Someone to Blame

Eight months ago, Shammi Begum started covering her hair. The 21-year-old British-born student from Luton, northwest of London, had been seeking ways to reflect her Islamic faith in her daily life, so she recently began to wear a headscarf in the traditional Muslim gesture of female modesty. But after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the U.S., Begum's hajib suddenly became as much a source of anxiety as of pride. "I am afraid to be walking by myself, especially in the evening," she says. "You can't help having that fear inside you."

Little wonder. In the days following the attacks,...

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