A MESSAGE FROM ADMINISTRATOR AMARA MAJEED

As a Muslim living in America, the gaping gap of ignorance exists between myself and others: my headscarf, otherwise known as the hijab. I pleat, fold, and fasten a piece of cloth over my head everyday before I go out, but the hijab means more to me than merely concealing my hair. In the religion of Islam, both Muslim men and women are expected to preserve their modesty, and from an Islamic point of view, the hijab contributes to the creation of a modest atmosphere. In an era where women are universally sexualized, Muslim women believe that the hijab can prevent this from happening. The Hijab Project is a social experiment that I’d like girls—both Muslim and non-Muslim—to begin. Try on your own headscarf to school, the mall or other public place, and observe the reactions that people give you. Are you looked at differently? Do people treat you differently? Then, share your experience here! If you currently wear a hijab, tell us your hijab story. A bridge of understanding needs to be built between Muslims and non-Muslims, and experiencing the lifestyle of a growing and often misunderstood culture in America is vital to shedding the lack of knowledge that many people have regarding Islam as a religion. I’m looking forward to hearing your hijab stories! السلام عليكم--[May peace be upon you]

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“Well me and my family didn’t really have a lot of money back then so we struggled a lot especially in Bangladesh, and we left my brothers in Canada and they were just teenagers and didn’t have jobs either so they also barely came through. I caught dengue the last month I was there and typhoid the first month I was there. Alhamdulillah I’m alive and well right now. I don’t think my patience has ever been tested as much as it was in Bangladesh and I am actually glad I got to see all the things I saw there and go through all of it because it taught me so much. It taught me to keep faith, never give up, ALWAYS think of others especially those who have less than you and to never judge.”

I came into the world on a noisy summer’s day in Queens, New York on June 13th, 1997. My parents used to live with my uncle during that time in a tiny apartment with my cousins and my 2 older brothers. My parents are originally from Bangladesh but they moved to Saudi Arabia after they got married. I lived in Saudi Arabia until I was about 9 years old and for me it was the best time ever because I had all the halal food I wanted, we used to go to Makkah and Madinah very often and it was just generally a good time to live there. My family then decided to move to Toronto, Canada because my dad was having troubles with his job. So we arrived in Toronto Pearson International Airport during a nice spring day with only a couple of carry ons to start fresh. Living in Toronto after having lived in a Muslim country like Saudi Arabia is probably the definition of different. Everything was different. I had to read the ingredients on candy to see if I could eat it, there weren’t that many muslims around and it just seemed kind of hopeless in the beginning. Me and my family lived in a small apartment with one bathroom for the 2 and a half years we lived there. As the months went along, it got better. I went to a small elementary school that turned out to have a lot of muslims and I even started experimenting with the Hijab. The Hijab was on a whole different level to me. I used to only wear it to the mosque or sometimes when it was cold out but took it off when it got hot. I got over it, though and by the time I was 11, I was officially a Hijabi. That was also the year that my parents decided to take a vacation to Florida where my sister lived. We stayed at her house during Ramadan and it was really fun, but Florida and Toronto are also very different from each other. My parents decided to stay a little longer and enrolled me in middle school. Honestly, I was terrified. I was just a kid who decided to cover up all parts of her body except for my face and hands while all the other kids wore shorts and t-shirts. The school had over a thousand kids and I got lost pretty much every day I went there. But I also managed to get through that and even found one other Hijabi in the school. I thought we had maybe settled down but it turns out my parents had some business they had to take care of in Bangladesh and me being only 11 had to go with them. So I said bye to everyone, enrolled myself in virtual school and boarded a plane to my parent’s homeland. I’ve only ever been to Bangladesh a couple of times as a child so I didn’t remember much of it. Everyone kept commenting on how different I’ve become with my Hijab. The first couple of months were good. We stayed with my uncle for a while but then just decided to rent our own place. I did my schoolwork as hard as I could with incredibly slow internet but I had patience. We spent a whole year and a half in Bangladesh. That year wasn’t particularly that great for me because I was alone and my parents were constantly worrying about their issues. I caught all kinds of viruses and sicknesses but thanks to Allah, I’m still here. I got through it all. Well me and my family didn’t really have a lot of money back then so we struggled a lot especially in Bangladesh, and we left my brothers in Canada and they were just teenagers and didn’t have jobs either so they also barely came through. I caught dengue the last month I was there and typhoid the first month I was there. Alhamdulillah I’m alive and well right now. I don’t think my patience has ever been tested as much as it was in Bangladesh and I am actually glad I got to see all the things I saw there and go through all of it because it taught me so much. It taught me to keep faith, never give up, ALWAYS think of others especially those who have less than you and to never judge.

