I Don't Judge You, Don't Judge Me


My Choice

Written by Samar Sarhan

“If I opened a school, I wouldn’t allow anyone to wear hijab until they were 18.”

This is the sentence that has spurred me into writing something, anything about hijab.

I was having a disucssion with some people about work in Jordan and how I am searching for a job. I mentioned that there is some discrimination against hijabis in the workplace. Most people I have mentioned this to have said “No way!” but then again they don’t wear hijab. I have talked to ladies who do wear the hijab and they agree with me for the most part. I felt that there was some kind of understanding that people who wear hijab give off a certian image that people don’t want their company to be represented with. I’m not sure what this image is but I’m going to assume it’s not very nice.

I began to wear hijab in the 9th grade. I started wearing it a week before my birthday, 2001. It was something I had been thinking about since 8th grade but I felt it was important to learn how to pray first and then take the next step. I also wasn’t sure how my family would react to it. I ended up doing it and have been happy with my decision ever since. I have never thought what would my life be like without it? Because it’s not something that has ever occurred to me. I have had a lot of experiences and encounters because of my hijab. It has opened and closed a lot of doors for me, but each time something happened, it taught me another lesson and made me a stronger person. Today, I choose to wear the hijab for different reasons than I did when I was in the 9th grade.

I can say that I am a pretty moderate, non-judgmental person. I would like to change the world, which is idealistic, I know. I don’t think hijab will hinder my job performance. It doesn’t affect who I am and doesn’t change my work.

I was in my first year of college, when I went to visit a friend at another college. I met some Arab girls at my friends’ college and one of the first things they said to me was “Take off your hijab”. Mind you, this is the first time I am meeting these ladies and they told me to take off my hijab. I thought it was very insulting that someone would assume that I am oppressed because I choose to wear it. It was an eye opening experience in terms of how I was viewed as a hijabi. It then became my mission in college and beyond to show people that I’m not oppressed because I choose to wear this piece of cloth on my head.

I’m actually liberated by it. I realize this argument has been used many times but honestly, it’s true! Like Martin Luther King Jr. said “I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” But I would substitute color of their skin with what they wear on their head. I think my hijab should help people look past what I wear and focus on how I act.

I don’t speak for other hijabis because they have their reasons for doing what they do and I don’t know all of them so, I can’t make those assumptions but I do know myself and I know my experiences and views. I don’t walk around assuming every Christian is out to convert me because it happened once or twice when I was in college. I just don’t think it’s fair to make that assumption.

I came to Jordan to get away from the uphill battle that I faced in the U.S because of the hijab. I thought that it would be easier to work here without people assuming that I wanted to kill them or convert them. For the record, I want to do neither of those things. I just want to contribute to my community in a positive way. I don’t think that my hijab should be a hinderance.

