Sixteen-year-old Amara Majeed has observed that “a woman needn’t have a different skin color, a foreign accent, or an unusual name because when she decides to wrap a piece of cloth around her head, she immediately becomes ‘un-American,’ or ‘foreign.’”
So the American Muslim teen launched The Hijab Project, a website that allows hijab-wearing women to share their experiences and encourages non-Muslim women to wear hijabs and then write about their observations. The aim is to foster mutual understanding and communication between Muslim and non-Muslim women in America .
Granted, the practice of non-Muslim women trying out the hijab, or hijab tourism, is somewhat controversial and has triggered a #NoToHijabAppropriation hashtag. But Majeed still feels the experience can be “extremely valuable.”
“People see me for who I am rather than what I look like,” Majeed tells Bustle.
Each of the contributors to the site also has a story about ignorance or discrimination they’ve faced while wearing the hijab. Many recall being singled out in airports, labeled as terrorists, or treated as if they were “quiet, vulnerable, weak, stupid, or otherwise simple-minded.”
But by allowing women from both sides to speak, Majeed hopes things can change for the better.