After that year full of hardships, my parents decided it would be best to come back to Florida so they bought a house. I was beyond excited because this would be the first actual house we would live in. So we packed our bags, and boarded the plane back to the free country. I saw my brothers again, we had a house and I was very glad. Life went back to normal. I was enrolled into a middle school, but it turned out I was the only Hijabi. That didn’t really faze me, though. I made lots of friends and learned to deal with all the silly questions people asked about my Hijab. And then came high school. By now I should be an expert in keeping my head held high since I’ve worn the Hijab for a while but being a teenager comes with being self conscious. My fear of being judged was at an all time high. Even though nothing super bad has ever happened, I felt bad every time someone made a comment on my Hijab. It made me uncomfortable even though my high school actually had a lot of Hijabis in it. Time went on and I slowly realized that it didn’t really matter. I was starting to see how much the Hijab actually meant to me and that nothing anybody ever said would change that. I try to be the best Muslim I can be and I make it a goal not to judge anyone based on anything they do or have done. So it made me really happy one day when I met a girl and had a lovely conversation with her and at the end she said, “I’m glad I met you.” and I asked why. And she replied, “because I’ve met some other Hijabis once and they were very mean to me but you’ve changed my whole perspective now.” I went back to Saudi Arabia last year for the first time in 7 years. I was beyond excited. We were going back because my brother was getting married. I traveled with my brothers because my parents were in Bangladesh. I would also be seeing them after almost 5 months. They sometimes go on business trips for some months and I miss them a lot. I had the most amazing month in Saudi Arabia. My brother got married in front of the Kaaba in Makkah on a Friday. I got to meet my niece for the first time ever since my brother lives there. It was really sad when we had to come back, but life goes on. I decided to do online school for 10th and 11th grade because I wanted to get ahead with my classes and it would give me more time to spend practicing my faith and spending time with family. That brings us to now. I’m going to be a senior in high school in the fall and I am absolutely terrified. But thats ok because I’m not the only one going through such big changes. I plan on going to college in Florida next year and majoring in either early childhood education or biology so I can one day become an elementary school teacher or Pediatrician, Inshallah. As you can see, both careers pertain to children. I love kids. I also plan on expanding the non-profit organization called Sobhan Initiative me and my brother created 2 years ago. Inshallah, one day we can help a lot of people in the world and bring education, good nutrition, and better healthcare. Over the course of my 17 years, I’ve managed to learn about 4 new languages and can speak 5 languages fluently. I always try to broaden my horizons and never limit myself. The future looks bright and will keep getting better by Allah’s will, Inshallah.

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“This week specifically I’m wearing it because my boss is out traveling but if I could wear it on daily basis I would. I feel sorry for all the hijabis that go through discrimination or ignorance saying that evoluted women shouldn’t wear it, or that it is a submissive garment. Now I understand completely why hijabis say Hijab is my crown.”

I’m a Catholic Colombian woman. Here in my country, the Muslim community is quite small but during my chilhood years I was exposed to their culture and religion without thinking much. I consider myself a citizen of the world and my daily goals are related to achieving more knowledge about the world and the people. I’m raising my children in a environment free of judgemental thoughts, without genders, religion, political affiliation or geographic boundaries. I tried a hijab first because I wanted to take a picture for my boyfriend. Before I was checking online tutorials and the history behind it. The very same day I wore the hijab something made complete sense about it. For me, wearing a hijab is a spiritual connection, is a direct way to communicate with my inner self leaving the material things behind. Is me exposed the way I want to be exposed. People look into my eyes when I talk to them and I feel protected. My communication with God is getting better. This week specifically I’m wearing it because my boss is out travelling but if I could wear it on daily basis I would. I feel sorry for all the hijabis that go through discrimination or ignorance saying that evoluted women shouldn’t wear it, or that it is a submissive garment. Now I understand completely why hijabis say Hijab is my crown.

