The Lamron– -“Do you have a bomb under there?” This isn’t a question I’m used to receiving. I reply with a question: “You mean under my headscarf? Do I have a bomb?”
The two older men in flannel jackets sitting inside of the lumberyard nod and one grins a little uneasily at me. We’re all alone in the tiny storefront where I stopped in to get some scrap wood. Since I walked in, things have become a bit strange.
“Are you a Muslim?” The man with the grin asks boldly, clarifying his question. “No,” I explain, “I’m actually not a Muslim. I am, however, wearing the Muslim headscarf as part of a school project.”
Immediately both men are put at ease: jokes fly, tensions are absolved and I receive a response identical to the one I’ve been getting since I started my project. “Oh, thank God,” the old men say, like so many others. “We thought you were a Muslim.”
I am not, in fact, a Muslim, but I could see why they thought as much. For a month now I have been wearing the Muslim hijab – a scarf covering my head and ears and generally modest dress – to classes, work and on- and off-campus activities. Essentially, I’ve been walking a month in the shoes of a culture that is a visible minority here in the United States and certainly on the Geneseo campus. This has been an experiment for my Honors Capstone Experience, a project I’ve titled, “Fatima’s Blessing: Hijabi in the USA.”
Another question that I’ve been getting pretty frequently is also very simple: “Why?” Anyone can see that America has a problem with Islam right now. On a broader scale, the world has a problem with Islam right now.
A great many Americans are afraid of Muslims; their very image is enough to stir tensions in the most docile of circles. So what would happen, I wondered, if I just started wearing a headscarf? How might people I see every day treat me? From Oct. 15 to Nov. 22, I was on a quest to find out.
The number of acquaintances of mine who pulled the old “texting trick” when I walked by them on campus was staggering. The amount of cold stares and nervous glances I received was even greater. As a tour guide in the office of admissions, the reaction of one of my tour audiences was enough to make me want to throw in the towel just three days after starting the project.
And one fitting comment under her YouTube video:
Yet I stuck with it. It was worth it all: the extra time it took to put on a hijab before class, the fights with family and the hurt that comes from an anti-Islamic slur to the face. I learned more in the past month than I’d ever expected. When I began wearing my scarf I did not felt oppressed at all but instead liberated from the pressures of expectations around me. By covering up, really, I felt freer.
Having worn the hijab for the past month, I can say that it really was an enlightening experience in many ways and that I already miss it. I encourage anyone who’s up to it to spend even just a day or two walking in someone else’s shoes. It seems like such a small thing to cover your hair but the world around you really does change. In my case, I believe it was for the better. (Yep, that’s what every woman should do. Put a bag on her head and dare anyone to give her a dirty look. Actually, this woman should wear a bag on her head everyday, one that preferably covers her fat face.)
Hijab girl’s blog: fatimasblessing.blogspot.com
Oh, and here’s a little gem from her blog. Even back in 7th grade, she was a dhimmi bitch:
“I suppose this is the origin of my project. On the day of September 11, 2001 I was at school in 7th grade and I think I was in my Social Studies class when everything came to a stop and we put on the televisions. It was very surreal that day, I remember, but in the midst of all of the confusion this real hatred for Islam appeared. I could already hear that very day anger rising up from 12 year old kids at lunch tables and as the weeks and months went on it only got worse. “Kill them all, let God sort them out” and rumors about Islamic jihad and how the US should go to the Middle East and destroy everyone living there really affected me. Even not knowing much about Islam at all back then, it was upsetting and I didn’t understand where the hatred of a whole people was coming from. Now, I suppose my confusion has really set in but it’s not so much confusion any longer. I understand the mindset of people down here in Ohio, I just wish it was different.”