THE FOUR
FEARS ABOUT HIJAB

Samana Siddiqui

The first major fear I faced before beginning to wear Hijab over 10 years ago was how other people, especially my high school peers, would react to me.

It was hard, but Alhamdolillah, I did it. Despite rude comments, one attempt to pull off my Hijab and of course, the often hateful and disgusted stares I still get on the city bus, subway, stores, etc. Allah gave me the strength and I stuck with it.

THE SECOND FEAR: ACCEPTANCE AT UNIVERSITY

The second fear was that I would not be accepted into the program of my choice at university.

Concordia University's journalism program required applicants who had passed an English test to come in for a personal interview before a final decision about their acceptance was made.

I thought I'd be automatically rejected once they saw me in Hijab. After a successful interview with the head of the department and one of the professors, Alhamdolillah I was accepted.

THE THIRD FEAR: ACCEPTANCE IN EMPLOYMENT

The third fear was that I would never get a job in a non-Muslim environment. But right after graduation, I worked for three months at the daily newspaper the Montreal Gazette, albeit as an intern, but nonetheless as a reporter, full-time. With my Hijab. Alhamdolillah. I was also able to write for other publications after that with no problem. Alhamdolillah.

But the fourth fear is one I never imagined I would ever think of, let alone seriously consider.

Would I die to wear the Hijab?

THE FOURTH FEAR: DYING FOR THE HIJAB IN TURKEY

Living in North America, many of us who wear Hijab never consider this possibility. Although we have come to expect and deal with taunts and various levels of discrimination and harassment, rarely do we think we will die for choosing to wear Hijab, let alone supporting this choice.

But in Turkey, this may become a reality.

DYING FOR THE HIJAB: COULD BE A REALITY FOR TURKEY

On June 27th 1999, a Turkish prosecutor demanded the death penalty as punishment for 51 Islamist activists.

They were charged with trying to overthrow Turkey's secular constitution.

The crime of these 51 activists: organizing demonstrations against the country's official ban on Hijabs in universities and state buildings.

This revolting demand, which is probably supported by the country's fanatical secular government and army, seems to be the result of years of frustration at their inability to smother Islamic sentiment among Turkish Muslims.

According to the U.K.-based Islamic Human Rights Commission, one of those on trial and facing the death penalty is 16-year-old, Gulan Intisar Saatcioglu.

She tried to “overthrow Turkey's secular constitution” by reading out a poem entitled 'Song of Freedom' at the demonstration.

Her mother, a journalist, and two of her sisters also face the death penalty.

A FIGHT AGAINST SECULAR TYRANNY

Tariq ibn Shihab related that a person asked Rasulullah (peace and blessings be upon him): “What is the highest form of striving in Allah's cause?” He replied: “Speaking the truth to a tyrant.” (Nasai)

It's easy to say, ‘Of course I would die to wear the Hijab, and/or to support it.' Facile words for many of us living in a relatively calm, peaceful and tolerant environment in comparison to Turkey, although I'm not denying they could be sincere for many Muslims.

We must act now to defend them, they who have spoken so boldly against secular tyranny.

(Those Hijabis were eventually not sentenced to death).

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