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“Because I can’t get admitted into a medical school, I have faced mockery from my own family. I’ve tried to commit suicide because of the bad attitude from my family with me for not getting admitted into a medical school. When it comes to marriage, there are many challenges to face. Nowadays, grooms’ families are very demanding; they just want a lot of dowry, a furnished house, and a car. They don’t have any interest in the girl’s skills…”

I have a story of struggles, sacrifices and efforts. From the moment I was born, I have faced many challenges and each coming day is still bringing new challenges and unlawful temptations for me. My pasts habits didn’t change in a single day. I had fight to for it and even now, I am still fighting.

Being born into a Muslim family and in a Muslim country didn’t bring me much pleasure because my family was not as religious. There wasn’t any religious pressure on me to pray or to fast. Additionally, I had never taken religion seriously and never thought about questions such as: “WHY was I born?”, “What reason is behind my birth?”, “Why was this world created?”, and “Why was I born a Muslim?”. Islam was just an outdated thing for me. My journey from bad to good made me a changed Muslimah; mostly a better one but sometimes I lose my temper and again attracts by fitnas such as drugs, music, movies, dancing, parties, and haram relationships. I was born into a Muslim family in a Muslim country, yet I had problems with covering my face and hair.

My family doesn’t want me to wear Hijab in weddings because no girl should do that in weddings in my family’s opinion. I have to get rid of it when it comes to social events that I’m supposed to attend. I can’t wear Hijab in some working institutions either. I don’t have many opportunities and choices. There are all kinds of social and cultural pressures as well. I can’t make my own decisions because I have to listen to the male members of the family. When I was in school, I was forced to take subjects that my parents chose for me. I have no will, no choice.

Life is not easy now at this stage where my career and wedding are both important for me. My father is no longer earning and all of my siblings are independent. Although they support me, I feel bad for this. I want to become independent as soon as possible. For this to happen, I might have to discontinue my studies and start working. In terms of a job, I have many requirements: whether the atmosphere is suitable for me or not, whether I can work there in Hijab or not. Here, men are still narrow-minded and don’t like working with women. They don’t respect them. Here, men are mentally and physically violent. Women are raped and sexually harrassed. At school, I was forced to learn biology. Like every typical Muslim family, mine want me to become a doctor, but I wasn’t mean to study medicine. Its out of my skill set and interest. Because I can’t get admitted into a medical school, I have faced mockery from my own family. I’ve tried to commit suicide because of the bad attitude from my family with me for not getting admitted into a medical school.

When it comes to marriage, there are many challenges to face. Nowadays, grooms’ families are very demanding; they just want a lot of dowry, a furnished house, and a car. They don’t have any interest in the girl’s skills and good manners.

While I’ve been writing, I’ve had tears in my eyes.

I cry whenever I’m forced to remember the past. The past has always been painful for me. I started becoming a victim of sexual harassment and abuse when I was 6 or 7. One of my close relatives brought me into an empty school and did things with me. My Family still doesn’t know about that incident. Later on, when I moved to another city, the same thing happened to me. One was a shop keeper and the other was a young Molvi who came to my home to teach me the Quran. I become an atheist and was very much disappointed. If there was a God, I wouldn’t be feeling so alone and hurt. This has left me with nothing but psychological issues that still haunt me.

Approximately two years ago, I met a boy through Facebook. I was completely in love with him. One day,I proposed to him, but he rejected my proposal because of his family. His family wouldn’t allow him to marry someone outside of his family. I was very disappointed and cried day and night. I wanted to die because I can’t live without him. I lost interest in everything.

