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Americans' Perceptions of Woman Wearing Muslim Shawl Significantly Improve Compared to Previous Study

Woman with shawl viewed as more friendly, beautiful, and less strict, compared to past study

Flemington, NJ, November 5, 2009 – Results of a new national study among 1,431 Americans revealed that respondents’ views of a woman wearing a traditional Muslim shawl or hijab dramatically improved, when compared with the results of a similar study conducted last year.

The studies were conducted by HCD Research, using its® website during January 2-3, 2008 and again during November 2-3, 2009 to determine whether Americans possess different views of a woman based on whether or not she wears traditional Muslim headwear. To view detailed results of the study, please go to:

In each study, participants were divided into two randomly assigned groups.  Members of each group were asked to view one of two separate photos of an attractive young woman. Neither photo was identified in any way. One of the two photos featured the woman wearing a traditional Muslim hijab. Each group was asked identical questions about the woman, her age, perceived personality, activities, and how acceptable she might be as a neighbor.

The results revealed many positive changes in the respondent’s views with regard to the photo of the woman wearing a hijab. The woman wearing a shawl was initially perceived as being older, with 30% of respondents rating the woman as 36 or older. In the recent study, 84% of respondents perceived the woman as being 35 or younger.

Furthermore, in the initial study, 38% of participants indicated that they would rather have the woman with the traditional headwear live in another place, another city, and maybe out of the U.S. In the recent study, 72% indicated that they would like the person depicted to live in their neighborhood or next-door to them.

The traits of the girl wearing a shawl were also perceived as more positive by respondents in the recent study. Not only did respondents rate the woman with a shawl as friendlier (59%) compared to the previous study (41%), they also perceived her as friendlier than the girl not wearing a shawl in the recent study (56%). Respondents in the recent study also rated the girl wearing a shawl as more beautiful and less strict than in the initial study.

Editors/Reporters: For more information on the study, or to speak with Glenn Kessler, president and CEO, HCD Research, please contact Vince McGourty, HCD Research, at (908) 483-9121 or ( You can also receive updates from by following us on Twitter: and Facebook:

HCD Research is a marketing and communications research company headquartered in Flemington, NJ.  The company's services include traditional and web-based research.  For additional information on HCD Research, access the company’s web site at or call HCD Research at 908-788-9393.® ( is a media measurement website that provides the media and general public with a venue to view Americans’ perceptions of popular and controversial media events and advertisements

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