Do you know what it’s like to wear a hijab and smile at every mother who passes you by — only to not have anyone smile back? One Muslim blogger does, and she’s challenging others to see past what she chooses to wear.
Nilly Dahlia is a blogger from the United Kingdom who said she was confronted while shopping at a supermarket recently.
“I got attacked verbally in a supermarket and I was telling my manager about it and she said, ‘You need to do something about it because it’s not right,’ Dahlia told Global News in a telephone interview.
Why? Because Dahlia was wearing a hijab.
“It made me feel really small and like I’m not worth anything. For someone to come to my face … it’s just so rude and ignorant,” Dahlia continued.
According to a 2016 survey by the Environics Institute, “four in 10 (42 per cent) non-Muslim Canadians say they have a generally positive view of Islam” while one-third (33 per cent) “have a generally negative view.”
The survey went on to say one in four believe that most, or many, non-Muslim Canadians “are hostile to Muslims.
“I just want to make people see the hijab as not scary because I think that’s how it’s being portrayed,” Dahlia said. “I’m quite a friendly person. I wanted people to see that we’re not bad people. We’re friendly — just approach us and talk to us; we’re very open-minded. It’s just a scarf at the end of the day.”
Dhalia came up with The Hijab Challenge (#CMYANA) to help break the stereotypes about those who choose to wear it and to hopefully make other people feel comfortable approaching someone who is wearing a headscarf.
Since the challenge began, Dhalia said she’s received a positive reaction.
“I set myself up for really negative comments… but I’ve had overwhelming amazing responses.”
Dahlia added that if people can see past the hijab, then maybe many Muslim women won’t feel so lonely.
“As a mom, my daughter is dealing with teething — that’s just not just a Muslim mom thing; every single mom has to deal with it. The restless nights, the sleepless nights — every mom has to deal with it.”
As for not receiving friendly smiles from other mothers while she was out and about wearing a hijab, Dahlia said she’s not going to give up.
“The hijab to me is very empowering — it’s a beautiful thing to wear,” she said.