There’s this assumption that Muslim women are docile, weak and incapable of thinking for themselves. This is a colonial, orientalist, lie so people can feel better about sexualizing and oppressing Muslim women with the hope that we won’t be able to tell if we are being exploited. They thought.
Fact: Muslim women in hijab are the best lie detectors. We read people better than any other group of people, and we can pick up the “vibe” of our surroundings in a split second. On days where we feel like we are better off wearing a turban, you know what happens?
We read the news and find out that someone tried to burn a visibly Muslim woman. The weeks leading up to 9/11 are spent mentally preparing for the possibility of being attacked, we map out how we plan on traveling, drop our location for our family members, and sometimes we’re forced to make calls to our friends while we’re out because someone might be following us.
There’s this distinct understanding and awareness we have about our environments that no other group of people have — an understanding that was born out of a need to survive.
When every part of your existence is dissected by society and by your family, you learn how to navigate every space you’re thrown into. You learn how to perform, you learn how to be extra nice to people so they don’t think that you’re a “terrorist.”
I always wondered how my mother always knew what I was up to. She kind of scared me because she always just knew, even before social media. Now I realize that it’s because of the life Muslim women have to live in order to survive. We always have to be five steps ahead.
When your parents questioned you so much, and the TSA decides to question you, or when you get randomly checked, you’re prepared. You know exactly how to respond.
Girl, you’ve been questioned and interrogated your entire life. Of course you’re not going to go and join Daesh. You’re traveling to do something much more dangerous, attend university.
There’s a book cover on your copy of the Qur’an, and the moment you are about to walk into the airport you delete your MuslimPro app just in case because you don’t want the athan to go off while you’re waiting in line to get on the plane.
Muslim women have been taught to be so careful about everything they say and do. Now just imagine, lying to one.