It’s a sensitive issue and one that divides both people within the Islamic faith and outside it: the hijab. For some, it’s an expression of modesty and liberation, for others it represents injustice and oppression.
Although nowadays the hijab is most closely associated with Islam, it’s not an Islamic invention. The headscarf is mentioned in all three monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Even today Orthodox female Jews who are married don headscarves and Catholics nuns aren’t seen without their hair covered.
But it’s the Islamic headscarf that garners most press. A wave of modesty and a trend of wearing the hijab - whether it be the chador, niqab or burqa - has swept across Muslim communities in recent years, but so has discrimination against Muslims post 9/11.
Throughout history the hijab has been worn for different reasons. Once it was a sign of social status, mainly used to distinguish upper-class women from the rest of society, particularly from prostitutes who were not permitted to cover their hair.
But in some regions it has been worn by farm workers, less as a symbol of their faith, but more for reasons of practicality to protect their heads from the sun.
Whatever the choices for wearing or not wearing the veil, the matter remains a contentious one. The headscarf is a complicated piece of cloth. While some countries are tolerant of headscarves in general, they are less so when it comes to ones covering the face. Then there are those countries that enforce the wearing of the veil, with punishments for those that don't.
Here we unveil how different countries treat the hijab - and the women that wear it - around the globe.