The face behind the hijab

For Muslims , wearing a hijab is a difficult decision

Junior+Sara+Iskandar+and+Senior+Lama+Krabaini+pose+for+a+photo
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The face behind the hijab

Junior Sara Iskandar and Senior Lama Krabaini pose for a photo

Junior Sara Iskandar and Senior Lama Krabaini pose for a photo

Elena Simon

Junior Sara Iskandar and Senior Lama Krabaini pose for a photo

Elena Simon

Elena Simon

Junior Sara Iskandar and Senior Lama Krabaini pose for a photo

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Hijabs, the headdresses worn as a symbol of Islamic values, have always served as a way to identify Muslim women. Recently though, the actions of extreme Islamic groups like ISIS and Al-Qaeda have created an atmosphere where being identified as Muslim isn’t

always favorable.

Many students, who wear the traditional Islamic clothing, have felt the backlash of others’ views on Islam. This is amplified when people see the hijab only as a symbol of Islam and not for its broader meaning.

“[Hijabs are] for protection,” freshman Lama Krabaini said, “and also when you meet people they don’t see you for just your looks.”

High profile violence in the Middle East and acts of terrorism in the West have helped fuel some xenophobia in America. Prominent television personalities such as Bill Maher have added to the xenophobia by saying that the Islamic world has too much in common with ISIS.

The connection between Islamic extremists and Islam has lead many Americans to associate the Islamic culture, hijabs included, with terrorism. Kraibaini said that progress in how people view Muslim women when they wear hijabs is mixed.

“Because of the media and how it gives a bad image to the religion,” Kraibani said, “[prejudice] becomes worse. But at the same time people are more understanding of it because everyone has the right to believe in what they want to.”

For others, however, the pressures to stop wearing hijabs was too much. Senior Farah Iskandar, stopped wearing a hijab because of others’ comments, she said.

“[I decided to stop wearing a hijab] because of bullying, especially after 9/11,” Iskandar said.

After wearing it in middle school and a little while in high school, Iskander decided to stop. Because she wore the hijab, she experienced bullying from other students, she said.

“There was an incident here where a kid came up to me,” Iskandar said, “and was like I know you have a bomb in your backpack.”

Afterwards, an administrator who happened to see the incident pulled Iskandar aside, and her parents were called. Iskandar insisted that the kid was just messing around, and no formal report was filed. The act of prejudice prompted the administrator, Iskandar’s parents and herself to have a discussion on how best to present the Islamic faith to those who might have false concerns.

“All I want to say is that Muslim people are just Muslim people,” Iskandar said. “ISIS. Al-Qaeda, we have nothing to do with them.”

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