headpiece when visiting a mosque on September 14, 2001.

Swedish Social Democratic Party leader Mona Sahlin (right) in headscarf, speaking with Mahmoud Aldebe, chairman of the Swedish Muslim Association, on visiting a mosque in Stockholm.

Prince Charles’s wife, Camilla Parker Bowles, got into complete Egyptian Muslim garb, including hijab, on a visit to Al-Azhar.

Camilla Parker Bowles with Prince Charles in Egypt.

Antje Vollmer, Green Party member and vice-president of the German Bundestag, visiting Riyadh as part of Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder’s delegation in March 2005.

Antje Vollmer, Green Party member and vice-president of the German Bundestag, in Hijab.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visiting a mosque in Dushanbe, Tajikistan in October 2005, wearing a black cover on her hair.

Diane Sawyer of ABC’s “Good Morning America” television program interviewed Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wearing a hijab in February 2007.

Diane Sawyer interviewing Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, donned a headscarf when she visited Damascus in April 2007.

Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, in Damascus.

Elsebeth Gerner Nielsen, a former Danish minister of culture, wore a hijab near the parliament in April 2007. She is the only woman on this page wearing the scarf correctly, completely covering the hair.

Elsebeth Gerner Nielsen, a former Danish minister of culture.

In June 2007, three senior Bush administration staffers wore makeshift hijabs as they listened to the president address an audience at Washington’s Islamic Center.

Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Fran Townsend (far left), NSC Senior Director for European Affairs Judy Ansley (left), and Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Karen Hughes (right) listen to President Bush.

On a trip to Saudi Arabia in October 2007, George W. Bush’s wife Laura wore a particularly severe-looking hijab.

Laura Bush in Saudi Arabia.

Actress Angelina Jolie also serves as a “Goodwill Ambassador” for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees; in the latter capacity, she visited a earthquake-struck village in Pakistan in August 2007.

Angelina Jolie, UNHCR goodwill ambassador, in a Pakistani village in August 2007.

Switzerland’s Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey wore a full hijab in Tehran in March 2008 as she signed a natural gas deal with Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. (March 19, 2008)

Switzerland’s Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey meets with Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Tehran.

Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom wore a headscarf while visiting the Green Mosque in Bursa, Turkey.

Queen Elizabeth in a Turkish mosque.

Norway’s Queen Sonja wore a headscarf as she visited the mosque of the Islamic Cultural Centre Norway in Oslo.

Norway’s Queen Sonja.

Hillary Clinton, now U.S. secretary of state, donned a hijab to tour the Sultan Hassan Mosque in Cairo along with Barack Obama.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the Sultan Hassan Mosque in Cairo.

One thought on “To Hijab… Or Not

  • The pictures tell quite a story. Are they strong women that do not wear traditional garb or defiant? Perhaps they just demand to be seen as themselves.

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