“What that hair look like
Bet that hair look nice
Don’t that make you sweat?
Don’t that feel too tight?”
Hijab-wearing women may be tired of responding to clever queries like these, but no matter how silly (or even genuine) the questions may be, they show that sentiments against the hijab continue to run high.
The idea that wearing the hijab implies wilful acceptance of suppression has in fact driven many Muslim women to sport the headscarf as an act of rebellion unapologetically asserting their freedom and identity.
Now they have their anthem, the rap song Hijabi, put on the internet by poet, environmentalist and activist Mona Haydar to commemorate Muslim Women’s Day.
Haydar can be seen pregnant in the video, with her gaze transfixed on the camera. Cradling her belly, she delivers lyrics laden with historical references to Queen Nefertiti, an undoubtedly powerful woman in ancient Egypt. In the last verse, she dedicates the song to her “sisters” across the world.
“Takin’ back the misnomers and
Teleportin’ through trauma”
In March 2016, Haydar had started the #AskAMuslim campaign with her husband Sebastian in the US to stand up against ISIS and acts of violence being perpetrated in the name of Islam.
Haydar, whose parents went to the US from Syria in the 1960s, gained a steadfast following both on social media and in and around the Cambridge, Massachussetts, where she distributed coffee, doughnuts and flowers and started a dialogue with her community.
Haydar is not the only one asserting her identity of a independent Muslim woman.
Apart from commercial brands like Nike and Playboy taking cognisance of hijab-wearing women, there have been various alternative movements on the internet. One of them is a an online community called Mipsterz, referring to Muslim hipsters who can be seen in the video below.