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Why I Wear a Head Scarf

Soha, 16, is one of 3.4 million Muslim people in the United States. She chooses to wear a head scarf to honor her religion. Here’s what that means.  

Deanne Fitzmaurice/Getty Images

Proud To Be Muslim
Soha has been wearing a hijab since sixth grade. “It has made me more confident,” she says. 

    In many ways, I’m a typical American teen. I play tennis for my school team. I love reading Harry Potter books and seeing Marvel movies. I wear makeup, watch Netflix, listen to music, and study—just like other girls my age. 

    But unlike most girls, I do it all in a hijab (hee-JAHB). That’s another name for the head scarf I choose to wear every day. 

    My hijab is always with me. I wear it to school and on weekends. I wear it to Starbucks and to tennis practice. The only time I don’t wear it is at home.

    Why do I wear a head scarf all year—especially when I live in sunny California? People ask me that question all the time. 

    The short answer is that my hijab is just a part of who I am. The long answer has to do with my religion.

    In many ways, I’m a typical American teen. I play tennis for my school team. I love reading Harry Potter books and watching Marvel movies. I wear makeup, watch Netflix, listen to music, and study.

    But I do it all in a hijab. That’s another name for the head scarf I wear every day.

    My hijab is always with me. I wear it to school and on weekends. I wear it to Starbucks and to tennis practice. The only time I don’t wear it is at home.

    I live in sunny California. So why do I wear a head scarf all year? People ask me that question all the time.

    The short answer is that my hijab is just a part of who I am. The long answer has to do with my religion.

In many ways, I’m a typical American teenager. I play tennis for my school team. I love reading Harry Potter books and seeing Marvel movies. I wear makeup, watch Netflix, listen to music, and study—just like other girls my age.

But unlike most girls, I do it all in a hijab. That’s another name for the head scarf I choose to wear every day. 

My hijab is always with me. I wear it to school and on weekends. I wear it to Starbucks and to tennis practice. The only time I don’t wear it is at home.

People frequently ask me why I wear a head scarf all year—especially considering that I live in sunny California.

The simple answer is that my hijab is just a part of who I am. The more complex answer has to do with my religion.

Deep Connection

    My family practices Islam, which is one of the world’s largest religions. Another way of saying that is that we are Muslim. Like all religions, Islam has many beautiful traditions. They make my religion special to me. 

    I love going to the mosque, which is the Muslim place of worship. I like the spicy foods we eat when we’re together, like dumplings and chicken dishes. And I enjoy learning about my religion at my religious classes twice a week. 

    I n class, we use a book called the Koran (kuh-RAN). It’s the holy book for Muslims. We study it—just as Christian people study the Bible or Jewish people study the Torah. 

    My religion has taught me many important lessons—ones that really aren’t that different from most other religions. For example, Muslims believe that all people are equal. We also believe we should help each other however we can.

    My family and I are Muslim. In other words, we practice Islam. Islam is one of the world’s largest religions. It has many beautiful traditions. 

    I love going to the mosque, the Muslim place of worship. I like the spicy foods we eat when we’re together. And I like going to religious classes twice a week.

    In class, we use a book called the Koran (kuh-RAN). It’s the holy book for Muslims. We study it, just as Christian people study the Bible or Jewish people study the Torah.

    My religion has taught me important lessons. Muslims believe that all people are equal and that we should help each other.

    My family practices Islam, which is one of the world’s largest religions. Another way of saying that is that we’re Muslim. Like all religions, Islam has many beautiful traditions. These traditions are special and meaningful to me.

    I love going to the mosque, which is the Muslim place of worship. I like the spicy foods we eat when we’re together, like dumplings and chicken dishes. And I enjoy learning about my religion at my religious classes twice a week.

    In class, we study the Koran (kuh-RAN)—the holy book for Muslims—the same way Christian people study the Bible and Jewish people study the Torah.

    My religion has taught me many valuable lessons—ones that really aren’t that different from most other religions. For example, Muslims believe that all people are equal and that we should help each other however we can.

