ABSTRACT

Islam and Muslims are a signi¿cant point of political contention in many European immigration countries. Gender relations are at the very centre of those conÀicts. Bodily performances of Muslim women, and particularly face and body covering,1 serve as signi¿ers of national belonging and function as boundaries between ‘us’ and ‘them’ (Phillips and Saharso 2008). Amiraux (2007: 125) thus identi¿es headscarves and Muslim women as symbols for ‘everything that is thought to be wrong with Islam’. Sauer (2008) feels that ‘the bodies of Muslim women became a battle¿eld of conÀicts over values and identity politics’. In the process of mobilizing exclusive patterns of belonging, essentialized images of Muslim women have been created and restrictive policy responses in the arena of migrant politics have been triggered (Verloo and Roggeband 2007, Rostock and Berghahn 2008).