Muslim vlogger Nilufa Dahlia has a mission for women everywhere. After dealing with loneliness and even abuse from her fellow mothers, she wants others to see — and feel — what it’s like to be a mother in a headscarf.
Dahlia came up with the idea for her Hijab Challenge after she was verbally assaulted in the supermarket. Dahlia took a nasty comment — a fellow shopper told her “You make my skin twitch” — as inspiration.
Her goal is for viewers to see the humanity in everyone, regardless of whether or not they’re wearing a scarf. “I love shopping, cooking, and I absolutely love makeup. Should we exchange numbers and sort out a play date?” says Dahlia, before dropping the hammer. “Or would this bit of cloth make you think twice about being my friend?”
Her simple (and catchy) mantra is a reminder that even across religious and cultural backgrounds, mothers have plenty in common. “See past the scarf — see the person,” she asks viewers. Dahlia also shared her personal reasons for wearing the scarf. “It allows people to acknowledge my personality over my looks,” she explained. Plus, as a mom, she uses it as an instant coverup during breastfeeding.
The concept for “the Hijab Challenge” is simple: Dahlia asks viewers to tie a scarf or a shawl around their head, mimicking the look of a hijab, and go outside. “See what it looks like to be looked at differently, pointed at or even abused,” she asks. The experience, she seems to be hoping, will call up empathy in anyone who may have negatively judged Muslim women.
For her part, Dahlia also took on her own challenge. She resolved to smile at every fellow mother she encountered over the course of a day. None smiled back. “But I’m not going go give up,” she said. It’s a simple attitude — and a kind one — that will hopefully appeal to mothers everywhere.
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