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What I’m really thinking: the woman in the hijab

I’m walking down the street and I can feel what you’re thinking when you see me. “Why is she even wearing that? Maybe he is forcing her to. Does she ever take it off? What about when she showers, when she sleeps? What is her hair like? It does have pretty colours, though, and it matches her outfit. But, hey, she could be the wife or the sister or the daughter of a potential terrorist. The next atrocity that shocks the world could be just a normal conversation at her house. Who knows with those Muslims? Can you trust anyone these days?”

And what I’m thinking then is: I am wearing the hijab because I want to. Not because I am forced to. Yes, really.

I wish for once you could see me as I see myself – as just another person. I love the colour purple, and looking up at clouds, and stroking cats. I am a reader, and a writer. I want to hear stories and share them with friends and strangers alike. No, the world’s next tragedy isn’t being cooked up in my kitchen, only school lunches and roast dinners.

I am a teacher and a volunteer, I am a quilter and an embroiderer. I am just like the next person who wants to get a seat on the bus and enjoys the sun on their back. I am all these things and more; a woman wearing the hijab is just one piece of the puzzle that I am.

I long to be a fly on the wall, another person in the crowd, but I know you can’t ignore my hijab when you see me, and you let it tell my story. Please see beyond my hijab. Look at the person I am and let me tell you my story.


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