Muslims to be the target of negative actions. Specifically, for Muslim women wearing the headscarf, many have faced discrimination throughout their education, work place, while traveling and in the public in general. They should not have to feel fear or paranoia while doing normal daily activities. According to the article of Alia Abdo called The Legal Status of Hijab in the United States, most discriminatory reactions that occur because of the hijab take form in micro-aggressions; however, in other cases there have been larger acts of discrimination displayed such as unfounded suspicion, islamaphobic slurs, physical assaults, unwarranted detentions, and racial profiling. And while these are not daily, they do have a great impact on the Muslim women, especially when innocent. As multiple women have described in the reading of I Speak for Myself: American Women on Being Muslim by Maria Ebrahimji and Zahra Suratwala, the actions of bigotry have motivated them to become closer to their faith and achieve their goals and dreams. For example, Jameelah Xochitl Medina, an educator and student among many other things, focuses on the social justice issues that Muslim women face. She herself has been through a lot while in public places. She experiences mistreatment and stereotyping due to wearing the Hijab and being African American which makes her feel uncomfortable because that is her identity and while she accepts it, it is hard for others to. She especially faces micro aggressions in her professional life because she has to present her findings in which people are shocked when they first see her appearance and she works hard to break the awkwardness of that moment. While not easy, all of these hurtful experiences have taught her how to be proud and successful in her academic, professional, and personal life. She is only one of many Muslim women who have to go through similar painful experiences.
Without society understanding the true reasons behind hijab then there will be little progress. Muslim women work hard to overcome adversity and find ways to embrace the hijab and make it a more accepting concept. After all, freedom of expression and religion is allowed. Women take all the hate that they receive and turn it into something positive to become a leader for the next generation of young Muslim girls. Some have direct ways of proving their identity while others are indirect. They try to spread knowledge and become mentors by achieving an outstanding education and working extremely hard in their careers. For example, take Ibtihaj Muhammad who was the first Muslim American wearing a Hijab to earn medals at the Olympics for the United States. They made a “Hijarbie” which is a Barbie wearing a Hijab and many young girls now aspire to be like her. She received a lot of hate of but that did not stop or restrict her from achieving her goals and dreams. Another example is Fashion Fighting Famine. According to their website Fashion Fighting Famine, they are dedicated to empowering women, support emerging Muslim fashion designers to develop their modest brands, and give back to the community. It is groups like these that keep women strong and society well aware of their surroundings. These kind of people and projects are what inspire many to keep fighting for what they believe in and overcome hate.
Some see the Hijab as oppression. Some see the Hijab as freedom. Believing that some Muslim women need saving has its truths and myths. In some places, it applies. However, for the majority of women it is does not as it is their personal decision. The daily struggles that these women face is definitely something that is overlooked. However, these women are strong in their faith and spirits making them go far in life. People judge over a simple headscarf. They do not realize that it is much more than a piece of cloth used to cover. They do not realize that it is enriched with religion and culture. That it traces back to Prophet Mohammad, peace be upon him, and his wives’ way of life. That it protects rather than harms.