Monday, 1 February 2016

Treated differently after the Paris attacks feat. Iqra

Ivanna Salgado
Iqra is a Psychology student, tutor and also beauty blogger over at The Blushing Giraffe (what a cute name right?). When I first found Iqra's blog I was really impressed by Iqra's opinions and how Iqra stands out from the crowd. Iqra is an ethical blogger and I have hardly found many bloggers like Iqra so I really do admire Iqra.

1. What does the Hijab mean to you?
Hijab is a core part of my identity, it makes me who I am and it reminds me of my purpose on a daily basis. To call it an essential just isn’t a strong enough word! 

2. How do you feel when you wear the Hijab? 
I feel so blessed to be able to wear the hijab and when I put it on I feel ready to face anything! 

3. When did you start wearing the hijab and what lead you to making that decision? 
I actually started wearing the hijab to school from a young age, because I was so inspired by my grandma, mother and aunties. I was only 9 I believe and it was Ramadan during September/October time, so I saw that as the perfect opportunity to start wearing the hijab at least for ‘practice’ as I called it. My mum was very apprehensive about my decision, she thought I was very young and wasn’t sure how I would find being in a mainly white school, wearing the hijab. But I remember my school teacher at the time was so supportive! She took a lot of interest in it and that made me feel more confident. A few kids asked about it but nobody was rude or mean, which is the nice thing about wearing hijab from a young age, your class fellows are so non-judgemental! I wore it to school all the time but I didn’t always wear it to weddings and special occasions, till I was 14/15 so that's probably the age I became a full-time hijabi. 

4. Were your family and friends supportive? What did they say? 
 Initially when I first told my parents they were a little unsure because I was so young. But they were supportive because at the end of the day it’s something Allah has asked us to do, so they said I could give it a go and see how I felt. My friends at the time were supportive Alhamdulillah and ever since my friends all have been too. 

5. What reactions did you get when first starting to wear the hijab? 
I was so young that the natural reaction of the children in my class and year group, was curiosity. ‘How comes you’ve started wearing that?’ ‘Aren’t you really hot?’ etc. haha. It was all just curiosity, Alhamdulillah nothing negative or hurtful. 

6. Have you ever had any negative attention while wearing the hijab?
Honestly I am very lucky that I haven’t really. Sometimes I feel a bit apprehensive approaching people and I wonder if they’ll judge me differently, but because of my job (tutor) and the need to talk to lots of different parents, I feel like I’ve learnt not to think ‘ohhh I bet that woman will think of me differently because of my hijab!’. The more I think like that, the less worried or nervous I am to approach people, at the end of the day EVERYONE judges everyone in the first 10 seconds that they see them, but the way I see it is you have to show that you’re a nice, friendly person in order for them to see past the hijab and make a judgement on you for who YOU are and not what you look like (which is one of the many beauties of the hijab!) Oh I have just though about a fairly recent experience actually, the Paris attacks which happened on a Friday night, the following day I was at work and on my lunch break in the cafe. I hadn’t had a chance to check my phone since the day before, so I had no idea about the current events. To my absolute surprise I was getting so many stares that day and a good few dirty looks. I tried to ignore it and clicked on twitter on my phone, to be greeted with the news of the attacks. That was deeply disappointing for me, getting such a negative reaction simply because the media had pointed fingers to Muslims for being responsible. I actually couldn’t help but tweet about it and after work I checked my phone to so many lovely responses, from non-Muslims expressing sympathy and annoyance at what had happened. It’s nice to know that not the majority of non-Muslims have such a narrow minded ‘believe everything you read’ attitude! 

7. Have you have any positive attention while wearing the hijab
I also feel really good when I speak to an elderly non-Muslim because I feel like that generation are most set in their ways and views. Usually you can tell when someone has a slightly negative perception of you, probably based on what you look like and as I said in the above question, just being really friendly, helpful and caring can make that pre-judgement disappear. Smiling is Sunnah (encourage act because of our Prophet pbuh) in Islam and my favourite experiences are when I show elderly people that the majority of Muslims are nothing like what they’re fed by the newspaper. Alhamdulillah seeing them put down their barriers and warm up is such a great feeling! Wearing a hijab means that you’re a visual representative of Islam, so it's great being able to challenge the negative views the media put out about us, through positivity ^_^

8. Do you feel like the events in the media have given you more attention?
I kind of answered this in question 6! Sometimes, with large events like that, it does give more attention as I described, but Alhamdulillah a LOT of people realise that most of the time the media is making a mountain out of a molehill and being totally biased against Muslims. 

9. Have you had any funny comments or moments while wearing the hijab? 
The only thing I can think of is when working with children, the questions that they will ask ‘why do you wear that? Is your hair blue? Do you wear it to bed? Can I please please pleaseeeeeee see your hair???’ hahaha. The curiosity is funny, but nothing unbearable! 

10. If you could say what you wanted to non-Muslims regarding the hijab what would you say? 
My hijab is a huge part of my identity, not only is an act of religion but it reminds me to be mindful of my character at all times. I forces people to see beyond what I look like and try to get to know me, for who I am and it keeps my ears warm! If you have any questions about it, I am more than happy to talk to you about it, I’d rather that then be stared at with pity or judgement!

11. Lastly, how do you feel about the hijab being recognised as ‘oppressive’? 
Every time I hear anyone call it that, I can’t help but laugh out loud. To me wearing a hijab is the very opposite of oppression! What westerns see as freedom (showing off all their body) is what I honestly see as oppression. Why should I show you my beauty, my figure, my body and then expect you to speak to me for who I am, not for what I show you? I think its oppressive living in a society where a woman worth is judged by how much skin she shoes, or how big/long/slim she is. My hijab protects me from being judged in that manner, without removing my own self-identity and that is truly a blessing! 

12. Would you like to add anything else? 
Thank you so much for having me on your blog Rose! And to readers of this lovely blog, I hope I cleared up a few questions or misconceptions that anyone may have had about the hijab. Please feel free to speak to a hijab wearer, rather than sit there and feel sorry for her, because I can almost guarantee that she has a lot more to her than her choice for wearing the hijab! 


 I want to thank Iqra for taking her time to answer my questions and for being a part of this lovely day! Make sure you do head over to Iqra's blog and show her your support and love.


  1. Reading Iqra's response to question 6 is just insane, it's so hurtful to think and understand how events like that affect SO many people unrightfully. But I do have to say, it's also wonderful and interesting to hear and think about how accepting young children are of it immediately - curious but so accepting :) Gives me hope for our future generations.


    1. I totally agree hun. People's actions hurt others but not everyone in the world is bad. There's a lot of good in the world too. xx


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