Reasons and Reactions

I’ve always wondered what people’s initial reactions are when they see a hijabi. I wonder how it would feel as an outsider looking at a hijabi, especially if I wasn’t sure why she covers the most beautiful and exotic part of her beauty. So, my curiosity got the best of me. I went and asked a few non-Muslims what their reactions are when they see a covered girl. Here’s one girl’s perspective: “I see it as mark because it identifies a girl as a Muslim. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to wear it. There’s so many pressures and stereotypes that can come with wearing it. We’ve become so sensitized to the media’s portrayal of Muslims that we don’t realize that we’re prejudiced against them until you see them in front of you.”

And then I thought about it. The same way I see other people cover for religious purposes, like the Sikhs, is probably the same way people see me. But, maybe because the Muslims are more targeted in the media, it makes all the wonders more evident.

Every girl has her reason to wearing hijab. Not everyone thinks it’s okay to practice your belief; islamaphobics still exist.

But not everyone is judgmental. Not everyone is going to treat you any different for wearing hijab. I was curious to ask a male of what he thought. He said, “I didn’t think anything of your hijab. I wondered why you wore it and I wondered if it was your choice or if it was your family’s. I wondered what you were hiding and why you wore it the way you did. At some point, I thought most religious women who practice their faith more than most wouldn’t speak to a guy.”

I’m not here to speak on behalf of every hijabi, because no two people are alike, and just because we practice the same religion, it doesn’t mean that every one of us are the same. So, for me, I speak to men as I would to anyone, with sincerity and respect, because that’s what I’m hoping to receive from them.  I don’t want to come off as an intimidating person who makes people feel like I can’t be approached because I can. And I hope that I can always communicate this to everyone who I interact with.

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