GETTING TO KNOW: Dr. Yvonne Haddad

Article excerpt

Professor of The History of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.

DI: Tell me something about yourself:

YH: First of all, I'm not a Muslim - a lot of people make that mistake. I grew up in Syria and my husband is Jordanian. I came to the United States in 1963. I'm a Presbyterian.

DI: Are you a feminist?

YH: I have no idea. I didn't join the National Organization of Women, like a lot of Muslim women. I believe women have rights. That's true already of most Arab countries. Syria had women studying engineering way before [the United States] did.

DI: How is the Iraq War affecting Muslim women in the United States?

YH: More Muslim women in the U.S. are wearing the veil because there's a feeling that we've imposed a war on Islam, not only on terrorism. "Islamization" is all over these days. In Cairo, Egypt, it used to be one-third covered and now its 98 percent. They're covering willingly in rejection of the Bush doctrine, which they see as "Impose American values or we'll bomb you."

DI: Do you see this "Islamization" as affecting U.S. Muslim women in college?

YH: The opposite, if you wear a scarf, you're saying "I'm not available sexually" and you are insulating yourself and not indulging in campus life, which is drinking and sex.

DI: You conducted a study of Muslim women in America - what did you find? …