Rumki Chowdhury’s Unveiled is an amazing piece of work; it succeeds in conveying the complex nature of the lives of Muslim girls in Western society, attempting to carve out their own identities against a backdrop of confusion, prejudice, and paranoia, especially in the wake of terrorist incidents. The book is a statement of defiance against ignorance, as well as an emblem of reassurance and hope for Muslim women everywhere.
In the first three parts, Chowdhury skilfully explores the three separate but united components of being: the mind- and its barriers to achieving freedom, the body- as well as social pressures pertaining to outward appearances, and, finally, the soul- and creating a sense of inner beauty, strength and peace.
Chowdhury writes about the hijab from her own perspective, as a symbol of choice and empowerment, as opposed to one of oppression; her writing provides an authentic voice, which is extremely necessary when it comes to the discussion of such topics; we are in desperate need of having more genuine, witty, and sincere female Muslim voices like hers to be at the forefront of our discourse.
As someone with a Muslim Bangladeshi background myself, I was able to fully appreciate Chowdhury’s humorous anecdotal tales, and found many of her references very relatable. Her words are eloquent, yet equally accessible and enjoyable. All in all, Unveiled sends a message of hope to readers, and will encourage non-Muslim readers to view the world through the eyes of a strong, intelligent, though frequently misunderstood, Muslimah.
Sadia Ahmed, 2017