Published On: Tue, Jul 2nd, 2013

My hijab is not oppressive, but your stereotypes are

My hijab, to some non-Muslims, symbolizes oppression and lack of women’s voice and agency in the Islamic faith. These individuals feel it is incumbent upon them to free me, and all Muslim women who adorn the hijab, from this perceived oppression. We live in a culture that constantly makes Muslim women and the hijab synonymous with oppression so much so that most folks do not even want to engage in a dialogue with a Muslim woman about her reasons for wearing the hijab prior to assuming and then telling her that she is oppressed. I have had countless number of non-Muslims tell me “I do not have to wear this in the land of the free and home of the brave” and that by wearing the hijab I am sending a political message, which stands in support of “extremists killing innocent people.” My response to these people varies from the tone of their voice to the kind of day I am having, but the overall message I try to convey is that I wear the hijab because I want to. Although to some, it might be a sign of a political statement, for me it serves a spiritual and religious significance, which is grounded in a faith that does not in any shape, form or fashion support the hijabkillings of any innocent people anywhere on this earth. I have made the personal and conscious choice to wear the hijab on a daily basis after immigrating to the United States and learning about my faith, the Qur’an and what it means to be a Muslim. Every time I get ready to step outside my home, I make the decision to wear the hijab. I am not and have never been forced to wear it as there are women in my family who do not wear it and there are those who do. My hijab is part of who I am and I proudly embrace it.

by Halima Ahmed

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  1. Tim Merrill says:

    ” this does not mean one assumes all Muslim women are oppressed and somehow need to be rescued or liberated from wearing the hijab or the Islamic faith.” True my sister. Not all Muslim women are oppressed and need rescuing but I know far too many here in America who are being oppressed by their insecure husbands and fathers and do indeed need a spiritual/cultural/mental/emotional rescue. My prayer and hope is that we as a people will soon find a spirituality that is suited for us as Africans. We, the people of original spirituality, find ourselves constantly trying to fit into Arab, European, and even Hebrew modes that simply do not fit us. As I see my sisters and brothers is their Arab attire, I am more saddened at our departure from our African roots in exchange for an Arab culture that has never been a true friend of the Mother Land.

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