“If I opened school, I wouldn’t allow anyone to wear hijab until they were 18.” This is the sentence that has spurred me into writing something, anything about hijab.
I was having a disucssion with some people about work in Jordan and how I am searching for a job. I mentioned that there is some discrimination against hijabis in the workplace. Most people I have mentioned this to have said “No way!” but then again they don’t wear hijab. I have talked to ladies who do wear the hijab and they agree with me for the most part. I felt that there was some kind of understanding that people who wear hijab give off a certian image that people don’t want their company to be represented with. I’m not sure what this image is but I’m going to assume it’s not very nice.
I began to wear hijab in the 9th grade. I started wearing it a week before my birthday, 2001. It was something I had been thinking about since 8th grade but I felt it was important to learn how to pray first and then take the next step. I also wasn’t sure how my family would react to it. I ended up doing it and have been happy with my decision ever since. I have never thought what would my life be like without it? Because it’s not something that has ever occurred to me. I have had a lot of experiences and encounters because of my hijab. It has opened and closed a lot of doors for me, but each time something happened, it taught me another lesson and made me a stronger person. Today, I choose to wear the hijab for different reasons than I did when I was in the 9th grade.
I can say that I am a pretty moderate, non-judgmental person. I would like to change the world, which is idealistic, I know. I don’t think hijab will hinder my job performance. It doesn’t affect who I am and doesn’t change my work.
I was in my first year of college, when I went to visit a friend at another college. I met some Arab girls at my friends’ college and one of the first things they said to me was “Take off your hijab”. Mind you, this is the first time I am meeting these ladies and they told me to take off my hijab. I thought it was very insulting that someone would assume that I am oppressed because I choose to wear it. It was an eye opening experience in terms of how I was viewed as a hijabi. It then became my mission in college and beyond to show people that I’m not oppressed because I choose to wear this piece of cloth on my head. I’m actually liberated by it. I realize this argument has been used many times but honestly, it’s true! Like Martin Luther King Jr. said “I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” But I would substitute color of their skin with what they wear on their head. I think my hijab should help people look past what I wear and focus on how I act.
I don’t speak for other hijabis because they have their reasons for doing what they do and I don’t know all of them so, I can’t make those assumptions but I do know myself and I know my experiences and views. I don’t walk around assuming every Christian is out to convert me because it happened once or twice when I was in college. I just don’t think it’s fair to make that assumption.
I came to Jordan to get away from the uphill battle that I faced in the U.S because of the hijab. I thought that it would be easier to work here without people assuming that I wanted to kill them or convert them. For the record, I want to do neither of those things. I just want to contribute to my community in a positive way. I don’t think that my hijab should be a hinderance.
“If I opened a school, I wouldn’t allow anyone to wear hijab until they were 18.” This is the sentence that has spurred me into writing something, anything about hijab.
I was having a disucssion with some people about work in Jordan and how I am searching for a job. I mentioned that there is some discrimination against hijabis in the workplace. Most people I have mentioned this to have said “No way!” but then again they don’t wear hijab. I have talked to ladies who do wear the hijab and they agree with me for the most part. I felt that there was some kind of understanding that people who wear hijab give off a certian image that people don’t want their company to be represented with. I’m not sure what this image is but I’m going to assume it’s not very nice.
I began to wear hijab in the 9th grade. I started wearing it a week before my birthday, 2001. It was something I had been thinking about since 8th grade but I felt it was important to learn how to pray first and then take the next step. I also wasn’t sure how my family would react to it. I ended up doing it and have been happy with my decision ever since. I have never thought what would my life be like without it? Because it’s not something that has ever occurred to me. I have had a lot of experiences and encounters because of my hijab. It has opened and closed a lot of doors for me, but each time something happened, it taught me another lesson and made me a stronger person. Today, I choose to wear the hijab for different reasons than I did when I was in the 9th grade.
I can say that I am a pretty moderate, non-judgmental person. I would like to change the world, which is idealistic, I know. I don’t think hijab will hinder my job performance. It doesn’t affect who I am and doesn’t change my work.
I was in my first year of college, when I went to visit a friend at another college. I met some Arab girls at my friends’ college and one of the first things they said to me was “Take off your hijab”. Mind you, this is the first time I am meeting these ladies and they told me to take off my hijab. I thought it was very insulting that someone would assume that I am oppressed because I choose to wear it. It was an eye opening experience in terms of how I was viewed as a hijabi. It then became my mission in college and beyond to show people that I’m not oppressed because I choose to wear this piece of cloth on my head. I’m actually liberated by it. I realize this argument has been used many times but honestly, it’s true! Like Martin Luther King Jr. said “I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” But I would substitute color of their skin with what they wear on their head. I think my hijab should help people look past what I wear and focus on how I act.
I don’t speak for other hijabis because they have their reasons for doing what they do and I don’t know all of them so, I can’t make those assumptions but I do know myself and I know my experiences and views. I don’t walk around assuming every Christian is out to convert me because it happened once or twice when I was in college. I just don’t think it’s fair to make that assumption.
I came to Jordan to get away from the uphill battle that I faced in the U.S because of the hijab. I thought that it would be easier to work here without people assuming that I wanted to kill them or convert them. For the record, I want to do neither of those things. I just want to contribute to my community in a positive way. I don’t think that my hijab should be a hinderance.
“If I opened a school, I wouldn’t allow anyone to wear hijab until they were 18.” This is the sentence that has spurred me into writing something, anything about hijab.
I was having a disucssion with some people about work in Jordan and how I am searching for a job. I mentioned that there is some discrimination against hijabis in the workplace. Most people I have mentioned this to have said “No way!” but then again they don’t wear hijab. I have talked to ladies who do wear the hijab and they agree with me for the most part. I felt that there was some kind of understanding that people who wear hijab give off a certian image that people don’t want their company to be represented with. I’m not sure what this image is but I’m going to assume it’s not very nice.
I began to wear hijab in the 9th grade. I started wearing it a week before my birthday, 2001. It was something I had been thinking about since 8th grade but I felt it was important to learn how to pray first and then take the next step. I also wasn’t sure how my family would react to it. I ended up doing it and have been happy with my decision ever since. I have never thought what would my life be like without it? Because it’s not something that has ever occurred to me. I have had a lot of experiences and encounters because of my hijab. It has opened and closed a lot of doors for me, but each time something happened, it taught me another lesson and made me a stronger person. Today, I choose to wear the hijab for different reasons than I did when I was in the 9th grade.
