Should American Muslim Women Abondon The Hijab?

With the rising number of attacks against American Muslims, more and more people in the community are voicing concerns for the safety of women who wear the hijab. Some are even saying that it’s OK for women to take off their hijabs to stay safe.

In a speech at the Islamic Association of Raleigh North Carolina, Imam Abdullah Antepli said that American Muslims are living under exceptional circumstances that make taking off the hijab permissible for Muslim women who fear for their safety in public spaces. Abdullah Antepli who is the chief representative of Muslim affairs at Duke University said:

“I’m not trying to be alarmist, But the nation is being sucked into a combustible mix. We have to think unconventionally.”

Omar Suleiman who is a scholar at the Valley Ranch Islamic Center in Irving Texas, is not calling for women to take off their hijabs but to exchange it for something more common like hoodies or caps to avoid attracting attention. He said”

“It’s important to give our women support and validate the fear they’re feeling. Fear isn’t quantifiable; it’s to the person’s own experience.”

The verse in the Quran that is often interpreted as a call to women to wear the hijab specifically says that the reason behind it is women’s safety and protection. Engy Abdelkader, adjunct professor and senior fellow at Georgetown University, says:

“One of the reasons women are encouraged to dress modestly is for their protection. Once that purpose is no longer served there’s an argument that it becomes a matter of necessity to remove it.”

Feeling targeted is a very hard thing to live with, for Muslim women in the US this is becoming a huge burden. Khalilah Sabra from the Muslim American Society’s Immigrant Justice Center was targeted last month when a man spit in her face as she was walking in the Municipal Court of Garfield, New Jersey.

“I had to pause and decide do I fight or let it go? We have to stand up for our religious rights and encourage women to stand their ground.”