During this, I met A daee through Facebook who helped me to come out of this situation and teach me about Islam. He helped me a lot and to this day, still helps me. Whenever I have any questions about Islam and Dunia, I ask him. He’s guided me very well. I’ve had a scarf on my head since the 5th Grade, but I’never known its purpose and never took it seriously. I did it because its my social value and culture. Then, I took it seriously and started knowing its purpose. When I come close to Islam and start studying about Islam, I find the Hijab is so protective and I feel so proud. Alhamdulillah. Although I can’t cover my head in weddings and in other social events because of pressure from my family, I’ll do it the rest of the time because I do Hijab for the sake of Allah, not for the people.

Life isn’t very good yet, praying Saleh and Quran helps me a lot. Allah will guide me through this. Alhamdulillah!

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“Alhumdhulilah I was born part and parcel of the Muslim Ummah but now I feel part and parcel of the Muslim Ummah.”

Living as a Pakistani girl born and brought up in a Muslim family under the stark blue skies and greenery of Nairobi city, Kenya, then proceeding to University in England, over time, Alhumdhulilah I have had the pleasure of experiencing a world of incredible ideological and cultural diversity.

Before University had begun, I had no inclination towards any belief system. I believed in what I used to call humanism (a word I thought I had made up that encompassed my love for humanity and being a good friend of the earth without the need of organized religion to gear my good deeds). Along the way I was surprised at the wonderful paths that were paved which slowly began to gravitate me towards spiritual diversities. A multitude of curiosities began to build within my mind as I delved deeper into the questions of existence and purpose. Through this, I became more open-minded to all religions and with the guidance and mercy of Allah, the opener of hearts, and some pretty awesome souls I had the chance of crossing paths with (you know yourselves), I awakened to the true beauty and light of Islam which has transformed my world today. After that.. everything is history but wait, what about the Hijab story?

This is my Hijab story.

Accepting the Hijab into my life came after understanding our Maker. His brilliance. His mercy and love for my loved ones, myself and the whole universe. His words Subhanallah at times would make me quiver with understanding of the truths He has made so clear. Looking outside my window would fill me with gratitude; for all His signs were a blink of an eye away. I felt serenity in my heart that I had never experienced before. The sense of my existence and purpose was deeply connected to my commitment to submit to His eminence for He deserves it.

As my love for Allah grew deeper day after day, how I spent my 24 hours began to reform. Consciously making lifestyle changes allowed space to reflect on the way I identified myself as Muslim woman.

I took baby steps to put all the knowledge I was learning through reading different topics of Islam to representing myself as a Muslim woman into action, but I was constantly reminded that it was good to pace myself with whatever change I planned to make. However, I believe that anything is possible as long as our intention is pure in the eyes of Allah. I never doubted he would give me strength to make any hardship easy.

As I felt my intrinsic haya (internal modesty) being practiced, Alhumdhulilah, this included my thoughts, intentions, interactions, actions, speech and body language, I began to value my modesty so much more than before. Soon I felt I was ready to practice extrinsic haya (hijab) for my identity as a Muslim, embracing the beauty in modest dressing, allowing whats in my head to triumph over what is on my head and most importantly, the obedience towards my creator for which the satisfaction would be unparalleled. But the journey did not prove that easy mainly due to self doubt and fear of not knowing enough about Islam to wear it. However later I realized these were Shaytaans way of pinching my heart which I could not allow to hinder my efforts and that one will never reach a point in their life where they know ‘enough’ about Islam. Islam is a progressive leap into the Creator’s conversation with His creation, revealing that the conversations will be of endless knowledge and understanding until we return to Him.

Soon I approached a sister who is now my close friend, Khalida Hussein. May Allah keep her steadfast. I had not spoken to Khalida for about a year and between that time we had not been in touch she MashAllah started to wear the Hijab. This drew me to her and I felt she could answer all my questions about hijab which she absolutely did. She ignited the fire within me to take my first few steps towards Hijab. She said, “Kandy you will never feel ready, but when you feel even a little ready, you’re ready, go for it!” A few months passed and I kept flowing in and out thoughts of wearing the hijab, taking a healthy number of selfies with it on to get comfortable of how I looked in it and sharing it with close friends to ease the process. This helped me get slightly more warm towards the hijab. At this point I knew there was no reason for me to delay the hijab any further but still, I didn’t do it.