I can say that I am a pretty moderate, non-judgmental person. I would like to change the world, which is idealistic, I know. I don’t think hijab will hinder my job performance. It doesn’t affect who I am and doesn’t change my work.
I was in my first year of college, when I went to visit a friend at another college. I met some Arab girls at my friends’ college and one of the first things they said to me was “Take off your hijab”. Mind you, this is the first time I am meeting these ladies and they told me to take off my hijab. I thought it was very insulting that someone would assume that I am oppressed because I choose to wear it. It was an eye opening experience in terms of how I was viewed as a hijabi. It then became my mission in college and beyond to show people that I’m not oppressed because I choose to wear this piece of cloth on my head. I’m actually liberated by it. I realize this argument has been used many times but honestly, it’s true! Like Martin Luther King Jr. said “I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” But I would substitute color of their skin with what they wear on their head. I think my hijab should help people look past what I wear and focus on how I act.
I don’t speak for other hijabis because they have their reasons for doing what they do and I don’t know all of them so, I can’t make those assumptions but I do know myself and I know my experiences and views. I don’t walk around assuming every Christian is out to convert me because it happened once or twice when I was in college. I just don’t think it’s fair to make that assumption.
I came to Jordan to get away from the uphill battle that I faced in the U.S because of the hijab. I thought that it would be easier to work here without people assuming that I wanted to kill them or convert them. For the record, I want to do neither of those things. I just want to contribute to my community in a positive way. I don’t think that my hijab should be a hinderance.
“If I opened a school, I wouldn’t allow anyone to wear hijab until they were 18.” This is the sentence that has spurred me into writing something, anything about hijab.
I was having a disucssion with some people about work in Jordan and how I am searching for a job. I mentioned that there is some discrimination against hijabis in the workplace. Most people I have mentioned this to have said “No way!” but then again they don’t wear hijab. I have talked to ladies who do wear the hijab and they agree with me for the most part. I felt that there was some kind of understanding that people who wear hijab give off a certian image that people don’t want their company to be represented with. I’m not sure what this image is but I’m going to assume it’s not very nice.
I began to wear hijab in the 9th grade. I started wearing it a week before my birthday, 2001. It was something I had been thinking about since 8th grade but I felt it was important to learn how to pray first and then take the next step. I also wasn’t sure how my family would react to it. I ended up doing it and have been happy with my decision ever since. I have never thought what would my life be like without it? Because it’s not something that has ever occurred to me. I have had a lot of experiences and encounters because of my hijab. It has opened and closed a lot of doors for me, but each time something happened, it taught me another lesson and made me a stronger person. Today, I choose to wear the hijab for different reasons than I did when I was in the 9th grade.
I can say that I am a pretty moderate, non-judgmental person. I would like to change the world, which is idealistic, I know. I don’t think hijab will hinder my job performance. It doesn’t affect who I am and doesn’t change my work.
I was in my first year of college, when I went to visit a friend at another college. I met some Arab girls at my friends’ college and one of the first things they said to me was “Take off your hijab”. Mind you, this is the first time I am meeting these ladies and they told me to take off my hijab. I thought it was very insulting that someone would assume that I am oppressed because I choose to wear it. It was an eye opening experience in terms of how I was viewed as a hijabi. It then became my mission in college and beyond to show people that I’m not oppressed because I choose to wear this piece of cloth on my head. I’m actually liberated by it. I realize this argument has been used many times but honestly, it’s true! Like Martin Luther King Jr. said “I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” But I would substitute color of their skin with what they wear on their head. I think my hijab should help people look past what I wear and focus on how I act.
I don’t speak for other hijabis because they have their reasons for doing what they do and I don’t know all of them so, I can’t make those assumptions but I do know myself and I know my experiences and views. I don’t walk around assuming every Christian is out to convert me because it happened once or twice when I was in college. I just don’t think it’s fair to make that assumption.
I came to Jordan to get away from the uphill battle that I faced in the U.S because of the hijab. I thought that it would be easier to work here without people assuming that I wanted to kill them or convert them. For the record, I want to do neither of those things. I just want to contribute to my community in a positive way. I don’t think that my hijab should be a hinderance.
“If I opened a school, I wouldn’t allow anyone to wear hijab until they were 18.” This is the sentence that has spurred me into writing something, anything about hijab.
I was having a disucssion with some people about work in Jordan and how I am searching for a job. I mentioned that there is some discrimination against hijabis in the workplace. Most people I have mentioned this to have said “No way!” but then again they don’t wear hijab. I have talked to ladies who do wear the hijab and they agree with me for the most part. I felt that there was some kind of understanding that people who wear hijab give off a certian image that people don’t want their company to be represented with. I’m not sure what this image is but I’m going to assume it’s not very nice.
I began to wear hijab in the 9th grade. I started wearing it a week before my birthday, 2001. It was something I had been thinking about since 8th grade but I felt it was important to learn how to pray first and then take the next step. I also wasn’t sure how my family would react to it. I ended up doing it and have been happy with my decision ever since. I have never thought what would my life be like without it? Because it’s not something that has ever occurred to me. I have had a lot of experiences and encounters because of my hijab. It has opened and closed a lot of doors for me, but each time something happened, it taught me another lesson and made me a stronger person. Today, I choose to wear the hijab for different reasons than I did when I was in the 9th grade.
I can say that I am a pretty moderate, non-judgmental person. I would like to change the world, which is idealistic, I know. I don’t think hijab will hinder my job performance. It doesn’t affect who I am and doesn’t change my work.
I was in my first year of college, when I went to visit a friend at another college. I met some Arab girls at my friends’ college and one of the first things they said to me was “Take off your hijab”. Mind you, this is the first time I am meeting these ladies and they told me to take off my hijab. I thought it was very insulting that someone would assume that I am oppressed because I choose to wear it. It was an eye opening experience in terms of how I was viewed as a hijabi. It then became my mission in college and beyond to show people that I’m not oppressed because I choose to wear this piece of cloth on my head. I’m actually liberated by it. I realize this argument has been used many times but honestly, it’s true! Like Martin Luther King Jr. said “I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” But I would substitute color of their skin with what they wear on their head. I think my hijab should help people look past what I wear and focus on how I act.
I don’t speak for other hijabis because they have their reasons for doing what they do and I don’t know all of them so, I can’t make those assumptions but I do know myself and I know my experiences and views. I don’t walk around assuming every Christian is out to convert me because it happened once or twice when I was in college. I just don’t think it’s fair to make that assumption.

