The question: ¬†What is the difference between a Muslim woman wearing a hijab and an Exclusive Breatheren woman wearing a head scarf?
Amy Cronin, misses the point:
“Are you hiding bombs in your skirts?” a stranger yelled from a car window as 12-year-old Radiya Ali walked down a Hamilton street in the mid-2000s. She had arrived to New Zealand as a refugee from Yemen, four years after 9/11 – an innocent among hicks and alarmists who saw young girls wearing the hijab and thought it stood for terrorist.
“Did you steal those curtains you wear?” people hollered at her as they passed. “Why are you wearing sheets on your head?”
Salma Salat came from Kenya 17 years ago, when she was 4.
“I don’t remember it, but my mum found it tough adjusting and raising kids in a time when people were shouting things out from the streets.”
In the days post 9/11, a man approached Salma as she was walking with her sister. She remembers him yelling at them, “terrorists”. She was 7 and didn’t know what it meant.
Radiya and Salma are 21 now, and they are friends. They tell these stories with wide eyes, in the can you believe it way adults recall their traumas from childhood. You won’t find gentler, or stronger, young women. They are innocent in many ways, but they have seen.
Yes, well. ¬†Hamilton. ¬†The culturally sensitive ground zero of the North Island. ¬†And yes, as people, we aren’t too flash at coping with what makes us different.
So that sets the scene for this article, which is utlimately about the hijab. Read more »