It was fate as my Universiy Islamic society was presenting an Islamic fortnight and their last lecture was on hijab. At this point there were signs so prominent that gave me even more confidence yet I convinced myself I needed to hear the lecture to gain more insight into the realm of hijab. I told myself I have to be strong and make efforts to understanding the jewels of Hijab the best I can, for I believe that understanding reveals long term success. The lecture by Sister Sahar Al- Faifi were full of reminders of the advantages of hijab that I needed. One important point she mentioned was that hijab is much more than just a piece of cloth but hijab begins in the heart and in the eyes and is thus reflected through your actions. I asked a question on maintaining modesty amongst boys, specifically when they want a hug. I explained that “a hug is a simple friendly exchange of warmth between two people and they are free, so why is it so bad?’’ The Sister addressed this situation and said ‘a touch’ is something intimate in Islam, so if a touch is, a hug is something even more intimate and therefore as sisters and brothers in Islam, we maintain respect for each other by firstly valuing our touch hence not anyone should get it and secondly by not practicing any form of intimacy there is no margin at all for further unprecedented deeds unless of course the man is your husband. In addition with hijab on, men are automatically inclined to respect a woman’s space.’’ I found a lot of sense, respect and maturity in the answer.

Another month passed and on a fine April day in 2014, I decided to leave the house with my hijab on. It became that simple because Alhumdhililah I felt more confident with my connection with Allah than ever before. Subhanallah No one’s stare or hate could waver my bond. All I can say is from that day till to date, I will never look back InshAllah.

One close friend congratulated me and said, “Welcome to team hijab” and I replied, “Its good to be home.” It felt so right. I suddenly became much more content after I stepped into the world whilst remaining true to my inner voice. More importantly I felt the unparalleled satisfaction of being obedient in one more aspect our Maker has asked of us as He indeed knows what we are and what suits us best and Inshallah we should all keep striving to do our best.

Many perceive hijab to be a cloth wrapped around a woman’s head. however for me, it is above and beyond that. My life has taken a wonderful whirl into enlightenment, liberation and peace of mind. I value my body and feel secure in my Maker’s warmth.

I feel Hijab allows a double bond between one and their maker and Hijab almost becomes a second skin. It reminds me of Allah each time I wear it and what could be more beautiful than dhikr. Hijab has somehow brought me closer to the Ummah too. Alhumdhulilah I was born part and parcel of the Muslim Ummah but now I feel part and parcel of the Muslim Ummah.

After all it is true; Allah says, take one step toward Me, I will take ten steps towards you, walk towards Me and I will run towards you.

Thank you taking the time to read my Journey to Hijab. I hope it serves good for you dear reader Inshallah. If there is one last piece of advice I can give, it would be that, understand the value of your womanhood and be open to ways to gracefully guard it.

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“Everything hit me hard after I was betrayed by my boyfriend at the time. I loved him so much; he gave me so much ‘love.’ Once I found out that he was having an affair and married his mistress, my heart broke into pieces.”

I used to really want to wear hijab, especially when I was in high school. But when I entered elementary school, I hated Islamic studies. When I was in grade school, I’d started to have a mind that was quite … against Islam. At the time, I thought,’What is the importance we lead prayers, fasting, and so on, if it’s just a waste of time?’ I came from a religious family.

I’d been lazy praying five times a day. My role model was my cousin, but when she started to wear hijab, I distanced myself from her and began to hate her. If I was asked to pray by her or anyone else, I would get angry.

I was known for having a cruel mouth. I even insulted a friend in elementary school who was orphaned. I threw sand directly into one of my friends while playing traditional Indonesian game, the Fortress game (or in Indonesia, we called Benteng). Even though I had friends, I didn’t get along with them and they ended up using me.

During the month of Ramadan, I just went along with fasting and I didn’t understand why I have to endure hunger and thirst for the day. In the morning, I quietly ate, although I was eventually caught by a friend of mine.