I came to Jordan to get away from the uphill battle that I faced in the U.S because of the hijab. I thought that it would be easier to work here without people assuming that I wanted to kill them or convert them. For the record, I want to do neither of those things. I just want to contribute to my community in a positive way. I don’t think that my hijab should be a hinderance.




  • bambambi

    Not to belittle the “discrimination” that you face but the fact of the matter is that everyone in Jordan is discriminated against one way or another. Did it occur to you that it might be because of the fact that you are a women in the first place?
    If you feel the discrimination against hijabis is soooo bad in jordan, which it might be i have no idea, then I suggest you stand at the end of the line ahead of the many others that scream discrimination and have an actual legit case … not just a feeling

  • http://xxlubnaxx.blogspot.com Lubna

    I respect what you said Samar, and although personally I have never thought that I looked different at any girl just cuz she's wearing a hijab, I still see what you're trying to say.

    But on the other hand, I strongly second Bambambi, because everyone in Jordan in a way or another is being discriminated for something, and things that are much worse than just someone coming over to tell u to take off ur hijab or asking you to convert religion at a random encounter. Any single person must have heard that, mind you where i studied i heard on different semesterly intervals in class that us 'christians' are kafara, going to hell and are a bad genre in the society that needs to be suppressed.

    I think people are also building stereotyping thoughts about hijab girls because some of them are big head lairs, pretending to be all moderate and Godly by a hijab and are reckless in many other occasions, so people talk.

    also, I've known girls forced to wear hijab by their parents, so some people find hijab as a force of oppression on those girls.

    This can go forever, but one thing we all should agree on is the fact that people should not judge each other whether it was a hijab case, a race, a religion or whatever freaking thing!

  • rawansag

    thank u samar for your feelings about the descrimination against hijab , its fact, we face it when we go to the interview to get a job , i think everyone who is wearing a hijab must prove that hijab is not a hinderance and every girl what ever she is wearing , should be respected for the sake of humanity and i agree with lubna its unfortunately , not only the issue of hijab which cause such a thing but its also about race , religion even the people between them selves , its hearts issues which cause this huge mess !

  • o181o

    am sure that ur battle wasn't that easy in us … but unfortunately here in Jordan things start to take like other foreign places …. some privet company n i saw many of em … didn't hire girls coz of hijab …. but wat i wanna say that i wish that all people know that Muslim girl wear hijab coz i know my religion … i know i must do wat it says n am soo happy with it … coz its my religion n am proud with it ….
    n i dont know when da ladies told u to take it off … wat did u do a crime … or if i keep wearing it i will never get a job … no i believe in god n my religion is islam …..
    anyway thank u soo much for ur kind words n hope all world read em ….

  • Muslimah

    Thank you, Samar, for expressing your views in a simple but eloquent way. You have my full support and respect.

