In a news cycle dominated by Islamophobic rabble-rousing and calls for institutionalized discrimination emanating from the right-wing, it takes the unbiased acceptance of children to show the rest of America where they’ve gone wrong. A group of Chicago high-schoolers have taken to wearing the Islamic hijab, the traditional headscarf worn by Muslim women that symbolizes modesty, on their own volition.
The hijab is the most common form of headwear among Muslim women, a simple headscarf that covers the hair and ears. It is not to be confused with the niqab, which is the veil that only leaves the eyes bare worn by Wahhabi Muslims in the Middle East, or the burka, the full-body cover worn only in the most conservative parts of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India.
Over a dozen girls from Vernon Hills Highschool are participating in the “Walk A Mile In Her Hijab” event, which aims to help spread awareness of Muslim cultural traditions and help combat the rising tide of Islamophobia in America.
Their principal, Jon Guillaume, has applauded the plan and the girls for their cosmopolitan interest in other cultures and their courage in standing up for their Muslim peers in these troubled times.
“I think it is a difficult time to be a Muslim student in our high school, in our community and in America. I think this is an opportunity for our kids to embrace the Muslim community within the school. For other kids outside of this organization, to understand what it’s like for these girls to walk through our halls in this garment in a way that stands out from other kids. So, I’m proud of them.”
We should all be proud of these brave girls for not only showing such support for the Muslim members of their communities but also, sadly, for enduring the consequences that donning the headscarf might bring. Since Donald Trump and other Republican candidates have begun their latest round of fear-mongering and discrimination against Muslims, bigoted attacks against innocent Muslim-Americans have sharply risen. We applaud these girls for their inquisitiveness and their open minds; two qualities that are sorely lacking among the so called “adults” that populate our legislative bodies.
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.