In the 4th grade, I’d fast half a day. I slowly started to understand why I had to fast, although the reason I fasted time was because of the lure of money given during Eid. I still didn’t pray five times a day.

I remember my grandmother forced me to be able to learn the Quran so that I could reduce my negative nature. I hated and scolded my grandmother. And the first time I learned Quran lessons with my tutor was the first time I wore the hijab, although I would not continue to wear it when I go to school.

When my sister was born prematurely, I would sometimes annoy her and my father would not hesitate to be violent towards me. I felt like everyone would give more attention to her and didn’t love me as much.

My relationship with my sister was good until I was in college, before I put on the hijab. We fought physically; bruises, cuts, and sprains filled my body because of a fight with my sister. I nearly attempted suicide because of the behavior of family members.

The days are past college also somewhat somber. Friends on campus always bullied me, some of them even did it without realizing they had hurt me. I was becoming increasingly depressed because of their behavior, and eventually I had to get out of that campus, though most of my family is very disappointed with the decision. But, I guess that is the most appropriate decision. However, that doesn’t mean I didn’t do anything after leaving the campus. From the year 2011 until now, I am a student at a music school.

Everything hit me hard after I was betrayed by my boyfriend at the time. I loved him so much; he gave me so much ‘love.’ Once I found out that he was having an affair and married his mistress, my heart broke into pieces.

This experience encouraged me to start fresh and try the hijab. The first time I wore it to my music school, my friends didn’t believe what they saw. My mom and grandmother didn’t believe it either. Although my mother didn’t want me to wear the hijab because she wasn’t sure if I would wear it permanently, I managed to prove to her that I was very sure and steady with this decision.

I finally met a man who was far better than my ex-boyfrend; my future husband plans to convert to Islam at the beginning of February. He had been close to my the entire time; he was nice to me ever since my breakup.

I should have never felt lazy to pray to God because what I wanted and what I needed was closer to me than I expected; and inshaaAllah I hope this is the case for others as well.

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“In my junior year, I signed up for the military, and four days after graduation I left for basic training…In civilian clothes I wear hijab, but in uniform I can’t. I am now petitioning my commander for the right to wear hijab at all times…I will fight to wear the hijab while I defend the United States.”

The people began to walk in large circles around her people whispered, some stared, and I watched on in curiosity. I urged my mom to specific places to get closer just to see better who this woman was. She wore a long blue dress like a night gown with sleeves and a white scarf wrapped around her head like it was winter and not 114 degrees outside. I was 15 and a much more religious child than most others. I was beginning to feel the frustration of having my questions diverted by preachers as beyond our knowledge and being told not to question that which is beyond the human capacity like the first sin. When Adam and Eve ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. I had began reading about other religions, but Islam was far from my knowledge. As I watched this mother do her grocery shopping, I became curious. A few weeks went by and this woman showed up everywhere, or perhaps I tried to be near her. I found we had once lived near each other, her daughter went to my school and worked at the snow cone stand. After a while I would see the woman there at the little red snow cone stand and I would go and stand inline right behind her. Something! Something grew. Later I became sick and couldn’t go to school for a while. I played on a little chat game and a kid began to tell me about Islam while another tried to warn me away, telling me christians have no need for such lies. But what he said was true. For the entire week I studied. I continued until one day I texted my mom, out of fear to tell her in person, that I wanted to convert to Islam. That night I nearly lost my home. I was slapped for the first time ever by my mom and was hit with a bible. She took all my scarves and my computer. Twice she caught me until she promised to kick me out if I didn’t stop. I hid for five years. I studied the bible thinking maybe my mom was right and I was only a young woman looking for an adventure, but I grew more and more frustrated. Too many questions grew from these five years, and the only time I felt joy was when I snuck onto an islamic website at school and read a small piece of the Quran. In my junior year, I signed up for the military, and four days after graduation I left for basic training. Still fearful my mom would retaliate, I avoided going to the mosque that was offered to us. Later though when I went to tech school in California, I met a Muslim girl. That’s when I knew for sure I was a Muslim. Another girl randomly had an English Quran and gave it to me. Also my job studied about religion some. I struggled for a little while with fear of losing all my family.