  • ma7moodjo

    honestly…. being against hijab is Hip right now just be a guy who meets a girl and tell her ” ohh i just hate 7ijaab sho had il ta5alof ” she will freaking love you ” la 2alla OBEN MINDED ” :P seriously girls are the hater of hijab not the dudes !!!

    lovely take on the issue samar
    Kudos

    peace

  • kinzi

    Samar, I am very sorry for the level of discrimination you are experiencing, especially after having made the decision to come back to Jordan to avoid the frustrations it caused you in the US. That must have been a nasty surprise to be treated like an alien even at home.

    I have been encouraged by hearing from Muslim American friends how validated and supported they feel for wearing the hijab. Several have even said that taxi drivers have not charged them. Maybe converts receive extra respect.

    That said, I also agree with Lubna's comment. I have learned to live with a level of negative character judgement as a part of the price of living in Jordan. Because I am a foreigner who doesn't cover, I am assumed to be a prostitute or loose enough not even to require money for sex. I am also judged, but by what I DON'T have on my head. Christian = dirty, loose, infidel, kuffar.

    Imagine, as a God-fearing woman, how painful that is to hear. To know that is what people think, that I will not be judged by my actions, but by the lack of hijab? But as you said, it has made me stronger, made my moral purity and faith in Christ more precious.

    Like you experienced with non-hijabis, locals here are quick to cover for others: “Oh, they are ignorant, oh, that doesn't really happen, oh, you misunderstood”. Others brush it off saying, 'It's all because of Hollywood”, as if somehow since my country produces trashy entertainment, I should understand it is normal for people to judge my personal morality by films. Do they want to be judged coverage of Muslim extremists by Fox News? I wouldn't want that for my friends.

    I'm ok with people considering me an unlightened potential 'revert'. People try to 'convert me' to Islam all the time. I'm glad they think enough of me to share something that important to them. That doesn't diminish me or my faith, which is more solid as a result of the pressure. But don't assume I am a whore. I've had female peers my age from upper class society ask me about my 'boyfriends'. Imagine how awful when a friend's husband tells you he wants to sleep with you. I don't wear shorts, tight clothes or reveal cleavage, lots of bling or 'look-at-me' outfits, not even in America.

    Is the only 'proof of character' a piece of cloth? Luther Kings 'content of character' quote goes both ways. May I link you to MommaBean's post, she has some great points.

    http://a-tale-of-three-beans.blogspot.com/2010/

    It is the same attitude that leaves us all feeling diminished, judged, shamed.

    I hope that all of us women, whatever we do with our hair, or our faith background, can someday enjoy a measure of respect and opportunity, to contribute to our communities in a positive way. In both countries. I hope you get your dream job with a company that celebrates your hijab, Samar.

  • SamarSar

    bambambi, I agree with you completely. I think for me it was just a shock coming here and finding that my hijab is an issue. I always thought that was a no big deal thing, but I was wrong.

    I believe that being a woman is an issue but not in my line of work. I don't believe that my case is any more important than other people. I was really just surprised to notice that kind of behavior.

  • jaraad

    Excellent post! As a Muslim male living in the US I found that non-Muslims don't care what Muslim men say about Hijab. The majority of non-Muslims and unfortunately some female -so called moderate- Muslims “believe” that Hijab is forced by men to oppress and dominate women. I hope more Muslim women who wear hijab start speaking up and tell their stories of why they choose to wear hijab.

  • samarsar

    Lubna,

    I agree with you completely. A girl that doesn't wear hijab could be assumed to be of loose morals but in reality she is a better person than a person who wears a hijab. My point is, I don't think I should be judged because I do wear it…there is also something I like to call hijab on the inside.

    I do see your point about christians as well. I think a lot of people assume that but it's not fair and Islam doesn't teach Muslims to hate other people of the book. I think it goes both ways, honestly.

    I'm not denying that people have been forced to wear hijab and again there is no force in Islam. It's just people don't interpret it correctly and it comes out as something very convoluted.

    I agree completely with your last statement. One thing I have learned from my life in the US is not to judge people, because you 9 times out of 10 you get it wrong.

  • Aaliyaan

    Wonderful job, Samar. The article is such an eye opener for those of us that have yet to go to Jordan. Inshallah one day.

    I think there is just mass paranoia against Muslims, period. Kind of why I left the US.

  • PH

    I really resent any discourse about religion and how the religious are being “oppressed”, “discriminated against” or feel that they are a minority; especially in a society that blindly supports, advocates for and seems to incorporate religion into much of our legislation. I resent it not because I don't believe in religion, but because I believe it is hypersensitive behavior.

    If you want to wear the hijab, then by all means do so, but please, own up to your decision and deal with whatever repercussions the same way that women who don't (or cannot) wear the hijab do when they're discriminated against, often harassed and even judged upon.

    People need to understand that being religious is a choice; not a title. You deal with the consequences of making that choice; and you cannot equate it with something inherent (such as skin color).