A Proud Decision

    I decided to start wearing a hijab in sixth grade. In Islam, the hijab is a way to show modesty. No one has to do it. Wearing a hijab is a choice any woman can make for herself. For me, it was a way to show the world that I’m Muslim and proud.

    I still remember the night before I wore a hijab to school for the first time. I felt really nervous. I messaged my friends ahead of time because I didn’t want them to be surprised. 

    Luckily, the next day at school wasn’t so bad. Sure, people asked me why I was wearing the hijab—but I’m really glad they did. Not asking questions is what leads to prejudice. 

    Many people think that Islam teaches violence. They also think that Muslims don’t treat women equally. That’s not true at all! I love that wearing a hijab has given me so many chances to educate people about my religion. 

    I decided to start wearing a hijab in sixth grade. In Islam, the hijab is a way to show modesty. No one has to wear one. It’s a choice. For me, it was a way to show the world that I’m Muslim and proud.

    I remember the night before I wore a hijab to school for the first time. I felt really nervous. I messaged my friends ahead of time. I didn’t want them to be surprised.

    The next day at school wasn’t so bad. Sure, people asked about my hijab. But I’m glad they did. Not asking questions is what leads to prejudice.

    Many people think Islam teaches violence. They also think Muslims don’t treat women equally. That’s not true. Wearing a hijab gives me many chances to teach people about Islam.

    I decided to start wearing a hijab in sixth grade. In Islam, the hijab is a way to show modesty. It’s not mandatory—wearing a hijab is a choice any woman can make for herself. For me, it was a way to show the world that I’m Muslim and proud.

    I still remember the night before I wore a hijab to school for the first time. I felt really nervous. I messaged my friends ahead of time because I didn’t want them to be surprised.

    Luckily, the next day at school wasn’t especially difficult. People asked me why I was wearing the hijab, but I’m really glad they did—not asking questions is what leads to prejudice.

    Many people think that Islam promotes violence and that Muslims don’t treat women equally. That’s not true at all! I’m grateful that wearing a hijab has given me so many opportunities to educate people about my religion.

Part of Me

    I’ve been wearing the hijab for five years now. Putting it on in the morning is a totally normal thing, like doing my hair. When I get home, I take it off. It’s just a part of who I am. 

    Praying is also a part of who I am. Muslims do five daily prayers at very specific times. Sometimes that means I have to stop my tennis match to pray. I’ve also prayed in restaurants and on the sidewalk outside of school.

    Once, my friends and I were at an arcade. When I stopped to pray, a woman started making weird faces at me. My friends told her to leave me alone. 

    None of my closest friends are Muslim. But they support me and my religion. They even try the spicy foods! I’m lucky to have them in my life.

    Making friends with people who seem different is so important. Sticking by them is too. It makes all of us stronger.

    I’ve been wearing the hijab for five years now. Putting it on in the morning is a normal thing, like doing my hair. When I get home, I take it off. It’s a part of who I am.

    Praying is also a part of who I am. Muslims do five daily prayers at specific times. Sometimes I have to stop my tennis match to pray. I’ve also prayed in restaurants and on the sidewalk outside of school.

    Once, my friends and I were at an arcade. When I stopped to pray, a woman started making weird faces at me. My friends told her to stop.

    My closest friends are not Muslim. But they support me and my religion. They even try the spicy foods! I’m lucky to have these friends in my life.

    Making friends with people who seem different is important. Sticking by them is too. It makes all of us stronger.

    I’ve been wearing the hijab for five years now. Putting it on each morning is a totally normal thing, like doing my hair. When I get home, I remove it. It’s simply a part of who I am.

    Praying is also a part of who I am. Muslims do five daily prayers at very specific times, which sometimes means I have to stop my tennis match to pray. I’ve also prayed in restaurants and on the sidewalk outside of school.

    Once, my friends and I were at an arcade when I stopped to pray. A woman started making weird faces at me, but my friends defended my right to practice my religion.

    None of my closest friends are Muslim, but they support me and my religion. They even sample the spicy foods! I’m fortunate to have these friends in my life.

    Making friends with people who appear different is incredibly important, and so is respecting and supporting them: It makes all of us stronger. 

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