The world has been rocked by so many sad events that has shook the Muslim community at large. Namely, the Paris attack and now San Bernandino has many Muslims worried about violent backlash. I can see why when we have presidential candidates like Trump calling for a registered database of Muslims that is reminiscent of how Hitler maintained Jewish identifiers for the Jewish community during Nazi Germany. I want to let you know that you are not alone if you are scared. I am scared with you.
I have worn hijab ( head scarf) for a very long time (I am talking since 1994!). Back then, I was told by very well meaning people not to wear it since it was right on the heels of the World Trade Center bombing and I could be the target of hateful people. While I have encountered hateful people in my life, I will say that I have never once regretted my decision to wear hijab (head scarf). I have been discriminated against in school, for jobs and in other matters. Why would I do that to myself? Because I believe in it.
When 9/11 happened, I still wore my hijab. I still remember the angry red faced man who screamed at me to go back home in the Lowes parking lot in Buffalo shortly after that. However, I never lost my resolve to wear hijab because it had slowly became a part of who I am. I had worn it for so long, it had become a part of me. I still believe in it.
However, it seems times are changing and things are the worse than they have ever been. Islamophobic campaigns by Pamela Geller and other hate think tanks are succeeding.
I don’t know if it is because I have kids now, but I am aware that my wearing hijab doesn’t just affect me, it affects my family. If I am with my kids and wearing hijab, I am putting my kids at risk. This thought frightens me more than anything. For the first time in my adult life, I considered taking my hijab off. Yes, I know to fear God over God’s creation, but you are also supposed to keep yourself safe first and foremost.
But when I even thought about taking off my hijab, I just could not bring myself to. It would mean that Islamophobes succeeded in terrorizing me. It would mean that they had succeeding in changing my behavior based on their hate. I am not advocating that you parade around in a face veil in the rough part of town, but I refuse to take my hijab off. Will I wear a hat over hijab while I drive? Perhaps. Will I be careful and carry mace? Yes. But for now, these haters can’t take my hijab off. But they can’t change what I believe in and hijab in something I believe in.