Newsletter #77 – The Hijabi Pecking Order

There are as many different opinions about why Muslim women wear a headscarf, as there are designs and colors.

There are as many different opinions about why Muslim women wear a headscarf, as there are designs and colors.

Some say they wear it out of modesty.

Some say their faith commands it.

Some say they wear it as a symbol of their faith.

Some say they wear it as a political statement.

Some say they are forced by their cultural standards to wear it.

And on and on…

In Tennessee, the TN American Muslim Advisory Council (AMAC) and the American Center for Outreach (ACO) tell us that they are the Muslim voice in Tennessee.  They tell non-Muslims that if we have questions about Muslims or Islam, they have the answers.

With regard to the hijab here is what they say:


Jihan Abdulla, intern ACO:

“I actually feel like I have more rights than American women. I don’t have to live by the standards of beauty.  This is just me.”


Remziya Suleyman, Director ACO

“I know, every day, as a Muslim, as a woman, and as an immigrant, people will look at me differently. When I go out wearing my hijab I know there will be stares and comments.”  She is referring to the hijab she says she began wearing in 2008, coincidentally right before she began lobbying Tennessee legislators.

Muslim Canadian Congress

A 2007 op-ed written by leaders of the Muslim Canadian Congress asserts that the “hijab has nothing to do with morality” but has become a tool for both political and religious operatives.

sabina2   Sabina Mohyuddin – AMAC Board member

   In 2011 she said, “A hijab is worn to please God and to maintain modesty.  I wouldn’t take mine off in        public,…I would be the kind of person to put up a fight about that. … I would compare asking a Muslim woman to remove her hijab to asking a woman to take off her blouse. That’s really how Muslim women feel about it.”

On June 4, 2012 during the AMAC event in Manchester, Ms. Mohyuddin added the following to her reasons for why she, as a Muslim woman wears a headscarf:

“to be judged by my intellect and not my looks”

So what does Ms. Mohyuddin have to say to her sister-in-law Sheema, or to her co-AMAC member Dorothy Zwayyed?  Is it their faith or their intellect that she questions?

sheemaSheema Mohyuddin          dorothy Dorothy Zwayyed