Volunteer Blog – The Hijab: A Political Symbol?

By Riva Taimur Khawaja
July 28, 2020

I am a hijab. A piece of cloth usually made from cotton. I come in many different styles, materials and prints. I can be worn in multiple ways but my main purpose is to cover a female’s head. I’m associated with the religion of Islam, but my fundamental purpose, the idea of covering a woman’s head is a recurring concept in many religions.

I am just a piece of cloth meant to be worn by people who chose to abide by their religious ideas and nothing more. Yet today I have become a subject of major controversy, my fundamental purpose exploited, my association with the religion Islam exploited. Women who chose to pursue me as a means to follow their scripture, judged and subjected to racial and religious prejudice.

So much for the freedom of religion, the freedom to choose what to wear and how to wear it. Disappointing really that in the 21st century, a piece of cloth has appeared to act as a such a great threat to the world, specially the western civilizations. It truly perplexes me, observing the fact that you can wear as little as you want and have that become the norm. But an extra piece of cloth and now you are affiliated with “terrorism.”

The people that chose to wear me even in the Middle East are stereotyped and put into a box using what has now come to be termed as the “hijab effect.”

The people that choose to wear me are brave because of the eminent controversy I cause and the increase level of hate the wearer receives compared to the people that do not include me into their daily attire.