Crosses and Yarmulkes, Bonnets and Hijabs

I read an article this week in our local paper which discussed some of the recent difficulties faced by Islamic women who wear the hijab, the head scarf that many wear as a symbol of their faith, and out of a commitment to the Qur'an's call for modesty in dress. It is one of those outward symbols that immediately identifies the wearer as a person of faith, a particular faith, much like the bonnets worn by Amish and Mennonite women, or the yarmulkes worn by many Jewish men.


It seems that some Islamic women are reconsidering wearing the hijab, for fear of being singled out and tormented in one way or another by Islamaphobic strangers. One of the episodes recounted in the article was particularly disturbing. A woman living in California was at the local playground with her one-year old son. The little boy was playing with another child his age, when his father, seeing the other in her hijab, rushed over to the play area, and pulled his child away. He indicated that she should go back to wherever it was that she came from, and then he picked up some of the wood chips that were on the ground and threw them at the woman's one year old son. (The News-Press, 12-27-16, 2B)

This is wrong on so many levels! After all, we are a nation devoted to, arguably founded on, the notion of religious liberty. As Americans we are free to hold whatever religious beliefs we choose, or none at all. And that includes the right to wear garments that express our religious beliefs without fear. We are a nation built on laws, laws that tell us it is wrong to publicly attack someone else for any reason. And really, in what part of our country is it considered acceptable to throw things at a child?

OK--I know I'm venting. But really, an attack on one, to paraphrase Martin Luther King, Jr., is an attack on all. Would it be appropriate for someone to harass me because I wear a cross around my neck? Would it be appropriate for someone to throw things at my grandchild because they disagree with my beliefs? Of course not!

I've said it before. I'll say it again. Grow up America! Grow up! We are better than this!


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