Then I met my husband. I was on class break and walking through the town. I decided to grab a bite to eat at the crepe place, but you see I had decided to out on the hijab to try it. My friend, and non-muslim who was supporting me, joined me in my adventure. I had worn it a few times before and loved it. That day I walked in and he saw me and asked if I spoke Arabic; unfortunately I did not. The very next day I got dressed up a little fixed my hair as my mom would have told me and went back. He didn’t recognize me but we spoke for hours about Islam and life. I finally told him who I was and he was shocked. When he told me I looked more respectable in the hijab but still beautiful I felt so surprised. Then he took me to meet his family. It was the strongest feeling. I sat and watched as people cared for one another and ME! They weren’t what others had said they would be. I loved them. Just before that Ramadan I converted, and Issam, my husband, and I got married. I recently told my mom about my religion and my feelings. Now I am still in the military. In civilian clothes I wear hijab, but in uniform I can’t. I am now petitioning my commander for the right to wear the hijab at all times. I will never forget that woman in my home town. She showed me Islam through her hijab. She taught me and still doesn’t know. Inshaallah paradise will be rich for her. What Muslim women who wear or don’t wear hijab may not realize is that you are giving knowledge. Every smile people see of a woman in hijab, every happy Muslim they see could be what introduces them to Islam. It was for me. I love the hijab. It is purity and dua all in one. Imagine that you were that woman and you learned that simply by practicing your religion you saved me. Or imagine me desperately grateful to her and Allah for this. I am sad in uniform because every person that sees me could be a missed dua. Not only to help me but for those teetering.

I will fight to wear the hijab while I defend the United States. Allah help me and bless all those you sent to guide me. And thank you to all women who wear hijab. You could be the start of something more for others. So smile, pray, and share.

BRIDE

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“I was walking to the library, and two guys behind me were yelling “Terrorist!”

They probably thought it was funny; it wasn’t.

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“I would put an outfit on, my hijab on and then proceeded to go ask my mother for her opinion if my hijab matched my clothes. This to me was the start of trying to get her to accept even just my hijab. She said I actually looked beautiful. “

Salaam Alaikum

I converted using youtube back in Decemeber 2013 but just the other day I went to the Mosque for the first time and restated my Shahada. In the mean time of these few months, my son and I moved in with my mother, which I grew up not talking religion even though my parents where Christians. My mother asked me to NOT wear my hijab in her house. So out of respect I didn’t. I also live in a town of only 400 people that are retired and old school. My mother works on Sundays, and that was my day to wear hijab in the house to get used to the feel. Well, one day while my mom was at work at the gift shop, I decided to get hijab on and go to the gift shop to see what they had for scarfs. Now this is my first time in public with hijab on also. My mother just kind of looked at me and left it alone.

A few weeks went by and I decided to play dress up. I would put an outfit on, my hijab on and then proceeded to go ask my mother for her opinion if my hijab matched my clothes. This to me was the start of trying to get her to accept even just my hijab. She said I actually looked beautiful.

One day my mother asked me to ride with her to pick up my nephews and I said sure, just let me go and put my hijab on. She never once told me no. While on our way, she looked at me and said, “I can’t believe you actually wear that out in public”, I turned and looked at her saying, “Mom, to be very honest with you, not only am I wearing my hijab because Allah said we should be modest, but I feel very proud and happy when I’m wearing it”. That was the last she stated about it.

Alhamdulillah, I don’t leave my house now without my hijab. Not only is it step by step for people learning of Islam but it’s also step by step for family and friends. I am the type of person that doesn’t care what others think of the way I’m dressed so I just go for it. And I love being the only Muslim in a 30 mile radiance.

People will judge whoever they want, whether you are Muslim, black, gay, or even purple, but we as Muslims need to not judge them back cause it’s only God’s job to judge.

