Hijab can divide families
TheStar.com - News
- Hijab can divide families
But tension can also be caused by girls who chose to adopt headscarf against parents' wish, say some
December 11, 2007 Joanna Smith
The suggestion of violent disputes between a 16-year-old girl in Mississauga and her father over her desire to show her hair and live a "normal" lifestyle raises questions about tensions between parents and children in the Muslim community.
But members of the community – particularly young Muslim women – say the tension can exist both ways.
Ausma Khan, the editor-in-chief of Toronto-based Muslim Girl magazine, said research into the readership of her publication shows that the decision to wear the hijab – the traditional Muslim headscarf – is almost always a choice the girl makes on her own.
"We have also heard from other girls saying that they don't know if they want to wear it and that they're unsure and that there is community or family pressure to wear it," she said, but stressed that type of response was in the minority.
Maryam Rana, 20, a student at the University of Toronto's Mississauga campus, said she has been wearing the hijab since she was in Grade 3 and was not very receptive to it at first.
"I remember when I was little, I found it weird because I was the only one who wore it so sometimes I would `forget' it at home," she said laughing. "Not really `forget,' but leave it at home."
When she grew older she wore it of her own accord and recently chose to begin covering her face as well. She said that in her experience the tension more often exists the other way around – when girls who want to wear the hijab are discouraged by their families because they fear it will make them the targets of racism.
Fariha Naqvi-Mohamed, 24, is one of those young women.
"With my family initially it was really tough, because they didn't want me to wear it and they didn't understand right away why I was going to wear it," said Naqvi-Mohamed, a freelance journalist and stay-at-home mom who lives in Ajax.
She described wearing the hijab as a liberating experience and said the fact her parents never forced her to wear it made her choice more meaningful.
"I do know many people who were forced to wear it and as a result they had very little appreciation for it," she said.
"I would never think to force my child to wear it," Naqvi-Mohamed said. "I would just explain why I wear it and if they choose to do so, then great and if not then that's great."
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