“Take off your hijab”; a statement often exclaimed by those who do not understand what the hijab is and what it stands for, a statement exclaimed by those who believe the hijab to be oppressive, but not a statement I expect to hear from my own mother-
As terrorist attacks rise around the world, retaliate attacks also increase. Those who put Muslim and ISIS in the same category choose to retaliate in any means necessary and naturally Muslims are constant targets, especially due to the hate rhetoric that is shared by “Trump and friends.” But for us hijabi Muslim women, we wear our faith outwardly, our scarf makes us an immediate target for anyone and everyone.
It was the day after the Manchester attack when my mother came up to me with tears welling up in her eyes and she said “please take it off”- mum was never one to try to influence my decision to do anything but here she was, under the direst circumstances asking me to do something in order to be safer in this cruel world. I responded with no- not even out of stubbornness but purely on the basis of how could I let the hate win? How could I let the hate, that is trying to tear this world apart, triumph?
I choose to continue to wear it so that I can be the true example of what a Muslim is and that would be…just another human being. I am just another human who loves to eat pizza and watch movies and dance to my favourite tunes but the only minor difference may be that I pray 5 times a day and fast during Ramadan to remember those less fortunate, but in the grand scheme of things I’m just another teen, with ambition and passion and love in my heart.
I will always be a “towelhead terrorist” to those who don’t want to see past the hate, but for those that are willing to listen and willing to love, you are the ones that get to see who I really am; a carefree teen who loves to share peace and happiness with all those around. I hope that one day, love will triumph over all of the hate.
I hope that one day my own mother will not have to ask me to remove a piece of my identity for my safety and for her to be assured of my wellbeing wherever I go.