Among the dozens of Facebook groups spawned by the Syrian uprising, a page supporting women’s rights has suddenly received a wave of attention, because of an image posted there by one of its followers. The picture was of 21-year-old Dana Bakdounis, without the veil she had grown up wearing – and it polarised opinion.
Dana Bakdounis has been brought up in conservative Saudi Arabia, but it was as a reaction against conformity that she first removed her veil in August 2011.
“The veil did not suit me, but I had to wear it because of my family, and the society,” she says.
“I did not understand why my hair was covered. I wanted to feel the beauty of the world… I wanted to feel the sun and air.”
By then, she was already following The Uprising of Women in the Arab World page on Facebook.
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