As the 2016 Presidential election came to an end, a rapid increase of fear has grown within the Muslim community. Many Muslim women wearing the Hijab, a veil worn to cover the females hair as a form of modesty which is required in the Islamic religion, are beginning to feel scared, targeted, and ostracized. A million and one questions go through the mind of Muslim females each day before they step foot out in todays world. I personally have wondered if it would be safer for my mother and I to not wear the Hijab now. Will the next couple of years be similar to the days we’ve seen with 9/11? We were grieving for all the victims, when others thought we were to blame. As working Hijabi women, we face people of all ethnicities and people holding all different ideologies, and therefore, we have to plan each step before it’s taken.
Jasmine Ibrahim, a young Muslim engineer posted on Facebook on November 11th, 2016, “I wear the Hijab every Sunday morning to teach at Sunday School, and I question everything: what path I’m gonna take, who’s gonna see me, what to avoid, the way I drive, where I’m gonna park, my neighbors, passer by’s. I take it off after school and wish I’d have the courage to continue my day with it. But I can’t. I can’t go to the mall with it or even the deli. I have a fear etched on my heart that stems from the embarrassment I faced when my mom picked me up from school with it as a kid. But I wear it on Sunday’s by choice, in hopes that I might fall in love with it one week or the next. I get a lump in my throat thinking about it because, I know the day I wear it permanently something will actually have changed inside of me.”
As women, we work extremely hard to fight against society’s perspective of us in-order to fulfill our aspirations, whether it’s to become an engineer, a doctor, a lawyer, or even a teacher; and as Muslim women we are faced with an even stronger fight. We have to prove that by wearing the Hijab we are not oppressed, rather it’s a sign of empowerment and liberty. It has also become our role as Muslim women to educate society on what it means to wear the Hijab. I wish the fear that steams from the 2016 Presidential election doesn’t allow us Muslim women to forget sight of our role in society and our dreams. I can only hope that with this election we can grow stronger as not only individuals, but as a community as well. Lizanne Gotay, 23, a Catholic believer advices Muslim women, “keep wearing your Hijab. Don’t take it off for them or for anyone. They’re trying to put fear in you, don’t let them. Stay who you are and protect yourselves, but don’t give in. Just stay strong.”
This article is written by Fifi Youssef.