Muslim women say will continue wearing hijab despite fear of being vulnerable


WASHINGTON, June 30 (APP) Several Muslim women living in Northern
Virginia have said they would not quit wearing a hijab in spite of a killing of a young Muslim girl near a mosque this month during Ramadan many suspected was a hate crime.
Police have not designated the killing as hate crime and think as an
incident of road rage but say they are willing to investigate it as a hate crime if any evidence points to that direction, according to a report by the Washington Post. Many of Nebra’s community members though insist her death was a result of Islamophobia that have gained currency in recent time.
During interviews with the reporter, Noorulain Iqbal said her aunt
advised her about three years ago not to wear hijab, fearing that it would make it difficult for her to socialize. After the death of Nebra, she again advised her niece not to cover her head, but this time because of her security.
But, Iqbal has kept her scarf, saying that it is her identity and she
will not take it off no matter how scared she is, although she says she has been more cautious in public. “I stopped running outside at night. I am scared to go outside,” she said.
Batool Mahmud, 23, another Muslim girl and a dental hygienist said she
had an experience of being identified as a Muslim when she was in a school when a group of teens pulled her hijab from her head.
“I am not scared,” said Mahmud at recent vigil held in the honor of
Nebra, adding that hijab is Muslim woman’s identity and taking it off would mean that you are afraid being declaring yourself as a Muslim.
Citing FBI statistics, the Washington Post report said that “257
anti-Muslim hate crimes with 307 victims were reported in 2015, the most recent statistics available. More than 2,200 bias incidents against Muslims were recorded by the Council on American-Islamic Relations in 2016, up 57 percent over 2015.”
A recent survey of about 800 Muslims carried out by the Institute for
Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU), which studies American Muslim communities in the United States, shows that Muslim may bear the brunt of harassment. As much as 47 percent of women surveyed said they feared for their safety, as compared with 31 percent of the men who expressed the same sentiments.
“It is quite likely that because many Muslim women wear hijab, they are
more visible and therefore bear the brunt of Islamophobic incidents,” Dalia Mogahed, an author of the survey, was quoted by the report.
In May this year, two Christian men were stabbed to death when they
tried to stop a man who shouting anti-Muslim remarks at two women in a local store in the city of Reston in Virginia.
But, such incidents have not deterred women like Wardah Khalid, and more than a dozen Muslim women who were interviewed by the Washington Post, from wearing hijab which, they say, they wear to please God.
“I think this is a time to actually assert our Muslimness,this is not a
time to cower away and back away and fear. If you are attacked for wearing it, then God will reward you,” Khalid said.
A recent Pew survey estimates that the Muslim population in the United
States will double by 2050 from 3.3 million recorded in 2015.