By Mira Khatib
I wear it with pride and hold my head up high especially knowing the effort it took me to make the veil a part of who I am as a person. I wore it after a lot of contemplation and it was no easy task, and it took me a long time to adjust my internal spiritual aspects, thoughts, characteristics and behavior to coincide with what it represented.
But today I find myself struggling as I cling on to it with whatever strength and faith I have in me. For today when people look at me all they see is my scarf, and erase the woman wearing it, as if authorizing that piece of material covering my hair to rob me of my identity.
I wore it not just to please God but also as it reflected an image I wanted to portray, an image of modesty, compassion, kindness, delicacy, pride and everything good. However today I cannot help but be bombarded by accusing stares of repulsion, hate, disgust and terror, believing that my veil somehow represents all evil.
I cannot blame the loathing eyes’ looking back at me; their judgment is blurred by biased media and horrific attacks that I too condemn. I find myself in a position of defense wanting to shout out I’m innocent, I didn’t do it…look at me, see me, me the daughter, the sister, the wife, the mother, the woman, the human that I am…but to no avail for I’ve been trialled, persecuted and sentenced and my fate sealed, without being given a chance to show my true colors.
Being an advocate for equality and people’s rights, it never crossed my mind that one day I would be discriminated against from a piece of cloth I wear around my head. It is easy to judge and point an accusing finger and put blame on another, as someone has to be held responsible and be at fault, and many times wrong people fall prey in the midst of the chaos.
My husband suggested I join him on his business trip to Europe, but instead of being concerned about reservations, accommodation, transportation, packing, the main concern loomed literally over my head, knowing how my scarf is perceived by many, so I declined to avoid what most certainly would have turned out to be an uncomfortable experience to say the least.
Is it fair to judge me and what I stand for based on the actions of some cruel extremist minority abusing my faith and tarnishing its name to inflict atrocities? Is this a way to make our world a better place to live in and for future generations?
Our beautiful world is ailing, and needs attending to. I believe the only way to help in its recovery is to stand up against hate with love, against differences with tolerance, against choices with respect, against shortsightedness with understanding, against ignorance with education, and most of all stand up against division with unity. Only together we can have a positive impact for the greater good of our future.
And as for my veil I still see it for the truth and beauty I believe it holds and will continue to wear it with pride. I just hope the day would come when others see it as such and give the women wearing it a chance as well.
Photo credit: RPatts / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND