I was able to wear my hijab for some of my senior pictures! Unfortunately, we were in a bit of a hurry, so my hair was showing though the hijab, but at least this one is head-on.
This was taken when I visited a Mosque for my interfaith youth group, Interact Cleveland.
I’m the one in the middle, wearing a yellow, blue, and maroon headscarf. This was taken when I visited a Mosque for my interfaith youth group, Interact Cleveland.
Today I wore an Islamic headscarf, didn’t kiss my boyfriend, didn’t eat pork, washed my face in the morning, woke up at 5 am, and didn’t make eye contact with men (Except for once, which I will explain later).
Woke up at 5am. Two minutes of meditative silence. Promptly fell back asleep. Woke up again at 6, washed face and started day.
M.W. asked about my scarf. I told her of its importance, and she commended me for wearing it. My boyfriend is being surprisingly patient with me, since I only see him once a day as it is, and for the past three days he didn’t kiss me even then.
First Period – English
No comments about scarf. Everyone must be used to it by now.
Second Period – Stress Management
C.K., the same girl who called out my name yesterday in class, finally asked me about the scarf. She said it was cool and continued on with her day.
Third Period – Study Hall
Sat alone. Ignored all period.
Fourth Period – Lunch
Mrs. K told me to take my “hat” off. I didn’t bother, since I have permission from Mr. M. Mr. C pulled me aside to ask me what the head scarf was for, very nicely. He showed genuine interest.
When I got back to my table, everyone wanted to know if he had been yelling at me, or told me to take it off because that would be stupid and discriminatory. I told them he just wanted to know what it was about.
M.G. felt awkward when I would stare at his chin instead of his eyes.
Fifth/Sixth Period – Chemistry
Yet again, Mr. P didn’t ask about my head scarf.
Seventh/Eighth Period – Pre-Calculus Honors
Ninth Period – Art
T.U. wore a sweater that said “COCKS” on it in huge letters with a rooster underneath it. He claims it’s a sports team. Since I couldn’t look at his face, I spent most of the period laughing at his sweater. He tried making funny faces again, but I still didn’t look at him. B. imitated him so I could see.
Tenth Period – Choir
I accidentally looked B.C. in the eyes. I immediately looked away. He’s the only guy I see the entire day who’s the same height as me, so he caught me off guard. However, it was just a little mistake, so I’m not counting it as breaking Islamic tradition.
While walking home, it was really windy. So windy, in fact, that I had to look down and hold onto my head scarf in order to keep it from flying off. While looking down, I spotted a penny I would have otherwise overlooked. Call it dumb luck, a sign, a miracle, what have you. But I’m keeping that penny.
I feel kind of sad to take off my head scarf. These past three days have been so eye opening for me. I want to thank everyone who supported me.
A lot of people I barely know have been calling me brave. All I did was buy a $15 head scarf from Target, wear it for three days, and follow a few Islamic traditions along the way. I really wish I could say I did more, but I didn’t really. I got a plan and stuck to it for only three days. Any one of you could do that and more. And I hope you will, too.
Thanks and maʿa as-salāmah!
Today I wore an Islamic headscarf, didn’t kiss my boyfriend, didn’t eat pork, washed my face in the morning, woke up at 5 am, and didn’t make eye contact with men.
I woke up at 5 am, and had two minutes of silent meditation. Woke up again at 6 and started my day. Washed my face this morning.
First period- English
Not much commotion was made about the scarf today. I thought a lot about the five pillars of Islam:
•There is no God but God, and Muhammed is his prophet - The pillar that defines Islam and seperates it from Christianity and Judaism.
•Prayer - Muslims pray 5 times a day, the first at 5 am. A Muslim friend told me Sunday that they only take 2 minutes. Another Islamic friend told me that Muslims pray to remember a promise they made to God, since humans are so forgetful. He forgot to tell me what the promise was exactly.
•Fasting - This refers to staying away from Pork as well as fasting (in this case, not eating during the day) for Ramadan. I wonder what diabetic Muslims do?
•Pilgrimage - a hajj (sp?), a religious journey. I won’t be doing this for my experiment, unfortunately. How hard but enlightening it would be for me to walk through an airport dressed as a Muslim, and heading to (or worse, coming back from) a Middle Eastern country.
•Giving Alms - Charity. Hard to think of extremeist terrorists doing charity, huh?
Second Period - Stress Management
Not too much happened. We colored pictures, which was relaxing. At one point, a girl behind me called out my name. When I turned around, she just stared at me. Though this girl has been known to act like this jokingly in the past, I can’t help but think it had to do with the headscarf.
Third Period - Study Hall
Mostly just ignored, not glared at.
Fourth Period - Lunch
Surprisingly little happened.
Fifth/ Sixth Period - Chemistry
Still surprisingly little. Maybe people are getting used to the head scarf?
Seventh/Eighth Period - Pre-Calculus Honors
Mr. M asked why I was wearing the head scarf. After giving my explaination, a guy behind me screamed “NO!” It turns out he had been playing a game on his calculator and messed up, and it had nothing to do with me. Everyone laughed.
Mr. M explained that he was “part Muslim” (his grandfather had been a non-practicing Muslim). He then said my head scarf wasn’t completely Islamic because “too much of [my] face is showing.” I wore the head scarf exactly as I did when I entered a holy Mosque, and it was fine there.
