Walking in Edmonton AB with an Abaaya…

I am not usually the kind of Muslim that walks in an abaaya everyday… it might be for many reasons including the fact that I do not have an Arab heritage and I think that being Muslim doesn’t mean being Arab, so I rather wear things that cover everything, but that represent my own heritage. Nevertheless, I attend a mosque that is in the North of Edmonton and that is mainly an Arab-visited mosque. Last week I tried for the first time to wear an abaaya. A friend of mine gave it to me and its a beutiful black abaaya with blue decorations. I am not used to this kind of clothes, but I felt really fancy on that… However, I couldn’t avoid feeling the ackward looks that many women gave me in the street. I was standing in the street, and many different women stared at me as I was waiting the bus. Only one of them had the courage to come to me and tell me “I can help you… you are in Canada, your husband cannot force you to wear that”… Maybe I looked confused enough that she was surprised… In the first place I am not married yet… in the second place exactly because this is Canada I feel free to try different styles of clothes according to my beliefs. I didn’t respond, and politelly kept change my spot, but she followed me telling choosing to isult me by telling me that I was an Arab terrorist… I am not an Arab… and I don’t look like one… and Terrorist? well… Terrorist might even be white… Again, I chose silence to avoid a fight… It was just incledible for me that in a society that labels itself as Multicultural those expressions of anger are possible. I do not think most Canadians think like that, and if they do, they probably keep it to themselves. It is true that might be Muslim women forced to cover when that is not their desire, but why we don’t think the same about girls in mini skirts? How is a mini skirt more empowering than an abaaya? I do not criticize women that choose not to cover because they might not belong to my faith and regardless of anything Hijab is recomended and encouraged but not mandatory. Women’s choice regarding this matter is between each woman and God.Hijab means nothing if women or men have not true faith and virtue. Nontheless, my experience walkin in Edmonton with and abaaya, wasn’t the most pleasant of all, and I think it requires lots of courage to be a believing woman from any faith and to choose to follow the comandments of the scriptures (Hijab has been recommended in the Torah, Bible and Qur’an among others).

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