Through my Niqab – Being Muslim in America

Photo courtesy of Kamyar Adl, https://www.flickr.com/photos/kamshots/2274867468

Wikipedia defines the term Niqab as “A veil, a cloth that covers the face as a part of sartorial hijab (a head covering worn in public by some Muslim women). Besides the fact, it does not deem necessary for Muslim women around the world to actually have to wear the Niqab, although there would be a whole dimension of debate which this article would not cover. Niqab in this article is a metaphoric adjective embodying pair of eyes for a (Muslim) woman demographically in America. Being Muslim in America has proven to be a heated topic in infinite discussions as of 2017, but there are reasons to believe that the social stigma essentially derived from past incidents in American History. According to me and most, it is not a novel controversy risen due to the current administration.

I grew up in the Middle East, and the land I call home has a different ideology and respect for Niqab and/or Hijab. My attire back home versus in America has to be different not only due to the cultural differences, but the invisible hostility amongst the masses. I had only heard stories of America, being halfway across the earth. I never believed what the news said, but believed if I would know what America was like once I experienced it myself. But, unfortunately some of articles agonizing Muslim folks held true. It is not easy being Muslim in America, and even though there can be some good experiences, I have found this statement holds true in comparison to other cultures and beliefs. Numerous national articles in daily presses point out specifics of the reality of Islamophobia as it is known today.

Focusing on 2017 highlights, when the current President first tried to stop citizens from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States, he cited the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks as his rationale. Yet none of the men behind those attacks hailed from these countries. In fact, a Cato Institute analysis shows that between 1975 and 2015 no one from these countries killed a single American in a U.S. terrorist attack. Unfortunately, equating Muslims with terrorists has become disturbingly common in American society—and the consequences can be violent. The air of Islamophobia just doesn’t just hurt Muslims, it may also undermine U.S. employers. This workplace discrimination could influence productivity. Any time someone experiences low job satisfaction, they’re not as productive. When you give support to Muslim women—or any worker—you have an impact on their ability to do the job and do it well.

Alas, regardless of the media inputs, the responsibility lies on every individual in our nation to be able to decipher the situation and assess it through the instincts of humanity, not just religion, caste, creed or sex. Discrimination of any form to any individual is a breach of human rights, and if this perspective is alive and kicking, such incidents of hate could reduce at an exponential rate. Reforms of progress always begin with a positive and just thought process, and if successfully embraced, undoubtedly could flare in harmony and peace.

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