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“…these two boys were making terrorist jokes about me. They said something like, “she might blow up on you, man…” Everyone heard; I was humiliated and wanted to stop wearing hijab. In gym class, a girl had sexually harassed me. She would say explicit things, grab my face and ask me why I was Muslim. She told me I should get naked. I had to crawl under a stall away from the shower where she pushed me in. Nobody bothered to help; finally I told some adults who took action.”

Assalamualaikum; I have been a revert for five months. I grew up in Mexico believing in the trinity, although I always questioned it. The church wasn’t working for me so I went to my high school’s library and found the Quran. It had everything I was searching for and more. My family thought it was a phase. I would practice Islam very late at night and sneak out the house with hijab. Finally, I took shahadah when I was just 17; I felt excited and nervous at the same time. I wore hijab openly and even prayed at the beach without a care. People wouldn’t look me in the eye, even cashiers. My family occasionally makes Arab jokes, and at school I was harassed. My school has 3000 people with only five hijabis; I stand out since I am the only Mexican Muslim. Once, when I was minding my own business in the halls,

these two boys were making terrorist jokes about me. They said something like, “she might blow up on you, man…” Everyone heard; I was humiliated and wanted to stop wearing hijab. In gym class, a girl had sexually harassed me. She would say explicit things, grab my face and ask me why I was Muslim. She told me I should get naked. I had to crawl under a stall away from the shower where she pushed me in. Nobody bothered to help; finally I told some adults who took action.

Apart from that, there were plus points to wearing the hijab. In hijab, men let me walk by without honking horns at me. I feel beautiful and so empowered.

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“…asked me if I wanted to take my coat off. It was cold in the room so I said I would keep it on. She looked concerned and insisted that it wouldn’t matter if I took my coat off. I reassured her that I would be okay. She asked if I was worried about showing my skin, made reference to my hijab and asked if I came with my husband. I felt a little angry and upset at her assuming that I couldn’t make my own decisions. It’s demeaning to be patronized and molly-coddled like a 4 year old child. “

At school I had a couple of classmates who were male Muslims. One thing I noticed was that on wearing the headscarf, my contact with them almost ceased to exist. When we did happen to converse, they seemed very cautious and were more overtly respectful. I thought of my headscarf acting as if it were a physical barrier for those who understood what it symbolized.

It was comforting for me to not have to initiate awkward conversation by ‘telling off’ male friends when they made unwanted advances or comments. Instead, it felt like my headscarf did the talking for me by implicitly suggesting ‘I do not flirt’ or ‘I do not date’. In general, although male attention was not eliminated completely, it was reduced greatly.

I do not think my circle of friends changed much after wearing a headscarf. Because my old non-Muslim female friends were familiar with my personality, we all still got along with each other and were very close.

One thing that I realized after high school was that wearing a headscarf will subject you to a lot of assumptions. Of course, I already knew this, but it was only after I wore a headscarf that I felt the heavy weight of what this actually means. Part of my decision to wear a headscarf was to escape the burden of conforming to societal pressures of what a woman ‘should’ look like. But my extended family and even my sister would call me old-fashioned, a ‘grandma’or backwards for not being as trendy or fashionable as my cousins or other girls my age, and for being uninterested in fashion.

Another belief I think people hold of me after wearing a headscarf is that I am quiet, vulnerable, weak, stupid or otherwise simple-minded. I had an optician’s appointment where the woman, caucasian and in her mid 50′s, asked me if I wanted to take my coat off. It was cold in the room so I said I would keep it on. She looked concerned and insisted that it wouldn’t matter if I took my coat off. I reassured her that I would be okay. She asked if I was worried about showing my skin, made reference to my hijab and asked if I came with my husband. I felt a little angry and upset at her assuming that I couldn’t make my own decisions. It’s demeaning to be patronized and molly-coddled like a 4 year old child.

When people hold such strong assumptions about you, it strips you of your individuality. Sometimes I feel like I have involuntarily molded myself into what others have expected from me. At times, I do feel like going out without a hijab, because I think I will be treated better and feel more confident if my religious background or ethnicity remains ambiguous.

Despite this, the advantages of wearing a headscarf outweigh the drawbacks in my opinion, which is why I have decided to keep it on.

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