So today was World Hijab Day. Very simply for people who don’t know Hijab is the scarf worn by a Muslim woman to cover her hair. It is not a Burkha or Niqab these are two different types of covering.
In Turkey Muslim women have a choice they can wear it or not wear it. No one can force them to wear it but in reality there are some families that prefer it and they will apply family pressure if someone chooses not to. I know girls from very modern uncovered families that have decided to cover and on the flip side girls from very traditional families that don’t. Until recently the headscarf was banned in some public buildings but this ban has now been removed.
In my husbands home village all the ladies are covered and I am the only member of the family that isn’t. In fact he is the only man in town to marry a foreigner so you can imagine the tales that were been spread prior to meeting me and reassuring themselves I was not a PVC wearing, pork eater with green hair and tattoos on my face. In the village I cover….it was a bit uncomfortable at first and it wouldn’t stay on but some neat tips from my nieces have sorted out all those issues. I don’t wear it in our family homes unless we have visitors but do wear it if we are going out. They have been very welcoming and I would not bring shame to their door by been seen in public without my head covered.
I never wear it in my home or home town. But decided that today I would. I got up and got dressed and covered my hair. My husband got up and never said a word, my Brother in Law and Nephew arrived and again not a word. Eventually I raised the subject and was told I look very beautiful.
We had planned to join friends for a meal tonight and I decided that I was going to wear the scarf. Some of the friends had plenty to say last year when another friend chose to cover…all of course said behind her back. They decided that the only way she would wear a headscarf was if her husband had forced her and thought it a shame because she is so beautiful. Her husband was as surprised as anyone and she says she feels safer, gets more respect when out and about and is happy that only her husband gets to see how gorgeous she is.
We arrived in the restaurant and nobody said a word. There were some surprised faces but no one mentioned it to me. A shame as I wanted to tell people about the day and my decision to wear it. One friend was going to sit next to me but changed her mind leaving a gap in the table – I hope the headscarf didn’t scare her off.
It doesn’t just tell ladies to cover their hair and dress modestly in the Quran – it says it in the Bible too and I know many ladies who wear a hat to church on a Sunday. When we see a Nun we comment that they have a vocation and that their clothing is a sign that they have made a commitment to God, yet when we see a Muslim lady wearing very similar clothes she is oppressed and we wonder how she copes in the heat. To me the clothes look the same – both are showing their commitment to their religion.