In fall 2013, WriteBoston launched Teen Voices Rising, an afterschool mentoring and journalism program designed to engage young women in the powerful work of expressing their voices on social justice issues.

Teen Voices Rising, by training girls to speak out about the issues that matter most to them, is a tribute to the 25-year legacy of Teen Voices and a pledge to the next generation of women.

 

 




 

Hidden Truths: Why Some Women Wear Hijab, Others Don't

 

These three articles were written by teens in the Teens in Print program of WriteBoston.

May issue cover of Teen Voices

Credit: AFH photo by Kim Huynh

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For a week-and-a-half, I did something I've never done before. I wore my hijab to school and kept it on everywhere I went.

Whoa!

I know that I was supposed to start wearing the head scarf a very long time ago as a sign of modesty and my devotion to Islam. However, I hadn't felt ready to commit.

Then, one morning a few months ago, I woke up and just decided that I was going to put it on.

Two days before, a Muslim teacher at my Arabic school had talked about the afterlife and how if you didn't follow the rules of Islam you would be punished in hellfire. I was scared. My initial thoughts were that I was going to wear it for the rest of my life. I was a little skeptical about it, though. So I figured that I would wear it for a week and see how it went. I got dressed the way I usually did for school -- jeans and a long-sleeved shirt -- but this time I added a little spice to my wardrobe: a hijab. I went to the mirror to see how I looked. Fear struck as I thought about what people at school would say. However, I just sucked it up and said "Bismillah" -- in the name of Allah, the most merciful, the most beneficent -- and then walked out the door.

As I got to school and pulled my jacket hood off, I felt as if I was the center of everyone's conversation. I actually heard someone blurt out: "What the heck is on Adama's head?" As the day progressed, it seemed like there was a big sign on my forehead saying: "PLEASE STARE AT ME."

While my first day wearing the hijab was unsettling, after that it was a horror film. The questions coming at me ranged from: "Do you wear it when you sleep?" to "Do you take a shower with it on?" to "Are you sad that they killed your father?" -- a reference to Osama bin Laden. One friend went so far as to call me a terrorist.

I was terrified.

So, I eventually decided to take it off. I felt bad, realizing that I wasn't ready to go all in.

Now, I can only imagine what I'd have heard if I'd been wearing my hijab after April's Boston Marathon bombings, which were allegedly perpetrated by Islamic extremists. In the aftermath, I heard people say cruel and hurtful things about Muslims, like: "Muslims don't like other people being happy because Muslim countries are not as good as America."

Hopefully, by the time I go to college, I will be more prepared to wear the hijab full time. I will be more mature, more at peace with myself, and less concerned about being ridiculed for wanting to display my faith.

Hijab: Why I wear it

I wear my head scarf because I was told to by my religion. I believe in my religion so I believe in my head scarf, my hijab.

My religion says the head scarf keeps a woman modest and doesn't reveal her hair. So when people like a Muslim woman, they don't like her for her beauty; they like her for her personality.

I do believe this, and this does happen. I have a lot of friends who like me for me. They don't care if I'm not wearing what they are wearing. They like me for who I am and how I act.

In a way, the head scarf protects me from ignorant people and helps them not get close to me. I've met a few people in my life who have treated me differently because of what I wear and what I believe. They'd say, "Oh, if I was you, I would just take it off. It's ugly." But I really didn't care because I wasn't close with them. I realize not everyone is understanding.

Many people think I would hate wearing my hijab -- but they're wrong. I am actually grateful to be born into a family that wears the head scarf. I've worn it ever since I was a child. It is not something just anyone would understand. You have to be able to know the reasons behind it.

Since the Boston Marathon bombings in April, nothing has happened to me. Just because some terrorists claim to be Muslims doesn't mean that our religion allows things like that to be done.

Originally Published by Write Boston at http://bostontip.com/hijab-why-i-wear-it/

 

Hijab: Why I don't wear It

I'm a believer. I practice Islam every day. I pray. I speak of Allah. I read the Quran. However, I don't wear the Hijab, which symbolizes modesty.

As a believer, it is inadmissible to do something that has to do with God just because people are forcing you. Wearing the hijab is a request from God himself -- not from your parents or anyone else. I believe that it is much more important to do it for you and for your God because, at the end of the day, when we die, everyone is going to lie alone in different tombs.

I never grew up wearing the hijab. Up until I turned 12, my parents never said anything about it. Why should I suddenly start wearing it? It's almost like going outside without clothing -- you are not comfortable doing it.

Several years from now, when I'm married let's say, I'll probably change my mind because I will feel mentally ready to choose to wear it. I won't have my mom and dad wanting me to put it on – only myself and my God.

Originally Published by Write Boston at http://bostontip.com/hijab-why-i-dont-wear-it/



This article was originally published at writeboston.org.

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About Boston Teens in Print: bostontip.com.

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