Hijabi World shares the stories of a group of young Muslim women speaking out about the day-to-day challenges of observing hijab in America. This Talking Eyes Media film was created as part of the Newest Americans collaborative project, and originally appeared in issue #3.

“When we sat for lunch on a sunny Friday in January 2015, neither of us imagined that we would go home that day with a vision for change, let alone a film idea. Over Korean food, we talked about the small struggles that hijabi women (observant Muslim women who wear headscarves) endure, like unflattering tan lines on our foreheads and the no-end-in-sight quest to find the perfect hijab. The conversation took a more serious turn as we discussed a newly released video by BuzzFeed, where a handful of women were asked to wear hijab for a day and then discuss their experiences—the way others stared at them, how they were scrutinized more carefully at an airport, and even how unfamiliar hijabi women smiled at them on the street.

We wondered why BuzzFeed chose to amplify the experiences and narratives of women who only wore hijab for one day as opposed to women who wear hijab daily.

While we do appreciate BuzzFeed’s undoubtedly pure and kind intentions, we do not wish to be silenced. We spoke with several college-aged hijabi women in New Jersey who come from different academic, social, and cultural backgrounds about their experiences. We listened to their opinions and observed the different ways that they styled their hijabs. With their help, we created what we hope are myth busting, stereotype crushing stories that take back the microphone and reclaim our own hijabi narratives.”

– Dina Sayedahmed & Hamna Saleem