Dear Muslim Parents,
If you find yourself constantly butting heads with your kids, let me offer you another perspective to view things — your child’s perspective. As your kids, we know that your number one priority is to ensure our safety. Believe it or not, we understand your intentions and what you’re saying more times than you think, we just don’t always agree with them. So sit back, grab yourself a bowl of popcorn, and let me tell you why. Remember to try and keep and open mind through these revelations.
We’re kids. We like to go out. There’s no changing that. But let me first acknowledge the fear many Muslim parents face with this specific issue. From a child’s perspective, we try our best to give you the benefit of the doubt when you just can’t help playing “20 Questions” with us every time we want to walk out the door. And sometimes it’s just to get the mail.
For Muslim sons, we strive to understand that because America refuses to accept the truth of what our religion really stands for, that sparks fear in your eyes everywhere we go. Do not accuse us of being naive, though. We are completely aware of this ourselves. Believe it or not, we don’t purposely place ourselves in questionable environments that could potentially jeopardize our safety.
As a Muslim daughter, I think it’s safe to say that the astronomical magnitude of your concerns could not ever be accurately measured. Whether we wear a hijab, there is still a concern, because the idea of women being treated as equals and with respect is a concept that America just cannot grasp yet.
As Muslim women who wear hijab, you have voiced your opinions on how it is near impossible for us to go under the radar, crystal clear. Some of you might classify us as “targets” or ” victims” — but now it’s your turn to listen to our counterargument.
Does it really seem right to you that everybody else in this country gets to publicly represent their religion freely, [but] we have to compromise our look to a demeaning disguise in order to accommodate America’s stereotypical image of what looks less threatening?
When we ask to attend social events or even concerts, it is not right or fair of you to ask us to abandon our beliefs by “compromising” that we “take off [our] hijabs to blend in with the crowd.” Ordering us to stay inside the house is not the solution either. We’re not in Iran and it is not 1979, Jimmy Carter! Do not be so quick to portray us as victims.
Does it really seem right to you that everybody else in this country gets to publicly represent their religion freely, and when we want to exercise those same rights at an innocent event, watching our favorite artists perform live, we have to compromise our look to a demeaning disguise in order to accommodate America’s stereotypical image of what looks less threatening? I’m crossing my fingers in hopes that your answer is no. Asking us to alter our appearance from a hijab to a beanie cannot be seen in any way that we won either because we still had to give up something that is a part of us.
Let us remind you of what you taught us to have — tawwakul, faith in Allah. You taught us to recite ayatul Kursi in times of fear and to constantly be aware of the fact that Allah is always watching us. It’s worked every time we’ve checked our grades and it works for these types of situations as well. You also need to remember that our fate is already set in stone. However and whenever our lives are meant to come to end cannot be changed — even if you hired the secret service to follow us around.
Maybe we haven’t picked this bone with you yet or enough times, but that comes to an end now. Being more lenient with your sons than your daughters is not common sense — but rather the root of the why we are accused to be oppressing our Muslim women. Simply, it just does not make sense.
By allowing your sons to have more exposure to social outings, you are sending a very direct message that the value of your son’s life does not equate to your daughter’s. We do not need to be parents to have the right to say that we wouldn’t want to lose either of our kids. If you are going to discourage your daughter from partaking in a particular event, your son should not be an exception to it.
So here’s a proposed solution or rather your favorite word, a compromise. It requires both of us to do some work but we’ll fairly travel our distance if you meet us halfway. You may continue to play “20 Questions” with us to alleviate your curiosity and maintain your sanity, but have trust in us that we have an adequate sense of judgment to assess right from wrong.
Also, allow it to be considered a fair compromise to attend these events in groups. As your kids, we can pledge to notify you via text message a numerous amount of times while we are out, that we are still alive.