Aug 20, 2010

Faith and scarves and courage, oh my!

I've had a problem for the last few years, something that I've been too ashamed to admit to, but was probably pretty obvious to everyone around me.  I've been embarrassed about my faith.  I certainly had no doubts about my religion, but I've been worried that people would think I was one of "them" -- you know, those evil, plotting terrorists.  So what did I do....I cowered in the corner like a frightened little kitten.

I kept my faith out of my home daycare for fear of offending parents, and the result was keeping my faith from my children.

I kept my faith out of my non-Muslim family's home, for fear of offending them, and the result was keeping my faith from me.

Well -- one more thing to be thankful for that God-Awful book that we read -- I got myself a back bone.

I emailed my daycare parents and asked them if they'd be okay with their kids doing some "Ramadan" type of crafts (coloring pages, lanterns, etc).  Their response was "Absolutely." -- why was I afraid?  In fact, one mother (and a great friend) said "Why are you even asking me this??"  Have I mentioned that I love you, Chantilly??

So - I'm now not afraid to tell the children that I'm fasting, or why, or that I may be hungry/grumpy/tired (or all three), and they understand more than just "Hethr's not eating lunch today" -- really...what kind of example did that send?

I know that the psycho, pathetic jerks who do horrible things under the guise of my religion are fools.  I will not allow them to be the spokespersons of my faith!  Look out world, I have the courage and the power to set an example of what a true Muslim is!

Then...yesterday I saw this video that my fellow blogger Old Muslim Woman posted:






I think that it's really sad that in this day and age, we cannot accept something that is different.  Why are we so scared a head scarf?  What's the deal with that?  I agree with the woman -- "Don't put me in the back."  It's as if Disney is okay with you being an open Muslim, but not where people might see.

The comments though are what is really disturbing.  What's wrong with it, I need to ask?  People claim "it's part of the costume for her to not wear it." -- I have seen many, many, MANY costumes/uniforms that have been accommodated to be "religion friendly" (think the Sikh Mounties, or Jewish men wearing the little cap thing..yarmaka I think...or the Jehovah Witness teen on my street who wears a full length skirt instead of a knee length to her all-girls school)  -- now - not saying that the costume itself has to change, but simply wearing a hijab that co-ordinates is enough.

What do you all think?


11 comments:

C said...

:)

Meaghan said...

Good for you, and well-said! I love that you are open with your faith on your blog, and the people that love you should always be welcoming of your choices. In your home it should be your rules and your lifestyle - if religion plays a part in that, so be it. In my mind, it is the same as discipline - I may jump on the furniture in my house, but in your house you don't, so we don't and that's that. Besides, we have so much psuedo-Christian ritual steeped into our lives that most people don't even realize! What's wrong with a little diversity?? I think it creates much more tolerant people, so the younger they learn about and accept other beliefs, the better ;)

Erin said...

At least that book was good for something other than a doorstop! ;)

Seriously though, I'm glad to hear it. I have always admired your backbone and that you went out and found the Faith that spoke to you.

Jonnie said...

Time to form the Muslimah Mafia!

Sara said...

I couldn't agree with Meaghan more..... Thanks, Meaghan, for typing that for me... lol

NanLT said...

Standing up and cheering!

How can your children grow up knowing that they are okay as who they are, if they see their chief role model hiding who she is?

Crystal said...

I have always admired women who have the conviction to wear hijab... I think it's beautiful. I covered when I went to the masjid regularly and toyed and experimented with wearing it in public and while ultimately, I didn't choose to embrace hijab, I can't help but think, perhaps my beliefs would have been strengthened if I had made that choice.

Ultimately, I've decided that try as I might, it's not within me to be a pious nor religious person, but I still have very strong beliefs and am thankful for my experiences and knowledge... I feel like a hypocrite at times, but I know deep down that Islam saved my life. Because of this, I see the beauty in Islam and recognize the beauty in the scarf and the women who proudly wear it.

I've never understood what the big deal was... even my 3 year old, when he sees a lady in a scarf, smiles his charming little boy smile & says, "Salam." Now, why is that so hard?

Crystal said...

P.S. And good for you Heather. =)

Jessica said...

I started reading your blog because it's funny and it reminds me that I'm not alone in some of my feelings about motherhood. I keep reading it because I admire your courage and the strength of your faith. Good for you for sharing your faith with those of us here on your blog, and in your personal life. Your kids and your dayhome kids will benefit so much from it!

A person's head covering, be it a hajib, turban, yarmulka, hair or skin, should be viewed as nothing more outstanding than the colour of a person's eyes. I am blue-eyed, you are Muslim. Sure, I could wear coloured contacts and you could remove your hajib, but that does not change the truth. And being "required" to deny who you are as a part of employment is highly disrespectful by the employer. A person is hired based on their abilities, not their appearance.

Karima said...

I love your blog, I have only just recently been reading it, after I got the link from Pearl Daisy. I understand how you felt, my husband still feels that way. He never tells people about his religion since 911 because he is scared of how they may react. I however don't mind really. I wanted to wear hijab (still do) but my husband is so against it because where we live there are no other muslims and he is scared for the famliy in case we are targeted. I do wear hats most of the time to compensate a little. I think these are really sad times we are living in. I don't hide the fact from friends and my kids let people know, but he is still wary. I hate these terrorists for what they are doing, as it affects the normal peaceful muslims in the world.

Lina said...

Be happy not to live in France...
In 10 days the government will debate about "the place of Islam in France", which means more laws and more restrictions for us.
3 girls have been asked to -don't eat when you read it you may choke- not wear long skirts at school (we don't have a uniform... theoretically). They have to take their hijab off before entering high school, and now they're asked not to dress with long clothes. They've been asked to wear jeans. How crazy is it?

I've almost finished my BA, and I know I won't find a job in France unless I dress like a slut. I've already programmed my studies to finish as a French teacher in the UK (hope they won't create laws about 'laicity' as we have here) or in an other English-speaking country. Seeing a veiled woman being able to work in a public space like she is (or was...) is miraculous to me.

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