What being a Niqabi in Australia can entail

Image Source: The Islamic Monthly

I started wearing the niqab as a teenager. I first made this decision because I saw my family members wearing it. In the first few months, I wasn’t strict about it. I didn’t take it seriously, and it would be an off-and-on cycle. I would think to myself many times, “Why am I even wearing the Niqab?” But I was a student of a madrasa, Jamiatul Mominat Al Islamia, where I studied all types of Islamic content. Acquiring knowledge about Islam solidified my decision to continue wearing the niqab.

Did I face problems on my journey to Australia and in my life here?

In the beginning, when I first started wearing the niqab in Australia, I would notice many eyes on me in public places. I paid no heed to them; I never felt scrutinised, embarrassed, or anything of the sort. I didn’t feel nervous. But this was before my relationship with social media. Things started to change when I became more familiar with the online world. Staring eyes that had never bothered me before began to frighten me.I started becoming nervous because of them. The words racism, discrimination, and many more started circling my head.

Once I’d finished my studies in my madrasa, I enrolled in a college in Australia. In the beginning, it wasn’t easy facing the new world. People had the misconception that I had been forced into wearing it. The way people acted was sometimes hurtful, but it was never harsh. Many students at the college just asked me questions; they were just curious, and some, I guess, were just intimidated. I’ve made friends who have admitted that they felt they couldn’t approach me before because of my niqab. They thought I would be a mean, “stereotypical” Niqabi. I found this hilarious, and it even started a whole new conversation where we learned more about each other. I explained to them how things are very different from what they see.

In conclusion, I’ve never faced any experiences that were bad enough to talk about specifically. I’ve never felt that I was in danger; yeah, I’ve felt judged, but never in a way that has embarrassed me. Things are actually a lot easier than they seem. Wearing a niqab is not the big hurdle it seems to be. It was easy to go to college or to places I wasn’t familiar with in a niqab. The fear of having eyes on me has gone.

Now I’m looking forward to extending my studies or getting a job without fear.


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