Monday, November 7, 2016

Sara, 21 years old, Copenhagen (Denmark)



My name is Sara, I'm 21 years old. My parents are originally from Marocco, but I'm born and raised in Danmark. I started wearing my hijab when I was twelve and a half year old.
It was kind of my mum who tricked me, because in Islam you have to wear hijab when you menstruate. And than she was like “yeah, and from tomorrow on you're gonna wear a hijab, right?”. And I just looked at her and meant “what do you mean?” and she was like “normally you wear it, when you menstruate and you just did that so – from tomorrow on you wear a hijab, right?”. And I said “well, okay, if I have to do so...” And than I just did it.
It was not forced or anything, she was just trying out if I would actually do it. I was wearing it ever since and I never actually wanted to take it off. Of course you have a few moments, when you wish you could just go to the beach or swimming pool and just relax in the sun. But I've never been able to take it off by myself. I think it never kept me from doing anything. Whatever I wanted to do, I've been able to.
It also didn't kept me from swimming, I mean, you have the burkini now. You can swim wherever! And my dad was very good in younger age to find an empty space for us. A space where we knew that there are no other people. I like to swim – that's why I talk about that. Sometimes he rented out a big swimming pool, just for our close family, so we could take off our hijab.
I've never had problems, also in workplaces – maybe I've just been lucky. Maybe it's just not that big problem, that people make it. The only time, in which it is a problem, is when I watch the news or the media. And I just hear all those terrible things. And it's not because I hate myself for wearing it – I hate them for speaking about it like that, because I don't feel that way. I don't think there are enough people representing us. People like me, that are actually not forced to wear it. I see there is a dilemma, but it is not a solution to remove it from everybody's heads, because a few are forced to put it on. Than you are doing the exact same thing – just the opposite way. Instead of putting it on, you're putting it off without them willing it.
Yeah, in my normal life, it never ever had been in obstacle. I have great friends, I have a great life, I have a great workplace. And my hijab is just extra. I think what I love the most about it, is the kind of respect it gives you. Just normally, when I sit around with the boys here at work or go into another place, it keeps kind of a distance. They first check “oh, is it cool for her? Can I shake her hand” and stuff like that. Also how they talk in front of you and how they speak in front of you. I see a lot of my friends, when they don't wear a scarf, it's a totally different story. They tell me about when they are around the exact same people, how they react to them is different than how they react to me. They do it out of respect for me. Because I'm wearing a scarf. That's one of the benefits.

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