My daughter’s favorite book for the past two months has been “For the right to learn: Malala Yousafzai’s story.” So it wasn’t all that surprising when, on our way to the grocery store this afternoon she asked, “Do all Muslim women have to wear a hijab?”
“Well,” I said, “do you know what a hijab is for?” With a smile, she responded, “no.”
“In the book the Malala, her family and her friends wear hijabs. Then Taliban takes control of their region of Pakistan. In the book, when the Taliban were in charge they forced all the women to wear burqas. Whether they wore a burqa or hijab, they were still Muslim.
“Do all Muslim women wear a hijab or burqa?”
“You know, Sayeed and Ahmed are Muslim. Does Ahmed wear a hijab or burqa?”
“No…why doesn’t she wear a hijab?” She asked.
“I don’t know. You’d have to ask her. Like people who are Christian and Jewish, no all people who are Muslim have the same beliefs.”
“But what is a hijab?”
“Well…it’s a symbol that represents a set of beliefs. People who wear them share those common beliefs related to Islam, the religion of Muslim people.”
“But daddy, what are those beliefs?”
“Sweetie, I would like to give you a good answer for that, but I’m not Muslim, so I really can’t say for sure. We can ask Sayeed and Ahmed. You know, and a Hajib might means something a little bit different depending on a person’s beliefs.”
“Kind of like Christmas means different things for Christians?”
“Ummm…ya, kind of like that.”