Taking action

Ivy League teen is working to destigmatize the headscarf with Hijab Project

Amara Majeed (Facebook)

An 18-year-old college freshman who wears a headscarf has come up with a novel way of trying to bring about understanding of Muslim women who choose to wear the controversial garment. Amara Majeed is a freshman pre-law student at Brown University in Rhode Island. Majeed, who hails from Baltimore, is the daughter of Sri Lankan immigrants. She says she’s a rather typical teen who is immersed in the sort of pop culture that many of her peers are fans of; she enjoys the TV shows Scandal, Gossip Girl, “any movie that has Leonardo DiCaprio in it,” and describes herself as a huge fan of Taylor Swift. “I think that she is an incredibly powerful woman,” Majeed said in an interview with ABC News. However, one thing makes her look different at school: She wears a hijab. “I think I’m the only freshman at Brown [University] that wears a headscarf,” she said, adding that since she started wearing the hijab at age 14, she’s encountered all sorts of hateful speech — “People telling me, ‘You’re a terrorist. You need to go back to where you belong. I hope you get AIDS.’”

In order to counteract stereotypes that some attach to women and girls who wear a headscarf, Majeed launched The Hijab Project when she was 16 years old. Majeed encouraged women and girls to try wearing a hijab for a day, and then write an essay about the experience, which she then shares on her website. The guiding principles behind the idea were to “foster sisterhood, promote feminism, and promote the understanding of an oftentimes misunderstood and underrepresented minority,” she said.

Majeed also made news recently when she wrote an open letter to Donald Trump after his proposal on barring Muslims from entering the country. In the letter, she told the front-running candidate that he was “scapegoating an entire population of 1.6 billion people in an attempt to further your campaign.” She said she wrote the letter because she felt a sense of duty to tell Trump he was being “harmful to the Muslim community.”

The interview with ABC News covered a range of topics, including what Majeed sees as “the biggest misconception” about women who wear the hijab.

Read the full story at ABC News.

Related:

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