by Alveena Salim

I’ve been wearing it for years and usually forget that its on my head…the only time I’m aware of it is when I’m experiencing a bad ‘hijaab day’ , its extremely hot, I cant open my mouth wide enough to eat a burger or when I’ve tied it too tight and I know I’m going to get a mark on my neck.

However, ever since I become the first ‘hayjabi’ teacher (as my Head puts it) in my school..I’ve become accustomed to hearing many strange and interesting questions about my Hijaab. I welcome all questions…most are out of ignorance but some are unnecessary and some are just downright rude.

To state a few…

-Do you wear it to bed?

-Do you wear it in the shower?

-I thought you’re only allowed to wear black?

-If I see your hair, will you have to marry me?

-Are you bald?

-Does your dad/husband make you wear it?

-Are you a sikh?

-Can you hear me?

-Are you a nun?

-Arent you hot under that thing? (…what do you think?)

-Are you an Arab’s second/third wife? Is he loaded? (??!!!)

-Where are you from (London) No, where were you REALLY born? (Birmingham?)

-Isn’t it a fire hazard?…(what more so, than your ponytail?)

-Why are you wearing a napkin on your head?

-Your always so colour co-ordinated, do you also match your hijab with your underwear? (!!!!!?????)

-People were killed cos of that thing on your head, don’t you care?

-What are you hiding under there?

I’m a pretty patient person. But there has been many, many times during year when I have felt like telling people ‘get over it’ – after all, it is just a piece of cloth on my head.

My class, bless ‘em have been asking me all year to see my hair….and cos they’re only little kids, I’ve promised them that I’ll take my hijab off for an hour at their end of year party. They’ve become so excited…its even become the talk of the playground – I was on duty the other day and overheard other kids from other classes talking about it…. are you really gonna see Ms Salim’s hair? REALLY? Are you gonna take a picture? Will you bring us some of her hair?

Its amazing how much emotion a piece of cloth can evoke. I just hope the grand unveiling of my messy, kinky hijab hair lives up to the hype.