    I find it laughable that a religious person complains about being treated differently when an atheist (who can be persecuted) doesn't really complain as much…In other words: When freedom of belief is fully implemented (when I have a right to not believe or adhere to any faith without persecution or discrimination), then you have the right to practice freely (and whine about it, and I will have an obligation to respect your choice); other than that is hypocrisy at its best.

  • kinzi

    PH, good point, especially in Jordan. Great quote: “Being religious is a choice, not a title”. So atheism is also a choice, with repercussions too…although in Jordan, they are as severe as converting. I think we all whine for our side, no?

    (I can say that atheists in the US have their thin-skinned moments too, a relative of mine gets offended with the mention of “Merry Christmas”, or saying “Bless you” after sneezing.)

  • SamarSar

    Rawansag,

    Thank you for your support. I agree with Lubna as well! I think there are more issues that need to be dealt with and this should be on the bottom of the list. I think it was just shocking for me.

    Yes, there is tons of discrimination in this world and Jordan above all. We see it everyday on the streets of Amman but I do believe we must speak out about it and combat it.

  • SamarSar

    Yes, I agree..Jordan has changed. I think some of the change is good but some of it is bad. I have heard that time and time again. “Take it off and life will be easier” Maybe now, but later when I die. I'm not so sure!

    Thank you for your support!

  • SamarSar

    Thanks Muslimah! I appreciate it :)

  • SamarSar

    Haha, I think that is funny. I hope that not everyone thinks that but maybe. I don't even think anyone in the US lives like people from Sex and the city, but that is just me. I have never been to New York, so I would be able to say but in my city..No one that I knew lived like that!

  • SamarSar

    Kinzi,

    Thank you for your comment.

    I think that is cool that American converts are facing some decent treatment here in Jordan. I believe a lot of times when I hear about a woman converting, I always wonder if she is doing it for the sake of Islam or for the guy she is about to marry. It's amazing how many people convert for another person, but I always hope that it leads them down the right path for them.

    When my mom lived here, she had some experiences here that were very hard for her. People did judge her as well because she was American and didn't cover, while her daughter did.

    I'm glad the experience has made you stronger, I think that it's sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel that keeps me going or so I keep on telling myself that.

    Honestly, a lot of people have that idea about America. Hollywood doesn't help at all. I won't say it's the only reason but it plays a huge role. My cousins were convinced that America was very different than the way I described it because that is what they saw on TV. I don't think we should be judged by what the media shows us but a lot of people do. Fox News is a source of information for a lot of Americans but it's not just Fox News, it's CNN, NBC, and various local news stations that report the horrible stories.

    Again, I always go back to the fact that I don't judge you and don't want to be judged by you. I will treat you with respect on matter what you say about my religion or belief systems. I just wish that more people would get on that train.

    Thank you again, I hope I get a job with a company that will celebrate the fact that I wear hijab and not look down on me for it.

    I hope that you continue to do what you are doing and I support you. I understand it's hard on both ends and we need to support each other and not bring other people down.

  • SamarSar

    Thanks Jaraad!

    I agree, they just think that men have forced them to put it on because those are usually the stories we hear about. I don't hear very many women talk about why they wear hijab and how is has impacted their life in a positive way.

    A lot of people confuse being moderate with not being religious and I don't agree at all! I like to think that you can make your cake and eat it too! Or maybe I just like cake too much, so I refuse to give it up. I just don't think those stories would get published because good news is not something people like to hear…and when it comes to Muslims, forget about it!

  • SamarSar

    Thanks Aalyaan!

    I hope you do visit Jordan one day! It's an amazing place with a lot of great things to offer. I was really happy to see the development that has happened here since I last lived here.

    Yes, I agree…I just wish more people spoke out about it.

  • SamarSar

    PH,

    I agree completely with what you said about owning up to my decision to wear it. I do, everyday! I choose to wear it and deal with whatever comes my way but I was truly shocked when I came to Jordan that I would be treated that way. I assumed that I lived in a Muslim country that things would be different.

    I don't think anyone should be treated differently whether they choose to wear it or not. I don't advocate that at all and would never do that.

    See, I don't agree that being religious is a choice not a title. My religion is a part of who I am and follow it because I believe in it. I know I can take off my hijab and life would be different but I don't think it's something that I would give up because my life would different. Islam is a part of who I am and I won't change that. Yes, skin color can't be changed (but I could argue otherwise, look at Michael Jackson) but no one should be treated differently because of what they can't change.

    I agree with kinzi, everyone complains. It's a part of who we are as humans.

