By Kathryn Van Gompel (USA)
Since I started to wear the Hijab, I am treated differently. It seems to be one extreme or the other. On the negative side, I have had people avoid me. They will go down a different isle at the grocery store, or turn their head away. Some people will just give me evil looks. I have not had anyone say anything negative, though some whisper under their breath so you cannot hear them. It is in their actions toward me. They may think I am a terrorist, and are scared.
Many things I have seen lately show the ignorance of people. Hating on Sikhs because they think they are Muslim. Hating on Muslims because they think all are terrorists. I am hoping to enlighten some of the ignorant to know there are good and bad people in all religions and races of the world. Hopefully, I can help people to see NOT to judge people by their appearance but by their hearts.
On the positive side, more men open doors for me when I am able to get out and about. Some women have asked why I wear Hijab (apparently because I am white, or they think I do not look Muslim). I started wearing the scarves as head cover, but they do not stay in place that well. So I tried the Hijab and like it much better. I started partly for health reasons and partly to be more modest. I know Christians and Jews used to wear the head covering all the time. Some still do.
I am a Christian and my religion also talks about wanting women and men to be modest in the way they dress. I am sure it is personal for every woman that wears Hijab. I know Muslim women who do not wear them. So it is a matter of choice here in the USA. I know in some countries Muslim women are required to wear them or the burka. I am thankful for the religious freedom in my country so those of any faith may worship their own way.
I do believe we are all praying to the same God, whether one calls him Allah, Jehovah, Heavenly Father or something else. This world be a better place if we can only get people to love one another instead of hating. Just the other day at the VA hospital I had a nice talk with a lady about my Hijab. I do not know if she was Muslim, but I was guessing she wasn’t. She was very respectful and curious. I talked with her for about 15 minutes. One person at a time, maybe people will come to understand and be less ignorant about those that look different from them in the world.