Like many other Muslim women Hala wears a headscarf. We asked her what the headscarf means to her and why she wears it
Hala is from Mosul in Iraq and came to Denmark almost two years ago. She and her husband came to seek asylum, because of the nonstop war in their home country.
Why do Muslim women wear a headscarf?
We wear hijab because it is considered as a protection for women, like the sweets that you find in markets, the luxury type that is wrapped in paper to protect it, that is what we believe. Also, the headscarf is a Muslim and religious tradition. When I was 12 years old my mom was the one who decided that I should be wearing a headscarf. At that time I didn’t even like to wear it because I didn’t know what the meaning of it was. Eventually, I got to know more about the headscarf. Now I love to wear it because I respect the law of my religion.
In Iraq, all Muslims are covering their hair?
In the south of Iraq, all women are covering it because the majority are Shia Muslims. Even Christians who live in parts of South Iraq are covering their hair when they go outside the house.
According to the Muslim religion, a woman must cover her hair and her body, but they are not forced to do so. Some of the women in the main city Baghdad don’t do it. It depends on the person.
Did you find it hard to wear your headscarf when you came to Europe?
For me, it is the same here in Denmark as it was in Iraq because God is everywhere. I have to wear it anywhere I live. I don’t think my headscarf makes a bad image of Muslims. What people are wearing is not showing a bad image. Since I came here I haven’t experienced anyone who gave me a bad comment. Concerning my headscarf, Danish people are very nice to me. And when I have visited their home they don’t offer me pork to eat. I think that is a good way of living life, respect the religions and understanding each other.
Some Muslims are complaining that in Europe they don’t have the right to wear what they like. What is your opinion about that?
I don’t think it is true. If they don’t do anything bad how can people hate them? Because of a headscarf? Or because of religion? Everyone has a reason to hate or love but not the way of dressing or because of a hijab. For me, my headscarf can’t do anything wrong in a Danish society or any other European country. I think what matters is my personality, morality, and humanity. That is what is important to people. If I make an effort to integrate, then whatever I will be wearing can’t change anything.
Some women think that if they cover their hair in Europe they won’t be a part of the European society. Do you agree with that?
I have to follow the religious law. But, if I don’t make any problems I don’t think anyone will show me that kind of behavior. For example, when Europeans are coming to Iraq or Dubai we don’t force them to wear headscarfs because they are free to wear what they like. So I hope and think, that here as well people will accept others’ rights.