The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

What some Muslim women see: Views from behind the veil shot by an AP photographer

The photo on the left was shot through the lowered veil of a niqab, which is worn by many Muslim women. The right photograph was shot without the niqab. (Hassan Ammar/AP)

The niqab — the veil that covers the head and face of many Muslim women — is for many a personal choice. For others in North Africa and the Middle East, even if there’s no law in place, there is “a strong societal pressure for females to cover themselves” as Adam Taylor of The Washington Post explained.

[Map: The places where Islamic face veils are banned]

Associated Press photographer Hassan Ammar wanted to see what it was like to look out through the niqab.

“In my travels, I decided to begin shooting images through a full niqab to offer a glimpse of what it must be like to look through them,” Ammar wrote. “In my hometown of Beirut, I shot pictures of its famous corniche that way, the bright colors of the Mediterranean dimmed through it. The same happened at the Giza pyramids in Egypt, where a sunny blue sky grew dark. Despite that, some women say they welcome the anonymity and protection from harassment the niqab offers.”

Below are his series of images shot from behind the veil.