For the first time in the five years that I have been wearing the hijab, I feel scared to go out with it in public. I quite literally fear for my life from the looks and comments from those around me. From the articles I see being published. From people that are racist and ignorant and bigots and complete islamophobes. I am scared to put a piece of cloth on my head which by the way…is who I am- it is my identity- and I am afraid for my life now because of it.
In Irving, Texas at the local Mosque, non-muslims decided to protest with “anti-islam” and “anti-sharia” chants. Which is fine. Free country, freedom of speech, blah blah, right?
Cheer and chant what you want. Sticks and stones right?
Sticks and stones.
Sticks and stones.
But what about rifles? What about masks? What about guns?
Rifles and masks and guns…will hurt…will torture…will kill.
Literally outside the Mosque, the place where I go to pray and to relax and allow my mind to unwind and feel at peace…there are people outside covering their faces with black masks and holding 3 foot rifles in their arms.
There are young children and babies who run around the Mosque parking lot every day. Not a care in the world, but which one gets to the end of the driveway and back first…except now there are big scary men carrying guns bigger than any of their bodies.
Big scary men with guns protesting outside of a family community Mosque who are trying to scare off the Muslims.
Please tell me how that is a form of “peaceful” protesting.
I am an American Muslim. I was born and raised in this country. I grew up loving where I lived and being so damn proud of being able to call Texas home.
Now, I am ashamed. I am ashamed that people have to go as far as threatening us, Muslim AMERICANS, in the place of our prayer and worship. I am ashamed that this place that I call home is now pointing weapons at my face telling me that if I continue to follow my faith and my religion then they will shoot me. I am ashamed that ignorant bigots are allowed to bring huge scary looking weapons to a Mosque where so many families and children attend.
You know, there is a basketball court inside that mosque. There is also a school. There are books. There are children running up and down the stairs. There are fathers reciting the Qur’an and there are sons playing hide and seek. There are girls attending their morning math class and teachers preparing their students for their weekly exams. There are kids playing basketball or chillin outside in the courtyard.
And then we look outside and see people pointing their guns at us.
We are unsafe.
That’s how I feel. I feel unsafe. I feel unsafe out of my home. I feel unsafe in my home. I feel unsafe at the mosque where I go to pray at.
Sticks and stones and rifles and guns will hurt me, they will kill me. But I can promise you, those that want to tear apart our Mosques and release addresses of all of the Muslims in the United states, those of you that are ignorant beyond belief to think that a 23-year old AMERICAN MUSLIM woman could bring any harm to you, would bring any harm to you…you are wasting your time.
We don’t fight fire with fire.
We don’t fight stupidity with stupidity.
We don’t combat ignorance with hatred.
Islam comes from the word “salaam” which literally translates into “peace.”
The only way to fight ignorance is to spread knowledge. And to stand tall in what we believe in.
So I will wear my hijab proudly and I will attend the mosque every single day and I will continue to worship and pray and believe in whatever it is that I want to believe in.
Sticks and stones.
Rifles and guns.
I am stronger through my faith and you are weaker through your ignorance.
Sticks and stones may break my bones but my Hijab will be my protection.
Sticks and stones may break my bones but Islam will fill me with peace.
Sticks and stones will break my bones. And guns and rifles will kill me.
But I am strong in what I believe in. And I believe in love and peace and equality and that is what will save us at the end of the day. So no matter how scared I feel and how much I fear for my life outside of my home, we will show those who are ignorant how we push through times like these.
Through knowledge and through love.
I am a Muslim. I practice Islam. I wear the Hijab. I spread Peace. I embody Love.