Zaeinab Chareyia, a 7th grader at Unis, recently took off her scarf. She made the decision after she had a problem with her hair, and felt the scarf wasn’t comfortable or a good fit for her. She had been wearing a scarf for about three years.
Making the decision to change the way she dressed wasn’t easy. She pondered for two weeks before she finally had the courage to take her hijab off. “I was stuck in wanting to take it off and not wanting to at the same time. It was a 50/50 decision,” she explained.
“It felt weird for me the first couple days,” Zaeinab said.
Looking back on why she started wearing a hijab, Zaeinab says, “I was still a kid, so I was kind of doing what the other kids were doing.” She thinks now that when she began wearing a scarf between 4th and 5th grades she wasn’t mature enough to know what it meant and how it would affect her life. For instance, she didn’t fully appreciate that she also would have to cover up a lot of her body, so that no hair or skin showed beside her hands, feet, and face.
Zaeinab wasn’t forced to wear the scarf by her family, so that also made her decision to take it off easier. Her mother left it up to Zaeinab to decide.
Zaeinab still feels the same as she did when she wore her scarf, but not as safe when she was covered up. After she took her scarf off, she says she got loads of hate. But she got through it with the help of her real friends. Her friends and her Mom helped her push through the hate to do what she feels is right for her. “When I get older and more mature, I will wear a scarf,” said Zaeinab. So, her insight on wearing a scarf hasn’t changed. She just feels as it isn’t fit for her now.
Her views on women who cover up still hasn’t changed, either. “I treat the women who wear hijabs and don’t wear hijabs the same way,” she says.