In the wake of the recent slaying of 17-year-old Nabra Hassanen near a Virginia mosque, Muslim young women who wear the hijab are saying that they are facing resistance with wearing the identifiable religious symbol – from members of their own family, concerned about their safety.
Nabra was killed as she and a group of fellow teenagers were on their way to a Virginia mosque June 18 after an early morning meal during Ramadan. Police are saying for now the motive appears to be road rage though, if new evidence comes in, they will pursue the case as a hate crime. For the Muslim community, yet another senseless murder is horrifying, no matter the motivation. And has “stirred conversations in families about clothing that speaks to faith and identity,” reports the Washington Post.
Noorulain Iqbal, 23, lives in Fairfax County, Virginia and says she will continue to wear the hijab but plans to remain cautious in public. “I stopped running outside at night. I am scared to go outside… It is my identity. I don’t think that I am ever going to take it off. No matter how scared I am.”
In 2017, the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU) found that 47% of Muslim women say they feared for their safety versus 31% of men. “It is quite likely that because many Muslim women wear hijab, they are more visible and therefore bear the brunt of Islamophobic incidents,” says Dalia Mogahed, Director of Research at ISPU.
Batool Mahmud, 23, a dental hygienist, says her mother is worried about her wearing hijab in public but is pushing back. “This is identity for a Muslim woman, this is what shows people that you’re Muslim, so if you are taking it off, it is showing them that you’re afraid.”