Aug. 5, 2018
- “Will Allah hang me from my hair? The religious and Quran teacher at our school told us in class that if we show our hair in public, God will hang us from our hair in the afterlife and torture us for infinity.”
- Many Muslim women, including members of my own family, are afraid to take off their hijab, even though they are adults and who may not be religious anymore, and may even live in a place where they are allowed to take off their hijab. The fear of displaying their hair, and the consequences they could face physically and spiritually still haunt them and influence the choices they make in their everyday life.
- My sister is still afraid to take off her hijab because of those horrifying stories that the radical Islamic teachers taught her when she was tiny….I still hope for a day when my sister will have a good night’s sleep, when the little girls who are sitting in those same classrooms, their minds filled with horrifying scenes, will one day feel safe to uncover their hair, and safe to lay down their heads at night. Until then, I will not rest, either.
Last month, an Iranian court ordered Shaparak Shajarizadeh, 43, to prison for two years, with 18 years’ probation, for removing her headscarf in public.
In our childhood in Iran, my sister’s screams would cut through the silence of our home at night. Nightmares would wake her and leave her too terrified to go back to sleep. We all encouraged her to share her fears; she would always refuse. On the night she finally opened up, her entire body was shaking with fear.
Afraid to ask the question out loud, my sister, then nine years old, whispered: “Will Allah hang me from my hair? The religious and Quran teacher at our school told us in class that if we show our hair in public, God will hang us from our hair in the afterlife and torture us for infinity. He will resurrect us if we die and then torture us again,” she was sobbing. “I went to the grocery store and forgot to wear my hijab. Will He torture me for infinity?”