In Hallway After Seventh/Eighth Period
A girl from my class approached me after class and said what I was doing was really cool. She was not a Muslim herself, but had celebrated Ramadan with some of her Muslim friends. She said that Muslims get a lot of “Bull S**t around here” and its awesome that I’m doing something to raise awareness about it.
I feel rejuvinated.
Ninth Period- Art
I got to explain the head scarf a bit more. It was so hard not looking men in the face. T.U. kept making funny faces, trying to get me to look at him. I explained that I couldn’t, it was against the Muslim tradition. He asked if I was Muslim now. I said no.
This went on for a while, and he finally asked, if it’s so hard, why am I doing it? Why not just take off the head scarf, look him in the face?
Because, I replied, I’m doing this for something greater than myself. And that’s reason enough to push on. Besides, I’m getting an amazing opportunity to walk in someone else’s shoes.
Tenth Period - Choir
Another girl asked me about my scarf. I explained it to her (I’ve started using the phrase “to raise awareness about discrimination against Muslim-Americans” instead of “in solidarity with my Muslim-American Sisters” for reasons I’ll explain later), and she asked if I was Muslim.
I smiled and said “Not yet.”
Dr. F started playing the piano several times but stopped to ask me questions about the scarf. M.M. stated that it was for discrimination against Muslim women but I corrected her. In Islamic society, women aren’t necessarily treated badly.
In fact, the whole reason they wear head scarfs is to NOT be objectified. It’s to hide a woman’s earthly beauty and let her be judged for her inner character. It’s similar thinking as to why Muslims don’t kiss until they’re married; so the marriage is built on friendship and a geuine interest in one another, not just sexual attraction. I imagine it’s also the reason why women can’t make eye contact with men. I usually think of myself as fairly worldly, but I didn’t know why until this past Sunday when I toured the Mosque.
After School - Walking home
A man in a pickup truck honked at me. I couldn’t see his face, so I couldn’t tell if it was a friendly gesture or not.
I didn’t say “Marhaban” as often as I should have, I think. I’ll try to more tomorrow.
(As to why I started saying “to raise awareness about discrimination against Muslim-Americans” instead of “in solidarity with my Muslim-American Sisters”, it mostly has to do with the mistake M.M. later made, that all women in Islamic culture are demeaned. I see this as more of a cultural thing than a spiritual thing, since American Muslim women are treated fairly by American Muslim men.)
December 7, 2009
Today I wore an Islamic Head Scarf. I did not kiss my boyfriend or eat pork. (This was not a huge issue, I’m a vegetarian anyway.) I tried to not make eye contact with men while talking to them later on in the day.
A.C. asked if I was “having a bad hair day” and M.G. thought the head scarf had to do with a Russian holiday. I explained to both of them its significance and they both showed polite interest.
Mr. D asked me to remove my head scarf, but I informed him that I had sought out permission from my administrator, Mr. M earlier. Later, he asked me why I was wearing it, and most of the class listened as I informed him that I would be wearing the head scarf for the next three days to help raise awareness about discrimination against Muslim Americans.
Second Period-Stress Management
Y.N. and B.G. were interested in my head scarf, so I told them about it also. Perhaps the most thorough explanation I gave all day. It’s hard to do Yoga with a head scarf.
Third Period-Study Hall
The Marines set up their recruitment table farther away from me than usual. Some of the cheerleaders gave me weird looks, but continued on with their day.
(Brief discussion in hallway with M.H.:
M.: What’s with the…
Me: It’s an Islamic head scarf
M.: Good, I thought you were going Muslim.
He walked away before I could correct him. Perhaps he was thinking of Israeli?)
Fourth Period- Lunch
M.M., A.R., M.B., and T.N. were interested in the head scarf. We briefly discussed it and its meaning.
Fifth/Sixth Period- Chemistry
Mostly forgot I was wearing it until I tried making small talk with the girl who sits next to me. She just glared at me and pretended to be busy.
Seventh/Eighth Period- Pre-Calculus Honors
E.E. asked about the scarf. Y.N. wore her scarf like mine for a little while. I cleared up a misconception that A.C. had that this was part of the InterACT program I’m a part of. I’m doing this on my own, my own inspiration, my own motivation. She said that that was “really cool.”
Ninth Period- Art
People interrupted me when I tried to explain the significance of the scarf. More glares. C.B. thought it was just a “fashion thing” and claimed to have seen other girls today wearing the scarf. I haven’t seen any. Come to think of it, there aren’t really too many practicing Muslims in my school.
More interruptions when I try to explain the scarf. LOTS of stares. Many people asked me if it was Russian, Italian, &c. One girl stated that I was wearing a Burkha. I didn’t bother to correct her.
Walking home, two people walked off the sidewalk to avoid me. Cashier at Walgreens was nice, but old man behind me was a bit confused I think.
Posted my plans on facebook, and got a pleasantly surprising amount of support. Quaker F/friend J. S-L. Posted a link to all of his friends to my journal. It raises my spirits after some of the blatant discrimination I suffered from today.
Learned how to say Hello in Arabic: Marhaban.
New goals for tomorrow:
Wash face in morning, no eye contact with men (all day), wake up at 5 am and meditate (instead of Islamic Prayer) for 2 minutes.
Be who you are, say what you feel; Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.