PEMBROKE PINES, Fla. – A Muslim student at Pembroke Pines Charter High School took the opportunity Thursday to educate her fellow classmates on World Hijab Day about why she and many other women take pride in choosing to wear the headscarf.
"I have gotten the opportunity to grow up in America while freely practicing what I believe in, but that hasn't stopped society from judging the choices of Muslim women in this country," Naveen Farook told Local 10 News in an email. "In recent years, I have found myself surrounded by people with a disturbed image of Muslims, rather than the truth."
Farook said many people believe everyone who wears hijabs are oppressed or that she should no longer wear it because "We are in America now."
"With thoughts like these surrounding the hijab, I decided it was time for me to take a step and create change," Farook said. "If I wanted the world to understand the true meaning behind the hijab and see that there was nothing to feel threatened by, then I would have to start with those around me."
Since Thursday was World Hijab Day, Farook thought it was a great time to spread awareness and educate others about the hijab.
Farook gathered a group of students of all races and religions to join her in wearing the hijab.
"From Hindus to Christians, and Hispanics to Asians, people from all different backgrounds have decided to join me in this united movement to prove that we support Muslim women, not just within our community, but across the world," Farook said.
Farook told Local 10 News that wearing a hijab is a symbol of modesty to her and goes "beyond being a display of love for Islam, but a covering that protects a woman's beauty, like it's a jewel."
"One of the things that stuck out to me most when learning about the hijab when I was younger was how beauty was associated with it," Farook said. "A hijab on a woman does not lessen their beauty the same way clouds covering the sun does not lessen its beauty. I love the idea of promoting self-identity with a hijab and being judged for your mind and who you are, rather than for your physical appearance."
Farook said her mother, who also wears a hijab, has been an inspiration to her and she wanted to help combat the prejudice and bigotry that women who wear the headscarf face.
"World Hijab Day shouldn't just be a celebration for women who do wear hijabs, but an opportunity for us all to empower these women in what they stand for," Farook said.