This 10-Year-Old’s Reaction to a UK Primary School’s Attempted Hijab Ban Is Inspirational

  • El Cid

    “A British child impacted by the hijab ban had some wise words on the situation. Sadiya Rahman, a 10-year-old living in the UK who has chosen to wear her hijab, sent Muslim Girl a copy of a letter she addressed to Ofsted (the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills)”
    I have carefully read this ten year old’s letter. It is very unlikely that it was written by a ten year old without coaching and direction. Her use of the word discombobulated and supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, a nonsense word, tells all.

    If the letter was indeed written by a ten year old then it is way above the current composition standards of many an older writers contributing to MuslimGirl and elsewhere.

    BTW I agree with the British school’s, Ofsted’s requirement for banning Hijab and fasting on school premises by pre puberty children. It is tantamount to child abuse. More relevant, and significant, this practice is not supported in the Noble Qur’an. Nor are child marriages.

  • Suzanne Shahadah

    This may seem like a small thing to pick at, but my daughter is ten as well and — aside from the neatness of the original letter; my kid is messy — she writes like that. This seemed very much like a ten-year-old’s writing to me; in fact, as I read it, I could almost hear my daughter’s voice. The line “I told him clearly it was my choice” stuck out for me, as I can hear my daughter’s sarcastic tone in these words!

    We have always told our daughter that we don’t want her fasting at school; she is too young, and she needs to focus on her education. Once she is in high school, she can make her own decisions around fasting, but we feel that ten is far too young to go the whole day (although she wants to do so, and she nags us to be allowed).

    As for hijab at her age, I’m torn. She wears it off and on, for reasons of her own (on anti-bullying day, for example). However, I don’t want her wearing it full-time yet — although I wouldn’t characterize it as child abuse. My main reason for wanting her to slow down on her practice of hijab is that I know from firsthand experience the kind of bigotry hijab-wearing women face, and although my daughter is already strong, outspoken, and sure of herself, I want to protect her from the ignorance and hatred that I know will come her way when she “outs herself” as Muslim.

    At the same time, I’m not sure what to say to her about this. How do I tell a fearless, smart, outspoken feminist to hide an important part of herself for fear of what others will say? She would quite rightly tell me that I see the wearing of hijab as an important part of my faith and my feminism, so how is it different for her?

    My daughter’s, and my, reasons for wearing hijab have very little to do with ideas of female modesty. They have A LOT to do with resisting Islamophobia as well as resisting our increasingly bigoted society’s efforts to quell any “visible symbols of difference” (I forget which politician used that phrase…).

    All of this is to say that I didn’t have the reaction that this letter couldn’t have been written by a ten-year-old, and I am sympathetic to Sadiya Rahman’s desire to wear hijab. Each Muslim woman has to deal with this issue and the implications of our choices — whether or not we choose to wear hijab, we know we’ll get flak either way — and it’s not easy for any of us.

    • Kulsoom

      I cannot agree with you. This letter is an obvious plant. It is very unlikely that it was written by a ten year old.

      • Suzanne Shahadah

        Perhaps; I wasn’t there for the writing of this letter so I don’t know in this specific case. All I’m saying, for the question of real vs faked, is that this letter sounds like my daughter’s writing style (and even more like her speaking style). But tbh, for this letter, Allahu alim, right?

        • Kulsoom

          I am sure you mean well. And want to encourage such sentiments, for they seem Islamic. But one does not have to be an eyewitness to figure out things. That is what deduction, induction, and experience is all about. In Islam truth comes first and last. Fabrication and lies set a bad example, projects poorely on Muslims.

          This article is taking liberties with the intelligence of the reader. Writing style notwithstanding, commonsense precludes such an assumption. The writer has been too presumptuous to think that such words, articulation, sentence structure and maturity comes from the observations and experience of a ten year old. Not one bit, not even from one with twice that age and education.

      • Sara Abbasi

        I know Sadiya and her father. Believe me – she definitely wrote this letter (and many others too that don’t always get published).

        • Suzanne Shahadah

          Interesting, and good to know! I showed this letter to my daughter, who is about the same age…she’s more into the fiction-writing side of things, but she would absolutely use those kinds of words, and those phrasings. I agree that many 10-year-olds would not, but I think if we raise our kids to be articulate, outspoken, and engaged, they do develop the ability to write — and more importantly, to think — at this level.