The Struggles and Triumphs of Muslim Women Choosing to Remove the Hijab

In recent news, Iran’s parliament has passed a bill that would increase prison terms and fines for women and girls who break the country’s strict dress code by not wearing the hijab. This bill follows widespread protests by women who have taken to the streets to remove their hijabs. While many Muslim women choose to wear the hijab as a personal choice, for those who wish to remove it, the decision can be incredibly difficult due to backlash from family and communities. This article explores the stories of women who have made the decision to remove their hijabs and the challenges they have faced along the way.

One woman, Ribell, shares her story of growing up in Iran and being forced to wear the chador, one of the most conservative types of hijabs. She remembers dreaming of wearing shorts and T-shirts like other girls in her community, but her family’s religious and conservative beliefs dictated that she must cover herself. As Ribell grew older, she began to resent the hijab and the restrictions it placed on her. When she was 17, her parents enrolled her in an Islamic seminary, which she found to be oppressive and biased against women. This experience solidified her decision to leave Iran and seek asylum in Turkey, where she can now live openly without wearing the hijab.

Ribell’s story is not unique, as many Muslim women have faced similar struggles when choosing to remove the hijab. Mona Eltahawy, an Egyptian-American feminist activist and author, shares her own experience of wearing the hijab for nine years before finally finding the courage to remove it. She explains that it took her several years to openly talk about her decision to remove the hijab due to feelings of shame and guilt. Mona emphasizes that the fight against mandatory hijab in Iran is not just a political one, but also a fight against the oppression faced by women and queer individuals both in public and private spaces.

While some Iranian women have found support from their families after the recent protests, others have faced backlash and even threats. Bella Hassan, a journalist with the BBC World Service, made the decision to remove her hijab after being inspired by the women protesting in Iran. However, she quickly faced criticism and threats from men in her own community, causing her to question her decision. Bella highlights the deep-rooted cultural significance of the hijab in Somalia, where she is from, and hopes that one day women in her country will have the courage to choose what they want for themselves instead of listening to societal expectations.

The passing of the bill in Iran has sparked international attention and debate about the rights of women to choose what they wear. While many argue that the hijab is a symbol of empowerment and personal choice for Muslim women, others believe that it is a form of oppression and control. The stories shared in this article shed light on the struggles faced by those who choose to remove the hijab and the lasting impact it can have on their lives.

It is important to approach this topic with sensitivity and respect for individual choices and experiences. The decision to wear or remove the hijab is deeply personal, and it is crucial to support and uplift the voices of Muslim women who have made their own choices regarding their attire. By fostering understanding and open dialogue, we can create a society that respects and celebrates the diverse choices and experiences of Muslim women.