Purps asked the question, at what age are the girls required to wear the full dress.
I recently read an awesome book called "Nine Parts of Desire - The Hidden World of Islamic Women." by Geraldine Brooks.
It gives a great history of Islam's start and the whole "chador
" thing. She actually learned Arabic in order to read and understand the Koran.
She also shows how, in recent years, many young women have adopted the chador as a political statement. As one is quoted, "Now, men have to deal with my mind, and not my body."
One of the things she found out,
"Use almost any word in Arabic, and a host of uninvited meanings barge into the conversation. I learned that one of the words for woman, HORMAH, comes from the same root as the words for both "holy, sacred" and "sinful, forbidden." The word for mother, UMM, is the root of the words for "source, nation, principle, mercy, harvest, stupid, illiterate, parasite, weak of character, without opinion." In the beginning was the word, and the word, in Arabic, was magnificently ambiguous."
So, women are treated according to how each man wants to interpret what he reads in the Koran.
"The urgent and relevant task is to examine the way the faith has proved such fertile ground for almost every anti-woman custom it encountered on its great march out of Arabia. When it found veils and seclusion in Persia, it absorbed them; when it found genital mutilations in Egypt, it absorbed them; when it found societies in which women had never had a voice in public affairs, its own traditions of lively women's participation withered."
I found the book to be an interesting commentary on how a religion changes over time. Remind anyone else of another religion.....????
Highly recommended reading,