Some years ago, when I came across this article from Karen Armstrong, I could not but agree with her thesis. Since then, I see more and more truth in it.
On the surface, what looks like a resurgence and revival movement within Islam in the recent decades, up-close is really a search for self-identity. In the face of increasing social pressures – partly because of the neocolonialism of the West – Muslim masses, including the highly educated class, search for ideological symbols – veil is only one of them.
If you disagree, here’s the litmus test: observe the way of life of these veiled women closely. You’ll find that most do not feel much compunction missing Morning Prayer but would be adamant about covering each hair on thier head. Men, with little scruple, lie cheat and beat their wives but would be resolute on wearing long beard etc. Unless someone has his priorities completely twisted, this is neither Islamic resurgence nor revival.
Read Armstrong’s article:
…where the veil is forbidden, women hasten to wear it.