hi·jab [hih-jahb, -jab]
By Erin Antonishen For centuries, Islamic women have been fighting battles of discrimation against their individual choices in free expression. The hijab, considered by some as a symbol of oppression for the social chastisement it attracts, is meant to serve as a symbol of modesty and respect for oneself. Junior Heba A-saghir explains the beauty of the Islamic veil that is often outshadowed by society’s ignorance, “Wearing the hijab shows modesty. It allows people to appreciate you for your personality instead of solely for your appearance.” What some may not understand is the fact that wearing the hijab is, in fact, a choice. The Islamic interpretation of the hijab is in no way perceived to be a guide line for the dress code of women. It is simply a symbol of beauty in its purest form.
Though Al-saghir has never felt the weight of discrimination brought to light by the hijab, she acknowledged that family and friends have been personally impacted by it. “I’m lucky because, in this community, we are very diverse,” Al-saghir says. “In some communities, they look at it as a means of discrimination and a way to single certain people out. I, however, have found my community very accepting.”
Similar to the varying views on hijabs, many do not realize the various fashion statements these scarves showcase. The hijab leaves room for individuality and self-expression through variation in style, pattern and color. “I use mine as an accesory. It helps me to make a personal expression,” Al-saghir continues. “My hijab makes me me.”
Though its true meaning is unfamiliar to those who don’t practice the religion, many Islamic women view it as far more than a right of passage. (Pictured to the right, AlSaghir demonstrating the bow style hijab).