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I Wrap my Hijab a Little Tighter

By: 

Jana Al-Akhras

  |  March 24, 2015

I brace myself when I check the news
Scanning quickly for those trigger words
You know the ones
Terrorist
Islamist 

Extremist 

I wrap my hijab a little tighter today

Hold on to it as it anchors me
I’ve been crying all day 

I shed a tear for every Muslim who had to apologize
For every misguided soul who made a choice in the name of my religion
For the media that reported it and neglected to draw a distinction
For those who believed them and looked at me strangely that day
For those who made me wrap my hijab a little tighter
Deah, Yusor, Razan
I hope their names weigh heavy in your mouth 

I hope that you realize their deaths are not random but rather the result of a systematic dehumanization that we have allowed to go unchecked
That 3 souls can be stripped from this earth and we are comfortable calling it a parking spot dispute
That an execution style killing can be explained away as if Deah, Yusor and Razan were laid side by side in that spot, comfortably covered by the shadow of a car
So I wrapped my hijab a little tighter

America is my home and I make no apologies for that
But I have learned my home wasn’t built for me

It’s still adjusting, still wondering where I fit in
So I wrap my hijab a little tighter 

I can’t help but think that Muslims are only newsworthy when they are behind a gun, and not in front of it
That my body, if claimed at the hands of a white man will still represent a threat, even in death
That my very existence is troubling 

That my hijab is political even if I never claimed it was
So I wrap my hijab a little tighter
I’m tired of white murderers being called “crazed” and all others being considered “extremists”
I’m tired of waiting for the media to legitimize my pain, our pain

So I wrap my hijab a little tighter
Never have I felt unsafe here

I’ve never looked over my shoulder wondering if i should worry about that suspicious look
I’ve never double locked my doors
I’ve never worried about my friends living alone
I’ve never felt threatened in my own home

When people ask me if I felt uncomfortable living in the United States as a Muslim, I used to laugh
That changed 

I used to wear my hijab like a crown, but I wrapped it a little tighter today


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