Other than being a female and an African, the most controversial thing about me is that I wrap my head with a scarf. I find it ludicrous that the fact that I wear a Hijab makes people think that I am anything but a ‘normal’ person, or that maybe I do so because of a ‘bad hair day’, or a lack of hair. It’s ludicrous that simply because I choose to cover my hair with a scarf (which, by the way, Audrey Hepburn was known for doing too) people see me as submissive, weak, dumb, oppressed, and a victim.
In 2016, the Muslim world faced Islamophobia and colossal backlash due to the unforgivable actions of extremists and conservative muslims groups in France, Turkey, USA and other places. But despite that, it has been a remarkable year for Hijabis (women who wear the Hijab) all around the world.
Youth-led social movements like Mipsterz (Muslim Hipster) have created platforms for Muslims to express themselves through fashion (and other artistic means), and show the diversity and versatility of the community.
The blogger called MuslimGirl, and the concept of Modest Fashion are growing and moving into the mainstream. These efforts are successfully breaking down the monochromatic picture of the Muslim world, and giving Muslim females a way to clapback and share their truth.
Even multi-billion dollar corporations like CoverGirl and Nike have opened their doors to us, by presenting the very first Hijabi CoverGirl (Nura Afia) and creating a line for athletic Muslim females. Fashion vlogger Dina Tokio and designer Anniesa Haibuan (the first to present a New York Fashion Week collection with hijabs) are also breaking down the barriers that people have built between Hijabis and the rest of the world.
And now, there is Mona Haydar.
Haydar made her debut as an activist in 2015, when she and her husband took to the streets of Cambridge, Massachusetts with their ‘Ask a Muslim‘ experiment, after the San Bernardino attack. The couple offered free doughnuts and coffee to the public with the hope of starting a conversation with non-Muslims, and combat Islamophobia.
In March, Haydar released this powerful rap video, “Hijabi”. It is testimony to the many faces of Hijab and the many misconceptions that surround millions of women who opt to ‘wrap’ their Hijabs.