    It's interesting you bring up atheists. There was a bus ad. in my city in the US that said “Don't believe in God? You are not alone.” There were a lot of people who refused to get on the bus because of the ad. and I believe a bus driver who was christian refused to drive a bus with the ad on it. I thought it was insane that someone would find a simple statement like that offensive when we see various church signs say that “If you don't believe in God and Jesus Christ you will go to hell” Again, I don't want to be judged for wearing hijab or not wearing it. I would like to be judged for the person that I am and if you don't like me because I complain that is cool but if it's because of my hijab then that is where I have the issue.

  • Yasmine

    Thank you for sharing, there is discrimination both ways; some companies and businesses also refuse to hire women who do not wear the hijab even if they wear decent and professional cloths.

    I do understand what you are talking about, especially in fields that looks don’t matter in, when applying your CV and over the phone people are impressed and cant wait to meet you and then when you show up for the interview (I wish I could actually shoot how some-not everyone- will look at you with shock.)

    “I cover my head not my mind,” was a statement we once made to people who were appalled by the fact that we intend and dream to change the world while also choosing to wear the hijab.

    Moreover, when someone dismisses people’s potential on basis of looks or beliefs, it is just one that is willing to miss the opportunity of having committed and professional women who could make some real progress.

    Whatever you are or what you believe in, there will be some difficulty in the “Changing the world” attitude especially in Jordan.

  • Ahmad Tahboub

    A big thank you to Samar Sarhan and all the educated, articulate and proud Muslim women who choose to defend their unshakable belief. Reading such articles makes me very proud, and makes me think that “lissa il dina bi 5eir”.
    Keep it up!

  • May

    Hey Samar..even if you take of your hijab, life in Amman won't be easier, u'll be judged whatever u do. I see it often where i work…they'll discriminate between two mohajabat.if one wears a pants or a long skirt, they discriminate according to the type of hijab, the discriminate if u do ur eyebrows or if u don't..they don't leave women alone!!
    Even men are not spared..if smn is going to pray, he has to take all men with him, if smn doesn't pray, they call he the non muslim…We are talking about amman's sick character…Judgmental and Unforgiving

  • Bees2024

    I am proud of you Samar.

    There are many companies that will be happy to have you, you just need to search little more ;)

    Some companies that are a branch or related to western origins may show this discrimination. However many native Jordanian companies are very happy to welcome you.

    All the best.

  • AyubSays

    Bottom line:

    Everyone loves to judge when they have nothing to look at in themselves for happiness.

    As far as all the comments about discrimination in general, sure, Amman and Jordan in general IS ROTTEN TO THE CORE. But, this wasn't a discussion of said rottenness, this was just an opinion about perceived discrimination of the most ironic kind.

    With that out of the way, all those people who are “standing in line” should write something about it, maybe then we will all benefit from the insight.

    Otherwise, cool read.

    Keep it real, even if the whole world detests it, thats what I say. I never needed appreciation from anyone except the One Who is in charge of everything.

  • AyubSays

    I find it laughable when a person complains for being discriminated against for their skin color when Pol Pot was beating people to death for wearing glasses, considering the people in Cambodia wore glasses and didn't complain as much. (Maybe because they were dead, who knows?)

    You are an idiot. If you are as intelligent as you are attempting to sound, this comment will require no explanation, just subtle consideration on your part. Have fun.

  • AyubSays

    haha.. did someone discriminate against you? It is ok, we still love you. =P

  • haneen arikat

    thanks samar
    being proud of what you are is important and,respesting others of what thy are is even more importnat, it really strikes me what you said about the college girls i know this is a human nature , i wear hijab (casual clothes not jelbab)and i try 2 be a better muslim knowing that others may look at me as a good modle and others think that a have a long way ,but regardlees i would never ever allow a girl who is not wearing hijab to critisize me for wearing it nor i would never ever alLow my self to critisise a girl who is wearing jelbab,i know deep inside shes better than i am(as a muslim)i only wish that people will respect the hijab when weraing it ,tell that person maybe when i open a school i wont allow any one who is not wearning hijab in?????WHAT WILL THAT MAKE THEM FEEL????????????

  • SamarSar

    May,

    Yeah, I agree with you completely! I think it's insane the amount of judgement people place on other people here. It's all about who can show off the most in whatever way that may be. I hope that we can make Amman a better place by not falling into these traps.

  • SamarSar

    Yasmine,

    I love the statement “I cover my head not my mind” I am going to have to use it sometime…Really! I hope you don't mind!

    Yeah, I agree that changing the world is a very broad statement but I do believe that it's good to have hope and try. Always try, you can't change the world in a day but you can change a person and if each person changes another person then we are changing the world that way.

    I wish you the best!

  • SamarSar

    Ahmad,

    THANK YOU! Honestly, really appreciate hearing from a guy! It's not an everyday thing to say the least!

    You keep up the good work!

