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‘It’s literally just a piece of cloth on my head’: blogger talks Muslim moms feeling lonely

WATCH ABOVE: A blogger from the United Kingdom has started The Hijab Challenge for people to understand what it’s like to be a mother who wears a hijab.

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.

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In a YouTube video about Muslim mothers finding it difficult to make friends, Dahlia said the woman who assaulted her said, “I [made] her skin twitch.”

Why? Because Dahlia was wearing a hijab.

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“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.

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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.”

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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.

“I’m hoping people literally see past the scarf [and] see the person — break down the barriers, break down the stereotypes, see this person is more than just a scarf,” Dahlia explained.

Since the challenge began, Dhalia said she’s received a positive reaction.

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“I set myself up for really negative comments… but I’ve had overwhelming amazing responses.”

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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.”

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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.