  • SamarSar

    Bees,

    Thanks! I appreciate it. I am searching! Believe me, I am! InshAllah, I will find something soon. It's looking up lately.

    I would love to work for a native Jordanian company! that was my goal when I came here!

    Thanks!

  • SamarSar

    Haneen,

    I agree with you. I think it's important to always look at ourselves and know that we can do better. InshAllah you will continue to improve!

    Thanks again! I think it's very important to be proud of who you are no matter what people say or do!

  • Reem

    Amazing Article . Well written and explains exactly how the situation feels.

    Thank you for writing that Samar.

  • SamarSar

    Thanks Reem! I'm glad you liked it :)

  • haneen arikat

    imortant .there is an add in 2days newspaper alrai asking for (girls only wearing hijab)and believe it or not its for tourisim field ,check it out p47

  • o181o
  • SamarSar

    Thanks is very interesting! Thanks Haneen :) I will check out it out!

  • IPU

    Yeah I know what you mean, I get judged as well, because I believe in an invisible pink unicorn.

  • Yasmine

    All the best to you dear, hopefully we will change things as much as we can to the best:)

    Best of luck.

  • SamarSar

    Thanks! I hope so too!

  • Hamzeh N.

    My advice to women who face this problem is to talk more about it, and what Samar has done here is an example of that. However, I want to use her piece as an opportunity to make a few suggestions about how this story needs to be told to society.

    A lot of people need to be convinced that women who wear the hijab are not necessarily women with weak personalities or low self-esteem who are forced by their families to put something over their hair.

    In order to convince people of this, you need more details in your story. Instead of saying that hijab liberates you and stopping there, continue and describe with great detail how you feel liberated by it. Saying something liberates you implies that it gave you more choices or opportunities to grow internally (self-image) or externally (e.g. career). We need stories from women who wear the hijab about how they were liberated by it. So far, I've always heard this story stated as a fact, but never heard the details. People need those details to be persuaded.

    Another part of your story is that different women wear the hijab for different reasons. There are two big challenges to this. First, there is a common (as in shared) reason that everyone is aware of: religious duty. Second, there is another common (as in frequent) reason that many women share: oppression. Your story is about the individualism aspect of hijab. What made you, Samar, decide to choose this life style. How does your hijab help differentiate you from other women, most importantly, other women who wear the hijab too!

    Perhaps this is the most important point to take from what I said. Women who wear hijab must focus on differentiating themselves from other mohajjabat, not from the non-mohajjabat.

    I'll be looking forward to reading more details in the future.

  • SamarSar

    Hamzeh,

    Thanks for your suggestions. I honestly could go on and on about why it liberates me but I didn't feel that I wanted to go into those details. I agree, it's important to differentiate myself from other hijabis but that wasn't the point I was trying to make. I meant that I wanted to say I can only speak for myself and not everything wears it because they were forced because that is the predominate voice that we hear. It's not so, and I'm proof of that.

    Maybe for my next piece I can talk about why it does liberate me…we shall see!

    Thanks again for your comment,

    Samar

  • Walid

    The idea of the Hijab to many in Europe is that it is a symbol of injustice, oppression and slavery, that's how they view it (not making the distinction that nearly all peasants wore this type of head-dress not too long ago in Europe).

    I was discussing the Hijab with someone in charge of recruiting for a big Danish company, and he said this: ” We can hire those who wear a headscarf, but they will never be allowed to work upfront in any of our divisions, we can hire them to be in the back rooms and the storerooms, why? After all we have an image to maintain…” And there you have it.

    Many Europeans believe: that if you want to wear a symbol of your religious fervour then go back to the country you and/ or your grandparents came from, go back to the countries where headscarves, burqa's and niqab are accepted and are also the norm. But do not try and force “us” to accept something that we find offensive to “us” (quoting some of the feminists I have come across) to them idea is horrific and evil (irrational as that sounds). The right-wing ultra nationalists believe and it is a belief that is growing stronger, that if you came to their country for whatever reason, you have to adapt and conform and live with the fact that they do not want you to stand out. Their turf their rules, that's how they see it.
    And you can jump up and down and scream blue murder for your “Rights” but they don't see it as such they just look at you and see a relic and a symbol of women's oppression, and they do not see why they have to accept it.

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  • SamarSar

    Walid, I think that is very interesting. I can see how they would think that and I understand to some extent but then why do they allow nuns to wear their head gear? I mean, I think it goes both ways. Many people who chose to wear hijab have European heritage, like myself. I'm a quarter Irish, but I'm full Muslim and that comes before anything else.

    I find it interesting what people say and I hope to change opinions one at a time. It's just something they want to change when they see a few cases where a woman is oppressed but the majority isn't. They just zero in on the few.

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